1 An enduring evaluation - positive or
negative - of people, objects and ideas.
1.1 Attitudes are stable and enduring, they are focused on
an attitude object, and they are evaluative, subjective
1.1.1 Our attitude may alter dramatically from one attitude object to another. e.g. we may
have a positive attitude towards sport in general but a negative attitude to sports that
involve physical violence. Therefore we can say that whilst generally a positive attitude
can lead to positive behaviour patterns, this cannot be guaranteed.
2 Components of Attitude
2.1 Attitudes often form our beliefs and values, which in
turn may influence our behaviour. Triandis proposed
that our attitude comprises of 3 components, known
as the Triadic Model.
2.2 Cognitive Component
2.2.1 Reflects our beliefs,
information we have
regarding an attitude
object. e.g. based on
info from our parents
and PE lessons we
may think swimming
is good for us based
on health and safety.
2.3 Affective Component
2.3.1 This involves our emotional response or feelings to the attitude object.
e.g. we may have enjoyed swimming with friends/lessons. leads to
positive feelings towards future participation. However if the experience
was negative then future participation may be affected.
2.4 Behavioural Component
2.4.1 Involves our intended or
actual behaviour towards an
attitude object. Often based
on our evaluation of the
previous 2 components. e.g.
because of positive beliefs
and experiences about
swimming, we actually
participate regularly. This
also shows that the first 2
components aren't always
an accurate predictor of
behaviour. e.g. many of us
see swimming as being good,
and we enjoy it, yet we fail to
actually visit a pool.
3 Formation of Attitudes
3.1 Most attitudes are learnt through socialising and
observation of others - operant conditioning. Other
influences may have included parents, role models,
teachers, friends, family etc. some may be more influential
than others and these may change over time.
3.2 Things that lead to a negative attitude:
3.2.1 Negative experience.failure
3.2.2 Fear of failure
3.2.3 Fear of injury/ Personal Safety
3.2.4 Low status of activity in society
3.2.5 Cultural Beliefs
3.2.6 Lack of Support
3.2.7 Low Self Confidence
3.2.8 High Task Difficulty
3.2.9 Negative Role Models
3.2.10 Stereotypical Images
4 Measurement of Attitudes
4.1 You can measure the individuals
attitude through interviews,
questionnaires, observations and
physiological responses. Interviews and
self-report questionnaires are less
4.2 Thurston Scale
4.2.1 Its made up of a number of statements covering a
range of opinions towards an attitude object. Initially
about 100 statements were issued to a panel of judges.
Each statement is given a rating on their
favourableness and unfavourableness on an 11 point
scale. The statements with scores that vary widely are
rejected, until there are 11 favourable and
unfavourable items left which then form the attitude
scale. The average of the judges ratings becomes the
scale value for the statement. A statement with the
value 6 is a neutral opinion. A value of 10 indicates a
favourable opinion and a value of 2 indicates an
unfavourable opinion. This type of scale allows for
comparison however its time consuming, requires a
large number of experts to construct the scale, because
the averages used can hide extreme attitudes.
4.3 Likert Scale
4.3.1 Simplified version of the Thurston Scale. This is more
frequently used. A series of statements are constructed
showing both favourable and unfavourable opinions
towards an attitude object. The participant is required to
respond to a 5 point scale. A favourable statement score is
5 (strongly agree) 1 is an unfavourable statement score
(strongly disagree). The scores are then totalled to provide
an overall attitude score. Advantages are that it allows for
a range of answers, easy to administer, cheaper and easier
to construct, produces reliable results.
4.4 Osgood's Sematic
4.4.1 The participant is required to give the
attitude object a 7-step rating based on 2
opposing adjectives. The individual has
to select a point which best reflects their
own feelings. (-3, -2. -1, 0, 1, 2, 3) This is a
quick and simple method to use,
however the selection of word pairs may
not allow the individual much choice and
could be interpreted differently.
4.5.1 Individuals may not respond truthfully, They may provide socially acceptable answers,
Misunderstand the question, Attitudes may be difficult to express in words, Wording of
statement may lead to respondents answering in a certain manner.
5 Changing Attitudes
5.1 Cognitive Dissonance
5.1.1 Festinger proposed that an individuals beliefs and thoughts have a direct influence on their behaviour. If these cognitions
are challenged with new information then a person will experience a sense of psychological discomfort and will attempt to
restore the balance of harmony. This conflict is known as dissonance.
5.1.2 The aim is to change an attitude based on the assumption that one of the components of their triadic model can be manipulated to create dissonance. After
reviewing the new info or experience the individual either then develops a new attitude or retains the existing one. If dissonance does occur the feelings of
discomfort can be dispelled by making the cognition less important, changing the cognition, replacing the cognition.
5.1.3 1. To alter the cognition new information can be given, e.g. giving detailed benefits, rewards, shown examples of
people who wasted their talents, discuss consequences of their actions. 2. The affective component may be changed by
giving a different experience e.g. the performer is given more praise during training, competition, challenging targets.
Also they may give feedback based on their performance, not being compared to others. Mechanical guidance can be
used if they are concerned about their safety. 3. The behavioural component can be altered by ensuring the skill is
simplified, success is achieved and reinforced, causing a positive affective component.
5.1.4 Often negative views, towards an attitude
object can be altered by the change of
opinions within a peer group or society.
Stereotypical images can change if the team
is successful, high profile stars emerge, and
non stereotyped performers are involved.
5.2 Persuasive Communication
5.2.1 The status of
new ideas. If
this person has
then they are
more likely to
They should be
of high status,
5.2.2 The quality of the message. this message should
make the individual want to change their own
attitude. It should be clear, ambiguous, appear to
their sense of fear, presented in a confident
manner. The higher the quality of the message
the more likely the chance of success.
5.2.3 The strength of the current attitude and the resistance to change.
Characteristics of the recipient can influence the degree of
resistance to change. They should consider the original formation
of the attitude, strength of current belief and level of education.
5.2.4 The situation or context in which the message is being delivered.
Different situations require different approaches; consider the
formality of the environment, level of support from others and
time and resources available.