Monday, 17 December 2012


What is an attitude? Allport (1935) defined an attitude as a mental or neural
state of readiness, organized through experience, exerting a directive
or dynamic influence on the individual’s response to all objects and situations
to which it is related. A simpler definition of attitude is a mindset
or a tendency to act in a particular way due to both an individual’s
experience and temperament. Attitudes help us define how we see situations, as well as define how
we behave toward the situation or object.
Formation of Attitudes
How are attitudes formed? Attitude formation is a result of learning, modeling
others, and our direct experiences with people and situations. Attitudes
influence our decisions, guide our behavior, and impact what we selectively
Perception is closely related to attitudes. Perception is the process by
which organisms interpret and organize sensation to produce a meaningful
experience of the world (Lindsay & Norman, 1977). In other words, a
person is confronted with a situation or stimuli. The person interprets the
stimuli into something meaningful to him or her based on prior experiences.
However, what an individual interprets or perceives may be substantially
different from reality.
The perception process follows four stages: stimulation, registration,
organization, and interpretation
A person’s awareness and acceptance of the stimuli play an important
role in the perception process. Receptiveness to the stimuli is highly
selective and may be limited by a person’s existing beliefs, attitude, motivation,
and personality . Individuals will select the stimuli
that satisfy their immediate needs (perceptual vigilance) and may
disregard stimuli that may cause psychological anxiety (perceptual
Social Perception
Social perception is how an individual “sees” others and how others perceive
an individual. This is accomplished through various means such as
classifying an individual based on a single characteristic (halo effect),
evaluating a person’s characteristics by comparison to others (contrast
effect), perceiving others in ways that really reflect a perceiver’s own attitudes
and beliefs (projection), judging someone on the basis of one’s
perception of the group to which that person belongs (stereotyping),
causing a person to act erroneously based on another person’s perception
(pygmalion effect), or controlling another person’s perception of
oneself (impression management).
Halo Effect
The halo effect occurs when an individual draws a general impression about
another person based on a single characteristic, such as intelligence, sociability,
or appearance. The perceiver may evaluate the other individual
high on many traits because of his or her belief that the individual is high
 Contrast Effects
Research has provided evidence that perceptions are also subject to what
is termed perceptual contrast effects. Contrast effects relate to an individual’s
evaluation of another person’s characteristics based on (or affected
by) comparisons with other people who rank higher or lower on the same
characteristicsone trait.
Whereas, contrast effect is the perception of an individual based on the
comparison to others, projection is the attribution of one’s own attitudes
and beliefs onto others. All of us are guilty of unconsciously projecting
our own beliefs onto others
StereotypingIn 1798, printers invented a new way to permanently fix and reproducevisual images. This precursor to modern photographic printing processeswas called stereotyping.

Personality encompasses a person’s relatively stable feelings, thoughts, and behavioral patterns. Each of us has a unique personality that differentiates us from other people, and understanding someone’s personality gives us clues about how that person is likely to act and feel in a variety of situations. To manage effectively, it is helpful to understand the personalities of different employees. Having this knowledge is also useful for placing people into jobs and organizations.