• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

“This book, which is in its second edition, provides a provocative mirror from which to discern more clearly one's own assumptions about human nature…. I found myself reflecting on the subject matter and its impact on my own life, including relationships, teaching, research, and therapy…. The author has done a superb job of raising our consciousness about human nature in this book, an I strongly recommend it to academic and applied psychologists. If you need an invitation to examine your views about human nature, this book is it.”--C. R. Snyder, University of Kansas, Lawrence In general, are people trustworthy or unreliable, altruistic or selfish? Are they simple and easy to understand or complex and beyond comprehension? Our assumptions about human nature color everything from the way we bargain with a used-car dealer to our expectations about further conflict in the Middle East. Because our assumptions about human nature underlie our reactions to specific events, Wrightsman designed this second edition to enhance our understanding of human nature--the relationship of attitudes to behavior, the unidimensionality of attitudes, and the influence of social movements on beliefs. Psychologists, social workers, researchers, and students will find Assumptions About Human Nature an illuminating exploration into the philosophies of human nature.

Measurement of Philosophies of Human Nature
Measurement of philosophies of human nature

Anything that exists, exists in some quantity. If it exists in some quantity, it can be measured.

—E. L. THORNDIKE

Once the theoretical dimensions of philosophies of human nature had been conceptualized, the next step was the construction of instruments to measure these dimensions. This chapter describes the procedures developed for the measurement of philosophies of human nature; it contains the most technically detailed material in the book. Those readers interested in substantive findings may wish to move on to Chapter 5.

Likert-Scale Construction

Since each of the six components of philosophies of human nature (see Chapter 3) was assumed to be bipolar in nature, we decided to construct Likert-type attitude scales for each. Likert-type scales, also called ...

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