What Is an Attitude In Psychology?

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Attitude is a type of belief. Attitude can be defined as the power of the mind to influence behavior. Opinions, beliefs, and judgments are all similar concepts to attitudes.


Introduction To Attitude In Psychology

An attitude is a learned tendency to respond consistently to a person, object, or situation. There are three components to an attitude: affective (or emotional), behavioral, and cognitive. The affective component is our feeling or emotion about the object or situation. The behavioral component is how we act toward the object or situation. The cognitive component is our thoughts and beliefs about the object or situation. 

People often confuse attitudes with beliefs. A belief is a cognitive judgment that something is true or false. For example, I may believe that the earth is round. An attitude is different from a belief in that it represents our overall positive or negative evaluation of something. An attitude can be based on a belief but is more than just a judgment about something. It includes our emotional reactions and our tendencies to behave in specific ways.

Our attitudes are necessary because they guide our behavior. They determine how we will react to people and situations in our environment. Attitudes can be helpful or harmful. They can lead us to behave in helpful or harmful ways to ourselves and others.

Some attitudes are based on facts and evidence and help guide our behavior. For example, if I believe smoking is dangerous to my health, I will likely avoid smoking cigarettes. This attitude is based on evidence that smoking is harmful to our health.

Other attitudes are based on feelings or emotions and may not help guide our behavior. For example, suppose I have a negative attitude toward someone because of their race or religion. In that case, this attitude may lead me to act in discriminatory or even violent ways toward them. 


When Is Attitude Important?

When it comes to psychology, attitude is essential in many ways. First, attitudes can influence people’s thoughts and feelings about themselves and others. For example, people with positive attitudes tend to have higher self-esteem and be more optimistic. In comparison, those with negative attitudes tend to be more pessimistic and have lower self-esteem.

In addition, attitudes can also impact behavior. People with positive attitudes are more likely to take on new challenges and engage in healthy behaviors. In contrast, those with negative attitudes may shy away from new experiences and engage in risky or unhealthy behaviors.

 Finally, attitudes can affect social interactions. People with positive attitudes are generally more sociable and outgoing. In contrast, those with negative attitudes may be seen as hostile or unfriendly.

Overall, it’s clear that attitude is an important factor in psychology. Attitudes can influence thought, feeling, and behavior, which can impact an individual’s overall well-being. 

When it comes to the workplace, attitude is just as important. Employers want to see employees with positive attitudes because they are more productive and motivated. Additionally, positive attitudes can lead to better customer service and team dynamics.

So, whether you’re in a personal or professional setting, remember that your attitude matters!


How Do We Measure Attitude?

The three components of attitude are affective, behavioral, and cognitive. Attitude can be measured using self-report, implicit, or behavioral measures.

Self-report measures ask people to report their attitudes on a Likert scale or similar. This is the most common way to measure attitude. Implicit measures are indirect measures that try to identify people’s attitudes by their responses on tests that are not obviously about attitudes. For example, the affective priming task is an implicit measure of attitude. Behavioral measures look at people’s actual behaviors to try to infer their attitudes. For example, voting behavior is often used as a behavioral measure of attitude. 


How Do We Change Attitude?

Attitude change can be induced by various methods, including persuasion, education, and manipulation.

Persuasion is trying to change someone’s attitude by providing information or arguments supporting your position. Education is the process of providing people with information about a topic in order to change their attitudes. Manipulation is using tricks or deception to change someone’s attitude.


Components Of An Attitude

One of the most important ideas in social psychology is attitude. An attitude is an evaluative judgment – that is, it expresses how we feel about something. Our attitudes can be positive or negative, and they can be based on our personal experiences or what we have heard from others.

There are three components to an attitude:

  1. The affective component refers to our feelings or emotions about the object of our attitude.
  2. The cognitive component consists of our beliefs and thoughts about the object of our attitude.
  3. The behavioral component reflects how our attitudes influence our behavior towards the object of our attitude. 

These three components are often called the “ABCs” of attitudes.

One of the most important things to remember about attitudes is that they are relatively stable. This means that it will likely stay the same once we form an attitude about something. Attitudes can, however, be changed through a process called attitude change.


Psychological Perspectives On Attitudes

The study of attitudes is a core area of social psychology. Attitudes are evaluations of people, objects, issues, or events. They influence how we think and behave.

There are three major psychological perspectives on attitudes: the cognitive perspective, the affective perspective, and the behavioral perspective.

The cognitive perspective emphasizes the role of thoughts in attitudes. Attitudes are based on our beliefs and knowledge about the attitude object. For example, suppose we believe that smoking is harmful to our health. In that case, we will likely have a negative attitude toward smoking.

The practical perspective focuses on our emotional reactions towards attitude objects. Our emotions can range from positive (e.g., happiness) to negative (e.g., anger) and everything in between. Affective reactions are often more automatically triggered than thoughts, and they can be very powerful in influencing our attitudes.

The behavioral perspective looks at how our behavior is affected by our attitudes. If we have a strong attitude against smoking, we will likely avoid situations where people are smoking. Alternatively, if we have a positive attitude towards exercise, we may be more likely to engage in physical activity.


Types Of Attitudes

There are four main types of attitudes: positive, negative, neutral, and mixed.

Positive Attitudes: A positive attitude is when someone has an optimistic and upbeat outlook on life. They tend to see the best in people and situations and are generally happy with their life. People with positive attitudes tend to be more successful in life and have healthier relationships.

Negative Attitudes: A negative attitude is when someone has a pessimistic view of life and sees the worst in people and situations. They are generally unhappy with their lives and have difficulty succeeding. Negative people often have unhealthy relationships.

Neutral Attitudes: A neutral attitude is when someone does not have a strong opinion one way or the other about people or situations. They tend to be indifferent and do not get emotionally involved in things. Neutral people often have difficulty forming attachments or committing to anything.

Mixed Attitudes: A mixed attitude is when someone has both positive and negative feelings about something. For example, they may love their job but hate their boss. Mixed attitudes can be confusing and make it difficult to know how to feel about something.


Problems With Attitudes

It is important to note that attitudes are only sometimes accurate or true. Attitudes can be based on misconceptions or false information. Additionally, people’s attitudes may change over time as they learn new information or have new experiences.

People’s attitudes can also be influenced by their mood at the time. If someone feels happy, they may be more likely to have a positive attitude. If someone is sad, they may be more likely to have a negative attitude.

Finally, people’s attitudes can sometimes be irrational. For example, someone may have a negative attitude towards a particular person or thing even though there is no good reason for it. 

Problems with attitudes can lead to communication problems. For example, someone with a negative attitude towards a particular person may be less likely to want to talk to that person. Additionally, problems with attitudes can lead to conflict. For example, if two people have different attitudes towards a particular issue, they may disagree with each other and argue.


Personal Factors Or Factors Outside Of Our Control?

These are the external factors that can influence our attitudes, such as:

  1. The people around us
  2. Our culture
  3. The media
  4. Our experiences


Concept Of Social Cognition And Attitude

An attitude is a relatively stable evaluation or feeling about something. Attitudes can be positive (e.g., favorable) or negative (e.g., unfavorable). Attitudes are important because they guide our behavior. For example, if you have a positive attitude toward exercising, you’re more likely to engage in physical activity.

Social cognition refers to processing information about other people and social situations. It encompasses everything from our first impressions of others to managing relationships. Social cognition helps us understand how attitudes are formed and change over time.

Attitudes are often considered positive or negative but can also be neutral. And while some attitudes may be based on personal experience, others may be influenced by what we see on TV or read in the news. Our social groups, such as family, friends, and co-workers, can also shape attitudes.



In psychology, attitudes are mental and emotional evaluations of people, objects, issues, or events. Attitudes can be positive or negative, and they can be either conscious or unconscious. Psychologists study attitudes because they play an important role in shaping our behavior. Our attitudes influence how we see the world and interact with others. Suppose you’re interested in learning more about attitudes in psychology. In that case, plenty of resources are available to help you get started.