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Attitude Theories Essay

  • Submitted by: lamexicana32
  • on September 5, 2012
  • Category: Psychology
  • Length: 877 words

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Below is an essay on "Attitude Theories" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

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
posited by this theory as informational inconsistency, disconfirmed expectations, insufficient...

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