Attitude Construction: Evaluation in Context

Most theories treat attitudes as enduring evaluative tendencies; the dispositional focus enjoys intuitive appeal because it is compatible with observers' preference for dispositional explanations (aka fundamental attribution error). From the actor's perspective, evaluation stands in the service of action. Any adaptive system of evaluation needs to be highly sensitive to the specifics of the present, turning deplorable “context dependency” into laudable “context sensitivity.” Attitude construal theories conceptualize the context sensitivity of evaluative judgment and provide a parsimonious account of core findings of the attitude literature without assuming enduring dispositions; their assumptions are compatible with theories of situated cognition. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]