Attitude has been a difficult concept to define adequately, primarily because it has been defined by so many, but also because of the word’s differing lay uses and connotations. Since the early 1900s, a number of theories have been developed to provide a framework for the attitude–behavior relationship that would provide explanatory and predictive information. Research on attitudes has been consequently popular in many disciplines. A key historic root for the fascination with the term is found in psychology’s interest in individual differences and the need for scientists to find a concept that could name and explain a consistency in individual behavior across a variety of situations.

More specifically, throughout the history of social psychology, the concept of attitude has played a major role in explaining human action, viewing attitudes as behavioral disposition. In fact, Gordon Allport, one of the founding figures of personality psychology, claimed 60 years ago that attitude probably is the most distinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary American social psychology. One of the earliest definitions of attitude was proposed in 1918 by William Thomas and Florian Znaniecki, who defined it as a mental and neural state of readiness, organized through experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influence on the individual’s response to all objects and situations with which it is related. A more recent definition by Philip Zimbardo and Michael Leippe proclaims attitude as an evaluative disposition toward some object, based on cognitions, affective reactions, behavioral intentions, and past behaviors, that can influence cognitions, affective responses, and future intentions and behaviors. In short, attitudes are learned predispositions to respond—they serve to provide direction to subsequent actions.

Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE.

Penanggungjawab naskah :

Gayes Mahestu
Edwina Ayu Kustiawan