Forming attitudes that predict future behavior: a meta-analysis of the attitude-behavior relation

Psychol Bull. 2006 Sep;132(5):778-822. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.132.5.778.


A meta-analysis (k of conditions = 128; N = 4,598) examined the influence of factors present at the time an attitude is formed on the degree to which this attitude guides future behavior. The findings indicated that attitudes correlated with a future behavior more strongly when they were easy to recall (accessible) and stable over time. Because of increased accessibility, attitudes more strongly predicted future behavior when participants had direct experience with the attitude object and reported their attitudes frequently. Because of the resulting attitude stability, the attitude-behavior association was strongest when attitudes were confident, when participants formed their attitude on the basis of behavior-relevant information, and when they received or were induced to think about one- rather than two-sided information about the attitude object.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Behavior / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mental Recall / physiology
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motivation
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Psychological Tests
  • Students / psychology
  • Time