A social attitude is an acquired tendency to evaluate social things in a specific way. It’s characterized by positive or negative beliefs, feelings and behaviors towards a particular entity. Social attitude has three main components: emotional, cognitive and behavioral. There are explicit and implicit attitudes.
The emotional component is the feeling experienced on evaluation of a particular entity. The cognitive aspect implies thoughts and beliefs adopted towards the subject, while the behavioral component is the conduct that results from a social attitude. An individual with an explicit attitude is aware of it and how it dictates his behavior and beliefs. On the other hand, a person may not be conscious of his implicit attitude, although it still may influence his beliefs and behavior.
People pick social attitudes from personal experiences or observation. Likewise, social roles and norms can dictate formation of attitudes. Social roles determine the behavior an individual occupying a particular position or context in the society is expected to demonstrate, while social norms define the conduct that’s acceptable to the society.
However, social attitude does not always lead to specific behavior. For example, someone may favor policies of a specific politician but fail to turn out to vote. Attitudes can be dropped the same way they’re learned.