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Emergence of Individual Differences in Social Context ROBERT B. ZAJONC A priest who was a heavy smoker once asked his bishop if it was all right if he smoked while praying. Appalled, the bishop chastised the priest for the very thought of soiling the solemn moment of prayer with such a filthy habit. Some years passed and the bishop came again through our priest's parish. And our tormented priest asked again about his predicament. But he asked a somewhat different question: "Your excellency," he said, "is it all right to pray while smoking?" There was no hesitation in the bishop's answer. "Of course!" he said. "There is nothing in the world that should keep you from praying. You can always pray, my son. You should miss no opportunity to pray. Whenever you wish to pray, by all means pray!" The relationship between individual differences and social psychology is roughly the same as between smoking and praying. Many social psychologists, and especially experimental social psycholOgists, are openly disdainful of individ ual difference variables. They avoid them in their studies and refuse to incor porate them in theories. The reasons for their (and we really should say "my" because the author is no exception in this matter) attitude are not obvious.
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