How Have Social Psychologists Theorized the Relationship Between Attitudes?
The Oxford Dictionary of Psychology defines attitude as 'an enduring pattern of evaluative responses towards a person, object or issue.' The functions of people's attitudes, how they relate to their behaviour, and how to change people's attitudes have always been of interest to Social Psychologists. As a result of this interest, much work has been conducted, and theories have been created about the subject. This essay will examine how Social Psychologists have theorised the relationship between attitudes and behaviour, evaluating how successful they have been. This essay will focus specifically on evaluating the theories of cognitive dissonance (Festinger 1957), planned behaviour (Ajzen 1991) and the tripartite model of attitude (Rosenberg and Hovland 1960).
It seems common sense to think that someone's attitude to something would influence their behaviour. For example, someone who did not like the idea of people killing animals for food would not advocate the eating of meat, and be vegetarian. …
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