Attitude–Behavior Consistency

Geoffrey Haddock & Gregory R. Maio

In: Encyclopedia of Social Psychology

Attitude–Behavior Consistency

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  • Definition

    The study of attitude–behavior consistency concerns the degree to which people's attitudes (opinions) predict their behavior (actions). Attitude–behavior consistency exists when there is a strong relation between opinions and actions. For example, a person with a positive attitude toward protecting the environment who recycles paper and bottles shows high attitude–behavior consistency. The study of attitude–behavior consistency is important because much of the usefulness of the attitude concept is derived from the idea that people's opinions help guide their actions.

    Background

    Common sense would dictate that attitudes should predict behavior. It seems sensible to predict that a student who strongly supports saving endangered animals will make an annual donation to the World Wildlife Fund. However, is the link between attitudes and behavior this simple?

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