Attitudes are evaluations that include emotional and cognitive components. People can form an attitude about anything, including people, such as politicians, and issues, such as universal health care and global warming. This entry describes two major types of attitudes, how they form, and their relationship with behavior, and summarizes the ways in which attitudes are changed, whether by others or by the attitude holder himself or herself.

Attitude Types

Humans occupy busy, complex social environments in which the brain constantly makes categories. Attitudes help make categories of “like” and “dislike” or “approve” and “disapprove.” Many people use the word attitude interchangeably with belief, but there are important distinctions. Beliefs are subject to change if sufficient evidence is presented. When Adam tells his friend that Governor X ...

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