Affirmative Action Programs: Discontinuities between Thoughts about Individuals and Thoughts about Groups

  • Robyn M. Dawes
Part of the Social Psychological Applications to Social Issues book series (SPAS, volume 3)


I learned two very important lessons as a very young child when I attempted to put my toys away in a toy box that wasn’t big enough to hold them all. Deciding which toys to put in the box was equivalent to deciding which toys to leave (strewn) on the floor. Moreover, deciding which individual toys to put in the box (leave on the floor) was equivalent to deciding which group of toys to put in it (leave on the floor). Amalgamating these two lessons, deciding which group of toys to put in the box was equivalent to deciding which individual toys to leave on the floor, and vice versa, and so on. Whether they are justified analytically or empirically, these principles of duality and simultaneity (of group and individual decision) remain true.


Base Rate Affirmative Action Reverse Discrimination Minority Group Member Aptitude Test 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robyn M. Dawes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social and Decision SciencesCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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