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Attitude Theory

  • By: Joachim Scholderer
  • In: Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture
  • Edited by: Dale Southerton
  • Subject:Sociology of Consumption, Consumer Psychology, Consumer Culture

Attitude theory is a branch of social psychology that studies how people evaluate. An attitude can be defined as an individual's tendency to evaluate an object as positive or negative. Consumer researchers are mainly interested in attitude objects of two classes: products and services, including their functional properties (attributes), hedonic consequences (affect, utility, value), and their symbolic (brands, package designs, advertisements) and social representations (manufacturers, service staff, other consumers or users, reference groups).

History

Attitude theory emerged in the first half of the twentieth century in the United States. Until the 1960s, the field was dominated by consistency theories of attitude, a family of theories that share the basic motivational assumption that people strive for consistency. The most important ones are dissonance theory (Festinger 1957), balance theory ...

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