Do Attitudes Shape Behaviour? Do Attitudes Shape Behavior?

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Are attitudes linked to behaviour? Do attitudes shape behaviour? Or does the behaviour shapes attitudes? These and similar questions have been long asked since the founder of social psychology Gordon Allport (1935) drew the modern study of attitudes. The relationship between attitudes and behaviour have been a most enduring enigmas into Social psychology.
Some social psychologists agreed that our attitudes have a relationship with our behaviour (Cognitive dissonance). While other believed that such relationship do not exist Self-perception theory.
This essay will aim to discuss if attitudes and behaviour have any relationship. The essay will begin by explaining how attitudes as a social phenomenon are formed, then it will then go on to make
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Cognitive dissonance theory. (Attitudes shape behaviour)
The cognitive dissonance was a theory proposed by Leon Festinger in 1957. In his theory, Festinger suggests that every person has innate drives to keep an equilibrium within their cognitions ( behaviour and attitudes) and avoid stressful choices. When there is a stressful situation, it creates a feeling of discomfort, leading to a state of tension known as cognitive dissonance. This unpleasant feeling makes the person become motivated to reduce it and achieve consistency between behaviour and attitudes.
An example of cognitive dissonance would be when a person smokes (behavioral component) despite he or she knows it is unhealthy (cognitive component). In this case, the person has an inconsistency between both cognitions. One tell him that smoking gives him pleasure and the other one tells him that is bad. The person has a couple of choices; the person stops smoking (change its behaviour) or changes its attitudes (does not care about the negative effects of
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They overcome the dissonance by coming to believe that the tasks were enjoyable and fun. However, the ones who were paid $20, carried out the experiment without any type of dissonance.
Alternative to cognitive dissonance. (Behaviour causes attitudes)
The social psychologist Daryl Bem brought the major challenge to Dissonance theorist called Self-perception theory. Bem´s view was that people come to know their own attitudes by observing their own behaviour and the circumstances under which they occur. For example, if I regularly hear pop music, I will probably conclude that I like it.
As we can see Self-perception sounds a simple theory but it is also quite deep, with some more behaviorist approaches. In contrast to Cognitive dissonance, in self-perception theory the behaviour causes attitudes. In Cognitive Dissonance, people adjust self-knowledge only when there is a conflict between cognition whereas in self-perception theory this state does not exist. It only requires people´s willingness to infer in their own attitudes and
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