Education free essay: Attitudes and Behavior
Attitudes and Behavior
Attitudes prediction of Behaviour
Research on behaviour and attitudes shows some connection between the two and an interesting link between them illustrates how reactions to various situations can influence behaviour. The most admissible perspective on how attitudes and behaviour are related also includes behaviour intentions within a broader concept of social variables. Whereas there are studies and findings that have been dedicated to proving that there is a link that connects behaviour and attitudes, a different line of studies has been dedicated to show how impractical such a relationship can be. Behaviour can be understood to be the personal reaction to environmental stimuli in form of a person or a something, which can either be positive or negative. Attitude defines personal choice of reaction during various interactions on an individual’s daily life. Since behaviour and attitudes are characteristics of social survival of an organism in terms of their biological makeup, studies on their relationship are important to both biology and psychology.
In studying attitude measurement failure to determine behaviour, Sample and Warland (1973, p292) reckon that there is a link between behaviour and attitudes. The authors extended the relationship between behaviour and attitudes into variables that create a better understanding of the relationship. Attitude can be measured using various techniques as demonstrated in the work by Sample and Warland (1973, p293) which must be sensitive enough to avoid failure in the behaviour prediction perspective. Failure to measure attitude in the appropriate manner may complicate the
According to Alfonzo, Shure and Zwiker (2011, p2), it is possible to associate attitude or behaviour intention with behavioural attributes using the theory of reasoned action (TRA). The author reckons that the application of a related theory referred to as theory of planned behaviour (TPB), behaviour prediction can also be carried out. In terms of the interpretation of the role of attitude in the behaviour intention concept, it is possible to link personal perceptions and social thought. In the explanation given by the TRS and TPB as explained by Alfonzo, Shure and Zwiker (2011, p3), there are strong forces of external variables that determine the relationship between behaviour and attitudes. Examples of external variables that influence how attitudes predict behaviour include demographics and personality traits. These external variables contribute to how behaviour is manifested using three routes, one of them being attitudes. The other two routes of the prediction model for behaviour are subjective norms and perceived control. In the mechanism through which these predicting factors work, behaviour is manifested first after going through the threshold of intent to react in a particular way. It therefore follows that these theories explain the relationship that behaviour prediction model gains from behaviour intention as a variable in the manifestation of behaviour.
In the theory of reasoned action, behaviour is a factor of three components of the theory which influence the individual’s resolve to perform a particular behaviour. One of these components is attitude which is generated from a weighted evaluation of all the beliefs that an individual holds about a particular behaviour. As an illustration, attitude can be motivated by several factors on a belief and the factors can be weighted to determine how likely that behaviour is likely to be adopted. In some literature, attitude can be defined by three concepts which include affect, behaviour and cognition, which implies that behaviour and attitude are inseparable (Breckler, Greenwald and Pratkanis, 1989, p293).
The second component of the theory is the subjective norm which highlights the impact of social environment in the role played by people in the environment. The importance of the other people in the model is realized in terms of the perceived importance of the individual people that one interacts with. It implies that the social setting that a person lives in determines their interaction that their influence makes on the individual’s behaviour choices. How influential other people are to the extent that they influence ones behaviour is construction of how important they are held in the perceptions of the person under consideration. Subjective norms are therefore strong social factors in the influence that the environment has on behaviour in the TRA model (Breckler, Olson and Wiggins, 2006, p228). Thirdly, behavioural intention as a summative factor of attitudes and subjective norms is an important trajectory in the determination of how behaviour is manifested. The apparent attitude on a particular behaviour as subjected by the effective weighted factors constitutes to the behavioural intention whose magnitude affects the actual tendency to behaviour.
Separate studies have been dedicated to the understanding of the mechanism of behavioural intention as a factor of attitudes influence on behaviour through a third theory referred to as the integrated behavioural model (IBM). Alfonzo, Shure and Zwiker (2011, p7), create a complex of interactions that beliefs and constructs in the IBM. In the complex interactions through which the IBM works, feelings about behaviour can be identified as a predisposing factor for experiential attitude which in turn provokes behavioural intention. Alternatively, it is possible to isolate behavioural beliefs as distinct variable of instrumental attitude which in turn leads to behavioural intention that influences behaviour. Using the IBM, it is possible to identify the relationship that attitudes and behavioural intention have on the prediction of behaviours. Under the IBM, there are other factors that are linked with direct influence of behaviour besides behaviour intention, but they are not affected by the belief and attitude constructs (Breckler, Olson and Wiggins, 2006, p230). Factors such skills, salience, habits and environmental constraints are direct factors that influence behaviour but they are weakly influential in the relationship when compared to attitude and behaviour intention.
Proponents of attitude application in behaviour prediction propose that behaviour change can be implemented if the appropriate behaviour intentions and attitudes are targeted as tools of social improvement. The outcomes of reliance on this perspective however are dependent on the strength of the perspective. Below is a discussion of the extent to which attitude prediction of behaviour can be sustained.
Strength of the Link between Attitudes and Behaviour
As mentioned above with regard to implications of failure to measure attitude in the determination of behaviour prediction, it is apparent that there are weaknesses in the link between attitude and behaviour (Sample and Warland, 1973, 292). In the creation of any meaningful attachment between these two concepts, it appears that several variables are considered in the making of the conclusions such as those seen under the there perspectives seen above namely; theory of reasoned action, theory of planned behaviour and integrated behavioural model. Without the consideration of the several variables under each of the factors influencing behaviour intention and behaviour, it is difficult to explain how the weighted impact is achieved. Attitude measurement failure is a difficult concept that may hinder the generation of the expected link between the variables. Whereas advanced techniques of measurement of attitude may deliver better prediction trajectories, it may not always be possible to deliver accurate prediction based on the multiple variables consideration.
Apart from the variables discussed in the theories above, there are several other factors that may make the relationship between attitude and behaviour difficult in the definition of the prediction. Apparently, several approaches in the measurement of attitude require an attitude survey whose results rely on certain assumptions. The unclear circumstances that most deliberations in the survey face may complicate the reliance on the results thereby making the prediction to have lower confidence scores. For instance, in the survey to measure attitude in order to make behaviour prediction, it may be difficult to obtain a standardized sample of individuals which makes the survey a scientific study based on assumptions. To this end, due to the diversity of social setting that individuals experience as a factor of their environmental interactions, it may not be possible to generate the actual prediction.
The above highlighted behaviour prediction perspectives rely on the presence of multiple variables that culminate in the provocation of a particular behaviour. There is a wrong inference made to the predictability of behaviour based on attitude and behavioural intent according to studies conducted by Hartwick, Sheppard and Warshaw (1988, p325). By making an assumption that the behaviour intention remains the same from its invocation by an attitude to the actual choice and action of a particular behaviour, it is incorrect since there is a possibility of change of course of action. The authors also reckon that the assumption of the predictability of behaviour from attitudes is based on certain conditions that make the attitude and intention concept to work (Hartwick, Sheppard and Warshaw, 1988, p338). As an illustration, it would be difficult to determine the role of attitude on behaviour without description of the role of an individual’s goals. Without the explanation of the role of goals in the attitude-behaviour models, it may appear inconclusive in the determination of predictability. In addition, it would be inconceivable of behaviour predictability in absence of options of action. Likewise, Hartwick, Sheppard and Warshaw, (1988, p338) reckon that it may be difficult to distinguish between intentions and estimations of events ahead of making a behaviour decision.
Alfonzo, C., Schure, A. & Zwiker, V. (2011) Theory of Reasoned Action, Theory of Planned Behaviour and Integrated Model, [Online] Available from <http://www.google.co.ke/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=theory+of+reasoned+action+&source=web&cd=7&ved=0CEYQFjAG&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.infosihat.gov.my%2FartikelHP%2Fbahanrujukan%2FHETheory%2FTheory%2520of%2520Reasoned%2520Action.pdf&ei=t0IQT_rXMYWcOsy3zaED&usg=AFQjCNEK61G-dhCv7YiiQcdDMBsTolVR6Q&cad=rja> [Accessed 13 January 2012]
Breckler, S. J., Grenwald, A. G. & Pratkanis, A. R. (1989) Attitude structure and function. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers
Brekler, S. J., Olson, J. M. & Wiggins, E. C. (2006) Social Psychology Alive.
Hartwick, J. Sheppard, B. H. & Warshaw, P. R (1988) The Theory of Reasoned Action: A Meta-Analysis of Past Research with Recommendations for Modifications and future Research. Journal of Consumer Research, 15, pp 325–343.
Sample, J. & Warland, R. (1973) Attitude and Prediction of Behaviour, Social Forces, vol. 51, no. 3 pp292
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