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MCAT Content / Attitudes / Components Of Attitudes

Components of Attitudes

Topic: Attitudes

Attitudes are thought to have three components: an affective component (feelings), a behavioral component (the effect of the attitude on behavior), and a cognitive component (belief and knowledge).

Attitude is our evaluation of a person, an idea, or an object. Typically, attitudes are favorable or unfavorable, or positive or negative. They can also be defined as a learned habit for responding to social stimuli. Attitudes form from three components; the affective, behavioral and cognitive.

The affective component of attitude relates to a person’s feelings or emotions in their shaping on attitudes to a person or object. If you feel more positive about someone you are more likely to address them in a positive manner.

The cognitive component relates to our beliefs and knowledge about someone or a situation that shapes our attitude. For example, if you know dogs bite and this is dangerous you would adapt your attitude to dogs when you see them because of your knowledge of them.

The final component is behavioral. This component involves our actions towards a person or situation. For example, if we have a positive behavior at work and there is a positive environment we are more likely to behave in a productive manner.

Practice Questions


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MCAT Official Prep (AAMC)

Practice Exam 2 P/S Section Passage 4 Question 19

Practice Exam 4 P/S Section Passage 7 Question 34

Key Points

• Attitude is our evaluation of a person, an idea, or an object. Typically, attitudes are positive or negative and involve affective, behavioral, and cognitive components.

Key Terms

attitude: a positive or negative evaluation of people, objects, events, or ideas in one’s environment

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