US AND THEM: BELIEFS ABOUT HUMAN NATURE HELD BY YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC

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Abstract:

Beliefs in overall trustworthiness, strength of will and complexity of others were investigated in: (a) 72 secondary students (mean age 17 years) from King George VI School in Solomon Islands, and (b) 120 students (Fijians, Indo-Fijians and other Pacific Islanders) at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji (mean age 23 years 5 months). The 36-item Wrightsman's Children's Philosophies of Human Nature Scale was used. Solomon Island subjects completed the inventory twice (to compare their attitudes to people inside and outside the wantok (pidgin term for immediate village, or group of people perceived as close.) it was shown that people outside the wantok are perceived as less to be trusted (p<0.01), and more complex (pK0.05). In a sex comparison it was shown that males were more likely than females to trust people outside the wantok and found them less complex (p<0.05. In analysis of the results from the University student sample, males were shown (pK0.01) to see people in general as having more strength of will and rationality than females. In an ethnic comparison it was shown (p<0.05) that Indo-Fijians had a higher belief in the trustworthiness of people than Fijians. This confirms previous research. The University students took the inventory under standard conditions. It is suggested that future research would find it fruitful to continue to explore the differences in attitudes, in this part of the world, toward people perceived as either “close” or “distant”.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1982.10.2.221

Publication date: January 1, 1982

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