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Sources of Attitudes & Difference between Attitude & Behaviour

Sources of Attitudes

Sources of Attitudes

Important sources of acquiring attitudes are as discussed below:

  1. Direct Personal Experience:

    A person’s direct experience with the attitude object determines his attitude towards it. The personal experience of an individual, whether it is favourable or unfavourable, will affect his attitude deeply. These attitudes which are based on personal experience are difficult to change.

For example, an individual joins a new job, which is recommended to him by his friend. But when he joins the job, he find his work repetitive, supervisors too tough and co-workers not so co-operative, he would develop a negative attitude towards his job, because the quality of his direct experience with the job is negative.

  1. Association:

    Sometimes an individual comes across a new attitude object which may be associated with an old attitude object. In such a case, the attitude towards the old attitude object may be transferred towards the new attitude object. For example, if a new worker remains most of the time in the company of a worker, who is in the good books of the supervisor, and towards whom the supervisor has a positive attitude, the supervisor is likely to develop a favourable attitude towards the new worker also. Hence the positive attitude for the old worker has been transferred towards the new worker because of the association between the old and the new worker.

  2. Family and Peer Groups:

    Attitudes like values are acquired from parents, teachers and peer group members. In our early years, we begin modeling our attitudes after those we admire, respect or may be even fear. We observe the way our family and friends behave and we shape our attitudes and behaviour to align with theirs. We do so even without being told to do so and even without having direct experience. Similarly, attitudes are acquired from peer groups in colleges and organisations. For example, if the right thing is to visit “Hot Millions”, or the “Domino’s”, you are likely to hold that attitude. If your parents support one political party, without being told to do so, you automatically start favouring that party.

  3. Neighbourhood:

    The neighbourhood in which we live has certain cultural facilities, religious groupings and ethnic differences. Further, it has people, who are neighbours. These people may be Northerners, Southerners etc. The people belonging to different cultures have different attitudes and behaviours. Some of these we accept and some of these we deny and possibly rebel. The conformity or rebellion in some respects is the evidence of the attitudes we hold.

  4. Economic Status and Occupations:

    The economic status and occupational position of the individual also affect his attitude formation. Our socio-economic background influences our present and future attitudes. Research findings have shown that unemployment disturbs former religious and economic values. Children of professional class tend to be conservatives. Respect for the laws of the country is associated with increased years of higher education.

  5. Mass Communications:

    Attitudes are generally less stable as compared to values. Advertising messages for example, attempt to alter the attitude of the people toward a certain product or service. For example, if the people at Hyundai Santro can get you to hold a favourable feeling toward their cars, that attitude may lead to a desirable behaviour (for them)-your purchase of a Santro car.

Key Differences Between Attitude and Behavior

The difference between attitude and behavior can be drawn clearly on the following grounds:

  1. Attitude is defined as a person’s mental tendency, which is responsible for the way he thinks or feels for someone or something. Behavior implies the actions, moves, conduct or functions or an individual or group towards other persons.
  2. A person’s attitude is mainly based on the experiences gained by him during the course of his life and observations. On the other hand, the behavior of a person relies on the situation.
  3. Attitude is a person’s inner thoughts and feelings. As opposed to, behavior expresses a person’s attitude.
  4. The way of thinking or feeling is reflected by a person’s attitude.
  5. On the contrary, a person’s conduct is reflected by his behavior.
  6. Attitude is defined by the way we perceive things whereas behavior is ruled by social norms.
  7. Attitude is a human trait but behavior is an inborn attribute.

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