Characteristics of attitudes:
Attitude is a mind setup indicating views or thoughts, regarding various issues (called the ‘attitude object’), which have an evaluative attribute (positive, negative or neutral quality). In general, attitudes are formed through one’s own experiences, and living in close interaction with others. Attitude can be characterized by their valence, multiplexity, relation to need and centrality.
Valence: It refers to the extent or degree of favorableness or un-favorableness towards the object. Valence means natural or intrinsic goodness or badness associated with any object. While measuring the attitudes we are basically concerned with the valence. If a person is relatively indifferent toward the object then his attitude has low valence. On the other hand if the person is extremely favorable or unfavorable toward the object his attitude will have a high valence.
Multiplexity: It refers to the elements constituting the attitude. It means how many attitudes constitute a broader attitude. If a single or few elements are there then attitude is simple otherwise it is complex. For example if a student may show interest in studies but other does not show only interest but also works hard is sincere and serious. Similarly an employee may be loyal only and other may be loyal, respectful, punctual and fearful also.
Relation to needs: Attitudes differ in relation to need they dole out. Attitude that fulfills more needs will be more dominating than the attitude serving a single need. For instance attitude of an individual toward a picture may serve only entertainment needs. On the other hand attitude of an individual toward a task may serve strong needs for security achievement recognition and satisfaction.
Centrality: One salient characteristic of the attitude refers to the importance of attitude object to the individual. The centrality specifies the significance of object. An attitude with larger centrality would influence the other attitudes in the system more than non-central (or peripheral) attitudes would. The attitudes with high centrality for an individual will be less prone to change.