Assumptions about Human Nature: Implications for Researchers and Practitioners

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Lawrence S. Wrightsman

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  • Dedication

    This book is dedicated to the memory of my mother.

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    Preface

    During such difficult times as these it is particularly important to explore our assumptions about human nature, since these assumptions underlie our reactions to specific events. The first edition of this book described a comprehensive program of research on the development of an instrument to measure our assumptions about people in general. Even though that edition is no longer in print, demand for information about the measurement of assumptions about human nature continues.

    Counseling psychologists, in particular, have found that philosophies of human nature are especially useful as they seek to understand and assist their clients. Hence, this second edition has been prepared in order to achieve several goals: (1) to place the study of assumptions of human nature within the context of the ever-increasing cynicism in our society, (2) to report on the construction and validation of the Philosophies of Human Nature Scale, a measure of these assumptions, and (3) to review these concepts and measures from a social-psychological viewpoint while also considering the insights of other approaches, including philosophy, literature, and political science. Different chapters in the book deal with different recent issues in social-psychological research, such as the unidimensionality of attitudes, the relationship of attitudes to behavior, and the influence of social movements on beliefs.

    Organization of the Book

    Chapter 1 is a personal statement regarding the importance of studying assumptions about human nature. This chapter proposes that assumptions about people play a role in everyone's behavior, that psychology and sociology as scientific disciplines have promoted certain assumptions and have overlooked others, and that until recently these fields have neglected the study of assumptions about human nature held by everyone. The rest of this book is devoted to alleviating this neglect.

    Chapter 2 reviews the historically predominant assumptions about human nature. It concludes by identifying four types of assumptions held by differing schools of psychology and by discussing the implications of these beliefs. Thus the chapter demonstrates that Western civilization has always speculated about human nature, although the particular assumptions have varied over time.

    The theory behind the construct of “philosophies of human nature” is presented in Chapter 3, which places this construct within the network of current psychological thinking.

    The measurement of philosophies of human nature is described in Chapter 4. Chapter 5 presents group differences on the scales devised to measure these philosophies, while Chapter 6 relates philosophies of human nature to other individual-differences variables.

    An attitude measure is of less value if it cannot be shown to relate rather consistently to behavior, even after moderator variables are taken into account. In Chapter 7, the evidence for philosophies of human nature as an influence on behavior (including cardiac problems) is reviewed and placed within the recent controversy over the functional importance of attitudes.

    Chapter 8 and Chapter 9 consider how assumptions about human nature develop, while Chapter 10 reviews attempts to change these assumptions. Chapter 11 looks toward novel approaches to the study of assumptions about human nature, focusing particularly on the assumptions held by members of communal groups.

    The Appendices contain the items, scoring procedures, and factor analyses of the various scales developed in the research program.

    Acknowledgments

    The research program on philosophies of human nature began 30 years ago. Thus, chronologically at least, my acknowledgments should begin with the two children of Maureen and Bob Behrens, who in 1961 were a graduate-student couple at George Peabody College for Teachers. At that time, showing a state of noblesse oblige manifested only by young assistant professors, I associated not only with graduate students but also with their children. From the Behrens offspring I caught the measles, an indignity that not only humbled me, an adult, but also required that I remain in bed for two weeks.

    It was during this period that boredom forced me to assess my professional development and, specifically, my research interests. In the three years since I had completed my graduate work, I had spent my available research time dabbling in various then-faddish social-psychological topics. I felt the need to concentrate on one issue and I sought one that also met some personal needs.

    At that time I was trying to evaluate and coalesce my beliefs about human nature. Experiences as a newspaper reporter and college professor had shaken my earlier stance of unconditional trust. The social-psychological study of assumptions about human nature seemed not only overdue but potentially rewarding personally. Now, 30 years later, I can express satisfaction for the interest shown in my ideas by some psychologists, educators, and students.

    In carrying out the research on philosophies of human nature reported in this book, I received grants-in-aid from George Peabody College, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the University of Hawaii, and the University of Kansas. A Biomedical Sciences Support Grant financed many of the studies described in Chapter 7. Two long-term research grants to Stuart W. Cook from the National Institute of Mental Health and the U.S. Office of Education were instrumental in the development and validation of the measurement devices described n Chapter 4.

    Completion of the research and writing that are new to this second edition was greatly facilitated by a sabbatical leave provided me by the University of Kansas during the 1990–1991 academic year. I wish to thank Dr. Del Brinkman, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Edwin Martin, Chair of the Department of Psychology, for their support.

    Over the years I have been blessed by my association with a number of graduate students whose efforts and insights have benefited this program of research; these include Carolyn W. Ashcraft, Jack A. Nottingham, George W. Baxter, Norma Baker, John O'Connor, Robert Claxton, Lois C. Stack, Marilyn King, Barbara Hearn Jacobs, Carl E. Young, Carl M. Rogers, Jonatha Atyas, Leslie Wuescher, Maria Taranto, Louise Ward, Bill Wright, Bob Bruininks, William Lucker, David Catron, LaVeta Ligon, David McMillan, Heidi Steinitz, and Julie A. Weir. Also, undergraduates Clifford Uejio, David Mack, and Kelly Brusewitz contributed significantly to the research program. Over the years, at various times, colleagues Frank C. Noble, the late Barbara Wallston, John Harvey, Richard Gorsuch, J. R. Newbrough, Stuart Oskamp, and Jim O'Neil have been supportive when I needed such encouragement.

    Once again, Terry Hendrix of Sage Publications deserves credit for urging me to put my ideas on paper and for easing the task of doing so. I wish to thank especially Katia Silva, who typed most of the chapters of this edition, and Bea Gray, who pitched in when I needed help.

    Lawrence S.Wrightsman
  • Appendix A: PHN Scale, in its Usual Format

    This questionnaire is a series of attitude statements. Each represents a commonly held opinion, and there are no right or wrong answers. You will probably disagree with some items and agree with others. We are interested in the extent to which you agree or disagree with matters of opinion.

    Read each statement carefully. Then, on the separate answer sheet, indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree by circling a number for each statement. The numbers and their meanings are as follows:

    • If you agree strongly, circle +3.
    • If you agree somewhat, circle +2.
    • If you agree slightly, circle +1.
    • If you disagree slightly, circle −1.
    • If you disagree somewhat, circle −2.
    • If you disagree strongly, circle −3.

    First impressions are usually best in such matters. Read each statement, decide if you agree or disagree and determine the strength of your opinion, and then circle the appropriate number on the answer sheet. Be sure to answer every statement.

    If you find that the numbers to be used in answering do not adequately indicate your own opinion, use the one that is closest to the way you feel.

    PHN Scale
    • Great successes in life, such as great artists and inventors, are usually motivated by forces of which they are unaware.
    • Most students will tell the instructor when he has made a mistake in adding up their scores, even if he has given them more points than they deserved.
    • Most people will change the opinion they express as a result of an onslaught of criticism, even though they really don't change the way they feel.
    • Most people try to apply the Golden Rule, even in today's complex society.
    • A person's reaction to things differs from one situation to another.
    • I find that my first impression of a person is usually correct.
    • Our success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our own control.
    • If you give the average person a job to do and leave him to do it, he will finish it successfully.
    • Nowadays many people won't make a move until they find out what other people think.
    • Most people do not hesitate to go out of their way to help someone in trouble.
    • Different people react to the same situation in different ways.
    • People can be described accurately by one term, such as “introverted” or “moral” or “sociable.”
    • Attempts to understand ourselves are usually futile.
    • People usually tell the truth, even when they know they would be better off by lying.
    • The important thing in being successful nowadays is not how hard you work but how well you fit in with the crowd.
    • Most people will act as “Good Samaritans” if given the opportunity.
    • Each person's personality is different from the personality of every other person.
    • It's not hard to understand what really is important to a person.
    • There's little one can do to alter his fate in life.
    • Most students do not cheat when taking an exam.
    • The typical student will cheat on a test when everybody else does, even though he has a set of ethical standards.
    • “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a motto that most people follow.
    • People are quite different in their basic interests.
    • I think I get a good idea of a person's basic nature after a brief conversation with him.
    • Most people have little influence over the things that happen to them.
    • Most people are basically honest.
    • It's a rare person who will go against the crowd.
    • The typical person is sincerely concerned about the problems of others.
    • People are pretty different from one another in what “makes them tick.”
    • If I could ask a person three questions about himself (assuming that he would answer them honestly), I would know a great deal about him.
    • Most people have an unrealistically favorable view of their own capabilities.
    • If you act in good faith with people, almost all of them will reciprocate with fairness toward you.
    • Most people have to rely on someone else to make their important decisions for them.
    • Most people with fallout shelters would let their neighbors stay in them during a nuclear attack.
    • Often a person's basic personality is altered by such things as a religious conversion, psychotherapy, or a charm course.
    • When I meet a person, I look for one basic characteristic through which I try to understand him.
    • Most people vote for a political candidate on the basis of unimportant characteristics, such as his appearance or name, rather than on the basis of his stand on the issues.
    • Most people lead clean, decent lives.
    • The average person will rarely express his opinion in a group when he sees that the others disagree with him.
    • Most people would stop and help a person whose car was disabled.
    • People are unpredictable in how they'll act from one situation to another.
    • Give me a few facts about a person, and I'll have a good idea of whether I'll like him or not.
    • If a person tries hard enough, he will usually reach his goals in life.
    • People claim that they have ethical standards regarding honesty and morality, but few people stick to them when the chips are down.
    • Most people have the courage of their convictions.
    • The average person is conceited.
    • People are pretty much alike in their basic interests.
    • I find that my first impressions of people are frequently wrong.
    • The average person has an accurate understanding of the reasons for his behavior.
    • If you want people to do a job right, you should explain things to them in great detail and supervise them closely.
    • Most people can make their own decisions, uninfluenced by public opinion.
    • It's only a rare person who would risk his own life and limb to help someone else.
    • People are basically similar in their personalities.
    • Some people are too complicated for me to figure out.
    • If people try hard enough, wars can be prevented in the future.
    • If most people could get into a movie without paying and be sure that they were not seen, they would do it.
    • It is achievement, rather than popularity with others, that gets you ahead nowadays.
    • It's pathetic to see an unselfish person in today's world, because so many people take advantage of him.
    • If you have a good idea about how several people will react to a certain situation, you can expect most people to react the same way.
    • I think you can never really understand the feelings of other people.
    • The average person is largely the master of his own fate.
    • Most people are not really honest for a desirable reason; they're afraid of getting caught.
    • The average person will stick to his opinion if he thinks he's right, even if others disagree.
    • People pretend to care more about one another than they really do.
    • Most people are consistent from situation to situation in the way they react to things.
    • You can't accurately describe a person in just a few words.
    • In a local or national election, most people select a candidate rationally and logically.
    • Most people would tell a lie if they could gain by it.
    • If a student does not believe in cheating, he will avoid it even if he sees many others doing it.
    • Most people inwardly dislike putting themselves out to help other people.
    • A child who is popular will be popular as an adult, too.
    • You can't classify everyone as good or bad.
    • Most persons have a lot of control over what happens to them in life.
    • Most people would cheat on their income tax if they had a chance.
    • The person with novel ideas is respected in our society.
    • Most people exaggerate their troubles in order to get sympathy.
    • If I can see how a person reacts to one situation, I have a good idea of how he will react to other situations.
    • People are too complex to ever be understood fully.
    • Most people have a good idea of what their strengths and weaknesses are.
    • Nowadays people commit a lot of crimes and sins that no one else ever hears about.
    • Most people will speak out for what they believe in.
    • People are usually out for their own good.
    • When you get right down to it, people are quite alike in their emotional makeup.
    • People are so complex that it is hard to know what “makes them tick.”

    Appendix B: PHN Subscale Items, Grouped by Subscale

    Appendix C: Revised Subscales for PHN Scale

    Subscale A: Cynicism (10 items, all scored in a positive direction; high score indicates cynicism.)
    Item No.StatementOriginal Scale
    56.If most people could get into a movie without paying and be sure that they would not be seen, they would do it.T
    62.Most people are not really honest for a desirable reason; they're afraid of getting caught.T
    46.The average person is conceited.A
    74.Most people would cheat on their income tax if they had a chance.T
    68.Most people would tell a lie if they could gain by it.T
    44.People claim that they have ethical standards regarding honesty and morality, but few people stick to them when the chips are down.T
    70.Most people inwardly dislike putting themselves out to help other people.A
    64.People pretend to care more about one another than they really do.A
    58.It's pathetic to see an unselfish person in today's world, because so many people take advantage of him.A
    21.The typical student will cheat on a test when everybody else does, even though he has a set of ethical standards.I
    Subscale B: Internal Locus of Control (5 items, 3 scored in reversed direction; high score indicates a belief in internal locus of control.)
    Item No.StatementOriginal Scale
    61.The average person is largely the master of his own fate.SWR
    73.Most persons have a lot of control over what happens to them in life.SWR
    7.Our success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside our control. (Reversed item.)SWR
    19.There's little one can do to alter his fate in life. (Reversed item.)SWR
    25.Most people have little influence over the things that happen to them. (Reversed item.)SWR

    Subscale C: Beliefs That People Are Conventionally Good (12 items; high score indicates a belief in conventional goodness.)
    Item No.StatementOriginal Scale
    4.Most people try to apply the Golden Rule, even in today's complex society.A
    10.Most people do not hesitate to go out of their way to help someone in trouble.A
    16.Most people will act as “Good Samaritans” if given the opportunity.A
    22.“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a motto that most people follow.A
    40.Most people would stop and help a person whose car was disabled.A
    67.In a local or national election, most people select a candidate rationally and logically.SWR
    14.People usually tell the truth, even when they know they would be better off by lying.T
    63.The average person will stick to his opinion if he thinks he's right, even if others disagree.I
    57.It is achievement, rather than popularity with others, that gets you ahead nowadays.A
    28.The typical person is sincerely concerned about the problems of others.A
    81.Most people will speak out for what they believe in.I
    45.Most people have the courage of their convictions.I
    Subscale D: Complexity (6 items, all positively scored; high score indicates a belief in complexity.)
    Item No.StatementOriginal Scale
    54.Some people are too complicated for me to figure out.C
    60.I think you can never really understand the feelings of other people.C
    66.You can't accurately describe a person in a few words.C
    78.People are too complex to ever be understood fully.C
    84.People are so complex that it is hard to know what “makes them tick.”C
    41.People are unpredictable in how they'll act from one situation to another.V

    Subscale E: Variability (7 items, 2 reversed; high score indicates a belief in variability.)
    Item No.StatementOriginal Scale
    5.A person's reaction to things differs from one situation to another.V
    11.Different people react to the same situation in different ways.V
    17.Each person's personality is different from the personality of every other person.V
    23.People are quite different in their basic interests.V
    29.People are pretty different from one another in what “makes them tick.”V
    47.People are pretty much alike in their basic interests. (Reversed item.)V
    S3.People are basically similar in their personalities. (Reversed item.)V
    Subscale F: First Impressions (5 items, 1 reversed; high score indicates a belief in the accuracy of first impressions.)
    Item No.StatementOriginal Scale
    48.I find that my first impressions of people are frequently wrong. (Reversed item.)C
    24.I think I get a good idea of a person's basic nature after a brief conversation with him.C
    18.It's not hard to understand what is really important to a person.C
    6.I find that my first impression of people is usually correct.C
    30.If I could ask a person three questions about himself (assuming that he would answer them honestly), I would know a great deal about him.C

    Appendix D: Behavior Insight Test

    Directions: The following are descriptions of situations that might occur every day. Your task is to write your response to the questions asked after the situation is described. Sometimes you may feel as if you want more information before answering, but your task is to answer as best you can with the information given, even if your answer is only a “best guess.”

    Be sure to answer each question after each situation. There is no time limit on this test.

    • The scene is a cashier's stand at a cafeteria. The customer hands the cashier a $5 bill to pay for his meal. The cashier mistakes it for a $10 bill and gives him change for $10 instead of for $5. The customer is immediately aware of the mistake.

      What should the customer do?

      What does the customer do?

      What would you do if you were the customer?

    • Bob is a teenager who has just completed high school. He is trying to decide whether to go to college. He greatly desires a college education but has always made very poor grades in school even though he tried hard. His high school counselor has told Bob that he has very little chance of succeeding in college. Bob has been offered a position in a sales-trainee program if he will join right away. If he joins, he must make a commitment to stay in the program for two years and in sales work for two more years. Job prospects would then be good, but Bob still prefers to go to college.

      What should Bob do?

      What will Bob probably do?

      What would you do in Bob's position?

    • John, a college student living in the dormitory, plans to spend the evening studying for the weekly quiz scheduled the next morning in his 8:00 a.m. class. The rest of the gang are going across town to see a movie that John would like to see. This is the last night in town for this movie. All of the gang come into John's room and try to talk him into going to the movie with them.

      What should John do?

      What does John do?

      What would you do if you were John?

    • In addition to his regular full-time job, for which income tax is deducted from his paycheck, Art occasionally acts as a tutor for college students. The students pay him cash by the hour, and Art makes about $300 a year this way. Art is now filling out his income-tax return and has to decide whether to put down this extra income. If he does, it will cost him about $60 extra in income tax. If he does not, he will save the $60 with very little risk of being caught.

      What should Art do? What does Art do?

      What would you do in Art's position?

    • Frank and his date and three other couples are at an amusement park. Everybody else wants to ride the roller coaster, but Frank is convinced it is dangerous. Frank's date asks him to go with them and says he's “chicken” if he doesn't.

      What does Frank do? What should Frank do?

      What would you do if you were Frank and felt the way he did?

    • Scene: a college library. A student leaves the stacks with a library book in hand. Instead of stopping at the checkout desk, he walks past it and out the front door. (There are many people crowded around the checkout desk, and no one notices him.)

      Why do you think he failed to have the book checked out?

      Would most people agree with you as to the reason for the student's behavior?

    • A tenth-grade class is taking a final exam in algebra. The instructor tells the students that they are on their honor not to cheat during the test. He leaves the room. Sue has had a great deal of difficulty in the course—in fact, she has been told by the instructor that she will fail the course if she does not pass the final. Sue sees that it is easy for her to look at the work being done by one of the best students in the class. There is little chance that she will be detected copying, even by the other students. There is no honor system in the school.

      Should Sue copy or not?

      Does she copy?

      What would you do in this situation (assuming that you, too, were on the brink of failing)?

    • A convicted thief, who is 35 years of age and has served five terms in prison for burglary or theft, states that he has been converted by the chaplain at the penitentiary and that he is going to “go straight” when he is released next week.

      Do you think he really intends to “go straight”?

      Will he avoid a life of crime in the next five years?

    • Tom, who is sitting in his room in the dormitory, gets up and walks down to Sam's room. He knocks on the door, gets no answer, turns the knob, finds it unlocked, and enters. He picks up three dollar bills lying on the dresser and walks out.

      Why do you think Tom took the money?

      What reason would most people give for Tom's behavior?

    • Jane is overweight. Her family doctor has told her that the cause of her weight problem is purely psychological. She realizes that the stresses of life cause her to eat much more than she needs to. Many of her friends have told her that if she tries hard enough she will be able to cut down on her diet. Although the stresses upon her are as great as ever, Jane decides to switch to a rigid diet in order to lose weight.

      Should she diet?

      How well is she able to keep on the diet?

      How well would you be able to?

    • Ed and Emily have been married 12 years and have quarreled constantly. Three years ago, they separated. Two months ago, their son had a serious operation, and, for the first time in several years, Ed and Emily have had a reason to be together. They decided to give their marriage another try. Their son is now well.

      Do you think the marriage will work?

      How do you think most people would feel about the future success of the marriage?

    • Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Jones are both third-grade teachers in the same school. The students in one class are quite similar to those in the other. Mrs. Smith believes that the best way to ensure learning is to make children fear the consequences of misbehaving. She believes in punishment for errors. Mrs. Jones believes that the best way to ensure learning is to encourage a feeling of self-confidence in the student. She believes in giving rewards for right answers.

      Which is the more successful teacher?

      Which class learns better?

      Would your answers be different if it was a 12th-grade class?

    • Mr. Browne is the director of a group of 12 Sea Scouts. He has had some difficulty lately in getting them to maintain order at their meetings. What is the best way for him to get them to behave—to threaten them, to reason with them, to punish them when they misbehave, to ignore them, or what?

      What does Mr. Browne do?

      What would you do if you were Mr. Browne?

    • Walter Burns is 21 years of age. He is graduating from college and must decide which of two job offers to accept. One (Job A) involves the kind of work he really wants to do but would pay only a bare “living wage.” The other (Job B) is not stimulating to him, but the pay is much better—high enough so that he could have a life free of desperate financial pressures. In other respects, the jobs are equivalent.

      Which job should he choose?

      Which job does he choose?

      Which would you choose in his position?

    • Mr. and Mrs. Stewart have a 17-year-old daughter, Sally, who has stayed out on dates beyond her curfew time on several nights lately. They have said nothing to her about it yet but have been discussing how they might get Sally in on time.

      What procedures do you think Mr. and Mrs. Stewart should use to get Sally in on time?

      Which do they use?

      What would you do if you were one of Sally's parents?

    Appendix E: Interpretations of Government Policy Scale

    Directions: Why do our government and its leaders act in the ways they do? The following set of statements attempts to assess your opinion of why our government has adopted certain policies. Notice that, for each statement, there are two possible reasons for the government policy, marked “A” and “B.” You are to decide which reason you think is nearer the real reason for the government's policy. Place the letter (A or B) of your choice in the blank by the statement. Since these are opinions, there is no right or wrong answer. If you have any questions, ask the test administrator.

    • The main reason why our government helps the underdeveloped countries of Africa is that:
      • it is our responsibility as a Christian nation to try to improve the standard of living of less fortunate countries.
      • if we don't help these countries, the Communists will take them over and they will end up in an enemy camp.
    • Much of our policy toward Russia is based on:
      • the belief of our leaders that Russia wants to attack us as soon as the time is ripe.
      • the belief of our leaders that Russia does not want wars any more than we do.
    • Our leaders are confident about our eventual triumph over Russia because:
      • they know that Communism is evil and that it will not succeed.
      • they know that we have an advantage in goods, manpower, and know-how.
    • If our leaders knew for sure that they could attack Russia and Red China and destroy them without loss of American life or destruction of American property:
      • they would attack.
      • they would not attack.
    • The purpose of American missile bases in countries surrounding Russia (such as Turkey, Greece, and Iran) is:
      • to protect the peoples of these countries from attack by Russia.
      • to aid us in a quick retaliation if Russia attacks us and to serve as offensive weapons if we decide to attack Russia first.
    • The reason why we keep American troops within the city of West Berlin is that:
      • if we didn't, the million citizens of West Berlin would fall under Communist domination.
      • it is embarrassing to the Russians and strategically important for us to have a base far within the territory of a Russian satellite country.
    • Some prominent Americans advocate our invading Cuba. Their reason for this is:
      • Cuba is developing into an embarrassment to America's prestige in the Western hemisphere.
      • the people of Cuba are oppressed and should be freed from the Castro dictatorship.
    • If America were to stop testing atom bombs and destroy its supply:
      • Russia would develop its stockpile to a sufficient size and then attack us.
      • Russia would stop testing its atom bombs, too.
    • The government's main reason for pressuring for the integration of schools is that:
      • black children have a right to the same opportunities that white children have.
      • the votes of blacks in the North are very crucial in deciding many elections.
    • Several years ago, Francis Gary Powers was shot down while flying an American U-2 plane. America had U-2 planes flying over Russia:
      • primarily for defensive reasons—to guard us against a surprise attack by the Russians.
      • primarily because America, like every other major power nowadays, must spy on other countries.
    • The basic reason why our government sends wheat to India is that:
      • getting rid of our surpluses saves the government money in storage costs and keeps the wheat farmers happy because it increases the cost of wheat.
      • feeding the hungry people of the world is our duty and responsibility as a prosperous nation.
    • The reason why the American government wants members of the American Communist Party to register is that:
      • the American Communist Party is directly controlled by Moscow, and its members seek the overthrow of our government.
      • most members of the American Communist Party, while not revolutionaries, are misguided idealists who may be led astray by revolutionaries.
    • The reason why our government might share its atom secrets with its allies is that:
      • this will further discourage the Russians from attacking us.
      • it is our duty to treat our allies as we would like them to treat us—to share our benefits with them.
    • The reason why we no longer send U-2 planes over Russia is that:
      • it is immoral to spy, even in today's international affairs.
      • we are afraid of getting caught and precipitating another crisis.
    • The U.S. government's aid in the development and rearming of West Germany:
      • is motivated by our national spirit of forgiveness and our willingness to give a former enemy a chance to get back on its feet.
      • is basically done to protect ourselves—to give us an extra buffer state between us and the Russians.
    • When asked why Russia has refrained from greater military aggression, our leaders would reply that:
      • Russia is afraid of our superior military strength.
      • Russia really does not want to go to war any more than we do.

    Item Analysis and Scoring Procedures for Interpretations of Government Policy Scale

    For the purpose of item analysis, the IGP scale was administered to 101 male and 92 female college students at three colleges in the South and Midwest.1 Since summated scores on the 16 items indicated a sex difference, a separate item analysis was done for each sex. The men were divided into high (N = 24), medium (N = 52), and low (N = 25) groups on the basis of the summated scores on the 16 items. Responses to each item were tabulated for the members of each group, and a 2 × 3 chi-square test of independence was performed for each item (H. M. Walker & Lev, 1953, p. 95). On four of the items (Items 4, 8, 9, and 14), the three groups did not differ significantly at the .05 level of significance or better. The same analysis was repeated for the 92 female subjects. They were also divided into high (N = 26), medium (N = 38), and low (N = 28) groups. For the women, responses to the same four items did not significantly differentiate the three groups. Items 5 and 16 also did not survive the item analysis.

    TABLE E-1 Scoring Key and Percentage Responses for Each Item

    Thus, for each sex, Items 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 15 were each validated by the method of summated ratings. These 10 items constitute the original Interpretations of Government Policy Scale. It is recommended that the 16-item format be used, however, as this is the format that was used when the scale was validated.

    Each time the “soft-headed reason” is chosen, one point is scored. No points are scored for a choice of the “hard-headed” response or for an omission. Table E-1 gives the “soft-headed choice” for each item (including those items that did not survive the item analysis), as well as the percentage of men and women who chose this alternative.

    Reliability. The split-half reliability of the 10-item scale was determined by dividing the scale into halves, computing subjects' scores for each half, correlating the scores, and applying the Spearman-Brown Prophecy Formula. The reliability coefficient for the total group was +.60 (for the men, +.55; for the women, +.63). These reliabilities, while not high, are acceptable for group comparisons. Their lowness is perhaps the price one pays for a short scale in a rather unclear conceptual area.

    Note

    1. The author wishes to express his thanks to Walter Collins of George Peabody College, Jack Kennedy of Belmont College, and Onas Scandrette of Wheaton (IL) College for their assistance in administering the scale.

    Appendix F: Stack's Trust Rating Scale

    For each item, check the box that best applies to this child

    Appendix G: Children's PHN Scale

    Part I: C-PHN Scale

    Part II: Children's Authoritarianism Scale

    Directions: Read each statement below and decide whether you agree or disagree with it.

    Then circle either “I agree” or “I disagree” by the side of the statement.

    1. The best rule is to play fair with your own gang and let the other children look out for themselvesI agreeI disagree
    2. There are only two kinds of people: the weak and the strong.I agreeI disagree
    3. Teachers should not tell the children what to do and should not worry about what the children want.I agreeI disagree
    4. I have often been punished unfairly.I agreeI disagree
    5. If a person doesn't like the way our country does things, he should just keep his mouth shut.I agreeI disagree
    6. I refuse to play some games because I am not good at them.I agreeI disagree
    7. I often feel as if I had done something wrong or bad.I agreeI disagree
    8. Most people will cheat if they can gain something from it.I agreeI disagree
    9. Most people are honest only because they are afraid of being caught.I agreeI disagree
    10. Most of the other countries of the world are really against us but are just afraid to show it.I agreeI disagree
    11. Most people hate it when they have to help someone else.I agreeI disagree
    12. It is really true that you will have bad luck if a black cat crosses your path.I agreeI disagree
    13. I have more than my share of things to worry about.I agreeI disagree
    14. It is all right to get around the law if you don't actually break itI agreeI disagree
    15. If a person is not happy, it is just his own fault.I agreeI disagree
    16. I think most people would tell a lie to get ahead.I agreeI disagree
    PHN Score Sheet (C-Form) PHN Scales

    Factor Scales on C-PHN

    Factor 1—Labeled “Pessimism”

    T-Most people cheat when taking a test.
    T-Most people will not keep a promise.
    T-Most people would steal something if they knew they wouldn't get caught.
    T-In a game, most people will cheat to win. S WR- Most people think that they can do more things than they can actually do.
    T-If most people found a wallet, they would keep the money in it.
    T-Most people will tell a lie to keep from getting into trouble.

    Factor 2—Labeled “Altruism”

    T+If you help someone else out, he will help you out.
    T+Most people will do the right thing even if no one is watching them.
    T+If they could, most people would help a stranger who was in trouble.
    T+Most people will report a crime when they see it.

    Factor 3—Labeled “Complexity”

    C-It only takes a few minutes to get to know somebody.
    C+Many people do the same thing for different reasons.
    C-Most people are easy to understand.
    C+It takes a long time to really understand people.
    C+You can't tell what a person is like by looking at him.

    Factor 4—Not Labeled

    C-Most people are really alike.
    SWR-In life, luck is more important than ability.
    C-Everyone is much the same as everyone else.
    SWR-Most people can't do anything to change what happens to them.
    C-I can tell what a person is like by looking at him.
    C-You can understand a person by looking at the clothes he wears.
    SWR-If a person is born poor, he will always stay poor.

    Factor 5—Not Labeled

    T+Most people tell the truth.
    SWR+Most people understand why they do things.
    T+Most people obey laws.

    Factor 6—Not Labeled

    SWR+When people do things wrong, it is usually their own fault.
    C+It is hard to know the reasons why people do things.
    C+You can't describe everyone as good or bad.
    SWR-Most people don't know their good points and bad points.

    Factor 7—Not Labeled

    SWR+Most people who try hard do well in life.
    SWR+Anybody can make a lot of money if he tries hard enough.
    SWR+In a game, the best person always wins.
    SWR-Good people are luckier than bad people.
    SWR+If people try hard enough, there will be no more wars.

    Factor 8—Not Labeled

    C+It is hard to understand people.
    Revised Item Pool for C-PHN
    • Most people cheat when taking a test.
    • If you help someone else out, he will help you out.
    • Most people will not keep a promise.
    • Most people will do the right thing even if no one is watching them.
    • Most people would steal something if they knew they wouldn't get caught.
    • If they could, most people would help a stranger who was in trouble.
    • In a game, most people will cheat to win.
    • Most people will report a crime when they see it.
    • If most people found a wallet, they would keep the money in it.
    • Most neighbors will help each other out.
    • Most people will tell a lie to keep from getting into trouble.
    • You can always trust people who go to church.
    • A person should never trust anybody but himself.
    • There is more good than bad in people.
    • Most people do not tell the truth anymore.
    • A person should always be willing to help others.
    • Most adults don't care about what happens to kids.
    • A person should be kind to everyone.
    • Everything in this world is getting worse.
    • More people in the world are learning to like each other.
    • There are going to be more wars in the future.
    • A person should try to like everybody.
    • You cannot trust politicians.
    • A person should never hurt other people to make money.
    • Most businessmen are not “fair and square” anymore.
    • Most people will stop to help someone who is having car trouble.
    • It is hard to find a good deal when buying most things.
    • Helping people makes one feel good.
    • No one really cares about me and my problems.
    • It is important to listen when someone is talking about his problems.
    • More people hate than love in these days.
    • It is a good idea to always share with others.
    • You must have luck to succeed in life.
    • Most people will try to feed someone who is hungry.
    • Even your best friend will tell your secrets if he gets a chance.
    • Most people are courteous to everyone they meet.
    • Other kids don't care what I'm worried about.
    • Everyone should fight poverty.
    • No one likes to be friends with kids who are “different.”
    • Selfishness is wrong.
    • Everyone breaks some laws on purpose.
    • Most people will help those who live in slum areas.

    Appendix H: Chi-Square Comparisons of CSQ Data

    CSQ Item 2 Age

    CSQ Item 49: Educational Philosophy A (Vocational Orientation)

    CSQ Item 50 Educational Philosophy B (Academic Orientation)

    CSQ Item 51 Educational Philosophy C (Collegiate Orientation)

    CSQ Item 52 Educational Philosophy D (Nonconformist Orientation)

    CSQ Item 103 Parents' Marital Status

    CSQ Item 106 Birth Order

    CSQ Item 128 1 Parents' Child-Rearing Policy

    CSQ Item 139 Reaction to Cheating

    CSQ Item 145 Feelings about Competing

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    Name Index

    About the Authors

    Jonatha Atyas, now Jonatha Gibaud, received her PhD in clinical psychology from George Peabody College in 1977. She has been in independent practice of psychology in Nashville since that time, and is also a supervising psychologist at Vanderbilt University Psychological and Counseling Center. She specializes in marital therapy and relationship counseling, and is also active in promoting educational enrichment, and environmental awareness programs for young people.

    Norma J. Baker, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at Belmont College, Nashville, TN, and served as Chair of the Department of Behavioral Science from 1975 to 1981. She earned her master's degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, and her doctorate in social psychology from George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville. She served as president of the Middle Tennessee Psychological Association from 1988–1989, and is a member of Division 2, Teaching of Psychology, of the American Psychological Association. Her current research interests are in the area of death education, with particular attention to the topic of grief. She contributed a chapter on the nature of social change to Lawrence Wrightsman's Social Psychology in the Seventies (1st ed., 1972), and is co-editor (with Lawrence Wrightsman and John O'Connor) of Cooperation and Competition: Readings in Mixed-Motive Games (1971).

    George W. Baxter, Jr., is a retired United Methodist Minister and Professor Emeritus, King College, Bristol, Tennessee. His research interests include altruism and helping with emphasis on children's altruism, attitudes toward amnesty, values and moral behavior, and age differences in attitudes toward human nature, among others. He was elected a Fellow in the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and was honored with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. He has published chapters and articles in scholarly books and journals.

    Robert N. Claxton, PhD, is currently employed in the human resources development area, specializing in performance evaluation and associated supervisor and management training. He has a BS from Florida State University (1962), and earned both his master's degree (1971) and his doctorate (1974) from George Peabody College for Teachers. His research interests and publications are in the areas of attitude-behavior relationship, human organ donor motivation (paper presented at International Conference of Psychology and Medicine, Swansea, Wales in 1979), training and counseling programs for unskilled workers and prisoners, educational staff development and training, program evaluation, management and supervisory training, personnel research, performance evaluation, and other human resources development programs and consulting. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

    Lois Stack studied with Lawrence S. Wrightsman at George Peabody College with special interests in children's development of trust. As a member of the Research Department of Hutchings Psychiatric Center in Syracruse, New York, for 12 years, she published articles in the areas of mental health and research methodology. In 1985, she became Associate Professor in a master's degree program for registered nurses at the State University of New York Health Science Center at Syracruse. There she developed and taught a new research curriculum, sponsoring many student theses related to health psychology and health care. She retired in 1988.

    Lawrence S. Wrightsman, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Kansas, where he served as department chairperson from 1976 to 1981. For the academic year 1981–1982 he was Intra-University Visiting Professor at the University of Kansas School of Law. He received a BA and an MA from Southern Methodist University and a PhD degree from the University of Minnesota, where he specialized in social psychology and psychometrics. The author or editor of 15 books and numerous journal articles, he has also served as President of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) and the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (Division 8 of the American Psychological Association). In 1989 he delivered the first G. Stanley Hall Lecture on the topic of psychology and the law at the American Psychological Association convention. He is one of the editors, along with John P. Robinson and Phillip Shaver, of the recently published handbook titled Measures of Personality and Social Psychological Attitudes.

    Carl E. Young, PhD, works for Green Spring Mental Health Services, a managed care company, and is the state Clinical Director for Maine and Rhode Island. He was a full-time faculty member at Peabody College (Vanderbilt University), Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and the Pennsylvania State University (University Park). He did research on natural care-giving in rural areas and directed an NIMH-funded doctoral program in mental health planning and administration. He had a full-time private practice in California for five years—more recently with family courts (custody issues), law firms (developmental issues and economics), and churches (pastor-congregation conflicts).


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