Sources of Attitude development

All attitudes ultimately develop from human needs and the values people place upon objects that satisfy those perceived needs. This section discusses sources that make us aware of needs, their importance to us, and how our attitudes develop toward objects that satisfy needs.

Personal experience

People come into contact with objects in their everyday environment. Some are familiar while others are new. We evaluate the new and reevaluate the old and this evaluation process assists in developing attitudes toward objects. For example, consider a gourmet cook who has searched two months for a new food processor only to have it break down three months after purchase. Through direct experience she will then reevaluate her earlier attitude forward the processor.

Our direct experiences with sales representative products services and stores help to create and shape our attitudes toward those market objects However, several factors influence how we will evaluate such direct contacts.

Needs: Because needs differ and also vary over time, people can develop different attitudes toward the same object at different points in their life.

Selective perception: We have seen that people operate on their personal interpretation of reality. Therefore the way people interpret information about products stores and so on, affects their attitudes.

Personality is another factor influencing how people process their direct experiences with objects. How aggressive passive introverted extroverted and so on that people are will affect the attitudes they form.

Group Associations

All people are influenced to one degree or another by other members in the groups to which they belong. Attitudes are one target for this influence. Our attitudes toward products ethics warfare and a multitude of other subjects are influenced strongly by groups that we value and with which we do or wish to associate. Several groups, including family, work, and peer groups, and cultural and sub-cultural groups, are important in affecting a person’s attitude development.

Influential Others

A consumer’s attitude can be formed and changed through personal contact with influential persons such as respected friends relatives and experts. Opinion leaders are examples of people who are respected by their followers and who may strongly influence the attitudes and purchase behavior of followers.

To capitalize on this type of influence, advertisers often use actors and actresses who look similar to or act similar to their intended audiences. People tend to like others who are similar to themselves because they believe that they share he same problems form the same judgments and use the same criteria for evaluating products. Another application which advertisers use to influence audience attitudes is the so called slice of life commercial. These ads show typical people confronting typical problems and finding solutions in the use of the advertised brand, Examples include ads for Head and Shoulders shampoo (to solve dandruff problems). Crest toothpaste (to fight cavities) and Midas mufflers.

A pictorial summary of what we have learned so far is depicted in Figure. The diagram is a simple representation of the concepts that have been discussed in the pervious sections. It shows that several sources provide consumers with information and influence about products, services, retail stores and other objects. The individual selectively receives and distorts the information according to her individual needs values and personality and according to how well the information fits with currently held beliefs and attitudes. This processed information initiates either development change or confirmation in the consumer’s beliefs about the product and the importance of each of the product’s attributes to her and her current needs. Out of this process is synthesized a general attitude toward a product. This represents a rather traditional view of attitudes view of attitudes. Admittedly this model also is an oversimplification. However it presents a concise picture of psychological and external elements often claimed to be involved in the process of forming attitudes toward products. Also, it should be pointed out that the process is dynamic. It continues to change over time.