Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Attitudes and Behavior
Many definitions of attitude involve its ability to predict behavior. For instance, a white racist will discriminate against African Americans, perhaps even though the law makes it illegal. Nevertheless, as early as the 1930s, researchers such as R. T. La Porta pointed out that people often fail to behave in accordance with their attitudes. In a comprehensive survey of studies on the relationship between attitudes and behaviors, Icek Ajzen and Martin Fishbein reviewed dozens of studies that found an insignificant relationship between attitudes and behavior. Consequently, one may ask why it is important to measure the attitudes of individuals if those attitudes do not guide their behavior. Psychologists have tried to answer that question by examining why we see inconsistencies between people's self-reported attitudes and their behavior. Some researchers have focused on identifying techniques to improve the attitude-behavior relationship. We will explore here seven main categories that elucidate the First, ...