Define attitude. Discuss the components of an attitude.
Attitude is the tendency to react positively or negatively to a person or circumstances and can be defined as state of the mind, a set of views, or thoughts, regarding some topic which have an evaluative feature (positive, negative or neutral quality).
Attitude have three components :-
(i) The thought component is referred to as the cognitive aspect: It consists of belief, ideas, values and other information that a person may possess or has faith in. It makes little difference if the information is correct or incorrect.
(ii) The emotional component is known as the affective aspect: It is related to person’s feelings about another person, which may be positive, negative or neutral.
(iii) The tendency to act is called the behavioural (or conative) aspect: It is related to impact of various situations or objects that lead to individual’s behaviour based on cognitive and affective components. Only this components of attitude is visible.
These three aspects have been referred to as the A-B-C components (Affective-Behavioural-Cognitive components) of attitude.
This can be understood by the following example :-
Suppose a group of people in our neighbourhood start a tree plantation campaign as part of a ‘green environment’ movement. Based on sufficient information about the environment, our view towards a ‘green environment’ is positive (cognitive or ‘C’ component, along with the evaluative aspect). We feel very happy when we see greenery. We feel sad and angry when we see trees being cut down. These aspects reflect the affective (emotional), or ‘A’ component of the same attitude. Now suppose we also actively participate in the tree plantation campaign. This shows the behavioural or ‘B’ component of our attitudes towards a ‘green environment’.