Attitude: Content, Functions, its influence and relation with thought and behaviour, Moral and Political attitudes


Should abortion be illegal? Should we cancel third world debt? How quickly should we reduce carbon emissions? Should there ever be a death penalty for any crime? Are you liberal or conservative? A soccer fan? A music lover? An optimist? The answers to all these questions depend upon psychological characteristics that define who we are: our attitudes. An attitude is a set of beliefs that we hold in relation to an attitude object, where an attitude object is a person, thing, event or issue. Attitudes can be positive or negative, or we can simply have opinions about issues without any strong emotional commitment. In this chapter we introduce what social psychologists have learned about attitudes: how they are formed, why we hold them, what implications they have for our behavior, and how they change.

Allport defined an attitude as a mental or neural state of readiness, organized through experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influence on the individual’s response to all objects and situations to which it is related. A simpler definition of attitude is a mindset or a tendency to act in a particular way due to both an individual’s experience and temperament. Typically, when we refer to a person’s attitudes, we are trying to explain his or her behavior. Attitudes are a complex combination of things we tend to call personality, beliefs, values, behaviors, and motivations. As an example, we understand when someone says, “She has a positive attitude toward work” versus “She has a poor work attitude.” When we speak of someone’s attitude, we are referring to the person’s emotions and behaviors. A person’s attitude toward preventive medicine encompasses his or her point of view about the topic (e.g., thought); how he or she feels about this topic (e.g., emotion), as well as the actions (e.g., behaviors) he or she engages in as a result of attitude to preventing health problems. This is the tri-component model of attitudes. An attitude includes three components: an affect (a feeling), cognition (a thought or belief), and behavior (an action).

Attitudes help us define how we see situations, as well as define how we behave toward the situation or object. As illustrated in the tricomponent model, attitudes include feelings, thoughts, and actions. Attitudes may simply be an enduring evaluation of a person or object (e.g., “I like John best of my coworkers”), or other emotional reactions to objects and to people (e.g., “I dislike bossy people” or “Jane makes me angry”). Attitudes also provide us with internal cognitions or beliefs and thoughts about people and objects (e.g., “Jane should work harder” or “Sam does not like working in this department”). Attitudes cause us to behave in a particular way toward an object or person (e.g., “I write clearly in patients’ charts because it upsets me when I can’t read someone else’s handwriting”). Although the feeling and belief components of attitudes are internal to a person, we can view a person’s attitude from his or her resulting behavior.

Structure of attitude

The classic, tripartite view offered by Rosenberg and Hovland is that an attitude contains cognitive, affective, and behavioral components. Empirical research, however, fails to support clear distinctions between thoughts, emotions, and behavioral intentions associated with a particular attitude. A criticism of the tripartite view of attitudes is that it requires cognitive, affective, and behavioral associations of an attitude to be consistent, but this may be implausible. Thus some views of attitude structure see the cognitive and behavioral components as derivative of affect or affect and behavior as derivative of underlying beliefs. Despite debate about the particular structure of attitudes, there is considerable evidence that attitudes reflect more than evaluations of a particular object that vary from positive to negative. Among numerous attitudes, one example is people’s money attitudes which may help people understand their affective love of money motive, stewardship behavior, and money cognition. These ABC components of attitudes formulate, define, and contribute to an overall construct of Monetary Intelligence which, in turn, may be related to many theoretical work-related constructs. There is also a considerable interest in intra-attitudinal and inter-attitudinal structure, which is how an attitude is made (expectancy and value) and how different attitudes relate to one another. Which connects different attitudes to one another and to more underlying psychological structures, such as values or ideology.



Attitude component models

Multicomponent model is the most influential model of attitude. Where attitudes are evaluations of an object that have cognitive, affective, and behavioural components. These components are also known as taxi CAB, that will get you where you want to go.

Cognitive component: The cognitive component of attitudes refer to the beliefs, thoughts, and attributes that we would associate with an object. Many times a person’s attitude might be based on the negative and positive attributes they associate with an object.

Affective component: The affective component of attitudes refer to your feelings or emotions linked to an attitude object. Affective responses influence attitudes in a number of ways. For example, many people are afraid/scared of spiders. So this negative affective response is likely to cause you to have a negative attitude towards spiders.

Behavioural component: The behavioural component of attitudes refer to past behaviours or experiences regarding an attitude object. The idea that people might infer their attitudes from their previous actions. This idea was best articulated by Bem.

MODE model

This is the theory of attitude evaluation (motivation and opportunity as determinants of the attitude – behavior relation). When both are present, behavior will be deliberate. When one is absent, impact on behavior will be spontaneous. The MODE model was developed by Fazio. A person’s attitude can be measured in two different ways:  Explicit measure Implicit measure Explicit measure are attitudes at the conscious level, that are deliberately formed and easy to self-report. Implicit measures are attitudes that are at an unconscious level, that are involuntarily formed and are typically unknown to us. Both explicit and implicit attitudes can shape an individual’s behavior. Implicit attitudes, however, are most likely to affect behavior when the demands are steep and an individual feels stressed or distracted.

Functions of attitude

Attitudes serve four major functions for the individual:

  • The adjustments function,
  • The ego defensive function,
  • The value expressive function
  • The knowledge function.

Ultimately these functions serve people’s need to protect and enhance the image they hold of themselves. In more general terms, these functions are the motivational bases which shape and reinforce positive attitudes toward goal objects perceived as need satisfying and / or negative attitudes toward other objects perceived as punishing or threatening.

Adjustment Function

The adjustment function directs people toward pleasurable or rewarding objects and away from unpleasant, undesirable ones. It serves the utilitarian concept of maximizing reward and minimizing punishment. Thus, the attitudes of consumers depend to a large degree on their perceptions of what is needed satisfying and what is punishing. Because consumers perceive products, services and stores as providing need satisfying or unsatisfying experiences we should expect their attitudes toward these object to vary in relation to the experiences that have occurred.

Ego Defensive Function

Attitudes firmed to protect the ego or self image from threats help fulfill the ego defensive function. Actually many outward expressions of such attitudes reflect the opposite of what the person perceives him to be. For example a consumer who has made a poor purchase decision or a poor investment may staunchly defend the decision as being correct at the time or as being the result of poor advice from another person. Such ego defensive attitude helps us to protect out self image and often we are unaware of them. This function involves psychoanalytic principles where people use defense mechanisms to protect themselves from psychological harm. Mechanisms include:

Denial: Denial, is used for a psychological defense mechanism postulated by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. An individual that exhibits such behavior is described as a denialist or true believer. Denial also could mean denying the happening of an event or the reliability of information, which can lead to a feeling of aloofness and to the ignoring of possibly beneficial information.

Repression: Psychological repression, or simply repression, is the psychological attempt made by an individual to their characterists to direct one’s own desires and impulses toward pleasurable instincts by excluding the desire from one’s consciousness and holding or subduing it in the unconscious. In psychoanalytic theory repression plays a major role in many mental illnesses, and in the psyche of the average person.Repression, ‘a key concept of psychoanalysis, is a defense mechanism, but it pre-exists the ego, e.g., ‘Primal Repression’. It ensures that what is unacceptable to the conscious mind, which would arouse anxiety if recalled, is prevented from entering into it’; and is generally accepted as such by psychoanalytic psychologists.

 Projection:  Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is habitually intolerant may constantly accuse other people of being intolerant. It incorporates blame shifting.  According to some research, the projection of one’s unconscious qualities onto others is a common process in everyday life.

Rationalization: In psychology and logic, rationalization or rationalisation (also known as making excuses)  is a defense mechanism in which controversial behaviors or feelings are justified and explained in a seemingly rational or logical manner to avoid the true explanation, and are made consciously tolerable—or even admirable and superior—by plausible means. It is also an informal fallacy of reasoning.

Rationalization happens in two steps:

  • A decision, action, judgement is made for a given reason, or no (known) reason at all.
  • A rationalization is performed, constructing a seemingly good or logical reason, as an attempt to justify the act after the fact (for oneself or others).

Rationalization encourages irrational or unacceptable behavior, motives, or feelings and often involves ad hoc hypothesizing. This process ranges from fully conscious (e.g. to present an external defense against ridicule from others) to mostly unconscious (e.g. to create a block against internal feelings of guilt or shame). People rationalize for various reasons—sometimes when we think we know ourselves better than we do. Rationalization may differentiate the original deterministic explanation of the behavior or feeling in question.

Value expression function 

Whereas ego defensive attitudes are formed to protect a person’s self image, value expressive attitudes enable the expression of the person’s centrally held values. Therefore consumers adopt certain attitudes in an effort to translate their values into something more tangible and easily expressed . Thus, a conservative person might develop an unfavorable attitude toward bright clothing and instead be attracted toward dark, pin striped suits.

Marketers should develop an understanding of what values consumers wish to express about themselves and they should design products and promotional campaigns to allow these self expressions. Not all products lend themselves to this form of market segmentation however. Those with the greatest potential for value expressive segmentation are ones with high social visibility. Cross pens, Saks Fifth Avenue clothes. Ferrari automobiles and Bang & Children stereo systems are examples.


Knowledge function

Humans have a need for a structured and orderly world, and therefore they seek consistency stability definition and understanding. Out of this need develops attitudes toward acquiring knowledge. In addition, the need to know tends to be specific. Therefore an individual who does not play golf, nor wish to learn the sport is unlikely to seek knowledge or an understanding of the game. This will influence the amount of information search devoted to this topic. Thus, out of our need to know come attitudes about what we believe we need or do not need to understand.

In addition attitudes enable consumers to simplify the complexity of the real world. That is, as was pointed out in the chapter information processing, the real world is too complex for us to cope with so we develop mechanisms to simplify situations. We saw that this involves sensory thresholds and selective attention and it also involves attitudes. Attitudes allow us to categorize or group objects as a way of knowing about them. Thus, when a new object is experienced we attempt to categorize it into a group which we know something about. In this way the object can share the reactions we have for other objects in the same category. This is efficient because we do not have to spend much effort reacting to each new object as a completely unique situation. Consequently we often find consumers reacting in similar ways to ads for going out of business sales limited time offers American made goods etc. Of course there is some risk of error in not looking at the unique aspects or new information about objects but for better or worse, our attitudes have influenced how we feel and react to new examples of these situations.

Attitude: its relation with thoughts and behavior

The effects of attitudes on behaviors is a growing research enterprise within psychology. Icek Ajzen has led research and helped develop two prominent theoretical approaches within this field: the theory of reasoned action and, its theoretical descendant, the theory of planned behavior. Both theories help explain the link between attitude and behavior as a controlled and deliberative process.

Theory of reasoned action

The theory of reasoned action (TRA) is a model for the prediction of behavioral intention, spanning predictions of attitude and predictions of behavior. The subsequent separation of behavioral intention from behavior allows for explanation of limiting factors on attitudinal influence (Ajzen, 1980). The theory of reasoned action was developed by Martin Fishbein and Icek Ajzen (1975, 1980), derived from previous research that started out as the theory of attitude, which led to the study of attitude and behavior. The theory was “born largely out of frustration with traditional attitude–behavior research, much of which found weak correlations between attitude measures and performance of volitional behaviors”.

Theory of planned behavior

The theory of planned behavior was proposed by Icek Ajzen in 1985 through his article “From intentions to actions: A theory of planned behavior.” The theory was developed from the theory of reasoned action, which was proposed by Martin Fishbein together with Icek Ajzen in 1975. The theory of reasoned action was in turn grounded in various theories of attitude such as learning theories, expectancy-value theories, consistency theories, and attribution theory. According to the theory of reasoned action, if people evaluate the suggested behavior as positive (attitude), and if they think their significant others want them to perform the behavior (subjective norm), this results in a higher intention (motivation) and they are more likely to do so. A high correlation of attitudes and subjective norms to behavioral intention, and subsequently to behavior, has been confirmed in many studies. The theory of planned behavior contains the same component as the theory of reasoned action, but adds the component of perceived behavioral control to account for barriers outside one’s own control.

Motivation and Opportunity as Determinants (MODE)

Russell H. Fazio proposed an alternative theory called “Motivation and Opportunity as Determinants” or MODE. Fazio believes that because there is deliberative process happening, individuals must be motivated to reflect on their attitudes and subsequent behaviors. Simply put, when an attitude is automatically activated, the individual must be motivated to avoid making an invalid judgement as well as have the opportunity to reflect on their attitude and behavior.

A counter-argument against the high relationship between behavioral intention and actual behavior has also been proposed, as the results of some studies show that, because of circumstantial limitations, behavioral intention does not always lead to actual behavior. Namely, since behavioral intention cannot be the exclusive determinant of behavior where an individual’s control over the behavior is incomplete, Ajzen introduced the theory of planned behavior by adding a new component, “perceived behavioral control.” By this, he extended the theory of reasoned action to cover non-volitional behaviors for predicting behavioral intention and actual behavior.

Attitude behavior consistency

Attitude-behavior consistency is when a person’s attitude is consistent with their behavior. This is not true in many cases. The fact that people often express attitudes that are inconsistent with how they act may surprise those unfamiliar with social and behavioral science, but it is an important fact to understand because facts are often reported as if they are about people’s actions when they may only be known to be true about their words. It is often much easier to conduct interviews or surveys than to obtain records of how people behave in situations. Sometimes attitudes, such as voting, are measurably consistent with behavior. In such cases it may be possible to obtain accurate estimates of behavior. However, there is no general method for correcting for attitude-behavior inconsistency.

Personality and Attitude Effects

Our personality is defined as a set of traits that can explain or predict a person’s behavior in a variety of situations. In other words, personality is a set of characteristics that reflect the way we think and act in a given situation. Because of this, our personality has a lot to do with how we relate to one another at work. How we think, what we feel, and our normal behavior characterize what our colleagues come to expect of us both in behavior and the expectation of their interactions with us. For example, let’s suppose at work you are known for being on time but suddenly start showing up late daily. This directly conflicts with your personality—that is, the fact that you are conscientious. As a result, coworkers might start to believe something is wrong. On the other hand, if you did not have this characteristic, it might not be as surprising or noteworthy. Likewise, if your normally even-tempered supervisor yells at you for something minor, you may believe there is something more to his or her anger since this isn’t a normal personality trait and also may have a more difficult time handling the situation since you didn’t expect it. When we come to expect someone to act a certain way, we learn to interact with them based on their personality. This goes both ways, and people learn to interact with us based on our personality. When we behave different than our normal personality traits, people may take time to adjust to the situation.

Our attitudes are favorable or unfavorable opinions toward people, things, or situations. Many things affect our attitudes, including the environment we were brought up in and our individual experiences. Our personalities and values play a large role in our attitudes as well. For example, many people may have attitudes toward politics that are similar to their parents, but their attitudes may change as they gain more experiences. If someone has a bad experience around the ocean, they may develop a negative attitude around beach activities. However, assume that person has a memorable experience seeing sea lions at the beach, for example, then he or she may change their opinion about the ocean. Likewise, someone may have loved the ocean, but if they have a scary experience, such as nearly drowning, they may change their attitude.

The important thing to remember about attitudes is that they can change over time, but usually some sort of positive experience needs to occur for our attitudes to change dramatically for the better. We also have control of our attitude in our thoughts. If we constantly stream negative thoughts, it is likely we may become a negative person.  In a workplace environment, you can see where attitude is important. Someone’s personality may be cheerful and upbeat. These are the prized employees because they help bring positive perspective to the workplace. Likewise, someone with a negative attitude is usually someone that most people prefer not to work with. The problem with a negative attitude is that it has a devastating effect on everyone else. Have you ever felt really happy after a great day and when you got home, your roommate was in a terrible mood because of her bad day? In this situation, you can almost feel yourself deflating! This is why having a positive attitude is a key component to having good human relations at work and in our personal lives.

Moral attitudes

Moral attitudes are grounded in moral beliefs of “Right” and “wrong” action. Moral attitudes are stronger than moral principles. Following are the fundamental moral attitudes :


Moral values are the highest among all natural values. Goodness, purity, truthfulness, humility of man rank higher than genius, brilliancy, exuberant vitality, than the beauty of nature or of art, than the stability and power of a state. What is realized and what shines forth in an act of real forgiveness, in a noble and generous renunciation; in a burning and selfless love, is more significant and more noble, more important and more eternal than all cultural values. Positive moral values are the focus of the world, negative moral values, the greatest evil, worse than suffering, sickness, death, or the disintegration of a flourishing culture.  This fact was recognized by the great minds, such as Socrates, or Plato, who continually repeated that it is better to suffer injustice than to commit it. This pre-eminence of the moral sphere is, above all, a basic proposition of the Christian ethos.

Moral values are always personal values. They can only inhere in man, and be realized by man. A material thing, like a stone or a house, cannot be morally good or bad, just as moral goodness is not possible to a tree or a dog. Similarly, works of the human mind (discoveries, scientific books, works of art), cannot properly be said to be the bearers of moral values; they cannot be faithful, humble and loving. They can, at the most, indirectly reflect these values, as bearing the imprint of the human mind. Man alone, as a free being, responsible for his actions and his attitudes, for his will and striving, his love and his hatred, his joy and his sorrow, and his super-actual basic attitudes, can be morally good or bad. For, far above his cultural accomplishments, rises the importance of the man’s own being: a personality radiating moral values, a man who is humble, pure, truthful, honest and loving.

But, how can man participate in these moral values? Are they given to him by nature like the beauty of his face, his intelligence, or a lively temperament? No, they can only grow out of conscious, free attitudes; man himself must essentially cooperate for their realization. They can only develop through his conscious, free abandonment of himself to genuine values. In proportion to man’s capacity to grasp values, in so far as he sees the fullness of the world of values with a clear and fresh vision, in so far as his abandonment to this world is pure and unconditional, will he be rich in moral values.  As long as a man blindly disregards the moral values of other persons, as long as he does not distinguish the positive value which inheres in truth, and the negative value which is proper to error, as long as he does not understand the value which inheres in the life of man, and the negative value attached to an injustice, will he be incapable of moral goodness. As long as he is only interested in the question of whether something is subjectively satisfying or not, whether it is agreeable to him or not, instead of asking whether it is something important, whether in itself it is beautiful, good, whether it should be for its own sake, in a word, whether it is something having a value he cannot be morally good.


Among the attitudes of man which are basic for his whole moral life, faithfulness is ranked next to reverence. One can speak of faithfulness in a narrow sense and in a large one. We have the narrow sense in mind when we speak of fidelity toward men, such as fidelity to a friend, marital fidelity, fidelity to one’s country or to oneself.  This type of fidelity throws into relief the other type. I refer here to the continuity which first gives to a man’s life its inner consistency, its inner unity. The building up of one’s personality is only possible if one holds firmly to those truths and values which one has already discovered.  The course of a man’s life contains a continual rhythmical replacement of one impression, one act, one decision by another and different impression, act or decision. We are unable to ponder over one thought for a long time and to keep our attention on one point for very long. Just as in the biological realm, hunger and satiety, fatigue and renewed strength succeed one another, so a certain rhythmical change is proper to the course of our spiritual life. Just as the various impressions which affect us give place to one another, and the stream of events offers to our mind a great variety of objects, so our attention cannot long remain focused on any one object with the same intensity. A movement from one subject to another is therefore proper to our thought, as well as to our feeling and will. Even in the case of a very blissful experience, such as the long-desired meeting with a beloved person, we are unable to dwell permanently in this joyous experience. The rhythm of our inner life forces us to leave the full presence of a great joy and to turn our attention in another direction and to register different experiences.

But—and this must be stressed—the same man has different levels of depth. The psychical life of man is not restricted to the level on which this continual change unfolds itself; it is not restricted to the level of our express attention, of our present consciousness. While we proceed to another impression and give our attention to another mental object, the preceding impression or object does not vanish, but will, according to its significance, be retained in a deeper level, and will continue to live at that level. Memory is an expression of this capacity of the soul for super-actual life, and this continuity is seen in our capacity to remember, to connect past and present.

Above all we see this continuity in the super-actual survival of our attitudes toward the world, toward fundamental truths and values, which remain unchanged even though our present attention is turned in a completely different direction. Thus, for example, joy caused by some happy event continues to “live” in the depth of our souls and colors everything which we do, colors all our tasks of the moment, and colors our approach to all those things with which we are expressly concerned. So also our love for a beloved person remains living in the depth of our souls, even though we are occupied by work, and it constitutes a sort of background before which different events run their course. Without this capacity for continuity, man would have no inner unity; he would be but a bundle of interwoven impressions and experiences. If one impression merely took the place of the preceding one, if the past should indiscriminately vanish, the inner life of man would be senseless and shallow; any building up, any development would be impossible. Above all there would be no personality.

Awareness Of Responsibility

When we call someone a “morally conscious” man, and another man a “morally unconscious” one, we have in mind a difference which is decisive from the ethical point of view. The unconscious man drifts through life; of course, he grasps certain values, and responds to them, but this process goes on in a manner that is deprived of an ultimate awakedness and of an explicit character. His grasp of values remains more or less accidental. Above all, his life, on the whole, is not consciously and expressly lived under the awful sword of good and evil. Even when, at a given moment, he rejects something bad and affirms something good, at heart this attitude is rather an affirmation of his own temperament than a really enlightened cooperation with the implacable demands of values, and conformity to those demands.

The unconscious man behaves according to the impulses of his nature; he has not yet discovered within himself the capacity to direct himself freely toward the objective demands of the world of values independently of what is or is not congenial to his nature. He is unaware of this capacity freely to approve or disavow impulses arising from his own nature, according to whether they are or are not in conformity with the world of values. Unconscious men are not awakened to the specifically moral prerogative of the spiritual person either to freely approve or to disavow; they make no use of it. Consequently, they ignore the necessity for conscious effort to develop and improve their moral stature. In their lives we find no moral self-education. This moral sluggishness is an obstacle to the formation of a moral personality. Moral consciousness and moral awakedness are indispensable presuppositions for a real grasp of values, for true responses to values and consequently for the possession of moral values. The morally unconscious man can be good, faithful, just, and a friend of truth, but only in the sense that he is a pale reflection of these virtues. His goodness, fidelity, justice and truthfulness lack the specific beauty of moral excellence, a full and free turning to values, a submission to their sovereign majesty, and real subordination to their eternal laws. The accidental character of such a man’s virtues and the incomplete character of his responses deprives them of their true moral core. They are moral virtues whose soul is deprived of its ultimate, free, meaningful life.

Reverence and that true fidelity, which we have called constancy, are closely related to this moral awakedness. Moreover, they can only fully unfold themselves in a morally conscious man. This moral awakedness is also the soul of the fundamental moral attitude which we have called “awareness of responsibility.” Only the man with this consciousness of responsibility can justly appreciate the impact of the demands of the world of values. He grasps not only the splendor, the inner beauty and majesty of the world of values, but also the sovereignty over us which is objectively due to this world. He understands the implacable earnestness of their demands, he experiences their personal call on us. He perceives the commands and the prohibitions which issue from values. He possesses that awakedness toward the world of values which places his life under its sword of justice, which makes him at every moment aware of his own position and duties in the cosmos, and makes him realize clearly that he is not his own master. He knows that he cannot act freely according to his arbitrary pleasure, that he is not his own judge, but that he must render an account to Someone Who is higher than he is.


Truthfulness is another of the basic presuppositions for a person’s moral life. An untruthful or mendacious person not only embodies a great moral disvalue, as does the avaricious or intemperate man, but he is crippled in his whole personality; the whole of his moral life; everything in him which is morally positive is threatened by his untruthfulness, and even becomes doubtful. His position toward the world of values as a whole, is affected at its very core.  The untruthful man lacks reverence toward values. He assumes a lordly position over being, he deals with it as he pleases, and treats it as if it were a mere chimera, a plaything of his arbitrary pleasure. He denies recognition and response to the value which inheres in being as such, to the dignity which being possesses by its opposition to nothingness. The untruthful person does not fulfill the fundamental obligation to recognize everything that exists in its reality, not to interpret black as white, and not to deny a fact. He behaves toward being as if it did not exist. Obviously, this attitude implies an element of arrogance, of irreverence and impertinence. To treat another person “as if he were air,” to act as if this man did not exist, is perhaps the greatest evidence of disrespect and contempt. The untruthful person takes this attitude toward the world of being. A madman disregards being as being because he does not grasp it. The untruthful man grasps it as such, but refuses the response which is due to the dignity and value of being simply because it is inconvenient or disagreeable for him to do so. His disregard of being is a conscious, guilty one.

A liar considers the whole world, to a certain extent, as but an instrument for his own ends; everything which exists is but an instrument for him; when he cannot use it, then he will deal with it as non-existent and place it in this category.  One must distinguish three different kinds of untruthfulness. First of all, in the artful liar who sees nothing wrong in affirming the contrary of what is true when it is expedient for his aims. Here we are dealing with a man who clearly and consciously cheats and betrays other men in order to reach his aims, like Iago in Shakespeare’s “Othello,” or Franz Moor in Schiller’s “Robbers”—though we also find in these two men a specific viciousness of intention which is not necessarily found in every liar. There also exist liars whose aims are less vicious.

The second type is that of the man who lies to himself and consequently to others. He is the man who simply erases from his mind everything in his life which is difficult or disagreeable, and who not only hides his head like an ostrich, but who persuades himself that he is going to do something, when he knows full well that he cannot do it. This is the man who does not want to recognize his own faults; he is the man who immediately twists the meaning of every situation which is humiliating or disagreeable for him so that it loses its sting. The difference which is to be found between an untruthful person of this type and the hypocrite or the artful liar is evident. His deception is above all practiced upon himself, and only indirectly upon others. He first deceives himself, and then cheats other men, half in good faith. He does not possess that consciousness of aim, that clarity which is proper to the liar, and in general, he lacks the wickedness and cunning meanness of the liar. In most cases he arouses our compassion. Yet, he is not without guilt, for he refuses the response due to values and to the dignity of being, and arrogates to himself a sovereignty over being which does not belong to him. Of course, he does not have the specific impertinence toward truth of the first type of liar; some remaining respect for truth prevents him from conscious and open neglect and distortion of truth. He fears to take this responsibility; he has not the courage of the hypocrite. By self-deceit he eludes the conflict between his inclinations and respect for truth. There is something specifically cowardly and feeble in his nature. In him the cunning and conscious artfulness of the liar is replaced by a more instinctive slyness.


Goodness is the very heart of the whole reign of moral values. It is by no accident that the term “good” means moral value as such, and also the specific moral quality of goodness. Among the different moral values there is none which embodies more completely the entire reign of moral values, than goodness; in it we find the purest and most typical expression of the general character of moral goodness as such. It is the center of all morality, and at the same time, its most sublime fruit. Its central importance in the moral sphere is, therefore, of a completely different type from that of the fundamental attitudes previously mentioned: reverence, fidelity, awareness of responsibility and veracity. For, apart from their own high moral value, these virtues are accepted as a presupposition for the moral life. Goodness, on the contrary, is not a pre supposition, but the fruit of moral life. But not a fruit among others, such as meekness, patience, generosity, but the fruit of fruits, i.e. that in which culminates all morality in a specific way; it is the queen of all virtues.  What is goodness? What do we mean when we say that a man irradiates goodness? We say this of a man when he is disposed to help, when he is kindly, just, when he is ready to make sacrifices for others, when he pardons wrongs done him, when he is generous, when he is full of compassion. All these qualities are specific forms and manifestations of love. This indicates the close connection which exists between love and goodness. Love is, as it were, flowing goodness, and goodness is the breath of love.

We have seen at the beginning that the whole moral life consists in meaningful responses to values which have been grasped, such responses as enthusiasm, admiration, joy, obedience, love. But love is, among all these responses to values, the most complete and the deepest. First of all, one must realize that love is always a most outspoken response to value. When we love somebody, whether it be a friend, a parent, a child, whether it be conjugal love or neighborly love, the beloved person always stands before us as something precious and noble in himself. As long as someone is merely agreeable to us or only useful for our purposes, we could not love him. This does not mean that we become blind to the faults of the beloved person. But the person as a whole must stand before us as endowed with a sublime value and filled with intrinsic preciousness; yes, that specific individuality which every man represents as a unique thought of God must reveal itself before our eyes in all its charm and beauty, if we are to love him.

Political attitude

Political Attitude means the beliefs and values which underpin the operation of a particular political system. These attitudes were seen as including knowledge and skills about the operation of the political system positive and negative judgments about the system. These attitudes determine how people participate, whom they vote for and which political parties they support. The factors which make attitudes are family, gender, religion, race , ethnicity and region.


Family is generally the first and most enduring factor which influence on young people’s developing political opinions. Though there are generation gaps it is very much obvious that children tend to grow up and vote the way their parents do. If a family is more politically active the child is more likely to hold the same beliefs and attitudes. As children grow older other influences crisscross the family and naturally their attitudes tend to diverge from those of their parents.


Religious beliefs often affect the way people vote. Religion is the faith of the people in values and beliefs. The experiences of 1940s generally show that the Jewish voters are more likely to support democrats than are Catholics or Protestants. The recent experiences have shown that the religious right has supported more conservative candidates for public office in more favour of the Republican party than to the Democratic Party.

Race and Ethnicity

The experiences have proved that for the past half century African Americans are affiliated to Democratic Party than any other identifiable group. Some experts believe that this loyalty is weakening but recent elections have confirmed the strong tendency for black Americans to vote Democratic. It is very evident from some studies that Asian Americans tend to vote conservative, but there is still a lack of concrete evidence to prove this.


The region where a person resides also affect a lot to which party he is voting for. The 1996 presidential elections have provided a statistical breakdown of the 1996 presidential elections. Democrat Bill Clinton won states in red, while states in blue were won by Republican Bob Dole. The solid tendency of to vote for Democrats have began to erode during 1950’s.This is the reason that both Republicans and Democrats are competitive across the south today. However the recent presidential election indicate a general support for Republicans in the south.

Process of formulation of political attitude

To ensure the smooth functioning of the society and system and to maintain peace and harmony within the society every society devices its ways. To have the effective governing of its people, every society develops few mechanisms or agencies such as the state, the government, the political parties and election or selection of representatives. The political attitude formation throws light upon how people cultivate their political beliefs and how they pass on their values to others from one generation to the next. Political attitudes formulation process is an essential element of a political system. Political attitude formulation and political attitude go hand in hand.

Political attitude formulation is a learning process by which an individual acquires orientations, beliefs, values and norms and behavior patterns in political system. Political attitude formulations determine the pattern of socio-political behavior. Political attitude formulation is a psychological concept as it is concerned with the society in general and with individual in particular.

Attitude Formulation in Childhood

The growth of the society is a social process like the growth of the child. A child develops his attitude towards the authority and obedience as per the obedience pattern at family. According to Easton and Dennis there are four stages in the process of political attitude formulation.

  • A child recognizes authority through particular individual such as parents, policemen and the president of the country.
  • There should be a differences made between private and public authority.
  • The understanding about impersonal political institutions such as national legislature, judiciary and voting behavior is developed.
  • Distinction between political institution and person engaged in the activities associated with those institutions so that idealized images of particular persons such as the president or the congress.

Adulthood as the next Stage of Attitude Formulation

In this stage the attitude formulation takes places due to peer groups. The way the peer groups behave that way only patterns of obedience and disobedience are decided.

Attitude Formulation in Various Directions

The process of attitude formulation have its influence in various directions. Keeping in mind the example of U.S.A. Almond and Verba pointed out that since democracy is practiced in the country the people demand democracy everywhere such as in school, shops and churches . Since this demand is fulfilled children, workers and others develop articulation about debate and decision making. These experiences make them perfect to participate efficiently in political life and to accept changes in political life.

Functions of political attitude formulation

Maintaining Political Culture

 Maintaining of political culture is an important function of political attitude formulation in stable conditions. This function is performed by having communication between political culture from an generation to another generation. But in today’s conditions the political socialization does not always act for maintaining political culture.

Modification of Political Culture

Modification of political culture is an important function of political attitude formulation.

Creating Political Culture

Creating political culture is performed by means of process of political attitude formulation. Every society needs to create new political culture with the establishment of new political system.

Foundation of Present Pattern of Political System

There is no scope for difference of opinions opposition into totalitarian state whereas if we see there are in number of opportunities for difference of opinions and opposition in open societies.

Continuity and Change

There is continuity and change in attitude formulation and this is an important factor of the process of attitude formulation.

Agencies of Political Attitude Formulation

A variety of institutions and agents are involved in political attitude formulation. The important agencies of attitude formulation are categorized as follows:

  • Family and peer groups which are the interpersonal agencies.
  • Schools , religious institutions and workplaces- Organizational Agents.
  • Mass Media, Newspaper, TV and radio.
  • The legislature, executive courts and the bureaucracy which are specialized political input structures.

Interpersonal Agents

Family and peer groups are two important interpersonal agents of attitude formulation. The patterns of authority and obedience found in a family decide a child’s pattern of obedience to authority. The collective decisions made by the family are important to develop a sense of reward and punishment in a child. When a child in a family participates in decision making, it develops a sense of competence in him and enhances his skill for political interaction.

Another important agency which shapes a child’s political attitude plays groups friendship cliques and small work groups. Individual are likely to adopt or accept their friend’s views either because they respect them or want to be like them. To get accepted by a group the individual tries to modify their interests to that of others. When the influence of parents is reduced the influence of peer group becomes more dominant. The peer groups supplement the socialization function of the family and prepare an individual for more specific political roles. The interaction which takes place in peer groups socialize a person in to new ways of thinking feeling and behaving.

Organizational Agents

Schools religious institutions, educational institutions and work places are organizational agents of political attitude formulation. The knowledge of the political world as well as political process of a nation is provided to an individual by educational institutions. Schools import values and attitude of the society. The affection for political system is created by the school. Schools provide a common symbols for an expressive response to the system such as flag and pledge of allegiance. A sense of loyalty is also created by school. College and university education tries to develop more rational and radical political ideas in an individual. Thus schools usually confirm the attitudes and strengthen the belief system of the children.

The moral values which have political implications which have political implications are taught by religion. Many religious leaders attempt to socialize children through their religions preachings and services. The religious institutions are present in all political system but their influence varies from one country to another. For example the Islamic fundamentalism has a great impact on Islamic political system world whereas though the church teachers values, it is not in position to control the political system.

Attitude formulation is also affected by the nature of job, employment and workplace. The socialization is shaped at workplace through unions and professional associations. The worker participates in collective bargaining at workplace and this proves to be an important socializing factor. Many of the occupational and professional associations have the power to affect political attitudes in modern societies. Through strikes and other pressurizing methods the workers learn that they can shape their future.

Specialized Political Input Structure

Political parties are the main agents of the mobilization of the masses. A key role is played by the political parties in the entire political attitude formation process. They try to arouse the interest of people in political system and political issues. Elections keep people involved with political process and indicate their active participation in politics. Political parties try to influence the opinions of the people through wall posters, electoral campaigns, propaganda and canvassing. The participation of an individual in the affairs of interest groups gives members opportunities to build an orientation toward the political activities. Thus an unintentional latent attitude formulation is done by interest group.

Religious institutions

Religions of the world have a tremendous impact on the minds of the people. They have the power to influence moral values which inevitably have political implications. Most of the religious leaders regard themselves as teachers and their followers usually attempt socialization of children schooling and socialization converts of all ages through preaching and religious services. The presence of religious institutions is felt in all political system; yet, the influence of the same varies from one country to another. The church, although it systematically teaches values, is not in position to control the political system. So, the emergence of religious fundamentalism also has a major impact on the Muslim world and, in recent times, has been a deciding factor in shaping the politics of Islam and others as well.


Political socialization also depends upon job, the workplace and the nature of employment. Jobs, be it in formal organizations, provide for building unions, professional associations, and the like which act as effective means of political socialization. Individuals identify themselves with a group and become sensitive to the norms of the group and evaluate its actions according to their opinion of what is good for the group and what it stands for. One of the powerful socializing experiences for a worker or a laborer is participating in collective bargaining. By this, workers learn that they can shape their future by taking proper decisions and also gain knowledge about specific skill such as picketing, demonstrations, etc. many of the occupational and professional associations have the power to affect political attitudes in modern societies. These associations with a large no. of memberships always defend their member’s economic and professional interests.

Mass Media

Communication act as a link between modern societies. Information about incidents or events in any part of world reaches everybody and becomes general knowledge in just a few hours. Much of the world today reacts in the same way to the same events and is also motivated by similar tastes. This is made possible only because of mass media that includes radio, television, magazines, newspapers and the like. The effect of mass media is the same irrespective of the young or the old or whether one lives in rural and urban areas. However, the nature of mass media is not uniform in all societies. The composition of the society and the distribution of resources within the society exert an influence on the role played by the media. However, one cannot assert the media is the only information as they collecthe news from different sources and systematize them and transmit them to masses. The information first organizes at the government level, whereby the officials and political leaders and the mass media give their own interpretation and provide information to the people. Thus, mass media act not only as an agent of political attitude formation but also as an instrument used by various agents of political attitude formation. Mass media to a large extent is, however not a primary socializing agent. It only strengthens the already established orientations. It informs and interprets in order to maintain status quo.


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