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2 J. Conflict Resol. 1 (1958)

handle is hein.journals/jcfltr2 and id is 1 raw text is: 


Harvard University

  The  current  issue of the Journal is de-
voted  to a series of papers which  are pri-
marily social-psychological in their orienta-
tion. The  papers  cover  a wide  range  of
content, but they  all focus-in one fashion
or another-on   attitudinal variables which
may  have  a direct or indirect relevance to
international affairs. They deal with  such
questions as the structure and determinants
of various kinds of attitudes; the relationship
of  attitudes to decision-making  processes
and to the perception of international events;
and  the effects of communication and social
contact on attitude formation and change.
   The  term attitude is used  here in its
broadest  sense. It refers to an individual's
predisposition to react to a particular object
or event (or class of objects or events) in a
characteristic way. Typically, this predispo-
sition has an affective component-the  indi-
vidual has a favorable or unfavorable feeling
toward  the object, a tendency  to approach
or avoid it, as well as a cognitive component
-the  individual has certain specific expecta-
tions and evaluations with respect to the ob-
ject. No sharp distinction is being made here
between  attitudes, opinions, beliefs, images:
they  all represent attitudinal variables. In
short, we  are dealing with  predispositions,
which   an individual carries around  with
him  from  situation to situation and which
help to determine, to a greater or lesser de-
gree, his reactions to objects and events.
   There is a wide range  of attitudes which
may  be  elicited by international issues and

events and  which may   determine  the indi-
vidual's perceptions and  actions in a par-
ticular situation of import to international
affairs. Some of the more  obvious areas of
attitude that might be involved are (1) the
individual's attitudes toward his own nation
-his feelings about the role of his nation in
international affairs, the importance of na-
tional sov ereignty, the maintenance of na-
tional prestige; (2)  his images   of other
nations and  their leadership; (3) his atti-
tudes toward  international organization and
his general  level of  internationalism and
world-mindedness;  (4)  his general ideol-
ogy  regarding alternative ways of resolving
conflict (on  interpersonal and  intergroup
levels) and his related views regarding war
and  peace; and  (5) his expectations of the
likelihood of  war. These,  of  course, are
merely  examples of the many  kinds  of atti-
tudes which  may  play  a part in the inter-
national behavior of the population-at-large
and  of the  elites and decision-makers. In
addition, other attitudes may  be  involved
which  derive from the particular role which
an individual plays in the international proc-
ess: for the citizen, for example, his attitudes
toward  the government   and his conception
of the role of the citizen in political action;
for the  decision-maker, his  conception of
public opinion  and of the  means  of main-
taining himself in power.
   Very few  observers will deny  that atti-
tudes of these kinds exist and that they are
activated by  international events and situ-

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