April 24, 2015, 2015
BEH/225 Introduction to Behavioral Science
Dr. Denise McAllister
A person’s attitude is made up of their emotions and beliefs that cause them to react to people or situations in a certain manner. This response can be either positive or negative. There are three main aspects of a person’s attitude which are beliefs, emotions, and actions. According to McLeod (2009), the three components of attitudes can be identified in the “ABC model”. The affective component is comprised of a person’s feelings or emotions regarding a person or group of people or an object. For example: “I’m afraid of dogs.” The behavioral component affects how a person reacts. An example of the behavioral component would be if a person was approached by a dog their reaction would be to start shaking because they are afraid of dogs. The third component of attitudes is the cognitive component which involves a person’s belief about an object or issue. For example: “I believe dogs are dangerous.” Society can have a profound influence on individual and group behavior. Human beings learn attitudes and behaviors through interaction with other people. One of the first experiences in a child’s life is the interaction between themselves and their family members. The attitudes of the parents or siblings, disciplinary methods, and other involvement can all affect the behavior of the child or adolescent. The media has a huge impact on attitudes and behaviors. Television programs, commercials, the internet, journalists, movies, and music all play a role in influencing human behavior. A particular strategy used by commercial advertisers is bandwagoning. The idea is to encourage feelings of validity through the desire of being part of a group.
Behaviors can also be learned through personal experience. For example, if a person has several family members who have died from lung cancer, they may develop a strong opposition to cigarette smoking.
Businesses and politicians use persuasion, the attempt to sway a person’s belief or attitude in one direction or another through arguments or information. When the tactic of persuasion is used there are a few fundamental elements involved. The communicator should be trustworthy and likable. The message should be clear and concise and appeal to human emotions (Coon & Mitterer, 2015). Persuasion can have bearing on the affective and cognitive component of a person’s attitude or behavior. Their