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Attitudes

Definition

Attitudes refer to our overall evaluations of people, groups, and objects in our social world. Reporting an attitude involves making a decision concerning liking versus disliking or favoring versus disfavoring an attitude object. Attitudes are important because they affect both the way we perceive the world and how we behave. Indeed, over 70 years ago, Gordon Allport asserted that the attitude concept is the most indispensable concept in social psychology. That statement remains equally valid today; the study of attitudes remains at the forefront of social psychological research and theory, as illustrated by the number of relevant entries in this encyclopedia. This entry concentrates on three key aspects of attitudes: their content, structure, and function.

The Content of Attitudes

One of the most influential models of attitude ...

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