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Attitude theories are an important topic of study, because attitudes influence how humans` attitudes are formed, developed and changed. During the life process people tend to evaluate different things, such as people, events or objects. These evaluations may be positive or negative, as well as explicit and implicit. Explicit attitudes influence humans` behavior and beliefs that they are consciously aware. Implicit attitudes are under humans` control, because they are unconscious, though they also effect on people`s behavior and beliefs. The research proves that the investigation of attitude theories would give an opportunity to understand how attitudes are formed, their influence on people`s behavior and whether it is possible to change individuals` attitudes. It is an obvious fact that people with positive attitudes feel themselves more protected and secure in life. Thus, psychologists have investigating people`s attitudes creating various attitude theories with the aim to help individuals to feel happier in their lives.

Functional theory explains people`s attitudes from the point of view of functional value, i.e. understanding of their motivational basis. Functional theory is used to find out a motivational basis of an attitude, helps change attitudes by comprehending and categorizing objects, events, and persons. The research asserts that an attitude can be changed only by understanding its function (Aiken, 2002). According to functional theory, individuals believe things because they are useful to them, and not just because they are true. It is possible to identify the following functions:

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  • A social function, which help individuals` attitudes communicate with others.
  • An utilitarian function allows individuals to interact with the world, and get what they need.
  • An ego defensive function helps individuals reduce cognitive dissonance.
  • A value expressive function allows individuals express the values, which they considered important to themselves.

Unlike other attitude theories, functional theory is rather important and relevant today. The more specific functions, mentioned above, a person has, the stronger are his attitudes. The unique value of functional theory is that it focuses on the functional bases for attitudes. Functional theory is valuable in that way that it identifies the reasons and motives of attitudes. The research asserts that attitudes serve different functions, which may be different for different individuals. It is worth mentioning that the identifying characteristic of functional theory is the comprehension of the purpose of attitudes.

Social Judgment theory is based on the statementthat individual`s own attitudes are a kind of a judgmental standard. According to this theory, people are prone to overview every new idea by comparing it with their point of view (Aiken, 2002). Social judgment theory is different from functional theory mainly for two reasons. First, it allows a person to judge what is occurred and how this process agree or disagree with his own attitudes. Second, it evaluates how important a message is to the person`s attitude. On the other hand, functional theory is valuable in that way that it identifies the reasons and motives of attitudes. The research asserts that social judgment theory requires a person to weigh every new idea by comparing it with his attitudes. That gives a person an opportunity whether to accept or reject a new idea. The importance of social judgment theory is observed through the importance of individuals` prior attitudes.  Functional theory deals with previous attitudes. According to the research, social judgment theory is widely used now in experimental designs as covariates and control.

In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that both functional and social judgment theories are important in attitude theories study. Each of them has important peculiarities and characteristics, which are needed to be overview in order to improve person`s attitudes.

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