1. E2/P1: Video Lecture by Kavan Limbasiya (AIR-198/CSE’14)
  2. Attitude: Meaning & types
  3. Attitude: Salient Features
  4. CAB Model of Attitude
  5. Attitude Structure #1: Uni-Directional
  6. Attitude Structure #2: Bi-directional
  7. Potential vs felt ambivalence
  8. Attitude: Functions
  9. Belief + Value = Attitude

E2/P1: Video Lecture by Kavan Limbasiya (AIR-198/CSE’14)

Free Attitude Video Lecture for UPSC

Youtube Link: https://youtu.be/7IuEfKdc_Qs

Attitude: Meaning & types

  • Attitude is always about “Something”. It’s a state of mind- your positive/negative feeling towards a person, object, event, idea, environment.
  • It determines how people will arrive at a correct judgement.
  • Attitude AND Aptitude are different- Surviving terminal disease depends on your ‘attitude’ towards life rather than ‘aptitude’ in physical training. We’ll discuss more on this during next lecture (E3)
Attitudes can be positive or negative
Positive attitudes Negative attitudes
Optimism, persistence Pessimism
Jealous Content (satisfied)
Tolerant intolerant, rigid
Modest, humble Inferiority, superiority
Cooperative Condescending, hostile
Cheerful Cynical

Attitude: Salient Features

  1. Attitudes are directed towards an object, event, person or organization and give specific reaction to them.
  2. Attitude affects group behavior e.g.  Jury service, racial prejudice, work environment, voting pattern and more.
  3. They help us understand ourselves and others.
  4. They can be  explicit – formed by recent events
  5. They can be implicit- derived from past memories and traumatic experiences.
  6. They protect us from acknowledging harsh realities of life and thereby help coping up with emotional conflict.
  7. They’re situational.
  8. Some thinkers say Attitude is permanent, forms habit and becomes predictable
  9. Some thinkers say Attitude is tentative- a person will form attitude from his past experience but if new situation comes he’ll evaluate and change attitude. Thus, Attitudes are spontaneous reaction to environment.
  10. Persuasion can change attitude of a person. If a trustworthy, expert, likable person says, “rich people’s love for fur-clothes has led to extinction of xyz. Species”. Then next time you see a rich lady, you’ll feel repulsed. We’ll discuss more on persuasion and attitude change in third session of this lecture (E2/P3).
Physiology determines attitude
Physiology: Age Physiology: Disease
  1. Pre-teen: pliant
  2. Teen: rebellious
  3. Old man: conservative
  1. TB: Optimistic
  2. Epileptics: cynical
  3. Encephalitis: aggressive.

Some thinkers don’t agree with above, and believe that Social factors determine a person’s attitude.

CAB Model of Attitude

Attitude: CAB Model

Attitude =combination of cognitive, affective and behavioral components
C: Cognitive
  • Knowledge and beliefs.
  • When you form an opinion from the available information that’s cognitive attitude.
  • If you’re framing an opinion about humans, then you may end up stereotyping.
  • e.g snake is poisonous. (your belief)
  • e.g. cricketers play for money and not for nation.
  • e.g. death penalty should be removed because it doesn’t reduce crime rate. (your belief)
A: Affective
  • Feelings and emotions such as pleasure, hate, fear, anger, happiness, sorrow.
  • What do we feel when that object is present before us?
  • e.g. I fear snakes (your feeling)
  • e.g. I hate cricket because all matches are fixed. (your feeling)
  • e.g. I dislike the idea of death penalty. (your feeling)
B: Behavioral
  • Overt behavior. Your predisposition (Sensitivity) towards a person / object.
  • e.g. I’ll run away if there is a snake.
  • e.g. I will not buy xyz brand toothpaste because it is promoted by a cricketer and I know all cricketers are match fixers. (your behavior / action in shopping mall.)
  • e.g. I’ll lead a candle march against Death penalty. (your behavior on street)

CAB has synergy- each component is independent,  but they will strengthen each other.

Attitude Structure #1: Uni-Directional

Atttiude: Uni-directional structure model & limitations

  • Like a number-line,  attitude has two ends negative (left hand) and positive (right hand).
  • Our attitude towards death penalty? It can be positive or negative.
Component What do you think about snakes? Positive/negative
Cognitive Snake is poisonous. (your belief) Negative
Affective I fear snakes (your feeling) Negative
Behavior I’ll run away. (your behavior) Negative
Overall Negative attitude towards snake.

Limitation of uni-directional structure?
Difficult to distinguish between neutral and ambivalent attitude.

  1. e.g. do you like chocolates?
    1. Neutral: A poor illiterate person in remote island may say “I’ve never heard of this term so I don’t have any positive/negative feeling about it.”
    2. Ambivalent: an intelligent person may say “yes I know chocolates bad for teeth (negative cognitive) but still I love them (positive affective). So +1 – 1 = 0

Attitude Structure #2: Bi-directional

Attitude Structure Bi-directional model

If we plot negative attitude on Y-axis and positive on X-axis, we can show neutral / ambivalence as per following graph:
So, what is the implications?

Difficult to change his behavior.
  • Possible to change his behavior by providing new information.
  • Because ambivalent situation makes person uncomfortable (Cognitive dissonance).
  • e.g. corruption: we know it is bad (Cognitive) but still we give/take bribes (behavior) so some ambivalence = dissonance.

Potential vs felt ambivalence

Felt e.g. chocolate example- you know there is inconsistency (it’s bad for teeth yet you like it). Such ambivalence will give you dissonance.
  • You yourself unaware of the inconsistency, and therefore at present no dissonance. But when you’re forced to think about the topic, potential will be converted to felt ambivalence.
  • e.g. corruption and tax evasion are equal. Both violate law, both hurt public exchequer. However, a tax evader might not realize he is as bad as a corrupt official, until you consider him to think about it.

Sequence is potential => felt =>cognitive dissonance. Result?

  1. either person will stop wrong-behavior OR
  2. he’ll begin justifying his wrong behavior.

That’s how attitude changes. We’ll discuss more on this in E2/P3.

Attitude: Functions

Object appraisal Attitudes help us approach beneficial things and avoid harmful things.
Social adjustment Attitude helps us identify with people we like e.g. I love SRK, so I’ll buy frooty, because he is endorsing it.
  • When you go to market, you’ll buy or not buy a product thinking “will this product help me (cognitive)”.
  • If you’ve big property, you’ll oppose property tax hike.
  • So, you’re supporting capitalism, not because of ‘ideology’ but because of your attitude, since It enhances our happiness/survival.
  • helps organize new information, and create generalization / stereotyping.
  • Positive aspect: “Indian Crow is black, so all crows in the world should be black.” (yes they’re, so your time is saved in not having to go on world journey to check the facts)
  • Negative aspect: “I believe good things happen to good people” so, if bad thing happened to him- if he must be a bad person. (Stereotyping / prejudice).
  • “Grapes are sour, because I can’t eat them”.
  • It prevents us from guilt feeling, by holding attitudes that protect our self-esteem (Defend your ego).
  • Mechanisms? Denial, Repression, Projection, Rationalization
  • The British felt Indians incapable of ruling themselves, because they’re uncivil people. So, one way to counter it was through reviving the ancient Vedic traditions/Aryan pride.
Externalization Similar to ego-defensive. By blaming external factors we try to defend our internal conflict e.g. “I got low marks in interview because panel was biased.”
Value expressive
  • To express one’s central values.
  • Example Gandhi stopped wearing coat/pants and switched to Khadi dhoti to express his central value “self-reliance, simple living”.

An advertisement / marketing guru must be observant about above functions. Only then he can make a successful ad.

Product Ad-concept
Detergent Utilitarian. So ad must show that given brand is cheap and yet cleans the clothes efficiently.
Gold Value expressive. I’ll purchase more gold to show I’m of higher status. Company will even use photos of Goddess Laxmi.
Shoes Ego defensive mechanism must not be trigged. So, No gods/goddesses must be shown in ad.
  • Ego defensive mechanism to deflect personal attacks to group attack.
  • e.g. any criticism of the then Chief minister Modi is attack against “5 crore Gujaratis”. So, they’re vote in his favor to show their support, and they’ll bash the critiques on social media.

Belief + Value = Attitude

  • Belief is What we think about things.
  • e.g. IPL is corrupt.
  • Value is what we think ‘should happen’.
  • e.g. Corruption is bad. Honesty is best policy.
  • Value can be ‘desirable’ or ‘undesirable’.
  • They guide our behavior.
  • Values can be for individual, group, organization and nation,  while virtues are associated only with an individual (e.g. physical fitness=> courage.)
  • Attitude is our like / dislike for an object, event, organization or person.
  • Belief (IPL Corrupt) + Value (Honest is best) = frame our attitude towards event/people.
  • In above example, person’s attitude will be of Hatred / cynicism towards cricket, cricketers, products endorsed by those cricketers.

Mock Questions and Case studies after three-part article series on “E2” is over. In the next part (E2/P2), we’ll take a look at moral and political attitudes, and role of social media.
Visit Mrunal.org/Ethics for more study material on Ethics.