Working Through Concepts of Attitudes and Objectives
A lecture , Virginia Tech, October 27, 1978
Attitudes are a 5-dimensional, interactive, concept of weights, time,risk (or uncertainty), space, and amount (or desired quantity) Concepts: 1.Synonymous:
2.Not related to facts. I can think, believe, have an opinion but proper word useage does not let me have an attitude about gravity, or a data fit, or meiosis.
3. Some attitudes are said to be cognitive. Only affective attitudes can be investigated (though statements about cognitive and correlative behaviors can be studied). I see no role f6r science except in the affective domaine and prefer to observe human behavior (motor, physiological, etc.).
4. The cognitive domaine is (A) Data and Information gathering,(B) Data Processing, and (C) Simulating, i.e., developing various partial and full scenarios, some of which are likely to have survival value. Cognitive attitudes pre-form affective or motor behavior, they thus do not deserve a name but are mere temporal differences in a behavioral event which may!pne day be observed.
5. All human acts can be usefully analyzed as a result of a system function, and a decision system. Some (typically physio-based like fight/flight) are pre-formed or instantaneous, but the pattern remains. The rate a system operates does not deny its existence.
An attitude is said to be a predisposition to act in a certain way. It is thus pre-formed behavior -- a temporal difference. Due to simulation (cogitation) it may be a total, complex, latent act.
6. Decisions, i.e., acts, if rational, have objectives. Most humans have sets, of objectives. These vary with individuals. One dimension of "attitude" is whether an objective is included. This may be due to no information (education can thus be said to change such attitudes), inprecise formulation (related to uncertainty), or rejected. An attitude is a function of a complex set of interrelated objectives.The set may be complete, incomplete, missing and in some cases such as time pressure, all will not be brought into play in a decision). Example: I know I should have considered X but I just forgot (or didn't have time, etc.).
7. All objectives can be weighted in terms of importance, priority, desirability, preference, rank, etc.These are typically what I see most synonymous with "attitude." They relate to goodness or badness, acceptability or not. People act typically to achieve weighted objectives.
8. People have objectives such as intercourse but also have quantity such as frequency or duration. People have "money" as an objective,but how much is relevant. "A good income" becomes an expression of one objective with an implicit amount (to the individual). My "attitude" toward a particular type work will be a function of such an objective with its amount.
9. Risk (in the or sense) relates to uncertainty and epistemology. I have an attitude about lions that differ from an attitude about a lion in my living room. I have attitudes about quarks (no! I may not for they are facts. The problem is word useage.). I have anattitude about students of quarks, but that in very uncertain and will readily change if I knew more... or loved one.
10. Love is a named complex attitude with all the dimensions above.
11. Attitudes (at least expressions of them) change given a context or location (i.e., where they are expressed) related to peer pressure etc. "I do what I would not" implies an attitude(s) imperfectly expressed. Therefore all attitudes are estimates like x-bar is an estimate of mu and should be so symbolized. They are uncertain due to uncertainties of list, weights and amounts. They are uncertain due to time and change and the events that require their use.
12. Peer pressure may be locational but TV etc. influence also. Attitudes tend to be homeostatic, there is a need for a match-up in groups if the group will be cohesive, not waste action, minimize entropy. An off-attitude (non-objective, low weight, lacadasical (i.e. low-risk), sluggish (non-time related) expression can ostracize an individual (converse = reinforcement, satisfaction).
13. They aredymanic and should be so symbolized i.e., (Delta A / Delta t)
An attitude (its surety or strength) is a function of the perceived period in which it must be used or in which it must be decided or expressed. This is related to risk.
April 9, 2005