• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Via 100 entries, 21st Century Psychology: A Reference Handbook highlights the most important topics, issues, questions, and debates any student obtaining a degree in the field of psychology ought to have mastered for effectiveness in the 21st century. This two-volume reference resource, available both in print and online, provides an authoritative source to serve students’ research needs with more detailed information than encyclopedia entries but without the jargon, detail, or density found in a typical journal article or a research handbook chapter. Students will find chapters contained within these volumes useful as aids toward starting research for papers, presentations, or a senior thesis, assisting in deciding on areas for elective coursework or directions for graduate studies, or orienting themselves toward potential career directions in psychology.

Attitudes and Attitude Change
Attitudes and attitude change

People routinely form evaluations of the things they encounter in their social worlds. Some people favor legalized abortion; others oppose it. Some people support smokers' rights; others think that smoking should be banned in all public places. Some of us like vanilla ice cream; others prefer chocolate. These evaluations are called attitudes. Attitudes can be directed toward any entity—people, objects, and ideas. Attitudes can be positive, negative, mixed (i.e., ambivalent), or neutral, and they can vary in their intensity. Attitudes have important consequences for social thought and behavior, so it is not surprising that social psychologists have made the study of attitudes central to their field.

This chapter will briefly review the study of attitudes—what they are, where they ...

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