After reading this article you will learn about: 1. Meaning of Attitude 2. Concept of Attitude 3. Earlier Studies 4. Characteristics and Properties 5. Classification 6. Functions 7. Formation.
- Meaning of Attitude
- Concept of Attitude
- Earlier Studies Conducted on Attitude
- Characteristics and Properties of Attitudes
- Classification of Attitude
- Functions of Attitude
- Formation of Attitude
1. Meaning of Attitude:
Social psychologists hardly show any uniformity in giving a definition of attitude. Some behaviouristically inclined social psychologists refer to the attitudes as conforming behaviour. The behaviour is directed towards a particular standard or norm.
One cannot speak of conformity if there is no standard or norm. Attitudes are formed with respect to situations, persons or groups with which individual comes in contact in course of the growth and development of his personality.
Once they are formed, they put the pressure that the individual reacts in a specific or characteristics way to these or related situations, persons or groups. When you see a person or groups of persons react to the Indian national flag with respect or stand up and listen silently to the national anthem, you infer that they have a favourable attitude to the national flag or national anthem and nation in general.
Millions of people of India observe August 15th or October 2nd because of the feeling of nationality. We find some favourable attitude towards such auspicious days. Exactly in the similar way, attitude towards different political parties, social organisations, cinema, sports, athletics or women organisations can be understood from the very behaviour of the organisms.
Attitude denotes a functional state of readiness which determines the organism to react in a characteristics way to certain stimuli or stimulus situations.
According to Murphy and Murphy, attitude is primarily a way of being set towards or against certain things. Baldwin views that attitude is a readiness for attention or action of a definite pattern. In the opinion of Warren, the specific mental disposition toward an incoming experience whereby the experience is modified or condition of readiness for a certain type of activity is referred to as attitude.
Cantril holds that an attitude is a more or less permanently enduring state of readiness of mental organisation which predisposes an individual to react in a characteristic way to any object or situation with which it is related.
Attitude can also be defined as a mental or neural state of readiness organized through experience influencing dynamically or directly the individuals’ response to all objects and situations with which it is related.
Some others have said that attitude is a learned or more or less organized tendency to respond in a persistent manner usually negatively or positively with reference to some situation, idea, object or class of such objects.
Attitudes determine the organisms orientation towards his social and physical environment including himself. Because of a particular attitude towards a specific stimulus motives arc aroused and action is mobilised to approach or avoid the stimulus.
Kretch and Crutchfield and Ballachey (1962) hold that attitudes have an adoptive significance in that they represent a fundamental psychological link between a person’s ability to perceive feel and learn while giving order and meaning to his continuing experience in a complex social environment.
Rosnow and Robinson (1967) view that the term attitude denotes the organisation in an individual of his feelings, beliefs and predispositions to behave as he does. Fishbein and Ajzen (1975) have tried to stress on the evaluative aspect while trying to define attitude.
According to them attitude is a learned predisposition to respond in a consistently favourable or unfavourable manner with respect to a given object. This definition, thus, emphasizes the view that attitudes are fundamentally evaluations of a particular person, group, their actions and objects, situations etc.
Some have also tried to define attitudes on the basis of its components or structures. Such components include cognitive component, affective component and behavioural component.
(a) The cognitive component of a social attitude consists of a person’s system of beliefs, perceptions and stereotypes about the attitudinal object. In other words, it refers to his ideas about the object. The term opinion is often used as a substitute for the cognitive component of an attitude particularly when it is relevant to some issue or problem.
(b) The affective component of social attitude refers to the emotional aspect of the attitude which is very often a deep rooted component and resists most to change. In other words, it indicates the direction and intensity of an individual’s evaluation.
In further simple terms, it involves a kind of emotion experienced towards the object of attitude say love or hatred, like or dislike, palatable or unpalatable feelings. The emotional component as already indicated it is quite strong normally stands on the way of attitude change.
(c) Finally, the behavioural component of social attitudes indicates the tendency to react towards the object of attitude in certain specific ways. In other words, it is a predisposition to act in a certain manner towards the attitude object. This is known by observing the behaviour of the individual i.e., what he says he will do or actually how he behaves, does or reacts.
A person who shows strong unpalatable attitude towards dowry by not accepting any dowry during his marriage or a person who fights against corruption by remaining honest and upright throughout his life and by not allowing and tolerating injustice to occur with his knowledge is an example demonstrating the behavioural component of attitude.
Results show that there is internal organisation among these components of the attitude. Thus, some attitudes form inter connections with other attitudes to create organised patterns instead of standing in isolation from one another.
From this it can be concluded that the above three components of attitude are related and a change in one component is likely to produce a change in others so as to maintain internal consistency within the total attitude structure.
Further, these components can either remain at a simple level or at a complex level depending upon their strength. For instance, if the affective component is at a simple level, it may involve mere like or dislike towards the attitudinal object while a complex affective component may induce reactions of love or hatred, anger or contempt, fear and anxiety etc.
In the same way, the cognitive component at a simple level may have enough knowledge about the attitudinal object while at a complex level, he has detailed and extensive system of beliefs and clear ideas about the attitudinal object in question.
The behaviour component usually depends upon the cognitive and affective components as they ordinarily direct his behaviour keeping other factors constant as other factors besides attitude also determine ones behaviour.
Though usually consistency exists between the affective and cognitive components, the relationship between them and the behaviour component often seems to be inconsistent holds Mann (1985). Mann also holds that the complexity and strength of the respective components have significant implications for the development and successful modifications of an attitude.
He is of view that attitude with weak cognitive component i.e., having little knowledge about the object is likely to be extremely unstable and temporary. During childhood, when attitudes are in the formative stage, all the three components play vital roles.
But subsequently, the person becomes more selective and thus, the cognitive component becomes more important. The above three components namely cognitive component, affective component and behavioural component include the structure of attitude.
On the basis of the above facts and definitions or the ‘what’ of attitude, attitude can be broadly defined as a relatively permanent system of the organisation of the behaviour shown by an individual towards an object, person, event, action or stimulus and this stable mental organisation ordinarily has cognitive, affective and action or behaviour components which interact with each other and influence an individuals behaviour in different ways.
2. Concept of Attitude:
The concept of attitude is perhaps the most indispensable and distinctive concept in contemporary social psychology. The study of the concept of attitude is important for psychologists and particularly social psychologists and sociologists.
As a consequence of interaction between the individual and the society certain beliefs, opinions, values, norms, customs and traditions grow to which the individual usually conforms. Through the process of socialization the human being conforms to these social norms and traditional values. Socialization develops mainly through attitude and confirming behaviour.
This confirmation to social traditions, customs and cultural values occurs through the formation of appropriate and positive beliefs and ideas in relation to various socially standardized values, norms, rules, regulations or various other criteria of conduct of his reference groups. This is otherwise called attitude in a wider sense. The sociogenic and biogenic motives of a person are also reflected in his attitudes.
From the above stand-point, attitude has got wide spread repercussions in one’s social, personal and emotional life. It not only determines the behaviour of an individual in a particular situation, it also directs the person to act in a particular situation, it also directs the person to act in a particular manner by providing a readymade set.
Thus, G.W. Allport (1935) rightly observes, “The concept of attitude is probably the most distinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary social psychology.” After a long gap of about sixty years perhaps the validity of the above statement stands.
Still plenty of researches are being conducted in the area of attitude and social distance which prove its importance in social life of human beings. Murphy, Murphy and New Comb (1937) have also emphasized the above points. They hold that perhaps no single concept within the whole realm of social psychology occupies a more nearly central position than that of attitudes.
3. Earlier Studies Conducted on Attitude:
Early work of the Wurzburg laboratory gave the historical touch in the further works on attitude. Thomas and Znaniecki (1948) stimulated other sociologists to further analyse the concept of attitude as a useful tool in the explanation of the phenomena with which they dealt. Boas, Malino and other cultural anthropologists have also studied attitude in different cultural contexts.
Investigators like G.W. Allport, Thurstone, Bogardus, Likert, Droba and others worked out procedures and techniques for measurement of attitude. Since measurement of attitude can lead to systematic understanding of the development, determinant and change of attitude as well as it helps in the measurement of public opinion, it has tremendous importance in social distance.
4. Characteristics and Properties of Attitudes:
1. Attitudes always imply a subject-object relationship. They are associated with ideas, ways and external objects. It is always related to definite stimulus situations.
This stimulus situation may be towards:
(a) Objects such as home, automobile, TV, kitchen
(b) Persons like own self, father, mother, in laws, brother and sister etc.
(c) Institutions like school, college, church, club
(d) Concepts, values, norms and symbols like flag, truth, democracy, justice, religion, God, philosophy etc. These subject object relationship are neither innate nor biologically determined but acquired from the environment. An individual’s attitude, therefore, organises his behaviour with reference to a particular object.
2. Attitudes in relation to objects, persons and values may or may not have motivational appeal initially. Gradually individuals through social interaction develop either positive or negative attitude which depend upon their experience and need.
In other words, the individual first comes in contact with certain objects, develops a particular likeness or dislikeness depending upon the fulfilment of his need or motive or due to any other factors.
The organism first perceives and then develops an attitude. Thus, the perceptual stage is most important particularly where there is no motive. Many social attitudes are found to develop through verbal judgements of adults even though there may not be any motive.
3. Attitudes give a direction to one’s behaviour and actions. Because of a particular positive attitude the organism either approaches it or because of a negative attitude avoids it. A positive attitude will reinforce the behaviour and help in its continuance. A negative attitude conversely will make the response weak and finally lead to avoidance behaviour.
4. Attitudes are coloured with motivational and evaluative characteristics. A favourable attitude is considered as having some positive values while a negative attitude is looked upon as having unpalatable and negative implications. The directive properties or attitude make our goal purposive and direct our behaviour.
5. Attitudes are not innate but learned, acquired and conditioned. They grow in the society in the minds of men through various modes of training. As a result of our first hand and second hand experience with objects, ideas, situations and through the process of social interaction and socializations attitudes grow.
Direct or firsthand experience is perhaps the fundamental factor in the formation and growth of attitudes. But often the attitude of our parents, relations, friends, teachers, peers and of course the loved ones, and attitude of the society helps in the development of individual’s attitude in the particular direction. Thus, the attitude develops both through direct and indirect sources.
6. Attitude is never neutral. It can be either positive or negative, favourable or unfavourable, palatable or unpalatable. Thus, it is always coloured with some sort of emotion. A neutral view is said to be the opinion and not attitude where there is no emotional tone.
7. Attitudes have affective properties of varying degrees. They are linked with feelings and emotions like pleasant, unpleasant, fear, love. An attitude which works as a tendency for future activity is marked by emotionality. The reaction is either mild or violent or normal. The emotional feeling tone in attitude may be due to motivational as pointed out earlier.
The individual is forced to develop either a favourable or an unfavourable attitude because of the pressure of social environment or due to the nature of reaction of one individual with another individual which is always attached with some feeling tone.
8. Attitudes are more or less enduring organisations or enduring state of readiness. Thus, attitudes once formed and relatively stable, consistent and permanent can be normally predicted. The cognitive component developing during the perceptual stage makes attitude relatively permanent. If you have liked a particular type of music say light music, you will tend to like it atleast for quite a long period.
But that does not mean that attitudes are absolute and fixed stages of readiness or are rigid, and hence not liable to change. The very fact that attitudes are learned behaviour indicates that they can be changed through subsequent learning or experience. It can be strengthened or weakened, can be changed from palatable to unpalatable or from favourable to unfavourable and vice versa.
9. From the above facts, it follows that attitudes can be changed depending upon the circumstances, experiences and how of information’s through various processes of communication or through direct interaction. A number of studies on attitude change support the above fact.
10. Attitude is called the evaluative orientation towards the social world which is mostly expressed verbally and, therefore, it can be measured. In attitude the intensity of emotion is measured through a five point or six point scale like very favourable, favourable, moderately favourable, neither favourable nor unfavourable, unfavourable and extremely unfavourable.
You can express your attitude towards the extremists creating problems in Kashmir or Assam through the above scale, by saying very much against them, moderately against them or strongly in favour of them etc.
11. Attitudes have cognitive, affective and behavioural components.
12. Attitudes range in the number and variety of stimuli to which they are referred. The strength and range of an attitude depends upon the strength of the experience and learning of the organism.
If the organism has learned that people of certain caste are inferior, he will have a negative attitude towards such castes. Similarly, if somebody is taught from the childhood that girls are mentally inferior than boys he will develop similar attitude towards girls in general unless otherwise happens.
13. Except a few, most of the attitudes are clustered or related to each other. If you have unfavourable attitude towards male sex, any other object, idea, value or incident related to men folk in general will also be looked upon in a similar manner.
Thus, attitudes mostly become organised and structured when connected highly with other attitudes. Only a very few attitudes can be thought of existing in isolation. Strong attitudes form the centre of a cluster of attitudes. Around these attitudes which remain in the centre other related attitudes are organised.
5. Classification of Attitude:
Attitudes have been classified in several ways such as positive and negative, common or personal, reciprocal etc.
Based on the existing relation between the individual of the society different categories of attitudes develop:
(a) Reciprocal attitude:
The attitude between employee and the employer, student and teacher is reciprocal. Such attitudes are designated as reciprocal ones.
(b) Common attitude:
When large number of people in the society have similar or uniform attitude towards an organisation, groups or political parties, religion etc. it is known as common attitude. If most of the people in a particular society do not like to take dowry, this is considered as a common attitude.
(c) Private attitude:
The name itself is explanatory. Such attitudes are absolutely the individual’s personal attitudes and are not shared by others. Likeness or dislikeness for a particular person comes under this category. But completely private attitudes are rarely found.
Sometimes people develop secret ambitions which are neither reciprocal nor common but private. Most individuals have secret areas of guilt and they often take elaborate pain to conceal their guilt feelings from others.
Attitudes also form a hierarchical order. Every person gives more importance to some attitudes and less to others. Attitude is also selective. The selective nature of the attitude is a function of the factors within the individual himself. This implies a functional state of readiness in relation to the stimuli in question. The psychology of attitude is highly related to the general selectivity of the whole organism.
Attitudes can also be classified in the following way into six groups:
(i) Theoretical (ii) Economic (iii) Aesthetic (iv) Social (v) Political (vi) Religious.
Those who always desire to discover the reasons and truth behind everything come under this category. Hearing a beautiful story, a mathematician said “Beautiful, but what does it prove?” Scientists, philosophers and scholars are of this type. Their attitude is more theoretically oriented.
Guided by utility and practical value of an object economic type persons try to find out the benefit and utility of an object. Their attitude towards any object is utility oriented. They are very practicable persons. They judge people on the basis of their earning capacity. If there is a flood, they will be interested to know how it has economically affected the flood devastated areas.
People having aesthetic attitudes attempt to discover the beauty of an object. It helps in fulfilment and self realization. They like to imagine beautiful things and get satisfaction out of it. If there is flood they go by the beautiful scenery or miserable scenes.
Persons with social attitude judge the situation from the social standpoint. It involves love for fellowmen and self sacrifice. It is perhaps the most dignified attitude in life. Such people try to help others in distress. Gopabandhu Das was a person with social attitude.
People with political attitude like to dominate and control other people. They are lovers of power. They try to control a situation by self display. Such people want to be leaders and ascent over others for the sake of power. Politicians come under this category.
The desire to explore the final secret of nature, mystic aspect of life is found among persons with a religious attitude. Such attitude is qualified by faith and belief and emotion and not coloured by reasoning.
People of all other attitudes would try to examine the cause of flood with reason while people with religions attitude will say that Gods’ desire has been implemented and what God has done is for the well being of the people. They will never blame God for anything whatsoever, rather they may say that because of lots of corruption, God has become angry on people and penalized them in this way.
6. Functions of Attitude:
An individual, in his life time, is bound to develop some attitudes. These attitudes may be favourable or unfavourable or both. The personality of a person is coloured by his attitudes. Attitudes determine ones personality.
A person can be called good or bad, sociable or unsociable, acceptable or unacceptable depending upon his attitude. If a person mostly develops all unfavourable attitude, his life becomes miserable. He cannot accept or believe or love anybody. He becomes a social or antisocial. Conversely nobody will accept him as this is a reciprocal process.
From the above stand points it is well evident that attitude determines one’s behaviour, one’s personality and one’s position in the society. While favourable attitude towards others make him pleasant, sociable and acceptable, unfavourable attitudes make many enemies and develop hostile feelings and hatred in his mind.
Attitudes have, therefore, significant functions in moulding, influencing and determining one’s behaviour in all contexts. As already discussed, on the basis of attitude personality can be typed.
Attitudes function as a source of motivation which helps in the adjustment to the environment. According to Katz (1960), four different personality functions are served by the maintenance and modifications of social attitudes. They are adjustment, value expression, knowledge and ego defence.
(i) Adjustment Function:
The holding of a particular attitude leads to reward or the avoidance of punishment. It is the utilitarian or instrumental function of attitude which motivates the person to adjust with the environment to gain social approval and support of family, friends and neighbours.
In case of certain social issues like marriage, death, democracy, religion, sacrifice and helping others, he holds opinions similar to his parents and relations and friends. Further favourable attitudes are developed towards those stimuli which satisfy one’s needs and unfavourable attitudes towards those which stand on the fulfilment of his needs and motives.
(ii) Value Expression Function:
On the basis of identification with parents and other relatives the child develops certain personal values and self concepts. These values are integrated in the form of different attitudes. Attitudes help in expressing these values. The individual gets satisfaction by expression of attitudes appropriate to his personal values.
Religious, ideological and patriotic beliefs and values normally are based on this function. People get self satisfaction by engaging themselves in social work, care for the aged persons, by helping at the time of flood and famines, by taking care of the orphans or by raising their voice against corruption and social injustice.
(iii) Knowledge Function:
According to Mann this function of attitude is based on the need to understand, make sense and give adequate structure to the universe. Attitudes have a cognitive function in the sense that they help in understanding things properly for the sake of quick adjustment.
Attitudes which prove inadequate dealing with new and changing situations are discarded because, otherwise, they lead to contradictions and inconsistency. The need for cognitive consistency, meaning and clarity is fulfilled by the knowledge function of attitude.
(iv) Ego Defensive Function:
The ego defensive function of attitude provides protection against the knowledge and acceptance of basic unpleasant truths about disease, death, weakness, insecurity, frustration, unemployment, illness and various other harsh realities of life.
By rationalizing and distorting attitudes on the above harsh realities of life the ego tries to defend itself and lead a happy life by avoiding unpleasantness arising out of these unpleasant truths. All these facts lead to believe the tremendous significance of the functions of attitude in human life.
7. Formation of Attitude:
Attitudes are not biologically inherited but built out of continuous experiences of the world around us. They are the outcome of complex function of both cultural and functional factors. From birth onwards, every individual is exposed to direct and indirect stimuli of the environment which teach him to hold certain ideas, values and beliefs.
Through the process of socialisation when one is taught to associate good or bad feelings, dos or donots, favourable and unfavourable experiences with certain actions or behaviour patterns, he develops certain consistent attitudes. When some action are rewarded one develops a favourable attitude towards it and any action or view which is punished one develops an unfavourable attitude towards it.
Attitudes also occur when one imitates his parents and other intimate friends, relations. Children and adults form attitudes very often based on suggestions and second hand experiences. Many adults are also found forming attitudes spontaneously based on their own personal and first hand experiences. Nevertheless, attitudes grow in the mind of individual through the process of socialization.
Social attitudes develop out of verbal value judgements, dos and donots. But personal attitudes may develop out of one’s own interaction, contact and firsthand experience with the attitudinal objects and other objects related to it. In case of social attitudes one is taught to hold a particular attitude towards an attitudinal objects like “Mama says not to play with girls” or blacks.
Parents, family members, media and press, peers, teachers and well wishers acquaintances, all play a tremendous role in the formation and growth of attitudes. Some studies relating to attitudes and values of American, British and Indian students and Indian and Western Children are quite simulating.
Through attitudinal socialization experiences, people come to learn appropriate attitudes towards certain people, different types of food, toy, playmates, play materials and develop negative attitudes towards others. According to Sherif, our attitudes are centralized in the objects of values which may be social institutions, individuals, neutral objects, parties etc.
The development of values out of which attitudes are formed are the outcome of social traditions, customs learning and social institutions. Initially the infant being only concerned with the satisfaction of his basic needs like food and care is socially blind and is not concerned about the social sanctions.
Through the process of need satisfaction the child gets a scope to develop attitude. Those objects and persons which satisfy his needs he develops a favourable attitude towards them. But when an object or person stands on the way of his need satisfaction, unfavourable attitude develops towards it.
In his routine behaviour he never shows the matured direction of attitude. So upto the preschool age i.e., the third or fourth year, attitude in its proper connotation does not appear.
But when the child goes to school, certain values and disciplines are imposed upon him and these values gradually become the core of attitude formation. In the beginning the child’s mental level being less matured, his values are shapeless and the attitude formation is in a completely defused stage. Piaget and others have held that the child in his disposition to a dog, football player or an actor never shows the diverse tinges of attitude which are the characteristics of an adult.
To all these objects, he will simply say like or dislike but he cannot discriminate. At this stage, there is no selectivity of perception which is necessary for the formation of attitude. This selectivity of perception and values gradually grow in children out of which attitudes are formed.
This is called differentiation to the objects or stimuli around him which grows in course of years. In the beginning the child reacts equally say to three different objects. But when differentiation is built up, he becomes sympathetic and protective to the dog or demanding to his mother or appreciates an actor.
These clear cut differentiations in course of years indicate that attitude undergoes development in a social context depending upon its existing cultural pattern and social sanctions. After differentiation integration of different value structures and attitudes which encompass them take place.
This gives a direction to any attitude. For this, cognitive clarity is essential. Depending upon the value attached to a particular attitudinal object, favourable or unfavourable attitudes develop. As the child gets maturity by power, prestige, recognition, social approval, rewards and punishment, he gradually attends to the social world.
Frame of reference and reference groups often help in supporting or rejecting a particular value, norm or standard. The direction of attitude is based on this. In daily life, many of our attitudes are formed on the basis of short cut values and dictums coming form other people before we make up out- mind ourselves through actual contact with the situation, person or object, comments Sherif.
A standard or norm having an authoritarian source or frame of reference may produce organisation at a higher level. Similarly, a standard carrying with it the sanction of public approval is accepted than when the same or a similar standard is evolved by the individual himself.
Stagner and Osgood conducting experiment on college students for various groups on an eight point scale just before the Nazi invasion of Norway, observed that attitudes were formed from radio, news papers and other mass media as well as from norms of the individual membership groups.
In sum, lots of attitudes grow out of satisfaction or dissatisfaction of needs. Attitude towards Jews, Blacks, and Whites, socio-economically backward classes, objects and persons grow out of this. The hostility of the ingroup towards the outgroup is manifested in his behaviour verbal or nonverbal and directly linked with the frustration of their needs.
Secondly many of our attitudes also develop due to second level and indirect experience like TV, radio and news papers to which the individual is exposed daily. These mass communication medias actually are responsible for the development of many of our attitudes in the modern age.
The cognitive components of the attitude mostly develop out of these indirect and second hand information’s, the communication media. The attitudes may be right or wrong, but undoubtedly the communication network plays a vital role in the formation of attitudes.
One’s affiliation to the groups helps in the formation of attitude. He usually accepts the attitudes developed by such groups, may be his family school, neighbourhood, peer groups, various relations, social and ethnic groups. However, there may be some exception and individual difference depending upon the personality of the concerned individual. Personality plays a key role helping in the diversity of attitudes.
Studies of Adorn, Bruswic, Levinson and Stardford indicate how attitudes can be determined by basic personality structure. Prior to this Vetter and Dexter found that personality characteristics like introversion, extraversion, dominance, submissiveness are related to attitudes like radicalism and conservatism.
The role of primary groups such as family, friends, colleagues etc. help in the formation of attitude, studies of Compball, Gurin and Miller support the above view. Similarity and attraction also help in the formation of attitudes.
The attitudes which start growing continuously from childhood may have been modified by the time, we are adults but the process of acquisition and development of attitudes continue.
According to learning and reinforcement theorists, attitudes are learned behaviour to particular stimuli. These theorists have emphasized on identifying the nature of the stimuli that lead one to develop and maintain specific attitudes.
Staats (1975), Staas and Staas (1958) have tried to explain the formation of attitudes through basic learning processes. After pairing an U.S. such as meat with a C.S. such as bell Pavlov found that simply ringing the bell began to produce a new response i.e., saliva.
According to Staats, an attitude is the equivalent of a C.R., something that can be elicited by the introduction of a C.S. The results of Staats study conducted to demonstrate that attitudes can be classically conditioned, indicated basically that subjects held more positive attitudes towards the nationalities associated with positive words and more negative attitudes towards those associated with negative words.
Of course the above study of Staats has been criticised on several grounds by Page (1969). But recent evidences do show that persons associated with threatening circumstances tend to take on negative qualities simply through association. This directly supports classical conditioning explanation of attitude formation suggested by Staats.
Our everyday experiences also indicate the importance of classical conditioning in the formation of attitude. Through this technique, it is observed, people show powerful attitudinal reactions to social objects even in the absence of first hand direct experience.
It is because of this that when children overhear repeated pairings of words in the conversation of their parents throughout the early years of life, (like Reema—naughty, San—very handsome) form negative or positive attitudes themselves even if they have never come in direct contact with the attitudinal stimulus itself.
According to Bandura (1977) and English and Lanzetta (1984), the notion that people acquire attitude through the observation others without having any direct experience with the attitudinal object in called vicarious learning. Through this procedure of learning quite a good deal of our attitudes are acquired they held.