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Attitude - What Is It?

Updated: Apr 23

Attitude refers to a complex mental and emotional state that shapes a person's thoughts, feelings, and behaviours toward a particular object, person, group, idea, or situation. Attitudes can be positive, negative or neutral, and they play a crucial role in influencing how individuals perceive and interact with the world around them. Here are five key characteristics of attitudes:


Evaluation: Attitudes involve an evaluative component, where individuals form judgments or assessments about the target of their attitude. These evaluations can be favourable (positive attitude), unfavourable (negative attitude) or ambivalent (mixed feelings).

Affective Component: This aspect of attitude reflects the emotional or affective reactions individuals have toward the target. It includes feelings of like, dislike, love, hate, happiness, anger, or fear associated with the object of the attitude.

Cognitive Component: Attitudes also consist of cognitive elements, which are the beliefs, thoughts and knowledge individuals possess about the target.

These cognitive components help shape the overall attitude and are often based on past experiences and information.

Behavioural Component: Attitudes influence behaviour. People tend to act in ways that are consistent with their attitudes. For example, if someone has a positive attitude toward exercise, they are more likely to engage in physical activity regularly.

Stability and Durability: Attitudes can be relatively stable over time, although they may change in response to new information or experiences. Some attitudes are deeply ingrained and resistant to change, while others may be more malleable and susceptible to persuasion.


Attitudes are essential for understanding human behaviour and decision-making, as they guide our choices, reactions, and interactions with the world. Psychologists and social scientists often study attitudes to gain insights into how individuals perceive and respond to various aspects of their environment, including products, brands, social issues, and other people.


What are the different kinds of attitudes we can have?

Attitudes can take various forms and can be categorized based on their content, direction and intensity. Here are some different kinds of attitudes:


Positive Attitude: A positive attitude involves favourable evaluations, emotions, and thoughts about a particular object, person, idea, or situation. People with positive attitudes tend to approach and engage with the target in a constructive and optimistic manner.

Negative Attitude: A negative attitude involves unfavourable evaluations, emotions, and thoughts. Individuals with negative attitudes are more likely to avoid or reject the target and may experience emotions such as anger, dislike or fear in relation

to it.

Neutral Attitude: Some attitudes are neither positive nor negative; they are neutral. In these cases, individuals have a lack of strong feelings or evaluations about the target. They may be indifferent or apathetic towards it.

Ambivalent Attitude: Ambivalent attitudes involve mixed feelings and conflicting evaluations about a target. For example, someone may have both positive and negative attitudes toward a political candidate, making it challenging for them to decide how to vote.

Explicit Attitude: Explicit attitudes are conscious and easy to report. People are aware of their explicit attitudes and can articulate them when asked. These attitudes are often measured through self-report surveys and questionnaires.

Implicit Attitude: Implicit attitudes are unconscious or automatic associations and biases that individuals may hold, even if they are not aware of them. They are often assessed using implicit association tests (IATs) and can differ from explicit attitudes.

Attitudes of Prejudice and Stereotyping: Some attitudes involve prejudice and stereotyping, where individuals hold negative and biased views about certain social groups based on characteristics like race, gender or ethnicity.

These attitudes can lead to discrimination and social inequalities.

Attitudes Toward Specific Topics: Attitudes can be directed towards specific topics or issues, such as attitudes towards climate change, immigration or healthcare. These attitudes often influence individuals' opinions and behaviours related to those issues.

Consumer Attitudes: In the context of marketing and consumer behaviour, attitudes can pertain to products, brands or services. Positive consumer attitudes can lead to brand loyalty and increased purchasing behaviour.

Political Attitudes: Political attitudes include one's beliefs and opinions about political ideologies, parties, candidates, and policies. These attitudes play a significant role in voting behaviour and political engagement.

Religious Attitudes: Religious attitudes encompass an individual's beliefs, values and feelings toward their faith or religion. These attitudes can influence religious practices and behaviours.

Environmental Attitudes: Environmental attitudes relate to a person's views and concerns about environmental issues, conservation and sustainability.

These attitudes can impact pro-environmental behaviours.


Attitudes are complex and can vary greatly from person to person and across different contexts. They are shaped by a combination of personal experiences, cultural influences, socialization and information processing.

They play a crucial role in shaping human behaviour and decision-making.

If you want to hear more about how I can help you with a better attitude, then please book your consultation call with me:

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