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Attitudes and Actions

Attitude: what is it and why does it affect our behavior?When someone says, "You have a bad attitude!" what do they mean?Is it behavior that is externalizing an attitude, or is it the attitude that is presenting a certain behavior?Can changing your attitude change your behavior?These are questions answered throughout this essay.Behavior is affected by attitudes as well as by external social influences.This essay will discuss the three circumstances in which attitudes affect our behavior.We will discuss how attitudes are affected by outside influences, are specifically relevant to behavior, and when conscious of attitudes, we can change our behavior.Attitudes are beliefs and feelings that predispose our reactions to objects, people, and events; if we believe something, we can make it happen.
Attitudes, as beliefs, guide our actions accordingly. "Change the way people think," said South African civil rights martyr Steve Biko, "and things will never be the same." Although it is usually assumed that if you can change someone's attitude, you can change someone's behavior, studies have shown otherwise (2001).When a person has a strong conviction and is in touch with their personal beliefs and attitudes, then external influences will have a minimal effect.For example, when a congressman is advised to vote yes or no on a particular issue, because it is the will of those who elected him, he or she may still personally feel a different way about the issue.Outside influences are having a small effect on his or her personal attitudes and actions.
Further studies have demonstrated the relevance between attitude and specific behaviors (2001).Beliefs and attitudes carried by people are misleading, and often times divergent from their actions.People readily profess general attitudes, and yet these attitudes contradict their behavior.Jesse Jackson offers a prime example; while he…

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