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Reasoned Action Theory

  • By: Laura A. Brannon & Valerie K. Pilling
  • In: Encyclopedia of Social Psychology
  • Edited by: Roy F. Baumeister & Kathleen D. Vohs
  • Subject:Social Psychology (general)
Definition

The theory of reasoned action (TRA) is a model for predicting people's behavior, which states that the best predictor of people's behavior in any given situation is their intention to perform the behavior. Not surprisingly, the best predictor of whether people will actually do something is whether they intend to do it. The intention to perform the behavior is influenced by a person's own attitude toward (feelings or evaluations of) the behavior as well as the attitudes of people who are important to the person and the associated perceived social pressures (subjective norms).

Background and Importance

Social psychologists have demonstrated that knowledge of people's attitudes and feelings frequently allows one to predict their behavior. However, research also indicates that sometimes people's behavior is not consistent with their ...

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