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Reasoned Action, Theory of

Martin Fishbein


The theory of reasoned action (TRA) is a general theory of behavior that was first introduced in 1967 by Martin Fishbein, and was extended by Fishbein and Icek Ajzen (e.g., Fishbein & Ajzen 1975 ; Ajzen & Fishbein 1980 ). Developed largely in response to the repeated failure of traditional →  attitude measures to predict specific behaviors, the theory began with the premise that the simplest and most efficient way to predict a given behavior was to ask a person whether he or she was or was not going to perform that behavior. Thus, according to the theory, performance or non-performance of a given behavior is primarily determined by the strength of a person's intention to perform (or to not perform) that behavior, where intention is defined as the subjective likelihood that one will perform (or try to perform) the behavior in question (→  Attitude-Behavior Consistency ; Planned Behavior, Theory of ). Although the theory focuses upon behavioral intentions (e.g., to jog 20 minutes every day), it can also predict and explain intentions to engage in categories of behavior (e.g., to exercise) or to reach certain goals (e.g., to lose weight). According to the theory, however, unlike the strong relation between intentions to engage in a given behavior and behavioral performance, there is no necessary relation between intentions to engage in a behavioral category and whether ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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