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Components of attitudes

Attitudes are learned tendencies to evaluate things. They have three components: affective (emotional), behavioral (actions), and cognitive (thoughts, beliefs). For example, fear of spiders (affective), avoiding them (behavioral), and believing they're dangerous (cognitive). This is known as the ABC model of attitude. Created by Shreena Desai.

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Video transcript

Voiceover: So what do you think of when you hear the word attitude? Do you think of the typical moody teenager who needs a reality check, or maybe someone who has a strong viewpoint about a certain topic? Well, an attitude is actually both of these and a combination of a lot more. An attitude is a learned tendency. It's a learned tendency to evaluate things in a certain way. So to evaluate people, issues, events, objects and we can break down attitude into three components. So in the first component, we have the affective component. And this is also known as the emotional component. So we may feel or have emotions about a certain object or subject or topic. And this is what's gonna shape our attitude. So for example, I can show an emotional attitude by saying, I am scared of spiders. So the word scared indicates an emotion, and that's gonna shape our attitude toward, of spiders. The second component is called the behavioral component. And the behavioral component is how we act or behave towards an object or a subject. So in this component, we may say something like, I will avoid spiders and scream if I see one. So the words avoid and scream indicate an action or a behavior, and that's going to influence our attitude. And the last component is called the cognitive component. And in the cognitive component, we form thoughts; we form beliefs, or we have some sort of knowledge about a subject or an object or a topic. That's going to influence and shape our attitude. So an example here is saying, I believe spiders are dangerous. We have a belief that they are dangerous, and that's gonna form our attitude. So we call these three components the ABC model of attitude. So let's take a look at two sentences I've written that utilize these three components of attitude. So right here in the first sentence I write, I love yoga because I get to do meditation, and I believe it helps me relax, so I will go to class each week. So in looking at this sentence, what do you think is the effective or emotional component? Right here, I love yoga. Love is a feeling, an emotion. What about the behavioral component? Exactly. If you said, I will go to class each week, then you are right. Going to class is a behavior; it’s an action. And that’s going to inform your attitude towards yoga. What about the last one, the cognitive component? I believe, that should indicate belief or cognition. I believe it will help me relax. That's a thought that maybe you also have some prior knowledge that's gonna help you shape the attitude. All right, on to the next one. What about the second sentence? I am frightful of roller coasters and believe they are stupid, so I will be on the carousel at the park. What's the effective component here? Once again, I'm frightful of rollercoasters. First part of the sentence, fright is an emotion. It's a fear. What about the behavioral component? Be, be, the word be should help you see, that it's a behavior, it's an action. I will be on the carousel at the park. Because you're afraid of rollercoasters, you're not gonna be on the rollercoaster; you're gonna be somewhere else; it's gonna shape your attitude. And the last part. What about the cognitive part? Believe is the magic word. I believe they're stupid. I believe rollercoasters are stupid. Maybe you have some knowledge; it's a belief that is a cognitive component of attitude.