A Brief View of Self-Psychology

Table of Content

Firstly, an attitude can be defined as a preposition to a response in a positive or negative way to a particular object, even or issue (Penrod 1986). Mainly attitudes are associations between an attitude object (social world aspect) and the evaluations of these objects. However, within this essay, a plethora of information will be available to inform/educate the reader about specific highlighted components relating to attitude. According to (Crano & Prislin 2006), “An attitude represents an evaluative integration of cognitions and affects experiences in relation to an object.

Secondly, attitude attitude formation can happen from the first aspect is one called Classical Conditioning, when one stimulus becomes a signal for a second stimulus, for example, a bell can become a signal for food and produced salivating, but can occur unconsciously (subliminal conditioning). Another formation can be Instrumental Learning/operant conditioning, and is one which uses “objects” in it’s process, such as; rewards and punishments.

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Within this type of learning is one which strengthens responses and can lead to either a positive outcome or avoiding negative outcomes. This can be done by enabling positive reinforcements (adding a rewarding stimulus) or a negative reinforcement (removal of an aversive stimulus). Another factor can be Observational Learning, thus, when the observer mimics or by example. When children observe their parents smoking, they may associate this behavior with positive attitudes.

The last factor would be Social Comparison, and according to (Festinger 1954), this is when an individual compares themselves to others, to detect if their view of social reality is either correct or incorrect. If the attitude than an individual possess is one of similarity to the others, then the person will view themselves as correct.

According to (Baron and Branscombe), an attitude is an evaluation that can bring color to any aspect of the world. This attitudes can be either explicit ( consciously accessible) or implicit (unconsciously inaccessible). Attitudes are however formed on the base of social comparison, and once an attitude is common to others, people can classify themselves within groups, and however, an attitude can shift when an individual categorizes themselves into new networks.

Thirdly, the components of an attitude can be heavily dependent on an interplay between emotional evaluations, action tendencies and conditions, and these are associated with situations, events, persons and objects. The first factor can be the cognitive component, which refers to the beliefs and perceptions about the qualities of a specific object. Another factor can be the affective component, which relates heavily on the feelings, emotions and sentiments associated with the reality perception (hate, love anger, etc). The last component refers to the intentions and action tendencies associated with objects, events or situations, the behavioral component. Additionally, attitudes can have many functions such as:

  1. identify or self expression function,
  2. self esteem component which helps maintain or enhance feelings self-worth,
  3. ego-defensive function can refer to when people claim a particular attitude to prevent themselves from an unwanted or flattering view of themselves,
  4. impression motivation factor can refer to when people use attitudes to lead on others to have a somewhat positive view of themselves, and when this is done, the attitudes that people show can be shifted to create a desired expression of themselves.

In addition, the attitude-behavioral link can relate to if attitudes influence behaviors. This can mean that sometimes a social attitude may not always necessarily influence behavior. However, people’s assumptions about the attitudes of other people and what they may think others think about them can be a better predictor of behavior than their actual attitudes, but, due to pluralistic ignorance, people can sometimes be wrong about other’s perceptions.

Attitude strengths include; intensity, importance, knowledge, and accessibility. Attitudes can have interrelating roles, such as; attitude extremity (level of interest) and personal experience (direct experience with an object/issue). However, attitude origins are formed on the basis of direct experience that show that stronger effects are formed directly other than indirectly, and the specificity of an attitudebehavioral link to be stronger when attitudes are measured on the same specificity level.

Attitudes guide behavior through reasoned thought, called the “Theory of Reasoned Action”, and, the “Attitude Behavior Process Model”. According to (Baron and Branscombe), the “Theory  of Planned Behavior” and the “Theory of Reasoned Action,” when we carefully think about our attitudes, the intentions which is derived will strongly have a predicting relationship on behavior.

However, the “Attitude-to-Behaviour Process Model” indicates that spontaneous behavior is a reflect on not much thought, and our attitudes influence our behavior by shaping or perception and the situation’s interpretation. Furthermore, persuasion can refer to efforts to restructure an attitude through the usage pf messages focused primarily on the characteristics of the main  communicator and the receiving audience, one example being the “Yale Model of Persuasion,” or the “Cognitive Process Underlying Persuasion.” However, resisting persuasion can be any knowledge of one possibly becoming a target of an attempt of persuasion and can increase resistance to the subject of persuasion. One prominent example can “Psychological Reactance,” which refer to one’s negative reactions to threats to their personal freedom.

People tend to direct attention away from information that may challenge an existing attitude, which can increase; resistance to persuasion, defend attitudes and inoculation. According to (Baron and Branscombe) the ability to resist persuasion mainly depends on our personal psychological state, and, does not matter if the individual is ego depleted or not. The relation between people and an “ego” is that when an ego is depleted, it is harder to self-regulate, vice versa.

Consequently, Cognitive Dissonance can refer to an unpleasant internal state in which results when an individual notices inconsistency amongst two or more attitudes or attitude and behavior. The process can result in an attitude change, and, according to (Aronson 1968 & Festinger 1957), people are motivated to reducing cognitive dissonance and using strategies such as; trivialization of the inconsistency, acquiring information that supports attitude or behavior, and even changing attitudes or behaviors to be consistent with each other, to try resolving cognitive dissonance.

According to (Baron and Branscombe), this unpleasant state usually occurs when we notice discrepancies between attitudes and behaviors, and, according to (Festinger and Carlsmith 1959), classical study illustrated that dissonance tends to be stronger when we possess little justification for an attitude inconsistent behavior.

Lastly, attitude measurement can refer to either the direct or indirect measures in which an attitude can be evaluated. An example of direct can be “Direct Questioning,” and, an example of indirect can be project attitudes into the ambiguous situation. According to the (Thurstode Scale 1931), a direct measure can be mainly a list of statements in which gives the tester an opportunity to tell how favorable or unfavorable they are with a particular subject. However, there are many other measures in which they can be employed, such as; Psychological, Galvanic Skin Response, Behavioral Measures and even Electromyography. On the other hand, there can be a list of indirect measures such as; The Rorschach Inkblot Test”, and the “Thematic Apperception”.

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A Brief View of Self-Psychology. (2022, Dec 29). Retrieved from


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