Difference Between Attitude and Behavior

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Attitude and behavior are two concepts that are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings and implications. Understanding the difference between attitude and behavior is essential for comprehending human psychology and social dynamics. In this article, we will explore the definitions of attitude and behavior, their characteristics, and the factors that influence them.

Attitude: Definition and Characteristics

Attitude refers to a person’s evaluation, feelings, and beliefs towards an object, person, or situation. It is an internal state that influences the way individuals perceive and respond to the world around them. Attitudes can be positive, negative, or neutral and can be based on personal experiences, social influences, and cultural norms.

Characteristics of Attitude

  • 1. Cognitive Component: Attitudes involve the cognitive component, which represents the beliefs and thoughts a person holds about a particular object or situation. For example, someone may hold the belief that exercise is beneficial for health.
  • 2. Affective Component: Attitudes also include the affective component, which reflects the emotional responses and feelings associated with a specific attitude. Using the previous example, someone may have a positive emotional response towards exercise, feeling motivated and joyful when engaging in physical activity.
  • 3. Behavioral Component: Attitudes have a behavioral component, which refers to the tendency of individuals to act or behave in a way that aligns with their attitudes. However, it is important to note that attitude-behavior consistency is not always guaranteed, as attitudes may not always predict behavior accurately.

Behavior: Definition and Characteristics

Behavior, on the other hand, refers to the actions, conduct, or responses that individuals exhibit in various situations. It is the observable manifestation of attitudes, beliefs, and intentions. Behavior is influenced by a multitude of factors, including attitudes, social norms, situational context, and personal values.

Characteristics of Behavior

  • 1. Observable Actions: Behavior is observable and can be objectively measured or assessed. It involves the actions, gestures, verbal expressions, and responses that individuals demonstrate in different situations.
  • 2. Variability: Behavior can vary across individuals and situations. People may exhibit different behaviors in different contexts, depending on the social norms, personal motivations, and environmental factors at play.
  • 3. External Manifestation: Behavior is the external manifestation of internal processes, including attitudes, beliefs, and intentions. It provides insights into how individuals interact with their environment and the choices they make.

Differences Between Attitude and Behavior

Let’s explore the key differences between attitude and behavior:

  • 1. Nature: Attitude is an internal state that encompasses beliefs, feelings, and evaluations, while behavior refers to the observable actions and responses of individuals.
  • 2. Subjectivity vs. Objectivity: Attitudes are subjective and can vary across individuals, while behavior is objective and can be measured and observed.
  • 3. Consistency: Attitudes may or may not predict behavior accurately. There can be inconsistencies between what individuals believe or feel (attitude) and how they behave in a given situation.
  • 4. Influence: Attitudes can influence behavior, but behavior can also be influenced by other factors such as social norms, situational context, and personal values.
  • 5. Expression: Attitudes are expressed through behavior, but not all behaviors necessarily reflect attitudes. People may engage in certain behaviors for various reasons, even if they do not align with their attitudes.


1. Can attitude change behavior? Attitudes can influence behavior, but the relationship between the two is complex. Attitudes may motivate individuals to behave in a certain way, but other factors such as social norms and situational context can also impact behavior. 2. Can behavior change attitude? Behavior can sometimes influence attitudes. When individuals engage in certain behaviors repeatedly, it can shape their beliefs and attitudes over time. 3. What factors can influence behavior? Behavior can be influenced by various factors, including attitudes, social norms, situational context, personal values, past experiences, and cultural influences. 4. Are attitudes stable over time? Attitudes can be relatively stable, but they can also change and evolve over time due to new experiences, information, and social influences. 5. Can behavior be consistent across different situations? Behavior can vary across different situations due to the influence of contextual factors and individual differences. 6. How can attitudes and behavior be measured? Attitudes can be assessed through self-report measures, such as questionnaires or surveys, while behavior can be observed and measured directly through behavioral observations or experimental tasks.


In conclusion, attitude and behavior are two distinct concepts that play a significant role in understanding human psychology and social interactions. Attitude refers to the internal evaluation, feelings, and beliefs individuals hold towards objects, people, or situations. Behavior, on the other hand, encompasses the observable actions and responses individuals exhibit in various contexts. While attitudes can influence behavior, they may not always predict it accurately due to the influence of other factors such as social norms andsituational context. It is important to recognize the differences between attitude and behavior in order to better understand human motivation, decision-making, and social dynamics. By examining the characteristics and factors that influence both attitude and behavior, we can gain insights into the complexity of human behavior and the intricate interplay between internal states and external actions.