Illusions of the Heart

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Where do men get the beliefs and values by which they live? There is but one reasonable answer. They create them. Men create their own conceptions of what is true and good in the world around them. There is no other explanation save a religious or genetic one. Despite a persisting concern with both cross-cultural and historical variation in beliefs and values, however, we know embarrassingly little about why such ideas vary as radically as they obviously do. More often than not we take ideas as givens, as variables to be used in explaining something else; only seldom do we consider them as problematical, as entities to be explained in and of themselves. While we are made impatient by the empirical shortcomings of Marx, Scheler, Mannheim and others who have worked in this area, we are attracted by the intellectual significance of the questions they have raised. Unlike these others, we have done our research in the small group laboratory. Our own strategy employs a series of experiments in which the variables most likely to be critical for a theory of culture are abstracted from their normal context and varied systematically with an eye to producing significant changes in subjects' beliefs and values. Our research is predicated on the assumption that we shall make more progress if we start by looking at value formation in its most primitive form; only later will it be productive to incorporate some of the variables likely to be of importance in the natural setting.


1. A Theory of Task Experience As a Source of Attitudes
2. A Discussion of Related Theories
3. The Wisconsin Experiment
4. Individualism-Collectivism (I)
5. Equalitarianism-Authoritarianism
6. Individualism-Collectivism (II)
7. Religion
8. Achievement
9. Individualism-Collectivism (III)
10. Conclusion
Publisher: Dorsey Press
Date of Publication: 1965
Length: 280 pages

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