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Attitude Functions/In their seminal works

Attitude Functions/In their seminal works, Katz (1960) and Shavitt (1990) propose various functions, or psychological needs, which attitudes fulfill. From the perspective of the functional approach, individuals can hold similar attitudes toward an object or issue, but for different reasons. Attitudes also can serve a single function or several functions.

Identify an object or issue, and consider the various functions that your attitude toward it may serve. For example, an individual might drive a particular model of car because of its safety features, whereas another individual might drive the same model of car because of the social status associated with the model.

A description of the object or issue you selected.

Explain how an attitude toward the object or issue might serve three functions.

Be specific and provide examples to illustrate your point. Please use some of the references below.


Katz, D. (1960). The functional approach to the study of attitudes. Public Opinion Quarterly, 24(2), 163-204.

Shavitt, S. (1990). The role of attitude objects in attitude functions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 26(2), 124-148.

Herek, G. M. (1987). Can functions be measured? A new perspective on the functional approach to attitudes. Social Psychology Quarterly, 50(4), 285-303.
Katz, D. (1960). The functional approach to the study of attitudes. Public Opinion Quarterly, 24(2), 163-204.
Shavitt, S. (1990). The role of attitude objects in attitude functions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 26(2), 124-148.

The Role of Attitude Objects in Attitude Functions by Shavitt, S., in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 26/Issue 2. Copyright 1990 by Elsevier Science & Technology Journals. Reprinted by permission of Elsevier Science & Technology Journals via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Anderson, D. S., & Kristiansen, C. M. (1990). Measuring attitude functions. The Journal of Social .Psychology, 130(3), 419-421.

Fazio, R. H., Blascovich, J., & Driscoll, D. M. (1992). On the functional value of attitudes: The influence of accessible attitudes upon the ease and quality of decision making. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 18(4), 388-401.

Gregory, G. D., Munch, J. M., & Peterson, M. (2002). Attitude functions in consumer research: Comparing value-attitude relations in individualist and collectivist cultures. Journal of Business Research, 55(11), 933-942.

Marsh, K. L., & Julka, D. L. (2000). A motivational approach to experimental tests of attitude functions theory. In G. R. Maio & J. M. Olson (Eds.), Why we evaluate: Functions of attitudes (pp. 271-294). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Maio, G. R., & Olson, J. M. (2000). Emergent themes and potential approaches to attitude function: The function-structure model of attitudes. In G.R. Maio & J.M. Olson (Eds.), Why we evaluate: Functions of attitudes (pp. 417-442). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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I suggest using this simple outline:

1. Attitude & Functions - 100 words
2. Functional Approach - 100 words
3. Issue - 100 words
4. Attitude & its 3 functions - 200 words

This outline should yield 500 words which should cover what you need. You can also use the listed resources if you need further clarification. All the best with your studies.

AE 105878/Xenia Jones

Attitude & Function

Attitudes - from a Jungian perspective, are the psychological responses we have towards others, objects, a situation, events, society, culture and the realities of our everyday life. They can be positive or negative and how we respond, how we feel - all these impact how we behave and act. Our attitudes are formed through our socialization from infancy to the present - so that our culture, our beliefs, our morals, our personal histories (places we traveled, the sum of our experiences) comes together to construct, our attitudes, and our psychological response. Carl Jung describes attitudes as, "a readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain way." How negatively or positively we evaluate what is before us then is impacted by our socialization and impacts the manner we process information about and how we behave, act or think about it. An attitude is said to have 3 components - cognitive (ideas about something), affective (feelings about something) and conative/behavioral (disposition towards something). Sammons (n.d.) writes that there are 4 broad categorical functions that attitudes fulfill as follows:

"The adaptive (or instrumental) function; The knowledge function; The value-expressive (or ego-expressive) function and The ego-defence function."

He continues to write that, "Any particular attitude may satisfy one or more of these functions. The most important function of any attitude can only be ascertained by considering it in relation to the person who holds it and the environment in which they operate. Consequently, what is apparently the same attitude may serve rather different purposes depending on who holds it and where/when it becomes salient to them." Adaptive function allow us to survive (i.e. a positive attitude towards hardwork), knowledge functions allow us to form schemas that make the world understandable, value-expressive function allow ...

Solution Summary

Attitude functions and their seminal works are provided.