chapter  8
25 Pages


WithJohn D. DeLamater, Jessica L. Collett

This chapter introduces the components, sources, and functions of attitudes. Since LaPiere's ground-breaking research, many studies on the topic have found only a modest correlation between attitude and behavior. The chapter considers four tenuous relationships: the accessibility and activation of the attitude, the characteristics of the attitude, the correspondence between attitude and behavior, and situational constraints on behavior. The relationship between attitude and behavior is also affected by the nature of the attitude itself. Four characteristics of attitudes may influence the attitude-behavior relationship: the degree of consistency between the affective and the cognitive components, the extent to which the attitude is grounded in personal experience, the strength of the attitude, and the attitude's stability. Affective-cognitive consistency not only predicts behavior but also increases the resistance of attitudes to change. Attitudes based on direct experience are more predictive of subsequent behavior for a number of reasons.