chapter  10
5 Pages

A Nonverbal Technique for Assessing Ambivalence

The ambivalence-amplification theory makes the assumption that extreme reactions to blacks and the handicapped are mediated by conflicting attitudes about these people. Relatively little evidence bearing directly on this assumption was presented in the earlier chapters. This reflects the difficulties my colleagues and I encountered when we tried by verbal means to measure individual differences in attitudinal ambivalence. Efforts of this kind are beset by all of the problems that plague intergroup attitude measurement in general, including what appears (and what the theory postulates) to be a strong need on the part of many people to present themselves as both consistent and humane in their treatment of others. I now describe a further attempt that was made to relate attitudes about a stigmatized group to reactions to particular members.