Clark Richard McCauley, Jr.

(1943-2023 estimated)

Current Obituary, to be held in morgue file until needed. Last updated May 2001.

Clark Richard McCauley Junior was born 13 October 1943 in Baltimore Maryland, the first of seven children of Dick and Mary Louise Quinlin McCauley. In kindergarten, he was known to some of his classmates as "Chinky, chinky Chinaman" because of his slanted eyes; when told that his father's parents were part Indian (Potawatomi and Cree), he declined to believe it. "They don't have any feathers."

He greatly enjoyed the travel and foreign postings brought to the family by his father's 25 years in the U.S. Army, and sought taxpayer support for a similar lifestyle by going to West Point out of high school. He soon joined Edgar Allen Poe and other illustrious West Point dropouts, however; too little to eat and too much poison ivy in the woods around West Point undermined the attraction of a military career. He was able to take up an NIH-supported scholarship at Providence College and in 1965 received his Bachelor of Science degree with a major in biology and chemistry.

A National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship smoothed his way to graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania, in a department of psychology notable both for the breadth of its pro-seminar system and for the absence of any application fee (the latter attraction now sadly defunct). He spent five relaxed and pleasant years at Penn, taking courses in political science and in communications while focusing on social and clinical psychology. His Ph.D. thesis, supervised by Albert Pepitone, showed that group extremity shift was substantially correlated with group decrease in variance of opinion--a result more significant than he understood at the time.

His first full-time teaching position, at Bryn Mawr College, turned out to be his last: he arrived in 1970 and never left. His research interests over the years left some doubt about whether he was lamentably unfocused or impressively wide ranging, but he always enjoyed whatever he was working on. Among the ideas he tried to sell were the following. Stereotypes are not always wrong and using stereotypes is not always wicked. Terrorists are not crazy and most of us are capable of doing ugly things to others when the group dynamics are right. People suffering kidney failure may be smart not to want a cadaveric transplant (with Nick Johnson). Disgust is an attractive emotion, at least for anyone interested in understanding where values come from (with Paul Rozin). Ethnicity and nationalism are group cohesion writ large. Diversity workshops may be powerful enough to do some harm.

He was continually amazed at how non-obvious these ideas were to many of his customers in the marketplace of ideas.

In his later years he joined with Paul Rozin at the University of Pennsylvania in directing the Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict. He met and worked with some great people at the Center, but, at last report, had not solved the problem of man's inhumanity to man.

He leaves behind his beloved wife, Lisa Marie Beck McCauley, who deferred promising careers in animal husbandry and social psychology to concentrate on joint authorship of three great little guys: Thomas Berton, Richard Beck, and William Bernard McCauley.
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