To Bill C. and Bob N.

Hemant Desai (
Tue, 19 Mar 1996 22:24:43 -0600 (CST)

Bob Neimeyer wrote:
> In his recent inflammatory posting, Bill Chambers repeats familiar insults,
> revisits a decade-old published exchange between the two of us on death
> threat research (the only point of substantive professional contact I
> recall having had with him in my 25 year involvement in PCP), and
> challenges me to something like a professional duel in this forum. He adds
> that "everybody already knows how we feel about each other," so presumably
> no matter how ugly it gets, people will be prepared and might even enjoy
> the cockfight.
> I am disinclined to do this for many reasons.
> First, our published debate is readily available in print, and can easily
> be consulted by anyone who cares to examine our diverging interpretations
> of a body of research on death threat that began at the University of
> Florida in the early 1970's. I'm sure that either Bill or I will be happy
> to share the references, and I would be happy to send a photocopy of the
> articles to interested mailbase participants, along with more contemporary
> summaries of this literature.
> Second, I do not believe that this mailbase is an appropriate forum for
> Bill's continuing to air whatever real or imagined grievances he may have
> in relation to me or some vaguely defined "bandwagon" of conspirators who
> supposedly squelched his promising career. In this vein, I do not agree
> with the statement that readers of this response "already know how we feel
> about each other;" while he has missed no opportunity to publically air his
> contempt and rage toward me, I have (appropriately, I think) witheld from
> engaging in any similar diatribe against him. Thus, while readers can form
> their own inferences about my response to his harrassment, I am reluctant
> to use the mailbase as a cathartic platform to even the score.
> Third, I simply have other priorities in my life (in terms of children,
> spouse, friends, students, colleagues, and projects) that supplant in
> importance the prospect of carrying on some protracted debate with Bill in
> this medium (or any other, for that matter). When I felt I had a
> contructive point to make in relation to his mailbase postings, I have done
> so (whether or not he acknowledges this), and I do not feel compelled to
> respond in depth to every lengthy entry he sees fit to post. This list is
> an invitational, not an obligatory medium, and I do not think it fair to
> infer an intent to ignore, repress, or marginalize an author based upon
> nonresponse to him. Bill has been elaborating his position on "the core,"
> corresponding regressions, mandalas, etc. in relation to Lois and a number
> of others; surely he does not require my involvement in the argument to
> continue to do so.
> However, I am sufficiently frustrated with all of these weeks of his
> sniping at me specifically and the PCP community in general that I am
> willing to revisit these conclusions if there is a general sentiment that
> my debating Bill here will serve some useful purpose. Anyone who cares to
> share an opinion on this matter, publically or privately, is welcome to do
> so. Bob Neimeyer

Dear Bob and Bill:

Here's an actual comment that might bring some needed focus to this
debate on the reaction of established PCPers (Neimeyer and Epting,
1992) to Chamber's work on the Threat Index (TI); begin quote:

"Chambers (1986) has criticized the presumed equivalence of
"self" and "current life" in these instructions, arguing that the two
ratings are qualitatively different, and that self/death splits could
mean something quite different that life/death splits. However,
Neimeyer (1986) examined the question empirically using a modified TI,
and discovered that the two splits scores correlated .94. thus, the
standard instructions requesting a rating of "yourself or your current
life" seem merely to reflect the psychological equivalence of these
concepts in the minds of actual subjects. It is also questionable
whether separating self and life elements enriches the interpretation
of the TI, insofar as self/life splits correlate highly (.84) with
self/ideal splits, which are routinely calculated from the traditional
TI" (p. 144)

May the discussion on life, death (and everything in between) continue...


PS: My e-mail address is: