Do Our Actions Affect Our Attitudes?!

Topic: Attitudes and Actions

Posted by: Keunwha and Evelyn

Key Terms:

  • attitudes: a belief and feeling that predisposes one to respond in a particular way to objects, people, and events
  • foot-in-the-door phenomenon: the tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply later with a larger request
  • cognitive dissonance theory: the theory that we act to reduce the discomfort we feel when two of our thoughts are inconsistent

Summary: Attitude affects behavior in many ways but attitudes sometimes follow behavior.
People have tendency to agree to a small action to comply later with a larger one(foot-in-the-door phenomenon). For example, communists made capitalist captives to write down the flaws of capitalism. Later on captives had a group discussion about communism and self-criticisms, and slowly changed their social beliefs.
Another way of changing behavior is role playing. When one adopts new social roles, it ‘acts out’ the role. Gradually one becomes what one does, such as college, soldier, and etc.
People often bring their attitudes into line with our actions (cognitive dissonance theory). The less coerced and more responsible we feel for a troubling act, the more dissonance we feel. And more dissonance will motivate one to find consistency.

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Improving your negative attitude

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