The Basis and Structure of Attitudes: A Critical Evaluation of Experimental, Discursive, and Social Constructionist Psychological Perspectives

Themba Dlamini, Dominic Willmott, Saskia Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This piece will examine the concept of attitudes from three alternative perspectives, exploring which has greater utility for the interpretation and assessment of such governing constructs. Experimental psychologists study attitudes cognitively, arguing for the existence of such an entity. Discursive psychologists argue against the study of 'attitudes', proposing instead those attitudes should be considered as social constructions which occur through language. Notably, social constructionists claim that categories and concepts that people use to understand psychological phenomena and the world around them are historically, culturally, and contextually specific. The many differing viewpoints and explanations put forward from these perspectives are considered here along with assessing how reliable theory and research conducted to date is deemed to be.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology and Behavioral Science: An International Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2017


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