Self-Perception Theory

Self-perception theory (SPT) is an account of attitude formation developed by psychologist Daryl Bem. It asserts that people develop their attitudes (when there is no previous attitude-due to a lack of experience, etc-- and the emotional response is ambiguous) by observing their own behavior and concluding what attitudes must have caused it. The theory is counterintuitive in nature, as the conventional wisdom is that attitudes determine behaviors. Furthermore, the theory suggests that people induce attitudes without accessing internal cognition and mood states. The person interprets their own overt behaviors rationally in the same way they attempt to explain others’ behaviors.
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