Throughout the years, people develop different perceptions about various objects and processes. In psychology, these feelings are referred to as attitudes defined as a set of behaviors, emotions, and beliefs about a particular person, event, or item (DeLamater, Myers, & Collett, 2015). and have the power to control individuals’ choices and behaviors (DeLamater et al., 2015). Therefore, these perceptions are a learned tendency to judge something in a particular way, which encourages humans to make decisions based on emotions.
Attitudes come from experiences and are formed by several personal and environmental factors. Since people learn from observations, incidents, and encounters, their perceptions emerge from their understanding of these events (Cherry, 2020). In addition, social norms and values form attitudes because they determine how an individual is expected to behave in a particular situation (DeLamater et al., 2015). People also develop beliefs after being exposed to specific persuasive techniques or, in other words, conditioning that contributes to the appearance of positive or negative opinions about an object or situation (Cherry, 2020). Consequently, several elements, such as experiences, social norms, and persuasion, impact the attitude formation process.
Even though it seems like attitudes should predict behaviors, they do not always have a strong relationship with each other. This inconsistency happens primarily because various external factors, such as the opinion of reference groups or social expectations, prevent people from acting according to their attitudes (DeLamater et al., 2015). Moreover, individuals are likely to do something that will improve their self-image without paying attention to their actual beliefs (DeLamater et al., 2015). I have personally seen this operating in life many times. For instance, I noticed that it is always easier for me to support the opinion of popular individuals rather than prove my point. When discussing challenging topics, such as politics, feminism, or climate change, I choose not to contradict the views of my authoritative friends and, as a result, achieve more respect and recognition from the whole group.
Cherry, K. (2020). Attitudes and behavior in psychology. Web.
DeLamater, J.D., Myers, D.J., & Collett, J.L. (2015). Social psychology (8th ed.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.