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Is behaviour always a reflection of one’s attitude? Explain with a relevant example.

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An individual’s attitude may not always be exhibited through behaviour. Likewise one’s actual behaviour may be contrary to one’s attitude towards a particular topic. Psychologists have found that there would be consistency between attitude and behaviour when:

 (i) The attitude is strong and occupies a central place in the attitude system. 

(ii) The person is aware of his/her attitudes. 

(iii) Person’s behaviour is not being watched or evaluated by others. 

(iv) Person thinks that the behaviour would have a positive consequences. 

Richard La Piere, an American social psychologist, conducted the following study. He asked a Chinese couple to travel across the United States, and stay in different hotels. Only once during these occasions they were refused service by one of the hotels. La Piere sent out questionnaires to managers of hotels and tourist homes in the same areas where the Chinese couple had travelled asking them if they would give accommodation to Chinese guest. A very large percentage said that they would not do so. This response showed a negative attitude towards the Chinese, which was inconsistent with the positive behaviour that was actually shown towards the travelling Chinese couple. Attitudes may not always predict actual pattern of one’s behaviour.

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