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Attitude Change

  • By: Chris Loersch, Brandon Kopp & Richard E. Petty
  • In: Encyclopedia of Social Psychology
  • Edited by: Roy F. Baumeister & Kathleen D. Vohs
  • Subject:Social Psychology (general)
Definition

Attitudes are general evaluations of objects, ideas, and people one encounters throughout one's life (e.g., “capital punishment is bad”). Attitudes are important because they can guide thought, behavior, and feelings. Attitude change occurs anytime an attitude is modified. Thus, change occurs when a person goes from being positive to negative, from slightly positive to very positive, or from having no attitude to having one. Because of the functional value of attitudes, the processes that change them have been a major focus throughout the history of social psychology.

Dual Process Approach

According to dual process models of attitude change, research on this topic can be organized according to two general types of processes: (1) those that occur when one puts forth relatively little cognitive effort, and (2) ...

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