Attitudes represent people’s overall evaluation of another person or object, which include cognitive and affective components. In general, attitudes vary in strength and lie on a continuum that ranges from unfavorable to favorable. Researchers cannot directly observe people’s attitudes and thus need to infer them by observing behavior, or by direct or indirect measurement, as through attitude scales. This entry covers the history of attitude scaling, the aspects to consider when creating methodically strong attitude scales, and future directions in the area of attitude scaling.
The concept of attitudes was introduced in social psychology and continues to play a prominent role in a wide variety of fields today (e.g., public health, communication, marketing). Early scholars such as Gordon Allport helped define the concept of an attitude, ...
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