Do you think before you act? When introduced to someone, how often do you automatically perceive the person based on your attitudes and beliefs and not the person’s actual characteristics? For instance, if someone introduces you to Dr. Smith, you might immediately categorize the doctor as learned and maybe having an air of wisdom and authority because of being a doctor. However, when the same person is introduced by the first name of Penelope, would you act in the same manner? The answer is probably no because you are not aware of the profession to which the person belongs and so cannot relate to your perception about the person.
Although individuals have several characteristics, your attitude toward a person is shaped by your initial meeting and the information about the person that is communicated to you. However, whatever your attitudes or beliefs about this person may be initially, you can act in a manner you have learned is appropriate. This is because as you learn more about an individual, you adjust your attitudes and act accordingly. Clearly, attitudes do not necessarily dictate your behavior.
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Your attitude is, in part, a product of what you learn through your interactions with others. The sum of your experiences makes up your attitudes and beliefs. Although your attitudes and beliefs define who you are, they are always adaptable and susceptible to change, depending on your life experiences.