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SOCIAL SCIENCE PAPERS: Abstracts 
Longer academic papers by John Ray are summarized here 

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December, 26, 2003

Sources and Themes of Papers in The Australian Journal of Psychology, 1970-1985

Summary

A survey of all papers published in the Australian Journal of Psychology from 1970 to 1985 (inclusive) showed that personality and social psychology was the main topic area published, that of the various Australian cities most papers came from Adelaide and that the institution most represented was Flinders University. The most published author was N. Feather. Lists of the top 12 authors and institutions are also given

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December 21, 2003

SAMPLE HOMOGENEITY, RESPONSE SKEWNESS AND ACQUIESCENCE: A REPLY TO FEATHER

Summary

Feather (1980) claims that the low correlation between the positive and negative halves of the C-scale reported in an earlier paper may have been due to the homogeneity of the samples used. It is pointed out that (a) even highly skewed C-scale items do still, on at least some occasions, correlate well with other items; (b) low pos-neg correlations are sometimes in the C-scale associated with generally high levels of inter-item correlation; (c) the C-scale does not collapse when applied to other homogeneous samples; and (d) the demographic homogeneity of the Ray and Pratt (1979) "homogeneous" samples was not associated with response homogeneity. It is concluded that Feather's suggested explanation for the occasional poor functioning of the C-scale is contra-indicated by such considerations

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December 20, 2003

MACHIAVELLIANISM, FORCED-CHOICE FORMATS AND THE VALIDITY OF THE F SCALE: A REJOINDER TO BLOOM

Summary

Bloom has defended the forced-choice form of the Machiavellianism scale from observations by Ray that such scales have intrinsic validity problems -- particularly with social desirability. Bloom also has shown that the failure of the F scale to predict authoritarian behavior does not necessarily deprive it of all claims to validity. It is pointed out that Bloom's observations contain nothing new and ignore important considerations. The validity problems of forced-choice format are elaborated by means of examples, and it is pointed out that Bloom appears to lack criteria for ever allowing the F scale to be shown as invalid

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December 8, 2003

THE WORKERS ARE NOT AUTHORITARIAN: ATTITUDE AND PERSONALITY DATA FROM SIX COUNTRIES

Summary:

There is considerable evidence that working class people tend to be conservative on non-economic social and political issues. Some contrary findings can, however, be found in the literature. It is argued, however, that conservatism and authoritarianism should not be treated as interchangeable. It is further argued that authoritarianism should be measured by scales of demonstrated behavioural validity. This research was done in a series of eight community studies comprising ten samples gathered in California, Australia, England, Scotland, The Philippines, and South Africa. On no occasion was a significant tendency observed for working class people to exhibit authoritarian personalities. There was, however, a fitful tendency for them to be conservative on some social issues

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December 4, 2003

Pitfalls in Using the F Scale to Measure Authoritarianism in Accounting Research

Summary

The personality variable of authoritarianism has been studied for its effects on budgetary participation. The California F Scale, which is used to measure authoritarianism, has been heavily criticized by many psychologists because it is a better indicator of conservatism, an old-fashioned outlook, and a tendency to say "yes" to anything rather than as a measure of authoritarianism. Given the problems of the F Scale in measuring authoritarianism, prior studies may have obtained equivocal results. Scales which are more valid and unequivocal in measuring authoritarianism do exist and their use should enable less ambiguous research findings to be obtained.

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December 2, 2003

The questionnaire measurement of social class

Summary

What is indicated is in what areas the various possible indices of class are strong predictors among Australians. Any general statement about one index of class being superior to another is shown to be misleading. Given the alternatives he considered, Alford's judgment about the most suitable predictor of voting is vindicated. It is of importance to know however that this superiority cannot be generalised to other prediction tasks. Where generalisability of prediction is however desired for either theoretical or practical reasons, a new index that is suitable for the task has been provided (the summated subjective index). More sophisticated measurement even offers improved measurement in Alford's own prediction task, i.e. the best voting predictor of all is shown to be the composite of subjective score and manual-non-manual score.

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November 30, 2003

ENVIRONMENTALISM AS A TRAIT

Summary

An Australian environmentalism scale has been developed. A pool of 77 items was written to tap all aspects of the phenomenon and this was administered to a population sample of 100. A reduced form of the pool was derived of only 20 items. This scale showed a reliability of .85 and a correlation with the full pool of .901. Contrary to expectation it did not correlate with education or occupational status. It correlated .317 with political radicalism, -.173 with neuroticism and .097 with extraversion

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November 29, 2003

AUSTRALIA'S DEEP NORTH AND AMERICA'S DEEP SOUTH: EFFECTS OF CLIMATE ON CONSERVATISM, AUTHORITARIANISM AND ATTITUDE TO LOVE

Summary

That part of the USA closest to the equator, "The South", is commonly characterised as more conservative, more romantic and more authoritarian. In recent years there has evolved a tendency to refer to Australia's northernmost state (Queensland) as the "Deep North" in analogy with this. Queensland is said to be not only warmer, but also more conservative and authoritarian. Scales to measure economic, moral and social conservatism together with the Munro-Adams attitude to love scale and the "Directiveness" scale of authoritarian personality were therefore administered to random postal samples of 219 Queenslanders and 158 people from the more southern state of N.S.W. Queenslanders were found to be more conservative on moral and social issues, but were not more economically conservative or authoritarian. They did show greater belief in the power of love. Radicals on moral issues and conservatives on economic issues were found to be more authoritarian

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November 28, 2003

RELIGIOCENTRISM AND ETHNOCENTRISM: Catholic and Protestant in Australian Schools

Summary

The assumption that Roman Catholics are more religiocentric is challenged. New attitude scales to measure religiocentrism and ethnocentrism were constructed. In a study of Australian fifth form students in two Catholic and two public schools, religiocentrism and ethnocentrism were shown to be uncorrelated with religious background. The implications of this for teachers and for social science are briefly explored

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November 24, 2003

DO AUTHORITARIAN ATTITUDES OR AUTHORITARIAN PERSONALITIES REFLECT MENTAL ILLNESS?


Summary:

It is pointed out that authoritarian attitudes and authoritarian behaviour are generally not associated. The few studies that have been made of authoritarian behaviour directly are reviewed. In studies of Nazi Germany, of police and army personnel and of educational methods, no evidence is found that authoritarian behaviour is psychopathological. Ray's (1976) Directiveness scale measuring authoritarian behaviour and a balanced F-scale were presented to a random sample of 95 Sydney people in a doorstep survey. The authoritarian personality as measured by the Directiveness scale was found to go with better mental health as measured by the Eysenck Neuroticism scale. There was no significant correlation between the balanced F-scale and neuroticism. The study made use of extensive controls against acquiescent response set and social desirability response set

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November, 22, 2003

ARE SUBTLE RACISTS AUTHORITARIAN? Comment on Duckitt

Summary

Duckitt reports that his Subtle Racism scale predicts both racist behaviour and authoritarian attitudes. His scale, however, correlates only negligibly with reported racist behaviour and its correlation with the RWA scale probably tells us more about conservatism than authoritarianism. Conservatives do not, however, usually behave in more racist ways so Duckitt should report his findings on that question

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November 21, 2003

SOME ALTERNATIVE CONCEPTIONS OF AUTHORITARIANISM: With Applications in Australia, England, Scotland and South Africa

Excerpts

The problems inherent in the California F scale (Adorno et a1., 1950) as a measure of authoritarianism are now well known (Christie & Jahoda, 1954; Brown, 1965; Kirscht & Dillehay, 1967 McKinney, 1973). They can be summarized as: Openness to acquiescent responding; ideological bias and lack of behavioural validity (See also Titus, 1968 ; Titus & Hollander, 1957 ; Ray, 1976). On all three counts it can be held not to measure what it purports to measure. The need for new or improved measures has, then, long been recognized.

The characterization of the authoritarian given by Adorno et al. (1950) has been shown by all the above results to depend almost entirely on use of the F scale. Other measures of authoritarianism give vastly different results: Given the severe doubts about the adequacy and validity of the F scale also brought out above, it must be concluded that, whatever else they did, Adorno et al told us little or nothing about the real nature of authoritarianism. The "Directiveness" scale, however, gives much better promise in this direction.

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November 20, 2003

IS BRITAIN AN AUTHORITARIAN SOCIETY?

Some Excerpts

What the paper will be concerned to do, then, is to ask whether or not the political and social organization that is Britain today tends to be characterized by authoritarian practices and behaviours. Even if modal British attitudes and personalities are not particularly authoritarian, it could still be the case that the political system devised in response to those attitudes has unintended consequences and it could also be the case that people's behaviour is as much affected by social systems surviving from the past as it is by their own personality.

A further possibility is that a modal personality characteristic other than authoritarianism itself could give rise to an authoritarian set of behaviours. It is often remarked in the Army that a new officer or one who does not know his job tends to be particularly authoritarian. Thus, if newness or incompetence can give rise to, authoritarian practices, so too could, for instance, shyness or lack of self-confidence. (cf. Naidu and Sinha, 1972 ; Rammurthi and Ganakannan, 1972).

The present author's qualifications for discussing the subject are on the one hand, his extensive prior research experience with authoritarianism and, on the other, the simple fact that he can bring to the British the benefit of a sympathetic outsider's view. As an Australian, I grew up on British books and lived in a society where roughly 15% of the population is still British-born.

My overall impression of Britain is shock at what an authoritarian society it is. California, by contrast, appeared irrepressibly free and individualistic.

In saying the above I have knowingly violated two very, strong prejudices in British thought: That Britain is the home of liberty and that nothing good can come out of America (Galilee... ?). I think it is vital that these preconceptions be suspended long enough for the actual evidence to be considered. I will propose that in many ways the average Briton (particularly the Londoner) behaves in ways similar to what is expected of members of a military organization such as the Army.

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November 16, 2003

NON-AUTHORITARIAN AFRIKANERS

Summary:

Previous research would suggest that white South Africans are not only racist, but authoritarian too. This study attempted to determine the level of authoritarian personality among a community sample of Afrikaners in a predominantly Afrikaans-speaking city. Results showed that this sample was less (p < 0.05) authoritarian than a sample of Afrikaner students and that the level of authoritarianism among the respondents is comparable to that found among a community sample of Londoners. These results therefore suggest that Afrikaners' greater racism may not be the result of personality factors but rather be due to circumstances peculiar to South Africa

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November 14, 2003

ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION AS AN EXPLANATION OF AUTHORITARIAN BEHAVIOUR: DATA FROM AUSTRALIA SOUTH AFRICA, CALIFORNIA, ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND*

Summary:

Previous work on the relationship between need for achievement and authoritarianism was found on balance slightly to favour such a relationship but to be inconclusive because of defects in the measuring instruments. A conceptual analysis led to a simplified definition of each of the two concepts as a necessary prelude to examination of their relationship. The simplified definitions were operationalized in personality scales. These were the Ray-Lynn "AO" scale and the Ray (1976) Directiveness scale. Using door-to-door cluster samples of 95 Australians, 100 Englishmen, 100 Scotsmen, 100 South Africans and 101 Californians, correlations of .331, .395, .489, .305 and .465 between the two scales were observed. In five separate studies using more traditional attitude-type measures of authoritarianism, the relationship with achievement motivation was found to be present in two samples only. It was concluded that achievement motivation rather than the need to vent hostility to one's father was the better supported explanation for observed authoritarian behaviour - particularly in South Africa.

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November 11, 2003

SHOULD SOCIOLOGY REQUIRE STATISTICS?

Excerpts:

Most published accounts of what should be taught in sociology courses include statistics (e.g., Timms and Zubrzycki, 1971; Emery, 1970; Blalock, 1969). The debate is not over whether they should be taught but over how they should be taught. It seems to the present writer however that this state of affairs does not well represent what many sociologists and advanced sociology students actually feel -- in particular, it is not representative of what sociologists actually do teach. In conversation, one detects a hostility to anything statistical. Statistics are referred to as "decorations" for journal articles and are condemned as a fetish. Worst calumny of all, they are, outside the United States, sometimes referred to as "American" (see also Berger, 1963).

The paramount thing to keep in mind in respect of both probability statistics and psychometric measurement procedures is that they represent precautions. They are precautions we take before we risk generalizations from incomplete data. They are, moreover, precautions of a standardized nature. They enable us better to compare the results of one study with the results of another. The unwillingness to take such simple precautions (reflected in criticisms directed at journal editors who request statistical treatment of empirical data) does then seem to represent a dangerous sort of irresponsibility. What is the good of a "relevant" science (Walker, 1970) if its findings cannot be relied on to any known degree? Statistics are sometimes said in fact to militate against sociology being a "relevant" science. There may be some truth in this, but it certainly cannot be said that a statistical science must be non-relevant, nor does it follow that a non-statistical science will be more relevant than a statistical one. (Nor is "relevance" in its turn any guarantee of truth or accuracy. At best, it is a demand for applied research; at worst, it is an adolescent impatience with enterprises of a necessarily long-term or step-by-step nature.) In fact, the choice between a statistical sociology and a non-statistical sociology would seem to be a choice between science and non-science. Without the precaution orientation of traditional scientific method, we are reduced to something little different from "what Mrs. Jones said over the backyard fence."

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November 7, 2003

EYSENCK ON SOCIAL ATTITUDES: AN HISTORICAL CRITIQUE

Excerpts:

As it happened, Eysenck's 'discovery' of two main factors in social attitudes was fortuitous. It formed the basis for what was to become an attractive solution to a considerable puzzle of twentieth century politics: that the further out on the Right or the Left one moved, the more one began to notice that those on the Right and on the Left had a lot in common. Right- and Left-wing extremists, instead of being utterly different from one another, in fact seemed remarkably similar. To go from the extreme Left to the extreme Right was like travelling in a circle. You ended up somewhere remarkably like where you started. This was perhaps more evident before 1945 than it is now. Although there was a certain sense in which one was Right-wing and the other was Left-wing, Hitler's, Germany and Stalin's Russia had striking similarities. This 'same but different' phenomenon was something that anyone with any political consciousness would have had to cope with in the 1930s and 1940s.

Eysenck's habits of thought led to what still is a very clever solution to this puzzle. He maintained that political allegiances should be conceived not on one dimension but on two -- with an addition to the traditional radical-conservative dimension of tough-tender mindedness. Thus Fascists and Communists were the same in that both were high on tough-mindedness but different in that one was radical and the other was conservative. The two major parties traditional in Anglo-Saxon countries, on the other hand, were unified in being much more tender-minded than the totalitarian parties of Europe.

As well as making this powerful proposal for the description of existing political reality, Eysenck took the much bolder step of trying to show that such dimensions existed in the minds of men. His two dimensions were to be not mere political abstractions but factors of social attitudes -- products of the empirical procedures of factor analysis when such were applied to a large body of expressions of social attitudes made by ordinary people. His was a purported discovery about people. His dimensions did not exist just in the mind of some ivory-tower sophist. He proposed, in other words, a congruence between political and psychological reality. There were tough-minded radical governments because there were tough-minded radical people. I, as it happens, concur with Eysenck in believing that Communists tend to be (among other things) tough-minded radicals. I do not, however, believe -- as we shall see -- that Eysenck has succeeded in showing in his own empirical work that Communists are in fact tough-minded radicals.

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November 6, 2003

USING MULTIPLE CLASS INDICATORS TO EXAMINE WORKING-CLASS IDEOLOGY

Summary

Eysenck showed that working-class supporters of any particular political party tended to be more conservative than middle-class supporters of the same party. Lipset has put forward the more ambitious thesis that working-class people in general are more authoritarian and conservative than middle-class people (except on economic issues). Existing evidence for the Lipset thesis suggests at best weak support for it with a lot depending on the particular scales used and the particular class index used. A comprehensive study is therefore presented in which six scales of conservatism, two scales of authoritarianism and political party preference are correlated with five social-class indices. Ss were a community sample of 203 Australians. Significant correlations were sparse and of low magnitude with working-class people tending to be radical rather than conservative on non-economic issues. Authoritarians also tended to be middle class rather than lower class. There were however two weak correlations with education in the direction predicted by Lipset.

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November 5, 2003

ACQUIESCENCE AND RESPONSE SKEWNESS IN SCALE CONSTRUCTION: a paradox

Summary

Kirton's version of the Wilson C Scale is primarily a version wherein items of the C Scale that attract very skewed responses have been eliminated. Contrary to what seems obvious, it is shown that the Kirton scale shows more, rather than less, influence from acquiescent response bias. Although such influence was not a serious problem with this particular scale, the finding does give grounds for believing that some skewed items may make a valuable contribution to an additive (`Likert') scale

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November 4, 2003

MAXIMIZING THE RESPONSE-RATE IN SURVEYS MAY BE A MISTAKE

Summary:

A random postal sample of 400 Australians was carried out with the assistance of two conventional response-rate maximization techniques: a preliminary letter and a second mailing of the questionnaire aimed at non-respondents to the first questionnaire. The response-rate enhancement techniques appeared to have doubled the response rate from a usual 25% for a one-wave mailing to 47% on the present occasion. The present data, however, showed severe effects of acquiescent response bias ('saying yes to anything'), thus severely damaging the meaningfulness of the results. It is concluded that the use of response-rate enhancement techniques is not only unnecessary but is also in fact counterproductive

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October 27, 2003

PROJECTIVE TESTS CAN BE MADE RELIABLE: Measuring Need for Achievement

Summary

With self-rating (or "Likert") scales, reliability is partly a function of number of items and it is therefore suggested that increasing the number of measurements (items) should also improve projective test reliabilities. Empirical examples in the field of n Ach measurement are given that support this contention. Evidence is also mentioned which suggests that reliability can further be improved by different scoring systems and stimulus materials

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October 24, 2003

TASK ORIENTATION AND INTERACTION ORIENTATION SCALES

Excerpts

In his review of work with 'Ori', Bass (1967) concludes: "With a few interesting exceptions, in small groups and large organizations, the task-oriented person is upgraded by observers, peers and superiors. He is more tolerant of deviant opinion, conflicting ideas and directive supervision, although he does better himself as a permissive supervisor. . . . The interaction-oriented person is downgraded generally..."

One would think that the task-oriented person would place less value on, and give less attention to, interpersonal relations and hence be more isolated and less popular. One would expect him to be a direct supervisor --little tolerant of individual peculiarities: and yet the opposite is said to be true.

Of all things, one would most expect the task-oriented person to have a high need for achievement -- and yet Bass reports that there is in general no relationship....

All the hypotheses of the introduction section of this report were clearly confirmed. So far from IO and TO scores being negatively correlated, on some samples they were in fact positively correlated! This being so, Bass' procedure is clearly inappropriate. Interaction- and task-orientation are not opposed. A person may be high on both.

The important thing, however, is that over five samples, the Likert scales have shown validity properties which are by and large the reverse of what is found with Bass' ipsatized scales. It has also been demonstrated that "Leisure Orientation" is a more suitable "opposite" to Task orientation than either of the alternatives Bass considers.

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October 20, 2003

DEATH ANXIETY AND DEATH ACCEPTANCE: A PRELIMINARY APPROACH

Summary

Death acceptance is not necessarily the opposite of death anxiety. The two could in fact correlate positively. A third category of "death denial" should also be considered. A new scale to measure death acceptance was devised. It was found to be reliable and, in a group of students, correlated positively (rs = .242 and .263) with two existing death anxiety scales. People can therefore accept death and be anxious about it at the same time. Religious unbelievers were found to be death-acceptant and females death-anxious. There was no relation between death attitudes and achievement motivation

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October 19, 2003

MODERNIZATION AND DEVELOPMENT AMONG INDIAN FARMERS: A Modern Proof of Some Old Theories

Excerpts:

The subjects were farmers of Rohtak Block, Haryana state and were selected from an area where agricultural growth was, in fact, perceptible and where enough infrastructure existed for further growth. They were well acquainted with modern agricultural techniques through mass media communication provided by the State government. Haryana is the state that encompasses the national capital, Delhi.

One thing that the present results do strongly suggest is that the usual Western formulation of the reason why most Third World farmers fail to modernize (resistance to change) is, at the very least, superficial [42]. In fact, in this study, resistance to change (Cattell's factor Q1) correlated only .063 with growth rate. Some farmers with negative attitudes to change did make progress and some with positive attitudes did not.

Overall, then, the major conclusion to be drawn from the present study is that Indian farmers are very much like the businessmen of the West. The better motivated and the more intelligent make the most material progress. There appear to be some invariants in human nature after all that strongly underlie and, hence, strongly limit what we can do in bringing about a better world.

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October 17, 2003

HOW GOOD IS THE WILSON-PATTERSON CONSERVATISM SCALE?

Summary

A review of findings with the Wilson and Patterson C-scale shows that, contrary to its authors' claims, it is not uniformly of high reliability, nor is it especially immune to acquiescent response set. The correlation between its nominally positive and negative halves has even been found on some occasions to be positive -- thus throwing the validity of the scale into question. It is pointed out that the short item format used in the C-scale is not original to Wilson and Patterson, and that a revised version of the scale is in existence which appears to overcome some of the defects mentioned above. It is concluded that the field of work opened up by the C-scale is of great intrinsic interest whether or not the C-scale has the psychometric advantages that were originally expected

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October 16, 2003

ANTISEMITIC TYPES IN AUSTRALIA

Excerpt:

As an initial categorization, I feel that the Nazis I have known can be divided into three groups. The first are the old-fashioned Nazis; the second are the ideological Nazis; and the third are the young Nazis. A fourth category are antisemites who would roundly deny any interest in, or approval of, Nazism. I will firstly describe the individuals who fall roughly into these categories and then I will go on to identify anything that I feel is common to all these antisemitic people

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October 15, 2003

IS ANTISEMITISM A COGNITIVE SIMPLIFICATION? SOME OBSERVATIONS ON AUSTRALIAN NEO-NAZIS

Introduction

I have always been interested in the full range of the social sciences (which is how at one time I came to be teaching both psychology and economics) and anthropology has always been part of that interest. In my student days, therefore, I thought I would make good use of the anthropologist's most usual research method (participant observation) to study the topic I have always been interested in most -- politics. Anthropologists have the view that you can never understand a group "from the outside" -- You have to join the group and become accepted into it before you will ever have any chance of understanding it. I took this to heart and promptly joined a great range of political groups from the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society on one hand (Communist Front) to the local neo-Nazi group on the other. It was only the neo-Nazis, however, that I found much original to say about so I wrote up a total of three papers about them for publication in three Jewish social science journals. This is one of the papers concerned. In it, I address the usual Leftist theory that both conservatives and racists are prone to oversimplified thinking. I point out that, to the contrary, neo-Nazis are prone to very complex thinking -- since their view of the world is contradicted on every hand.

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October 14, 2003

ANTI-AUTHORITARIANISM: AN INDICATOR OF PATHOLOGY

Summary

Evidence is presented to show that agreement with certain items claimed by Rudin (1961) to be anti-rational-authoritarian is positively related to neuroticism and negatively related to socio-economic status and intelligence, whereas agreement with pro-authoritarian items from the same scale is not related. This evidence is held to support Rudin's argument that rational and irrational authoritarianism (as exemplified by the F-scale) are independent, and that pathology is related to rejection of the former as well as acceptance of the latter

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October 13, 2003

THE MEASUREMENT OF POLITICAL DEFERENCE: Some Australian Data

Summary

The concept of social deference has long been known in the Political Science literature of Britain -- where it is commonly advanced as an explanation for the fact that many working-class people vote for the Conservative party. The theory is that some people are especially impressed by social position and general merit in those they vote for and think that a person above their own social class would best represent them in Parliament. Measuring such an attitude has however been in the past rather haphazard so a new scale was produced using Australian respondents which appears to work well according to normal psychometric criteria. It was found that respect for merit and social position in political candidates was normal except for working class Labor Party voters -- where it was abnormally low.

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October 10, 2003

MILITARISM, AUTHORITARIANISM, NEUROTICISM AND ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR

Excerpts

It is felt then that the present work represents the conclusion in a chapter of social research wherein the work by Adorno et al. (1950) has been very thoroughly undone.....

Thus the greatest lesson of the above results would seem to lie in the sociology of knowledge. They show that a false belief can come to be widely accepted as true, even if the evidence upon which it is based is fraught with methodological flaws. This happens where the false belief is satisfying to the believers or confirms their prejudices. Most social scientists would acknowledge at least vague "leftish" sympathies. Therefore a theory which shows people of an opposing ideology to be in some sense "sick" is both congenial and welcome. The more humble view that ideology enters where knowledge is difficult or impossible leads to the necessity of acknowledging that others have a valid right to hold opinions other than our own. This is not nearly as satisfying as stigmatizing those who disagree with us as "sick."....

In summary then, far from being a dangerously maladjusted person, the militarist is shown to be among our better adjusted and less obnoxious citizens. This also seems to be true of conservatives in general. These conclusions are based on a failure of the Eysenck neuroticism scale to correlate with any measure of right-wing ideology, a zero relationship between an attitude to authority scale and actual authoritarian behavior, and a positive correlation between a social adjustment scale and other scales measuring militarism, attitude to authority, and conservatism.

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October 8, 2003

AN IMPROVED DIRECTIVENESS SCALE

Summary

The concept of directiveness is used by researchers in several areas of psychology but the scale most frequently used to measure it (the Ray scale) is sometimes rather low in reliability. On one such occasion the Ray scale was administered along with the Lorr and More scale. A hybrid scale replacing some Ray scale items with Lorr and More scale items was found to be much more reliable. Peer-rating validation studies showed the hybrid scale also to be highly valid. Directiveness was operationally defined as the aggressive subset of dominant behaviours.

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October 7, 2003

NON-ETHNOCENTRIC AUTHORITARIANISM

Excerpt:

A valid and reliable scale has been presented which provides an alternative measure of authoritarianism to the California 'F' scale. Using this measure, the relationship of authoritarianism to submissive behaviour and to conservatism has been independently verified.

Most importantly of all however, authoritarianism as measured by the 'A' scale has been shown to be quite different to that measured by the 'F' scale -- in that 'A' scale scores are not related to ethnocentrism.

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October 2, 2003

DO MENTAL EVENTS EXIST OR IS MAN JUST A PROTEIN MACHINE?

Summary

It is argued that the present state of neurophysiological knowledge and theory does give grounds for an explanation of all those phenomena normally held in some quarters to be irreducibly 'mental'. Suggestions are made as to what physiological events particular mental events could be made up of. It is proposed that perception should be regarded as a response and that the problem, 'What is consciousness?' should be treated as an empirical one -- the tentative answer proposed being: 'All those responses accompanied by an orienting response'. It is concluded that peculiarly "mental" events do not exist

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October 1, 2003

THE EFFECT OF CASTE AND EDUCATION ON ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION AND AUTHORITARIANISM

Summary

Scales of interpersonal authoritarianism and achievement motivation were administered to 305 randomly selected respondents in Bombay. Contrary to expectation, there was found to be no association between caste and authoritarianism or between education and achievement motivation. Explanations for the results are considered.

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September 30, 2003

RACIAL ATTITUDES AND THE CONTACT HYPOTHESIS

SUMMARY

The American version of the contact hypothesis as it is usually applied to race relations is that the more you get to know blacks, the better you will like them. British and Australian research, however, seems to support the opposite generalization. To propose either a negative or a positive characteristic effect of contact per se does, however, appear almost inevitably simplistic. A random doorstep study of 200 Australians was carried out which compared degree of contact and favorableness of attitude towards a number of community subgroups-working mothers, divorced people, nude sunbathers, and coeducational school attenders-as well as towards blacks. Only in the case of divorcees and nude sunbathers was there any relationship between degree of contact and attitude. Contact as such, therefore, may not have a consistent effect

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September 25, 2003

INTOLERANCE OF AMBIGUITY AMONG PSYCHOLOGISTS: A Comment on Maier and Lavrakas

Summary

Maier and Lavrakas ("Attitudes Toward Women, Personality Rigidity, and Idealized Physique Preferences in Males, " Sex Roles, 1984, 11(S/6), 425-4.33) claim to have shown that males with a rigid personality structure seek an idealized muscular physique. It is pointed out that their measure of rigidity (the F scale) is based on an oversimplified and extensively disconfirmed theory, which is itself intolerant of ambiguity. Continued acceptance of the theory is also therefore intolerant of ambiguity. It is proposed that the correct interpretation of the Maier and Lavrakas findings should have been that it is old-fashioned to idealize a muscular physique

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September 24, 2003

PERSONAL QUALITIES OF STUDENTS SELECTED FOR ENTRY TO MEDICAL SCHOOL

Excerpt

The ability to pass examinations has long been the sole criterion for entry to medical school. In these circumstances, are those who are presently being selected into medical courses the students who will make the best doctors, given the needs of the community as a whole? Is academic ability both a necessary and sufficient quality of those who become the community's doctors?

This research investigates the consequences of the selection procedures used in a large Australian medical school.

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September 23, 2003

THE TRAITS OF IMMIGRANTS: A Case Study of the Sydney Parsees

Excerpt

There has always been some controversy about the traits of migrants. Are they misfits who could not make it at home (as tends to be believed in the country of origin) or are they people with higher drive, ambition and independence (as tends to be believed in the country of destination)? Quite obviously, both might be right. There are all sorts of motives for migration. Even so, it is not unreasonable to ask which type of motive predominates....

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September 22, 2003

SELF-REPORT MEASURES OF ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION: A CATALOG

Summary

As the projective measurement of achievement motivation has fallen into disrepute, more and more self-report measures have been produced. Most such instruments appear to have been devised without any awareness that other similar instruments already existed. Over 70 such are listed which are shown to have highly variable reliability and validity. There are however several instuments which appear highly suitable for measuring different variants of the achievement motivation concept.

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September 19, 2003

ARE RACISTS ETHNOCENTRIC?

Excerpts

It must be remembered that this study is principally the study of an assumption -- the assumption that ethnic likes and dislikes are unidimensional. Such an assumption occurs on every occasion when a single scale purporting to measure 'racial prejudice' or the like is used (e.g. Beswick & Hills, 1969). As has been mentioned, it is an assumption which has flowed at least in part from the early work by Adorno et al, (1950) which demonstrated extremely high correlations between measures of various forms of ethnic prejudice -- correlations so high that the assumption of uni-factoriality seemed justified. It has in fact almost become conventional wisdom that the man who is prejudiced in one respect will also be prejudiced in others -- the man who dislikes blacks will not like Jews either, and so on.

It is felt that the present results, although not widely generalisable because of sample limitations, do definitely show that there are at least some occasions when the assumption does not hold. In particular, the present results have given grounds for believing that among many Australians, attitude to Aborigines stands on its own -- whether you like or dislike Aborigines will not be very predictive of your attitude to other potential out-groups. The correlations observed do of course show that anti-Aboriginal people are slightly more likely to be prejudiced towards other groups (eight to eleven per cent shared variance) but, at the same time, the correlations are low enough to allow for there being large numbers of people who dislike Aborigines only. If by 'racist' we mean someone who is prejudiced against practically all out-groups, we can say from the present results that disliking Aborigines does not necessarily make you a 'racist'.

Attitude towards Southern Europeans and attitude towards Jews, however, do fit the classical picture of being highly correlated. How may this, then, be interpreted? It certainly cannot well be interpreted by the classical Freudian model; which sees prejudice as essentially irrational and more a reflection of the prejudiced person's deep projective needs, than of the disliked groups' stimulus properties. If it were all so irrational and projective, why would it matter what the out-group involved was? Obviously, it does matter. Attitudes towards the various groups are clearly differentiated.

It was then shown that people's opinion of their own group ('Australians') had absolutely no bearing on their attitude towards Jews or their attitude towards Aborigines. Some super-patriots were racially tolerant and some people totally alienated from Australian society were racially prejudiced. All possible combinations were equally likely.

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September 16, 2003

ALTERNATIVES TO THE A-B PERSONALITY CONCEPT IN PREDICTING CORONARY HEART DISEASE

Summary

"A-type" personality is said to lead to coronary heart disease (CHD) yet even the authors of the concept admit that "A type" comprises several independent components. Generally, these components seem to be well-known psychological constructs (such as achievement motivation and aggression) but a fairly new construct which might be called "Freneticism" is also included. Freneticism (as measured by factors "S" of the Jenkins Activity Survey (JAS), does not however in fact seem to predict CHD. A reanalysis of the data from an Australian study by Ray & Simons was therefore carried out to see if something could be saved from the one genuine conceptual innovation falling under the "A-B" umbrella. After appropriate partial correlations were carried out to allow for correlations among the predictor variables, it was found that a new measure of freneticism independent of "A-B" (the Ray & Bozek scale) did provide a significant prediction of CHD. "A-B" score (derived from the JAS), however, was found to be a significant predictor of CHD only insofar as it measured an element of authoritarianism. There are thus two quite independent predictors of CHD -- authoritarianism and Freneticism. The A-B concept and the scale used to measure it (the JAS), however, have no useful role in either of them.

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September 14, 2003

AN "ATTITUDE TO AUTHORITY" SCALE

Excerpts

Workers in educational research and psychologists working for the armed services may often wish to measure attitude to authority in a standardised way. For this purpose existing scales of "authoritarianism" are not wholly suitable. The best known of these is the California 'F' scale (Adorno et al., 1950). In spite of the title of their book, the 'F' scale was not in fact described by these authors as a measure of authoritarianism. They consistently referred to it as a scale- of pre-Fascist (hence the 'F') ideology. Clearly, an educational researcher who simply wishes to measure the favourableness/unfavourableness of a student's attitude to authority must be rather dubious whether pre-Fascist attitudes are his immediate concern. Even if authoritarianism as measured by the 'F' scale were not a greatly more complex psychodynamic entity than simple attitude to authority, there is still the major fault that the 'F' scale fails almost entirely to predict actual behaviour (Titus, 1968).

Pro-authority people are submissive and well-adjusted, not aggressive, domineering or sick. This represents an extension of findings by Titus (1968) with the 'F' scale. It does call into some doubt the identification by Adorno et al (1950) of authoritarianism and Nazism. A favourable attitude to authority is not an explanation for aggression, paranoia and ferocity. The only part of the Nazi historical phenomenon it might perhaps explain is the ready acceptance of leadership per se.

A reliable scale has been presented which neither required nor supports the assumptions of the 'F' scale. Unlike the 'F' scale it has clearly demonstrated behavioural validity and is completely balanced from the beginning.

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September 13, 2003

ARE ALL RACES EQUALLY INTELLIGENT? -- OR: WHEN IS KNOWLEDGE KNOWLEDGE?

Excerpts

There has recently been an extensive controversy in the psychology literature on the possible genetic base of racial differences in intelligence. This has been so acrimonious as to inspire the thought that the controversy itself forms an interesting case-study in the sociology of knowledge

One is asked to believe that the tests are unfair to people who have sat in the same classrooms as whites but not unfair to Chinese and Japanese who have a totally different cultural background.

Given the impressive uniformity of the findings to date, it seems abundantly clear that the existence of a real difference between races would long ago have been considered to have been proven out of hand were it not for an ideological commitment to the opposite viewpoint.

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September 12, 2003

CONSERVATISM, AUTHORITARIANISM AND RELATED VARIABLES: A Review and Empirical Study

Summary comment

In this paper, I look at the confusion surrounding academic theories about conservatism and suggest that the best generalization one can extract from them is that there is only one single Left/Right dimension underlying people's social and political attitudes.

This paper is the published version of my M.A. dissertation, written in 1968 -- 35 years before this posting of it on the net. The information that has become available since 1968 has of course changed somewhat my view of the theories I summarize in the paper. In particular, I think it is now clear that opposition to change per se is not intrinsic to conservatism. Conservatives tend to oppose what they see as the destructive changes favoured by Leftists but also advocate changes of their own -- such as a move to more market-based economic and social arrangements.

The basic empirical finding of the above work -- that all social attitudes do in fact group on a single Left-Right dimension -- has however been resoundingly confirmed by later work. See Ray (1982 & 1984).

It is however possible to express any view of anything in more or less stupid ways and in more or less implausible ways and Leftist psychologists have -- perhaps unwittingly -- tended to use the less credible expressions of conservatism when they construct scales to measure it. The gain they make from that is, of course, to show that "conservatism" (as they measure it) correlates with a whole variety of discreditable characteristics -- some of which are described in the present paper. The penalty that they pay for that, however, is that the scales of Right-wing orientation or conservatism that they construct turn out to be irrelevant to real-life political party choice. It is, for instance, noted in the present paper that the McClosky scale of alleged conservatism did not predict vote in the general population and the same has been shown to be true of the F scale (Ray, 1983) and the RWA scale (Ray, 1990). In other words, half of the people that Leftist psychologists define as "conservative" in fact vote for Leftist political parties and candidates! One has to laugh.

By contrast, my own attempts to express both Leftist and Rightist views in a reasonable way have produced scales that DO predict vote -- with correlations between vote and conservatism of attitudes as high as .50 (Ray, 1984).

The biased approach of Leftist psychologists, therefore, has simply condemned their work to unnecessary irrelevance.

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September 10, 2003

ARE TRAIT SELF-RATINGS AS VALID AS MULTI-ITEM SCALES? A study of Achievement Motivation

Excerpts

It must come as no surprise when assumptions and practices in psychology itself come under critical scrutiny. One such very strong trend of late .... has been to question the use of multi-item personality or attitude scales in favour of simply asking the subject to rate himself on the trait concerned. It has been shown that such self-ratings can be made reliably and because they are much simpler and quicker it is contended that they are to be preferred to conventional scales.

In conclusion, then, it must be said that the single trait self rating has fared surprisingly well in terms of validity. As a quick form of measurement it will no doubt make possible many studies where the use of multi-item scales would have been difficult. It is equally clear, however, that greater validity can be obtained with multi-item scales and these consequently should continue to be used where possible.

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September 9, 2003

MORALISM AND POLITICS

Summary

It is shown that Left-wing activism is often termed 'moralistic' by its opponents. It is suggested that any idea that moral statements could have truth value is delusory and a moralist is defined as one who accepts such a delusion. A scale was devised to detect the extent to which people use moral criteria in deciding on courses of action. This 'moralism' scale showed a reliability of .90. On a group of one hundred technical college students moralism was found to be high in two groups of respondents -- those who were radical on social issues and those who were conservative on issues of sexual morality. In the second study a polarised sample was obtained by student interviewers in a campus-wide study at the University of New South Wales. The issue was attitude to Apartheid. Anti-apartheid demonstrators were found to have lower moralism scores than the non-demonstrators but their moralism scores correlated highly with social desirability. A second study with Sociology I students confirmed this finding and also showed that demonstrators tended to reject intellectually the notion of an objective Right and Wrong. The high correlation with social desirability is interpreted to indicate however that the radical is strongly drawn to moralism even though he rejects it intellectually,

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September 8, 2003

ACCEPTANCE OF AGGRESSION AND AUSTRALIAN VOTING PREFERENCE

Summary

The explanation of conservative ideology in terms of "authoritarianism" having fallen into disrepute, other psychological variables need to be sought to explain voting preferences. The belief that people are naturally aggressive and untrustworthy may help to explain much conservative ideology if it can be shown to underlie other conservative beliefs and if it does spring from childhood experience. On a door-to-door sample taken in Sydney, Australia, it was found that belief in man's innate aggressiveness did predict other forms of conservatism. This supported the view that childhood experience leading the person to believe that interpersonal aggression was inevitable in man generalized to the belief that international aggression was also inevitable unless carefully guarded against -- hence the "tough" foreign policy and military preparedness favoured by conservatives. It is concluded that the wariness of the conservative and the trust of the radical were both justifiable in terms of the individual's own experience and were hence relatively impermeable to dissuasion

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September 7, 2003

PUBLIC OPINION POLLS AND ATTITUDE MEASUREMENT: Social science or a form of journalism?

Summary

Psephology - or in lay terms public opinion polling - has been described as failing between social science and journalism. R.H.S. Crossman once wrote that in his experience politicians suffered from a mild kind of schizophrenia about polls. They were read omnivorously in parliamentary circles yet politicians, especially when the polls made an adverse prediction, tended to express a rather lofty disdain for their accuracy. On the other hand, if election results confirmed pollsters' predictions, the politicians would talk darkly of the malignant influence of the polls' findings on the minds of the electorate.

But one of the disconcerting aspects of the public opinion polls is that very few people appear to know very much about the methods employed in polling, about the techniques of sampling, and the numbers of views canvassed. How serious is sampling error and are question-framing and interviewer bias important? These are among the issues examined by this article.....

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September 5, 2003

RANDOM SAMPLING MIGHT NOT BE IMPOSSIBLE AFTER ALL

Summary

Treatises on sampling generally seem to assume that a random sample has been obtained. In real-life sampling, however, this seems never to be so - due to refusals to co-operate on the part of some of those drawn. Most of our statistics are therefore based on mythical assumptions. A way out of this problem would seem to emerge from a recent paper by Heaven (1983) which reports that in a door-to-door survey of white South Africans there were 106 completed interviews out of 110 planned. The present author has also carried out a random doorstep survey in another part of South Africa and obtained similar results. Refusals to cooperate are also very rare in India. It seems that with a little more effort the first truly random sample of a significant human population may be gathered from one of these two societies. Since white South African society is in almost all ways very similar to other Western societies, South Africa may be an important future venue for research where the theory to be tested demands rigorous accuracy in sampling.

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September 2, 2003

ATTITUDE TO ABORTION, ATTITUDE TO LIFE AND CONSERVATISM IN AUSTRALIA

Summary

After preliminary scale-construction studies, scales to measure general social conservatism, attitude to abortion and attitude to life (Biophilia) were given to a random cluster sample of 200 people in Sydney. Australia. Anti-abortionists were found to be highly likely to be conservative and slightly likely to be generally pro-life (after partialling out the effect of conservatism). They were also more likely to be frequent church attenders and of Roman Catholic convictions. Percentage approval of abortion varied with the question asked but approval for even completely unrestricted abortion was high - at 65%. On questions proposing qualified approval of abortion, anti-abortionists were as few as 7%. Only 16% of the sample both opposed unrestricted abortion and said that the matter would have an important bearing on their vote

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September 1, 2003

WHAT OLD PEOPLE BELIEVE: Age, Sex, and Conservatism

Summary:

An international range of 18 general population samples was examined to find the scale of conservatism /radicalism that correlated most highly with age. Items of a scale correlating 0.51 with age are presented. Sex was in general negligibly associated with ideology.

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August 31, 2003

CONSERVATISM AND MISANTHROPY

Excerpts:

Before we can ask whether or not conservatives are characteristically misanthropic, we must also ask what is meant by "conservative." Whatever we take conservatism to mean, it is surely something much more than just adherence to the status quo or defense of some orthodoxy

From my own research into people's attitudes, I have come to the Burkean conclusion that a conservative is, above all, someone who has a cynical or hardened view of humanity (see Ray, 1972a and 1974). Without condemning or disliking man, a conservative believes that man is predominantly selfish and cannot be trusted always to do good. Such a view indeed makes the conservative cautious about social change and has given rise to the perception that conservatism is merely opposition to any change.

This characteristic orientation towards man must, at least at first, seem to lay the conservative open to the charge that he is misanthropic or even paranoid. A little thought should suggest, however, that to be wary of man is not necessarily to dislike man. Mankind could be loved in spite of its faults.

The reliabilities ("alpha") of the two conservatism scales were .83 and .84. The correlations between them and misanthropy were -.036 and -.020 -- neither of which is anywhere near significance. Voting intention was found to correlate .004 with scores on the misanthropy scale -- which could hardly be more nonsignificant. Neither in vote nor in ideology, therefore, were conservatives particularly misanthropic.

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August 28, 2003

EXPLAINING AUSTRALIAN ATTITUDES TOWARDS ABORIGINES

Excerpts

We will examine what type of person tends to be the most prejudiced among present-day Australians. The major theory in this field is of course that of Adorno et al. (1950). They claim that racial prejudice arises from adverse childhood experience with familial sources of authority. An oppressive father is said to give rise to repressed hostility which finds its expression in later life as hostility towards groups not well able to hit back -- towards racial minorities

The major conclusion of the present work, then, must be to reject the California theory that racial attitudes are to be explained as an outcome of personality. Racial attitudes do show individual differences, but these are differences in ideology rather than differences in characteristic behaviour patterns or motivation.

The principal politically-relevant finding above was the .241 correlation between vote and racial attitudes. Note however that the meaning of this correlation is that there is only a 5% overlap between vote and racial attitudes. In other words the were nearly as many Leftist as Rightist voters who were critical of Australian blacks.

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August 27, 2003

IS AUTHORITARIANISM THE MAIN ELEMENT OF THE CORONARY-PRONE PERSONALITY?

Summary

Clients at the Sydney Coronary Heart Disease Prevention Programme were screened for actual CHD and sufferers were compared with non-sufferers an four personality scales to measure respectively: A--B. dominance, achievement motivation and 'Freneticism'. There were 112 sufferers and 201 controls. Sufferers were found to have significantly higher scores an dominance -- the Ray (1976) Directiveness scale -- but also to have significantly lower scores on the A--B measure. This latter reversal of the usual relationship was an artifact of the fact that older people are both more CHD prone and get lower A-B scores. When age was controlled for there was no relationship between A-B type and CHD. This left the authoritarian style of dominance measured by the Directiveness scale as the sole predictor of CHD. This was held to be a belated vindication of claims made in the pioneering work of Dunbar (1943).

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August 26, 2003

PRISON SENTENCES AND PUBLIC OPINION

Excerpts:

It is very common for some outcry to be raised in the newspapers about sentences that appear to be too lenient by public standards. What, however, are public standards? Are they what newspaper proprietors and journalists decree them to be or can we provide more objective information? Is sentencing practice in fact too lenient by public standards? Some answer to this is presented below......

There is very clearly a stark gap between actual sentencing practice and what the public see as appropriate sentencing practice. Difficult though the official statistics are to dissect, the gap between the judiciary and the public is so gross that nothing can disguise it. There would appear to be no possible set of reasonable assumptions which would suffice to close the gap. People in general want far more severe sentences than our courts in fact award.

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