• 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.

Group Differences
Group differences

I shall never cease to be amazed by those persons who, in the name of equal opportunity, advocate undifferentiated treatment of all persons—men and women, black and white, old and young—with little or no regard apparently for the greater social good to be served by treating people as individuals rather than as undifferentiated and undistinguishable members of the human race.

—MARVIN D. DUNNETTE

A police officer working a beat in the East Los Angeles ghetto is likely to possess beliefs about human nature that are extremely different from those of an elementary school teacher in Grosse Point, MI. A freshman at a state university and a member of the board of trustees at the same school are likely to attribute different characteristics to people ...

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