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date: 14 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The ability to produce meaningful evaluations of the external world (i.e., attitudes) is critical for adaptive functioning. However, to be fully adaptive, such evaluations must be flexible enough to change when circumstances warrant. The psychological processes involved in attitude change have been the subject of intensive investigation for over 50 years. We review the major themes of this literature, paying particular attention to the distinction between explicitly endorsed propositional evaluations and more automatic forms of evaluative response, often referred to as implicit attitudes. In particular, we begin by discussing the precursors of attitudinal stability versus malleability. Next, we review the role of learning in producing attitude change, with a focus on both propositional learning and affective conditioning. We then consider how external constraints on behavior and changes in evaluative context can lead to the modification of attitudes. Finally, we consider the determinants and mechanisms of resistance to attitude change.

Keywords: attitudes, evaluation, implicit attitudes, attitude change, persuasion, evaluative conditioning, cognitive dissonance

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