Attitude & Behaviour

Q. It’s said one’s attitude guides his behavior. Do you think reverse could also be true? Substantiate your answer. १० marks

6 thoughts on “Attitude & Behaviour”

  1. By watching her parents donate blood, Komal developed positive attitude towards blood donation (social learning), and donates blood regularly. So Komal’s attitude guides her behaviour.
    On the other hand, Nisha had to donate blood in emergency to her mother, and thereafter developed positive attitude towards blood donation (personal experience). That is, attitude formation or change is guided by the occurence of behaviour.
    So empirically the reverse that behaviour guides attitude seems to be true.

    Also, Festinger and Carlsmith in their experiment demonstrated how the behaviour of telling a lie for a small amount of money causes dissonance in the students (insufficient justification) and leads to a formation of positive attitude towards the experiment.

    So empirically as well as experimentally, we can see that attitude and behaviour have a reciprocal relationship i.e. one may guide the other.

  2. Studies in Social psychology have shown that Attitude guides our behavior. Well, similarly behavior also guides and describes attitude. Behaving in a certain way without holding any attitude towards that action can actually predict or guide an attitude.

    For ex. Experiment by Festinger and Carlsmith regarding Cognitive Dissonance theory showed that in act of counterattitudinal role playing,the group receiving less money felt dissonance between his act of lying (i.e. act of telling task was fun when it was in reality tedious and dull) and reward and hence got consonance by changing cognitions i.e. they actually started believing that task was fun. Here on basis of behavior of telling postiviely about task led to formation of positive attitude towards the task.

    Social psychologist Daryl.J.Bem suggested that we deduce our attitude postions by direct observation of our own behavior. He talked about self attribution i.e. when we can’t find cause of be our own behavior in extrernal environment ,we attribute the cause to own internal motives or traits leading to attitude position. For ex. If a person supports female education whereas in his environment there is noone doing this then that person might assume that he himself has positive attitude towards concept of female education.

    Bem adds angle of self perception to Festinger and Carlsmith study on cognitive theory and tells how behavior leads to attitude. He says that those getting less reward don’t see external factors as cause of their counter attitudinal behavior and hence perceive own act as cause of liking and positive attitude towards dull task.

    Hence we see that attitude behavior relationship is a two way process and behavior does guide attitude to considerable extent.

  3. The relation between attitude and behavior is a two way street. Sometimes attitude directs behavior and sometimes behavior guides the attitude.
    Behavior leads to attitude change/creation in the below cases:
    1. Counter attitudinal role playing creating larger dissonance : when there is inconsistency between attitude and behavior, one of the way people resort to bring in cognitive consistency is changing the attitude as per behavior. This is proved through Festingers experiment where students changed their attitude (from boring to interesting) towards an experiment after they were asked to tell others that the experiment was interesting(attitude-discrepant behavior).
    However, the attitude-discrepant behavior leading to attitude change is stronger and predictable when
    * Lesser rewards are given leading to “less leads to more effect”: in the above experiment, the change in attitude as per behavior was predictable in students who were given 1$ than who were given 20$. People try to justify their actions. Students who got 20$ justified their action to external rewards and who got 1$ changed their attitude since their action couldnot be attributed to a meagre amount.
    * Against ones self concept : Elliot Aronson said the attitude change will only occur if it is against ones self concept. This is because the dissonance is between “im a honest person but i lied”, leading to change in attitude and thus reducing the dissonance
    * People have freedom to act : This will make one personally responsible and thus lead to change in attitude
    * Commitment : when people are locked in their counter attitudinal role.
    * People realise their role has impacted many
    * The payment is viewed as bribe and not as well deserved reward.

    2. Self attribution : Bem said in the absence of having an attitude towards an object, people try to create an attitude by direct observation of their behaviors. For instance, “I goto a lot of movies. So, I like movies”
    Thus behavior leading to attitude is not only true but has also been put to practical applications to bring in beneficial changes in society as can be seen in hyprocrisy etc.

  4. Though attitudes guides our behaviour, but sometimes behaviour also leads to attitude formation. As we acquire attitude through different types learning, one among them is instrumental learning where attitudes are formed on the outcome of our behaviour.

    For eg. When we purchase an item from a shop, without much prior knowledge of that particular item, then if this item fulfils on our expectations of performance then we develop a positive attitude towards that product.

    Cognitive Dissonance theory by Leon Festinger states that, we have a pressure to produce consonance among cognitions to avoid dissonance. With the help of his famous experiment of paying meagrely for boring task and asking the subject to state it interesting to non participants, he stated that the subjects who were paid less showed an attitude change whereas who were paid enough had no attitude change, this shows that if we are not able to justify our behaviour with the situation, then we go for an attitude change to reduce dissonance.

    Role playing is also one of the way in which behaviour leads to attitude formation. For eg, if one plays role of the disadvantaged group then according to Leon Mann and Irvings Janis, study the attitude towards those disadvantaged groups can change.

  5. Attitude refers to the the relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling and acting towards a particular object, idea, person, groups, etc. One’s attitude is a weighted culmination of the three aspects. Attitude has an effective influence on our behavior as reasoned by the “theory of reasoned action” subject to the societal norms. Ex:a person holding the belief that non violence should be the basis of humanity would be likely to protest against nuclear proliferation.

    One’s behavior on the other hand can also influence one’s attitude. Cognitive dissonance theory claims the above on the basis of the famous study conducted by Festinger where dissonance produced in the subjects who received meager sum of money for calling boring tasks interesting ended up justifying their behavior by changing their attitude towards the tasks.

    Bem claims in his “self perception theory” that one perceives his/her action towards a neutral object to assign their attitude towards it. Ex: a child can develop hostile attitude towards a polio vaccine operator based on the discomfort of the vaccine despite warm and affectionate projection of the operators.

    Justification of effort, forced compliance leading one to internalize the attitude of subservience towards authority, and maintenance of a positive self concept are some factors seen to influence one to change their attitude in response to behavior.

    Attitude shapes behavior and vice versa under the limits of societal norms.

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