Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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core definition

An attitude is a tendency to perceive, feel or behave towards people or events in a particular manner.

explanatory context

Attitudes involve a reflective aspect (to distinguish them from reactions) and attitudes tend to be durable although not fixed.


Attitudes are often linked to, or compared with values.

analytical review

Psychology Glossary (1996–2016) states :

Attitudes can be defined as an affective feelings of liking or disliking toward an object (which can be basically anything) that has an influence on behavior. As Don Forsyth describes in his text book (Our Social World), an attitude is not a feeling, a cognition, or a form of behavior; instead, attitudes combine all three components in an "integrated affect-cognition-behavior system." What this all means is that attitudes are made of three components that all influence each other. If one component changes, then it influences the entire attitude structure. In addition, each components not only have an influence on the attitude structure as a whole, but also on each other component. Although many people think attitudes are pretty simple (you like something or you don't), you can see that attitudes are actually quite complex and dynamic.


associated issues


related areas

See also


attitude measurement


Psychology Glossary, 1996–2016, 'Attitudes' available at , accessed 21 November 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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