Social attitudes: what is it in psychology, examples from life. Rigid installation

Every society has a number of specific values ​​that are formed over many years. For example, these include freedom, honesty, nobility, kindness or decency. These postulates will characterize a certain person only if the individual adheres to these rules of behavior. In psychology, this phenomenon is known under the term “social attitude.”


Social attitudes in psychology

In 1918, F. Znaniecki and W. Thomas, studying the adaptation of an individual, were able to establish a dependence, without which it was impossible to describe this process: the relationship between social organization and personality.

Scientists have proposed characterizing this relationship using 2 brief concepts:

  1. "Social value". This term began to be called social organization.
  2. “Attitude” or “social attitude” - to characterize a person.

After this, the term “attitude” was firmly rooted in foreign psychology, which reflected the state of the individual in relation to one or another social value.

F. Znaniecki and W. Thomas

Revival of interest

The third stage of studying people's social attitudes lasted from the 1950s to the 1960s. At this time, interest in the issue received its rebirth. Scientists have come up with a number of new alternative ideas. However, this period is also characterized by the discovery of signs of a crisis state of ongoing research.

The greatest interest in these years was caused by the problem associated with changes in social attitudes, as well as the connection of its elements with each other. During this period, functional theories emerged, developed by Smith together with D. Katz and Kelman. McGuire and Sarnova hypothesized about attitude changes. At the same time, scientists improved the scaling technique. In order to measure the social attitudes of an individual, scientists began to use psychophysical methods. The third stage also includes a number of studies carried out by K. Hovland’s school. Their main goal was to study the connections between effective and cognitive elements of attitude.

In 1957, L. Faostinger put forward the theory of cognitive dissonance. After this, active research began on connections of this type in various installations.

Concept and main types

Social maladjustment in psychology

Modern sociology and psychology include various definitions of social attitudes. Most often, Gordon Allport's interpretation is used to explain this term. According to the American psychologist, a social attitude is a psychological state of an individual in which the person is ready to behave in a certain way, according to past experience of “collision” with an object.

G. Allport

In the socio-psychological literature one can find 5 main types of social attitudes:

  1. Perceptual. Attitude is characterized by an individual's readiness to see what he wants to see.
  2. Situational, in which a person is ready to behave differently in relation to the same object, depending on the circumstances.
  3. Social, aimed at an object. This attitude is characterized by specific actions of the individual, regardless of the current situation.
  4. Generalized or general. The emergence of an attitude is influenced by a collection of identical objects.
  5. Private or partial. An attitude towards a certain object arises on the basis of the individual’s personal experience.

Depending on the modality, attitudes are:

  • positive or positive;
  • negative or negative;
  • neutral;
  • ambivalent.

Decline of interest

The second stage in the study of the concept of “social attitude” lasted from 1940 to the 1950s. At this time, the study of attitude began to decline. This happened due to some difficulties that were discovered, as well as deadlock positions. That is why the interest of scientists switched to dynamics in the field of group processes - a direction that was stimulated by the ideas of K. Lewin.

Despite the decline, scientists continued to study the structural components of social attitudes. Thus, the formulation of a multicomponent approach to the antipode was proposed by M. Smith, R. Crutchfield and D. Krech. In addition, in the concept that considers the social attitudes of an individual, researchers have identified three components. These include:

  • affective, which is an assessment of an object and the feelings that arise towards it;
  • cognitive, which is reactions or beliefs that reflect the perception of a social object, as well as a person’s knowledge about it;
  • conative, or behavioral, indicating intentions, tendencies and actions in relation to a certain object.

Most social psychologists view attitude as an assessment or effect. But some experts believed that it includes all three reactions listed above.

Basic functions of social attitudes

Social environment - what is it in psychology

Attitudes are characterized by 4 key functions:

  1. Utilitarian, adaptive or instrumental. Social installation ranks first among important attitudes. The mechanism of action is aimed at helping the individual achieve his goals. The function also helps the individual adapt to the situation, reduce losses and increase rewards. Attitude influences individual identification in a group.
  2. Self-protective. Helps resolve conflicts within the individual. Protects the individual from traumatic information that can negatively affect the psyche. The function allows you to guide a person along a more “gentle” path.
  3. Self-realizing. Helps a person to discover his own abilities and organize behavior in such a way as to satisfy the necessary needs. Thanks to attitudes, the individual realizes himself and begins to understand what kind of person he is.
  4. Organizational. The main direction of this function is to organize the world around us. With the help of attitudes, an individual evaluates the acquired knowledge and correlates it with his own goals, interests and motives. Attitude helps to learn new information in the process of social cognition. This helps solve many problems.


The fourth stage of attitude research occurred in the 1970s. At this time, this direction was abandoned by scientists. The apparent stagnation was associated with a large number of contradictions, as well as the existing incomparable facts. It was a time of reflection on the mistakes that had occurred throughout the entire period of studying the attitude. The fourth stage is characterized by the creation of many “mini-theories”. With their help, scientists tried to explain the accumulated material that already existed on this problem.

Structure and components of social attitude

Social anxiety - what is it?

Scientist M. Smith in 1942 defined a three-component structure of a social attitude. It includes:

  1. Cognitive component. It is characterized by the subject having knowledge about the area of ​​life to which this or that attitude relates.
  2. Affective component. Expressed in emotional assessments, feelings and experiences associated with events, objects or processes.
  3. Behavioral component. It is characterized by real actions that a person can perform in relation to the object in question.

Behavioral component

Attitude components can either overlap or exist separately.

Important! If all components of the structure are not in conflict with each other, then the settings can be considered consistent.

For example, the presence of a favorable background, positive knowledge and positive actions indicates the presence of harmonious attitudes. When social attitudes are inconsistent, there will be a chaos of negative information, positive attitudes, and neutral actions.

To take consistent steps, a person requires consistent attitudes. Otherwise, the individual will be tormented by ambivalent feelings, and contradictory actions will begin to dominate his behavior.

What is attitude?

A social attitude is understood as a specific image of various actions that an individual implements or intends to implement in a specific situation. That is, attitude can be understood as the inclination (predisposition) of a subject to certain social behavior. This phenomenon has a complex structure that includes many components. Among them is the individual's predisposition to perceive and evaluate, realize and ultimately act in a certain way regarding some social subject.

How does official science interpret this concept? In social psychology, the term “social attitude” is used in relation to a certain disposition of a person that organizes his feelings, thoughts and possible actions taking into account the existing object.

Attitude is also understood as a special type of belief, which characterizes an individual’s already established assessment of a certain object.

When considering this concept, it is important to understand the differences between the terms “attitude” and “social attitude.” The last of them is considered the state of consciousness of the individual, while functioning at the level of social relations.

Attitude is considered a kind of hypothetical constructor. Being unobservable, it is determined based on the measured reactions of the individual, reflecting negative or positive assessments of the social object in question.

Formation of social attitudes in humans

The process of development of social attitudes, according to the research of J. Godefroy, occurs in 4 stages:

  1. Up to 12 years of age, children experience the formation of attitudes that are identical to their parents’ models.
  2. From 12 to 20 years old, girls and boys learn social roles. Against this background, attitudes begin to take on the most concrete forms.
  3. In the period from 20 to 30 years, social values ​​and worldview crystallize, on the basis of which stable mental formations are formed - a number of different beliefs.
  4. At the age of 30 years and older, attitudes are characterized by stability and fixity. Therefore, it is much more difficult for a mature person to change attitudes than in his youth.

Thanks to knowledge about the stages of attitude formation, entire programs are built in pedagogy and social science to help guide young people along a comfortable and socially correct life path.

What approaches are used

The following approaches can influence the formation of social attitudes:

  • cognitive;
  • motivational;
  • structural;
  • behaviorist;
  • genetic.

With the cognitive approach, attitudes are formed as a result of the individual’s desire to resolve internal conflicts that arise due to cognitions and attitudes.

The genetic direction suggests that the development of all attitudes is inextricably linked with innate personality characteristics:

  • temperament;
  • intellectual abilities;
  • biochemical reactions.

Such “innate” attitudes are considered the most durable, in contrast to “acquired” ones.

Congenital and acquired forms of behavior

In the behaviorist approach, attitudes are understood as intermediate variables between the external world and objective stimuli. Therefore, the subject practically does not take part in the formation of attitudes. Development is carried out with the help of:

  • observing the behavior of other individuals and analyzing the consequences;
  • positive reinforcement;
  • formation of associative connections between existing attitudes and stimuli.

Within the framework of the structural approach, the development of attitudes is carried out through comparison with the attitudes of surrounding people. The individual begins to “adjust” his own worldview and value views in order to correspond to one or another social category of persons.

For the motivational approach, the basis for the development of social attitudes is a series of balanced arguments “for” and “against” a particular attitude.

Continued study

Research on the problem of attitude resumed again in the 1980s and 1990s. At the same time, scientists have increased interest in systems of social attitudes. They began to be understood as such complex formations that include the most significant reactions that arise to an object in society. The revival of interest at this stage was associated with the needs of various practical areas.

In addition to studying systems of social attitudes, interest in the problem of changing attitudes, as well as their role in processing incoming data, began to grow steadily. In the 80s, several cognitive models were created by J. Capoccio, R. Petty and S. Chaiken, which relate to the field of persuasive communication. Scientists were especially interested in understanding how social attitudes and human behavior are related.

Changing social attitudes

During a person’s life, not only social attitudes are formed, but also they change.

Additional Information. It is this feature that distinguishes attitudes from other psychological characteristics of a person.

Example, formation and change of character, abilities, temperament are carried out slowly and insignificantly throughout life, and the transformation of social attitudes can occur rapidly and repeatedly. Therefore, in order to predict an individual’s behavior, it is necessary, first of all, to pay attention to his attitudes, and not other personality traits.

The main goals of changing attitudes are:

  • adding knowledge;
  • adjustment of views;
  • improving relationships with other people.

The best way to change attitudes is through suggestion. It can be implemented through:

  • authoritative personalities;
  • parents' beliefs;
  • mass media.

To change attitudes, the psychological or social proximity of a particular source of information is of great importance.

Changing social outlook

Important! If a person does not have trust in the subject trying to correct his attitudes, there will be no positive result.

Also, the speed and quality of changes in beliefs are influenced by the order and content of incoming information. The first information has a stronger influence on attitudes than subsequent information. In the event that a person is warned that it is impossible to trust the initial materials, subsequently this primary information will not be taken seriously by the individual.

Additional Information. If a person first received information and then learned that it was unreliable, then in most cases this information will not be able to influence a change in attitudes.

The simplicity of the material presented is an important key to correcting attitudes. An individual will not want to understand complex and distorted information.

Psychological attitudes are an integral part of every individual. To learn how to use them for good, you need to not only be aware of their presence, but also engage in self-reflection. Deep work with your own emotions, feelings and beliefs will help you get rid of internal barriers and improve your life and relationships with society.


The concept arose after a study by W. Thomas and F. Znaniecki was published in 1918. Scientists analyzed letters from people who emigrated from Poland to the United States. It turned out that when emigrants went to a foreign country, having determined for themselves that this was a temporary need to earn money, the period of their adaptation passed slowly and, one might say, even painfully. They had a hard time learning the language and culture and for a long time they could not get along in the new place.

But there were also those who moved with the idea of ​​staying in the country forever and starting life anew. And such individuals adapted to unusual conditions much faster and more productively.

As a result of these observations, the researchers concluded that each individual consciously or subconsciously forms an internal attitude towards his own presence in the United States. And existence and motivation depend on it. This phenomenon is called “attitude”.

But this was only the beginning of studying this issue. In 1929, Lewis Thurstone created the first ways to measure installations. He began to assert the presence of an emotional factor in its structure.

There were also opposing opinions. For example, scientist V. Park believed that the state is not subject to direct observation. It is latent in nature and develops through life experience.

Besides this, there were many other theories. But the work of W. Thomas and F. Znaniecki gave impetus to their emergence and development and made the phenomenon central to psychology.

The concept of social attitude

Defining this term is not the easiest task. Discussing in Capital about such a phenomenon as the “commodity”, Karl Marx joked that it was not clear from which side to take it. The same is true with attitude. I'll go from the beginning.

From the very beginning, the concept represented the psychophysiological readiness of the human body to react to certain aspirations and stimuli. Researchers such as L. Lange, and later T. Schumann and G. Müller noticed that when an individual does the same thing, he develops a predisposition to react to a certain external event.

Around the beginning of the 20th century, the term began to be used in various branches of psychology, in particular depth. K. Jung considered this phenomenon fundamental in order to reveal the mental and mental state that influences specific types of his behavior.

But the simplest and most understandable definition was given by the same Thomas and Znaniecki. In their opinion, the social attitude of an individual is the assimilation of a certain social value, which, in essence, is its subjective awareness. In other words, it is a generally accepted norm in the form of individual existence.

Let's take freedom, for example. Each individual perceives and follows it in his own way. Therefore, a person’s attitudinal state in relation to this phenomenon will be personal.

Therefore, we can say that this is a unique form of relationship between the individual and society. At the same time, it represents both a detail of the mental structure of an individual participant and an element of a system of generally accepted values.

What is the psychological attitude of the individual?

Every thought that flashes through our heads, every phrase that we mentally repeat to ourselves, every statement or judgment we make about ourselves is our psychological attitudes.

Psychological attitudes can be long-term or short-term.

Attitudes depend on our mood, well-being, attitude towards ourselves or something, our beliefs, principles, worldview and even our desires. So, if you want to change your life today, then you can use one or another psychological attitude.

There are also psychological attitudes of the individual that contribute to its self-development.

Every psychological attitude is a command given to your brain

Psychological attitudes influence your way of thinking and focus your attention on the fulfillment of a particular desire. Setting up for success

Psychological attitudes are formed both unconsciously and consciously

When you have formed any idea about yourself, you strive - completely unconsciously - to communicate with those people, read those books, watch those films that confirm your beliefs. You can consciously use the possibilities of psychological attitudes to change your way of thinking. Change minus to plus

Formation of the psychological attitude of the individual

This process involves speaking out your desired ideas about yourself. Almost like in the movie “The Most Charming and Attractive.”

Wanting to become charming and attractive, you seem to convince yourself that this is so through regular repetitions of a certain phrase. These phrases are called affirmations, or psychological attitudes. You give a certain task to yourself and your brain to become what you want to become. Or the way you imagine yourself

When forming psychological attitudes, it is important that they do not contain tasks that you are not able to complete. Or those that, by your nature, do not correspond to you at all. One of the functions of psychological attitudes is the development of a harmonious personality, which is why it is so important to choose affirmations that do not contradict your inner self.

Make sure you are in a good mood when you say this or that affirmation. If you are tired or in a bad mood, use the setting that best suits your condition.

When speaking affirmations, it is very important what you feel at that moment. Each attitude that you pronounce should evoke a pleasant feeling in your soul. And after saying the installation, you should feel better.

Choose one or two settings. Don't use the same ones all the time, but change them regularly so that you can feel which affirmations make you feel good and are most consistent with your goals.

You can create your own personal psychological attitude, or you can use the general ones.

Approximate psychological attitudes of the individual

  • "My actions are consistent with my thoughts"
  • “I live in harmony with nature and myself”
  • “I am full of creative ideas that bring joy and happiness to people.”

• I am full of self-confidence and believe in my abilities. • All events that happen in my life are for my benefit. • I am full of strength and energy.

• I will definitely achieve all my goals. • My inner strength and self-confidence are growing every day. • I am successful in everything. • I enjoy all events that can teach me something new.

Other psychological attitudes

  • I remember the values ​​that are important to me.
  • I know what I want and how to achieve it.
  • I make decisions with confidence.
  • I am happy and successful in work and personal life.
  • I myself create positive events in my life.

• I hear my inner voice clearly and distinctly. • I am grateful to fate and happy to be alive.

When choosing a setup, use your intuition. After all, the affirmation that causes a pleasant feeling is correct for you.

Recite the mental attitude for five minutes over and over again. Feel its positive impact on your personality, how it contributes to the realization of your potential.

Talk about a setting that suits you throughout the day as often as possible. Repeat it before going to bed and in the morning immediately after waking up. Just smile and mentally say one of the psychological attitudes several times.

Psychological attitudes or affirmations?

Affirmations are one of the best and most effective methods of combating indecision and doubt. Use attitudes especially when negative thoughts begin to overwhelm you.

Doubts are also just thoughts. Doubts gain strength and power over you only when you focus on them. So are affirmations.

There is no need to fight doubts. It’s better to cast doubt aside as if it has nothing to do with you. Instead of doubting, say your favorite psychological attitude several times and smile.

A person decides for himself which thoughts to allow and which to discard. With the help of a psychological attitude, you essentially control your life.

( 2 ratings, average 4.5 out of 5 )
Did you like the article? Share with friends:
For any suggestions regarding the site: [email protected]
Для любых предложений по сайту: [email protected]