Chapter

13 Attitudes in Social Behavior

Personality and Social Psychology

II. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

  1. Gregory R. Maio PhD1,
  2. James M. Olson PhD2,
  3. Irene Cheung3

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop205013

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Maio, G. R., Olson, J. M. and Cheung, I. 2012. Attitudes in Social Behavior. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 5:II:13.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Cardiff University, School of Psychology , Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

  2. 2

    University of Western Ontario, Department of Psychology, London, Ontario, Canada

  3. 3

    University of Western Ontario, Department of Psychology, London, Ontario, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

Abstract

Attitudes have important consequences for understanding social behavior. As tendencies to evaluate a particular target with favor or disfavor, attitudes are related to other important psychological constructs (e.g., values, goals), while being conceptually and empirically unique. In this chapter, we review social psychological research and theory about attitudes and their link to behavior. After defining attitudes and comparing them to other important social psychological constructs (e.g., values), we examine the measurement of attitudes and the distinction between explicit and implicit measures. We then discuss the psychological content, structure, and function of attitudes, interrelations among attitudes, and the relations between attitudes and higher-order constructs, such as values and ideologies. Next, we describe a number of important characteristics that vary between attitudes (e.g., accessibility from memory, certainty), followed by discussions of how attitudes form and how they shape information processing. Finally, we consider the relation between attitudes and behavior.

Keywords:

  • attitudes;
  • persuasion;
  • opinion;
  • behavior;
  • values