Our mental life is largely made up of a kaleidoscopic variety of attitudes. We are accustomed to think of sensations and ideas when we speak of mental life; but deeper . . . is the life of feeling . . . and attitudes. -- BURNHAM
We have found reason for very great doubt of the positivistic thesis that has been held to very recent years, namely: that either all or the very great majority of delinquents and criminals are laden with defective traits as compared with the general population. When we take the sum of the per cent of feeble-minded, psychopathic, mentally diseased, and epileptic in the delinquent group there is still a large proportion to be accounted for.
It is with this remainder in mind that we now proceed to a study of attitudes. We do not mean to imply that the groups mentioned in the paragraph above are without attitudes and that to find them one must go beyond their limits.
Attitudes are states of the organism that, at a given moment, or in a given circumstance, affect our behavior as a matter of course: i.e., without our deliberately planning it or giving any reason for it. We may not even be able to give a reason for it. Thus as a matter of course one of us leans toward affiliation with this religious organization or political party and another with that. And again, as a matter of course, the physician responds to one sort of appeal for aid and the lawyer to another. But it is not only "at a given moment" or "in a given circumstance" that the attitude is effective. It is so continuously; affecting our interests, our affections, aversions, our day-dreams, the subject matter of our thinking, our overt acts, etc. At least it is by reason of attitudes that we are "on the hair trigger" in respect to our interests, aversions, and all the rest. That is, he who has a favorable attitude toward the Democratic party because, as a lazy man, having grown up in the atmosphere of the party, he has merely gravitated into it, does not require to be urged to vote the Democratic ticket. No more does the physician