a positive or negative evaluation of an object
prior to the 90s, attitudes were often defined in terms of 3 distinct components: cognitive, affective , and behavioral. according to this multidimensional, or try component view, attitudes are made up of 5 beliefs about object, our feelings about the object, or our behavior towards the object.
Research indicates that not all 3 of these components need be in place for an attitude to access. Example, you could develop a positive attitude toward a product you see on television without developing any beliefs about it or ever engaging in any behavior relevant to the product. Simply by repeatedly been exposed to the product, you can develop a positive attitude toward it.
Because the 3 aspects of the tri-component definition are not always present in an attitude, many social psychologists have moved to a unidimensional or single component definition in which evaluation is central. Here added to is simply defined as a positive or negative evaluation of an object.
Objects include people, things, events and issues. When people use words like like dislike love-hate good and bad they are usually describing their attitudes
social psychologist also use specialized terms to describe certain classes of attitudes. Example, an attitude toward the self is called self-esteem, certain attitudes towards group referred to as prejudice, and attitudes towards individuals are referred to as interpersonal attraction, friendship, and love
the movement away from the tri-component attitude definitions doesn't mean that social psychologists no longer consider the beliefs, feelings, and behaviors important in explaining attitudes. Instead these 3 sources of evaluative judgment-beliefs, feelings, and past behaviors are thought of as determining attitudes singly or in combination
As attitude holders, we appear to be automatic evaluators. Brain imaging studies suggest that when encountering people, things, and events, amygdala in the brain's limbic system engages in an immediate primitive good back emotional assessment and may be followed by higher order processing in the cerebral cortex. greater amygdala activity occurs for initial negative assessments then for positive much of this evaluative processing being unconscious.
it's the job of the cerebral cortex to analyze and interpret this initial emotional assessment into the subjective experience of various emotions which often leads to consciously held positive or negative attitudes this does not mean that we all placed equal importance on the evualitive process; we differ in our need to evaluate