Difference Between Attitude and Behavior (With Table)

Attitude vs Behavior

The key difference between Attitude and Behavior lies in the fact that “Attitude” refers to a person’s opinion or feeling regarding someone or something which differs person by person while behavior refers to a person’s action or talk with someone.

Attitude is based on experience whereas behavior is based on the situation. Attitude depends on humans or things and behavior is inborn.

We often mistake attitude as a synonym for behavior; however, the relationship between these two is not entirely clear cut.

Every behavior is not universal according to the perceived attitude, and an attitude does not always predict future action.

As complex as a humans brain, we will delve deep into how both words almost sound alike but have a completely different meaning.

We will also get a clear view of how an attitude and behavior interact with each other, how a situation and circumstances come between the two, and how it plays vital roles in a human psychological aspect. 


Parameter of ComparisonAttitudeBehavior
DefinitionAn attitude is a mental and emotional entity that characterizes a person. It is best to describe as an evaluation of people, objects, ideas, and events.Behavior is the action done after the attitude occurs
InfluenceAn attitude influenced by a personal belief, knowledge, upbringing, and social norms.Behavior is an action influenced by an attitude, intention, social norms, and past experiences.
The differenceAn attitude is a mind's perception of things, people, and events.Behavior is the action that occurs in response to an event or situation.
BasisExperiences, upbringing, or observation.Situation
Ability to changeSeldom changes and takes time.Rapid

 

What is Attitude?

In a world of psychology, an attitude has a vast meaning and an in-depth understanding of how it works. But to put it, it is a mental and emotional entity that characterizes a person.

It is best to describe as an evaluation of people, objects, ideas, and events. It can be explicit or implicit, weak or strong, positive or negative.

An attitude has three structures:

  1. Cognitive aspect – which shows how people think. It involves a person’s belief and knowledge.
  2.  Affective aspect – Shows how people feel and involves emotions.
  3.  Behavioral aspect – Shows how people tend to behave.

 It came from experiences, upbringing, social norms, and observing people. Although attitude changes over time, a strong one is not easy to change and may take a longer time to do so.

It has the strength and has always been a good predictor of behavior.

The stronger the attitude is, the more likely it is to affect a person’s behavior. The attitude’s strength involves personal relevance and knowledge. It means that a person relates to self-interest, value, and social identification.

As human as we are, people tend to lean on topics that interest or are familiar to them. There is no stronger lesson than an experience itself, and it influences behavior more than attitude.

Though it co-exists with behavior, its relationship is weaker than we thought. For example, you take a survey from a hundred people about being an environmentalist.

You might notice that 90%, if not all, will respond positively, but do you think that all of them will engage in recycling?

A sensible person will attempt to be consistent between his or her personal beliefs and what he or she does. He or she prefers consistency.

Consonance exists when consistency between an attitude and action is present. When there is a conflict or inconsistency between them, it means there is tension within a person.

According to a psychologist, Leon Festinger, a conflict between these two creates psychological discomfort called cognitive dissonance.

A great example would be, believing that cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health, but you continue to smoke otherwise.

Attitude
Types of Attitude
 

What is Behavior?

Behavior is an activity or action done after the attitude occurs. It came from a person’s attitude base on perception for certain things, ideas, events, or beliefs.

According to a theory from MCAT Khan Academy, six aspects greatly influence a person’s behavior.

  1. Attitude (behavioral beliefs and evaluation of the likely outcomes of behavior)
  2. Past
  3. Models
  4. Willingness to engage in a type of behavior.
  5. Subjective Norms (determined by the normative expectations of the person and the motivation to comply with the relevant actions)
  6. Intention (determined by attitude toward the behavior and the subjective norm to which the attitude is related.)

Attitude and behavior co-relates and one of the assumptions is its consistency. It means that we often expect the behavior of a person to be consistent with its attitude, based on their beliefs.

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It is called the principle of consistency.

In a perfect world, a rational person should behave accordingly to what he/ she believes in; however, this doesn’t happen all the time.

For example, a person believes that consumption of junk foods will lead to various health issues and even obesity, but can’t resist having it for some reason.

This example shows that a cognitive and affective component of attitude does not always match the behavior, as one or two influences of the mentioned above may have altered this during the decision making. This evidence shows in a study by LaPiere (1934).

Behavior
Types of Behavior

Main Differences Between Attitude and Behavior

  1. An attitude is a mental disposition to ideas, people, things, and values.
  2. Since this is more of a mind’s perception, it seldom changes, and if it does, it takes a long time.
  3. An attitude is influenced by upbringing, observation, social norms, while behaviors influence is more on situations and perspectives.
  4. The strong attitude most likely leads to attaining the perceived behavior or action, while strong behavior negatively affects perception.
  5. Disposition is somehow pictured as idealistic, whereas behavior is the total opposite and more realistic.
  6. Behavior is the actual representation of expression or feelings that represent through body language, words, action, or inaction.
  7. Behavior changes rapidly depending on the situation, regardless of what a mind initially perceived.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Attitude and Behavior

  1. Does attitude predict behaviour?

    The attitude of a person can be defined as a set of emotions and beliefs of that person.

    However, behavior can be defined as the person’s nature towards an object, person, event or thing.

    It allows us to predict what a person can do in a specific situation at a specific place with a specific person.

    Knowing the attitude of a person can help in predicting a person’s behavior.

    A person’s attitude is expected to be consistent with the person’s behavior.
    For example – John is religious so he will go to the church.

  2. What are the three components of attitudes?

    Attitude has three major components which are defined as “ABC” model of attitude.

    1) A stands for affective. It involves a feeling or emotion towards someone or something. For example – I am scared of the spider.
    2) B stands for behavioral. It means how we act or behave towards someone or something. For example – I will scream and run if I see a snake.
    3) And, C stands for cognitive. It refers to a person’s belief, knowledge or thought towards something or someone. It depends mostly on a person’s upbringing. For example – I believe that aliens exist.

  3. What are the 4 types of behavior?

    The 4 main types of behavior are:
    Optimistic
    Pessimistic
    Trusting
    Envious

  4. What causes attitude to change?

    Attitude is an emotion or feeling evaluated from an object, people or idea. Attitude gets changed once it is modified. This happens by gaining knowledge about a particular object or idea.

    A person can be motivated by speeches or information where he gets to know more about his feelings and emotions and it may eventually change one’s attitude. The attitude of a person might change favorably or unfavorably depends on one’s thoughts.

  5. What is good behaviour?

    Good behavior is an aggregate of awareness, right conduct, and lawful & orderly action.

    An individual with good behavior is aware that he is a part of a much complex social structure and his actions would have a direct or indirect impact on others.

    A person with good behavior is humble and understands that it is not always the best idea to get angry and talk negatively about others.

    The third thing that defines a good behavior is abiding to law and order of the place or country one is living in.


 

Infographic

Attitude vs Behaviour

 

Conclusion

While it is still debatable whether an attitude should guide behavior, people assumed that it greatly influenced by attitude.

This helps a person gauge experience and predict what is likely to happen in certain situations, thus gaining a sense of control. 

Since attitude is more on perception and ideals, it takes intentions, professional interventions, and a lot of focus for it to change.

The action of an individual is abrupt. It could change in a split second even before they realize the repercussions of their activities, whether it is good or bad.

No matter how hard a mind perceived in achieving perfection to align his or her behavior to what he or she stands for, this is almost uncontrollable.

In the end, we are all human beings, and this has become woven into the fabric of our daily life.


 

Word Cloud for Difference Between Attitude and Behavior

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Attitude and Behavior. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Attitude and Behavior
Word Cloud for Attitude and Behavior

 

References

  1. https://www.verywellmind.com/attitudes-how-they-form-change-shape-behavior-2795897
  2. https://psychology.jrank.org/pages/52/Attitude-Behavior.html