Attitudes without objects: Evidence for a dispositional attitude, its measurement, and its consequences

Justin Hepler, Dolores Albarracín

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We hypothesized that individuals may differ in the dispositional tendency to have positive vs. negative attitudes, a trait termed the dispositional attitude. Across 4 studies, we developed a 16-item Dispositional Attitude Measure (DAM) and investigated its internal consistency, test-retest reliability, factor structure, convergent validity, discriminant validity, and predictive validity. DAM scores were (a) positively correlated with positive affect traits, curiosity-related traits, and individual preexisting attitudes; (b) negatively correlated with negative affect traits; and (c) uncorrelated with theoretically unrelated traits. Dispositional attitudes also significantly predicted the valence of novel attitudes while controlling for theoretically relevant traits (such as the Big 5 and optimism). The dispositional attitude construct represents a new perspective in which attitudes are not simply a function of the properties of the stimuli under consideration, but are also a function of the properties of the evaluator. We discuss the intriguing implications of dispositional attitudes for many areas of research, including attitude formation, persuasion, and behavior prediction

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1060-1076
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Affect
  • Attitude
  • Disposition
  • Personality
  • Valence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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