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Natalie Kerr Lawrence

In: 21st Century Psychology: A Reference Handbook

Chapter 63: Attitudes and Attitude Change

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Attitudes and Attitude Change
Attitudes and attitude change

People routinely form evaluations of the things they encounter in their social worlds. Some people favor legalized abortion; others oppose it. Some people support smokers' rights; others think that smoking should be banned in all public places. Some of us like vanilla ice cream; others prefer chocolate. These evaluations are called attitudes. Attitudes can be directed toward any entity—people, objects, and ideas. Attitudes can be positive, negative, mixed (i.e., ambivalent), or neutral, and they can vary in their intensity. Attitudes have important consequences for social thought and behavior, so it is not surprising that social psychologists have made the study of attitudes central to their field.

This chapter will briefly review the study of attitudes—what they are, where they ...

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