Progress in understanding attitudes is discussed in relation to 4 critical areas of research that have particularly long histories. In 2 of these areas attitude serves as an independent variable, and in 2 it serves as a dependent variable. Thus, the effects of attitudes on behavior are examined in research on the attitude-behavior relation, and their effects on information processing are examined in research on attitudinal selectivity. Research on persuasion investigates the effects of communications on attitudes, and research on attitudinal advocacy investigates the effects of behaviors on attitudes. Each of these areas is characterized by uneven progress, as social psychologists' own research shook their early faith in simple principles, and pessimism temporarily reigned. The subsequent emergence of more sophisticated theories in these areas has resulted in considerably more successful prediction of attitudinal phenomena.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science