Social Psychology Attitude Change Researchers have proposed three theories to account for attitude change: learning theory, dissonance theory, and the elaboration likelihood model. Learning Theory Learning theory says that attitudes can be formed and changed through the use of learning principles such as classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational learning: • Classical conditioning: The emotional component of attitudes can be formed through classical conditioning. For example, in a billboard ad, a clothing company pairs a sweater with an attractive model who elicits a pleasant emotional response. This can make people form a positive attitude about the sweater and the clothing company. • Operant conditioning: If someone gets a positive response from others when she expresses an attitude, that attitude will be reinforced and will tend to get stronger. On the other hand, if she gets a negative response from others, that attitude tends to get weaker.
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