“A person’s overt action, mannerisms, habits and nonverbal cues can be used to infer attitudes.” (Gass and Seiter, 2007, p.47) This suggests behaviour is consistent with and reflects our attitudes – but does it? Discuss in light of relevant theory and scholarly research.
This essay aims to discuss the relationship between attitude and behaviour drawing up real world examples and scholarly research to contextualise this relationship. Once this relationship has been discussed the identification of other factors that play a role in this relationship will be analysed. Theoretical mechanisms on how attitudes guide behaviour will also be examined. The essay will then go on to discuss the ...view middle of the document...
His study involved a Chinese couple who asked for rooms in more than 200 hotels and they were only refused in one hotel. Six months later LaPiere wrote to hotel managers and asked whether their establishments served Chinese guests. To LaPiere’s astonishment 92% of those who responded said that they did no accommodate Chinese people. As we can see from the statistics, there was a huge difference in the behaviour in relation to the reports on their attitude. Similar research was carried out replacing the Chinese couple with African Americans and the same inconsistency in people reports of their attitude in relation to their actual behaviour (Kutner, Wilkins, and Yarrow 1952). As we can see from the research carried out attitudes do not always shape behaviour so we need to know when attitude are likely to affect what we do and when they are not likely to affect us.
“Rather than asking whether attitudes relate behaviour we have to ask. “Under what conditions do what kinds of attitude of what kinds of individuals predict what kinds of behaviour?” We need to treat the strength of the attitude-behaviour relation as we would treat any other dependant variable and determine what factors affect it.”(Fazio and Zanna, 1981, p.165). This statement is very reasonable and quite concise because the findings from LaPiere’s experiment proved that there are other factors that affect the attitude and behaviour relationship and it totally contradicts the statement made by Gass and Seiter (2007, p.47) because if the statement made by the latter was totally true then the Chinese couple would not have been served in the majority of the hotels that were visited. However, there are some instances where behaviour is directly induced from ones attitude for example a devoted Muslim will not eat any meat or chicken product that is not Halal ( slaughtered or prepared in the manner prescribed by Islamic law). Certain situations (variables) can affect the attitude- behaviour relationship, so when analysing this relationship you have to put into context the qualities of the behaviour exhibited, the qualities of the situation that instigates the behaviour, the qualities of the person and the qualities of the attitude itself.
Azjen and Fishbien (1977) made it clear of the importance of measuring attitude and behaviour at the same level of specificity. This is important because an individual’s attitude can range from being specific (For example, will a football fan go to watch his team play on Saturday?) to general (For example, how many games of football will a football fan watch this week?). According to Azjen and Fishbien a specific behaviour is best predicted by an attitudinal question that is on par to the action in the question, the target of the question, the context in which the action is performed and the time of the action. For example, Will you be going to Celtic Park on Saturday for the Aberdeen game?
Every human being is different and...