Monday, November 11, 2002

Another letter on the listserv post
Preface: Kevin emailed this to me when I forwarded the post that pissed me off to him. It musters up the level of anger I had, but I let dissapate before writing earlier today.

"As a professional who has studied in the field of psychology for over 25 years, ignoring the importance of "individual differences", in favor of "group differences," demonstrates a fundamental lack of ignorance of the research evidence regarding human behavior. Anyone who paid attention during their Intro to Psych. Courses should know this information.

"It is well known in the psychology literature that the ONLY real law of human behavior is that of "individual differences." Individual differences account for the largest proportion of human behavioral variance than does any group variance (white, black, privileged vs. non-privileged; etc.). Stated differently, it is well known (and has been empirically demonstrated) that the variance WITHIN groups is larger than the variance BETWEEN groups. People are people....individuals act more based on their individuality than they do so because of any group association. I am who I am....and then I am who I am based on the groups I'm associated with, the environment I am currently living in, put the group identify first (e.g., those who are "privileged"; those who are black; etc.) demonstrates a fundamental lack of knowledge of the research in the psychology of individual and group differences. To do so suggest a political rather than a scholarly agenda. To do so ignores the splendid multivariate causality of human behavior.

"Also, it is well known in the field of psychology that if you can explain more than 50-60% of human behavior that there is probably something wrong with your research or methods. Statements which convey a na�ve belief that group association/identity (e.g., white privilege; blacks vs. whites; etc.) accounts for 100% of a persons behavior are not statements based on data/evidence. They are political statements. Only 50+% of of individual human behavior can be explained .....the continued assertion that "group" identity (e.g., white privilege) is what dictates my behavior demonstrates an ignorance of the empirical/research literature......its shows a fundamental ignorance of the empirical study of human behavior. It demonstrates a fundamental disregard from one on of the most important aspects of human behavior.....we are all unique individuals.

"Individuality accounts for more of each person's individual behavior than does any group association. The continued assertion that my behavior (or any other person's behavior) is foremost due to certain group associations is at variance with empirical research and evidence.....and clearly indicates a political vs. rational/scholarly

"Such statements are made for obvious political (vs. scholarly) reasons. Put individuality first, and group identities later, and then I will be willing to talk to these type of people.....people, who if they are really pushed, would probably admit they also are individuals first....and group identities are secondary."

Kevin McGrew