ATTITUDE COMPONENTS AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON COMMUNICATION
The explanation of how attitudes influence the process of communication has continued to dominate academic discourses. While some scholars are of the view that attitudes play no significant role in the communication process, others assert that communication, indeed, depends on it. The theoretical underpinning behind the paper is the Theory of Planned Behaviour introduced by Icek Azjen in 1991. The theory focuses on the role that cognitive self-regulation plays in the prediction and explanation of an individual’s behaviour. This paper is based on the assumption that understanding of attitude components, identified as affect or emotions, cognition or thoughts and behaviour or action, is crucial to proper appreciation of the communication process. Affect as a component has traditionally always been used to describe both negative and positive feelings or emotions that an individual may have and involves four psychological categories of feelings, emotions, moods and passions.
The cognitive component of attitude is made up of beliefs, thoughts and opinions that enable an individual to think and to have general knowledge of a person or an object of interest and is defined as the act or process of knowing, perceiving or relating to mental processes of memory, judgement and reasoning. The behavioural component has to do with an individual’s tendencies to behave in a particular way towards an object of interest. It is defined as the way in which any individual acts or conducts himself/herself, especially towards others, and manifests in some four different ways of aggressive, assertive, passive or passive-aggressive forms. Studies have shown that these components not only correlate but support one another in their activities. These interrelationships and understanding of their influence on the reception or rejection of environmental stimuli are crucial to the process of communication.
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