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Attitudes and Personality Paper

A description of the differences between personality and attitude.

Personality is the set of behaviors, thoughts, and emotions that can be used to describe a person’s character. It is organized into five major areas: openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, and extraversion. These traits can be observed through the analysis of a person’s behavior. People have attitudes towards different things in their life, such as things other people say or things mentioned in an article. People also have their own personal opinions about specific topics like politics or religion, which are preferences for specific values they may value more than others (Swami et al., 2012). Attitudes are the beliefs about things. Unlike personality, attitudes are not observable and can be changed or learned. They can be measured by a variety of methods such as questionnaires, interviews, content analysis and observation of behavior. Attitudes are often measured with scales which include things like whether people prefer a new law to pass or whether they think it will be good if the law is passed. These scales measure attitude toward certain laws (Swami, et al., 2012). In contrast to personality, attitudes are measured over long periods of time and it is not possible to tell whether the attitude has changed with time because they can change so quickly over time that no relationship between change in an attitude and change in personality has been found.

A description of how people’s attitudes are externally and internally changed

People’s attitudes can either be external or internal. External attitude is a person’s attitude toward an object or event. The external attitude is typically measured in surveys and observations. Internal attitude is the one which is usually measured through behavioral research. People’s attitudes are internally changed when they act on their attitudes by doing things to change the attitude, such as persuading others with arguments to convince them to adopt a certain belief. People change attitudes depending on their goals, motives, and feedback they receive from the environment. If people have positive personal goals then they tend to develop positive attitudes because they are trying to achieve something. It is more likely that people with similar attitudes will show togetherness and mutual helpfulness. In contrast, if people have negative personal goals then they tend to develop negative attitudes because they are trying to avoid something. The process of attitude change is different whether the goal has been adopted or not. If a person has adopted a goal and tries to achieve it with positive motives, then they will change their attitude so as to achieve the goals (Swami et al., 2012). On the other hand, if a person has adopted a goal and tries to achieve it with negative motives, then they will change their attitude so as to avoid the goals. It is called attitudinal learning or thought learning because this involves changing one’s mind about something.

A definition of conformity and how types of social influence can affect a person’s attitude.

Conformity is when a person changes their attitudes and beliefs to match the attitudes held by the majority of others in a group. These social pressures are known as conformity, normative, or informational pressures. Most people tend to be conformists because they want to fit well in social groups. There are five types of conformity: normative conformity, informational conformity, coercive persuasion, self-preservation, and informational influence. Normative conformity is when a person changes their opinions to match or avoid being rejected or punished by others. Informational conformity is when people change their opinions because they receive new information or because they find it hard to make decisions on their own. Informational conformity is not just limited to receiving new information but also includes being influenced by what others say. People conform to avoid emotional discomfort or personal embarrassment (Cialdini & Goldstein, 2004). Coercive persuasion is when a person changes their opinion because they are forced by another person, through rewards or punishments, to change their thoughts and attitude. Self-preservation conformity is when a person changes their opinions due to fear of some harm or loss. Informational influence is when people change their opinion because they receive new information from other people, social groups, and institutions.

A description of how these concepts relate to social psychology.

Social psychology is the study of the ways that people think and act in groups or social settings. It is a field of psychology that involves studies of how people think and act in society, group life, organizations and other social settings. It is one of the fastest growing fields of psychology. Social psychologists are interested in understanding how groups are formed and what happens when groups form. They study why people behave differently from each other within groups or social settings (Cialdini & Goldstein, 2004). Social psychologists are interested in various social behaviors. They are interested in such topics as aggression, prejudice and helping behavior. Social psychology studies the influences that affect a person’s thoughts and feelings. It is the study of the interactions of one person with another, with a group, or with an organization. In general, there are three areas of scientific inquiry in social psychology which include cognitive processes in social perception, emotional experiences which have to do with basic human tendencies to feel emotions like love and hate driven by biological processes, and social behavior that has to do with how people interact with each other.


Cialdini, R. B., & Goldstein, N. J. (2004). Social influence: Compliance and conformity. Annual review of psychology, 55(1), 591-621.

Swami, V., Nader, I. W., Pietschnig, J., Stieger, S., Tran, U. S., & Voracek, M. (2012). Personality and individual difference correlates of attitudes toward human rights and civil liberties. Personality and Individual Differences, 53(4), 443-447.


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