An attitude is a general and lasting positive or negative opinion or feeling about some person, object, or issue. We form attitudes through either direct experience or the persuasion of others or the media. Attitudes have three foundations: affect or emotion, behavior, and cognitions. In addition, evidence suggests that attitudes may develop out of psychological needs (motivational foundations), social interactions (social foundations), and genetics (biological foundations), although this last notion is new and controversial.

Emotional Foundations

A key part of an attitude is the affect or emotion associated with the attitude. At a very basic level, we know whether we like or dislike something or find an idea pleasant or unpleasant. For instance, we may say that we know something “in our heart” or have a “gut ...

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