When referring to attitudes in psychology, psychologists are referring to our behavioural tendencies towards an object, a group or an event. It is our attitude towards something that is socially significant and it is usually a psychological tendency that will either lean towards favour or disfavour.
- What is an affective component of attitude?
An affective component of attitude relates to a person's feelings or emotions towards an object. There are hundreds of different emotions that humans can experience and any one of these could be an affective component of attitude. Emotions towards an object or event could be fear. There are people in the world who are afraid of Christmas, for example, and they fear all the hassle worry and organisation it requires.
- Other structures of attitude
As well as the affective component of attitude there is also the behavioural component. This relates to how we behave when we experience the emotions we feel towards the object. For the person who is scared of Christmas for example, they may lock their doors and try to avoid anything to do with Christmas.
The cognitive component of attitude is the final component; the belief that has led to the underlying reason for the emotion towards the object or event. The person who fears Christmas, for example, may believe that this time of year causes too much stress for anyone to handle.
These psychological attitudes are known as the ABC model of attitudes. This is because we begin with the Affective component followed by the Behavioural component and finally the Cognitive component.