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[ INSTA Ethics ] : Attitude : Content, Structure and Function | Part 1


Definition: An attitude is a collection of feelings, convictions, and actions toward a specific thing, person, thing, or event. Attitudes can strongly affect behavior and are frequently the product of experience or upbringing. Although attitudes are persistent, they are also malleable.

Nature of attitude:

  • Attitudes often result in and affect the behavior or action of the people. Attitudes can lead to intended behavior if there are no external interventions.
  • Attitudes constitute a psychological phenomenon which cannot be directly observed. However, an attitude can be observed indirectly by observing its consequences. For example, if a person is very regular in his job, we may infer that he likes his job very much.
  • Attitudes are gradually acquired over a period of time. The process of learning attitude starts right from childhood and continues throughout the life of a person. In the beginning the family members may have a greater impact on the attitude of a child.
  • Attitudes are evaluative statements, either favorable or unfavorable. When a person says he likes or dislikes something or somebody, an attitude is being expressed.
  • All people, irrespective of their status and intelligence hold attitudes.
  • An attitude may be unconsciously held. Most of our attitudes may be about those which we are not clearly aware. Prejudice furnishes a good example.

Types of attitudes:

  1. Positive Attitude:

A positive attitude has many benefits which affect out other kinds of behavior in a good way. For example, a person who has a positive attitude and mindset will look for the good in other person’s no matter how bad they behave or how bad is their attitude.

  1. Negative attitude

Generally, people will negative attitude ignore the good things in life and only think about whether they will fail. They often find a way out of tough situations by running away from it.

  1. Neutral attitude

People generally tend to ignore the problems in life. They wait for some other individual to take care of their problems. They generally have a lazy life and they are often unemotional.

  1. Sikken attitude

One of the most dangerous types of attitudes and different is the sikken attitude. The sikken attitude has the calibre to destroy every image that comes in connection with a positive image. This type of attitude is more of a negative attitude and is very destructive. It often reflects the mind’s negativity.

Components of Attitude

  • Informational or Cognitive Component: The informational component consists of beliefs, values, ideas and other information a person has about the object. It makes no difference whether or not this information is empirically correct or real.
  • Emotional or Affective Component: The informational component sets the stage for the more critical part of an attitude, its affective component. The emotional components involve the person’s feeling or affect-positive, neutral or negative-about an object.
  • Behavioral Component: The behavioral component consists of the tendency of a person to behave in a particular manner towards an object.

The factors which lead to development of attitudes can be:

  • Family: Family is the most powerful source for formation of attitudes. The parents, siblings provide information about various things.
  • Peers: As the individual develops, he comes in contact with outer world and peers in first place. Peers include same age friends, neighbors, classmates, etc. The child tries to internalize the attitudes of these people.
  • Conditioning: When we are conditioned or adjusted to a certain set up of people, situation, etc., we will be influenced by that. Hence, our associations lead to develop attitudes. Many times, the kind of reinforcement we get from environment also leads to develop attitudes. On the other hand, negative reinforcement like punishment, teasing, criticizing, troubling may lead to develop negative attitude. Examples: when a patient’s life is saved by a particular hospital at critical moments, he will develop a favorable attitude and if the life is lost, he will develop a negative attitude towards hospital, doctor.
  • Direct instruction: Sometimes direct instruction can influence attitude formation. For example, somebody gives information about a hair dye or usefulness of some fruit, we develop an attitude about that product, may be positive or negative.
  • Satisfaction of wants: Individual develops favorable attitudes towards those people and objects which satisfy his wants and unfavorable attitudes towards those who do not satisfy