So­cial at­ti­tudes

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - RAMSHA AFREEN

When we hear the word ‘at­ti­tude’ the first flash of mean­ing that comes up in our mind is that it’s the way of be­hav­ing in dif­fer­ent con­di­tions by dif­fer­ent peo­ple. But the word “at­ti­tude” has a wide va­ri­ety to dis­cover dif­fer­ent as­pects of so­cial world. At­ti­tudes are ac­quired through from other peo­ple through so­cial learn­ing pro­cesses. Per­haps you ex­pect that peo­ple’s so­cial at­ti­tudes will di­rectly pre­dict their be­hav­iors? If so, then you are not alone .We gen­er­ally be­lieve, for ex­am­ple, that those who hold high fuddy-duddy at­ti­tudes will con­sis­tently be­have in a prej­u­di­cial and big­otry fash­ion, and that stuckin-the-mud peo­ple will do so.

So­cial psy­chol­o­gists use the term at­ti­tude to re­fer to peo­ple’s eval­u­a­tion of vir­tu­ally any as­pect of their so­cial world. Peo­ple can have fa­vor­able or un­fa­vor­able re­ac­tions to is­sues, ideas, ob­jects, and a spe­cific be­hav­ior such as cheat­ing or pla­gia­rize on an exam. Some at­ti­tudes are quite sta­ble and re­sis­tant to change means that the pos­ses­sors of th­ese at­ti­tudes are typ­i­cally known as ob­sti­nate or stub­born peo­ple. While oth­ers may be un­sta­ble and show con­sid­er­able vari­abil­ity de­pend­ing on the sit­u­a­tion and those are usu­ally known as sub­servient peo­ple. At­ti­tudes can in­flu­ence our thoughts, even if they are not al­ways re­flected in our ap­par­ent be­hav­ior. Re­cent re­search found that ad­ver­tise­ments re­sult­ing in for­ma­tion of a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude and will­ing­ness to pur­chase a prod­uct. How do we form an at­ti­tude? It is gained by a process known s so­cial learn­ing. So­cial learn­ing is the process through which we ac­quire new in­for­ma­tion, forms of be­hav­ior, or at­ti­tudes from other peo­ple.

But some of the at­ti­tudes are not be­ing ac­quired by learn­ing process, that’s some­thing based on as­so­ci­a­tion or con­di­tion. The best ex­am­ple would be the ad­ver­tis­ers and other per­sua­sive agents. They have con­sid­er­able ex­per­tise in us­ing this prin­ci­ple to cre­ate pos­i­tive at­ti­tudes to­wards their prod­ucts which can def­i­nitely pro­voke any­body to buy it im­me­di­ately. They can eas­ily catch our at­ten­tion to­wards them by mak­ing in­ter­est­ing and at­trac­tive ads. Be­cause we com­pare our­selves with oth­ers to de­ter­mine whether our view of so­cial re­al­ity is cor­rect or not, we of­ten adopt the at­ti­tudes that oth­ers hold. At­ti­tudes to­wards a group, is­sue or an ob­ject do not al­ways di­rectly pre­dict our be­hav­ior. Rep­e­ti­tion of a spe­cific be­hav­ior is known as habit. In it the re­sponses be­come rel­a­tively au­to­matic when­ever that spe­cific sit­u­a­tion is en­coun­tered. The fine art of per­sua­sion can change oth­ers at­ti­tudes. —Is­lam­abad

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