The Six Grand Theories of Attitude


The psychoanalysis theory is based on a persons internal conflict with there id and super ego. Secondly, it is based on the stages that you go through as you grow up and experience new things. With experiencing new things and growing up, your brain develops and you find yourself and understand who you are and why. It is reasonable to assume that each Id Ego and Superegotheoretical perspective has different views. For example, psychoanalytic theorists may believe that attitude development is based off of how we ourselves, deal and present ourselves with the situations that we are in. A person may be in an uncontrollable external situation, but it is up to them, their attitude and behaviour to decide how they will react in that environment. A person can decide to let their inner “devil”, “angel” or you can choose to compromise on what you are going to do. So, I think that psychoanalytic theorists believe that your attitude development is highly dependant on your personal reaction to any situation you are put in. For this section, psychoanalytic theorists might believe that attitude development isn’t based off external forces, but rather your personal reaction to the external force.


Theorists that fall under the behaviourism category believe in conditioning and rewarding positive behaviour. It is associated with a learning process. These theorists believe that all behaviour is learned as a response to external stimuli. So, I think it is safe to say that these theorists believe that as a person, you develop your attitude from the external forces that you are exposed to. The way you react to situations is dependant on how you have seen other people react in those types of situations. Or just how those people react in any situation. External people that have the biggest influence to the person may be their friends, family, significant other, or people that they look up to. 


Cognitivism is a theory based off of personal growth in the cognitive mind and how culture influences our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. I believe that theorists that fall under the cognitivism section think that attitude development is due to how mature our cognitive mind is and how we let the world and cultures around us, influence us. Attitude development, in the eyes of cognitivism theorists, probably think that how you act is influenced by how old you act and how mature you are as a person. The older you get, the more cognitively mature you are (based on Jean Piaget’s 4 stages). Lev Vygotsky thinks that the culture around you is the biggest influence on who you are as a person, and therefor how you act as a person.

Ecological Theory

The ecological theory is a system that revolves around the world we live in. It is composed of yourself, the microsystem, and the exosystem. It is all about how you as an individual are influenced by the ecosystems that you are in the middle of. So, I believe that theorists that study the ecological theory may believe that your attitude development is due to the factors located in your ecosystem. So, in your microsystem, you may included your family, friends, significant other, classroom and job. I think that ecological theorists would believe that your attitude development would be heavily influenced on your ecological theory model that you have built for yourself. But most importantly, your attitude would be effected mostly by the people and factors in your microsystem.


The two theorists involved with humanism believe that people’s underlying wish is to be loved and respected. They also think that a person much achieve their basic needs, and then more complex parts of their life before they can achieve self actualization. Maslow, hierarchy of needswho believes in self actualization, would associate his theory to how our attitudes develop. I believe that he would say that you need to achieve at least the first three layers of his theory. Then you would use all the aspects from those sections to develop your attitude. You attitude develops more and more as you continue to climb up the pyramid, and eventually achieve self actualization. The other theorist for this section probably believes that your attitude development depends on whether you are love and respected or not. For example, if you aren’t very loved and not many people respect you, you may be frustrated, lonely, and struggle a lot. So therefor, your attitude would reflect on that. You would have a bad attitude and may not be as positive as someone who is loved and respected.


The evolutionary theory is based on attachment and the evolution of a person/thing. Specifically, Konrad Lorenz believes that as soon as something is born, it will immediately attach its self to the first thing it recognizes. Therefor, Lorenz may believe that your attitude development is based off of what you are immediately exposed to. You pick up the things that you are exposed to and reflect them in your behaviour and attitude. For example, if you are always exposed to happy people, your attitude may also be happy. So, for this section attitude development may be based on attaching to the first attitude that you are exposed to.




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