Where Does the Behavior Come From in Attitude-Behavior Relations?
Toward a Connectionist Model of Behavior Generation
Yoshihisa Kashima Virginia Lewis La Trobe University
The relation between attitudes and behavior has been a central question in nearly three decades of attitude research. Triggered by Wicker ( 1969) charge that empirical evidence for an attitude-behavior relation is weak at best, a flurry of research followed. Perhaps now social psychology can lay claim to some solutions to the ways attitudes guide behaviors ( Eagly, 1992). With Wicker's pessimistic condemnation long forgotten, the attitude construct is still thriving as a central concept in social psychology, as Allport ( 1935) crowned it more than half a century ago. Yet, there is a neglected issue in the current literature on attitude-behavior relations--where does the behavior come from? How do people generate behaviors when attitudes guide their enactment in some fashion? We explicate this question and describe a solution drawing on the emerging literature on connectionist approaches to social psychology.
The major approaches to the question of attitude-behavior relations, one based on the theory of reasoned action (TRA; Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) and the other seeking to delineate conditions un-