Attitude Theories Essay

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Attitude Theories Diana M. Fernandez Strayer University Attitude Theories This paper will discuss attitude theories. Attitude theories are attempts to explain the factors that shape individual’s beliefs, feelings and behaviors. Two examples of attitude theories are functionalist theory and cognitive dissonance theory. These theories are defined and their components are presented. Examples of each are given as well as being compared and contrasted. Functionalist theory was first posited by Daniel Katz in “The Functional Approach to the Study of Attitudes”. Katz (1960) takes the view that attitudes are determined by the functions they serve. People hold given attitudes because these attitudes help them achieve their basic goals. The components/functions that have been posited by this theory are instrumental, knowledge, value-expressive, and ego-defensive. In many instances, the possible individual differences in attitude function could be obscured by a simple affective representation of attitude, Katz (1960). A good example of this theory is through the view of a functionalist who believes that the family is a positive institution. They hold the view that meets well with the needs of a society’s workforce. The highlight is that the ideal family type in a modern society, as the nuclear family, which comprises of a breadwinner husband and dependent wife and child(ren). Cognitive dissonance theory was first posited by Leon Festinger, (1956) in his book “When Prophecy Fails”. This theory proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions due to the psychological discomfort that is caused by inconsistency among a person’s beliefs, attitudes and/or actions. Michener,M. and Kahan, A. (2005), defined the components that have been
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