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What factors have been identified as being responsible for attitudes not being related to behaviour?How have these factors been incorporated into psychological models of behaviour choice?

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What factors have been identified as being responsible for attitudes not being related to behaviour? How have these factors been incorporated into psychological models of behaviour choice? Himmelfarb and Eagly (1974) described an attitude as " a relatively enduring organisation of beliefs, feelings and behavioural tendencies, towards socially significant objects". Many researchers (Cohen, 1964; Festinger, 1964; Abelson, 1972) have questioned the strength of the attitude-behaviour relationship. This essay will firstly discuss attitude formation and proceed to propose several factors which may hamper corresponding behaviours from attitudes. Subsequent models that incorporate discretionary factors will also be presented as each is discussed. The essay will conclude by summarising the illustrated factors, and their relevant roles within behaviour choice models, lastly proposing four essential factors within the attitude -behaviour relationship. Attitudes contain functional and structural components which are believed to be the foundation of behaviour and attitude relationships (Pennington, 1990). Four main attitude functions are proposed to facilitate between internal and external demands enabling individual mediation with the environment; adaptive (hedonistic functions), knowledge (about the physical and social world), self-expressive (identity) and ego defensive (maintaining self image) (Pennington, 1990). It could be surmised that, if these functions are elusive, attitude exhibition may be reduced. ...read more.


Low self-efficacy, in relation to behaviour correspondence, is incorporated into the Social Learning Theory (Bandura, 1977). Behavioural intentions are largely explained, by individual's knowledge and values about the environment (Kaiser, Wolfing, and Fuher, 1999). It is argued, (Ajzen and Fishbein, 1980) that knowledge only provides information about overall behaviour patterns and little about behaviour likelihood. This suggests therefore, that insufficient qualitative knowledge may reduce behaviour predictability. Attitude commitment has also been illustrated (Tanner, 1999) to contribute to behaviour, since the occurrence of introspection may alter attitude stability (Wilson, Hodges and LaFleur, 1995). Thus, attitude instability may not cause corresponding actions. Information [obtained from environmental and intrapersonal sources] is a prime influencer which can result in either avocation or avoidance of a behaviour (Ogden, 2000). For example, one may want healthy lungs, but lack information about cancer, and lack the motivation to stop smoking. Consequently, avoidant behaviour will not result. Fazio (1990) proposed that individuals, who are unable to make dependable decisions about attitude related behaviour, rely on 'highly accessible attitudes' that automatically guide behaviour. The MODE model (Fazio, 1990) supposes that in situations where motivations are absent, behaviour may be involuntarily facilitated by attitude. ...read more.


Other theorists have also recognised, the social determinant implications (i.e. self-concept, moral norms, roles), which are incorporated into the Theory of Interpersonal Behaviour (Triandis, 1967; 1977). However, the most recognised theory for attitude-behaviour relationship is that of Reasoned Action which explains the importance of social norms and how individuals view them in addition to behaviour intention and behaviour control (Leon, Perugini and Ercolani, 1999). Bentler and Speckart's (1979) model of Attitude Behaviour Relation, also suggests, correlations between attitude and behaviour are equally influenced by attitudes, subjective norms, and previous behaviour. This essay has proposed several factors that may interfere with the attitude-behaviour relationship, including attitude formation (cognitive and effective components), internal (knowledge, commitment, morals) and external (alternatives choices, information) influences. These have been discussed as having been identified in one or several models including; the TPB and the Decision theory. Through desire, attitudes are shown to be connected to intentions, which in turn are good predictors of behaviour. Thus, there is little direct association between attitude and behaviour. However, four important components are proposed to interfere with the behaviour-attitude relationship; past behaviour, motivation (desire), normative beliefs, and locus of control. Though the MODE model, Expectancy value model, and TPB incorporate these factors individually, no specific model predominantly identifies all four. It is therefore; suggested further investigation needs to be implemented to test the variables. ...read more.

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