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On The Consistency Between Attitudes And Behavior: Look To The Method Of Attitude Formation

D. T. Regan, R. Fazio
Published 1977 · Psychology

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Abstract A field study and a laboratory experiment were conducted to test the hypothesis that the method by which an attitude was formed is a crucial variable affecting attitude-behavior consistency. It was predicted that people who form their attitudes on the basis of direct behavioral interaction with the attitude object will demonstrate significantly greater attitude-behavior consistency than individuals whose attitudes were formed by other means. In the field study, students with direct prior experience with a housing crisis demonstrated greater consistency between their attitudes and behavioral attempts to alleviate the crisis than did students with similar attitudes but without prior direct experience. In the laboratory experiment, subjects who indicated their attitude toward a variety of puzzle types after working examples of each demonstrated greater consistency between these attitudes and subsequent behavior in a free play situation than subjects with similar attitudes formed on the basis of information given by the experimenter. It was suggested that direct behavioral experience produces an attitude which is more clearly, confidently, and stably maintained than an attitude formed through more indirect means.
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