Sam McFarland

Short description

Professor (emeritus) at Western Kentucky University, United States; the author of Identification with all Humanity concept and IWAH scale. Former President of the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP). Social and political psychologist. (1939-2022)

Places of work

Sam received his Ph. D. in Psychology from Vanderbilt University in 1971, and immediately joined the faculty of Western Kentucky University (WKU). He remained at WKU throughout his career. 

His main teaching in his early years was in social psychology, personality, and the psychology of religion. While serving as Director of the WKU University Honors Program (1990-1998), he developed an honors course entitled Understanding Human Rights, which he taught for many years.

He was serving on APA Task Force on Human Rights

In 1999, he was named a Distinguished University Professor by WKU. He retired from teaching in 2013, but continues with research and writing.

Member of  International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP). Former President of ISPP (2009-2010).

Fulbright Senior Scholar in the former Soviet Union (1989).

Summary of research

Identification with All Humanity, human rights, prejudice, authoritarianism, the psychology of religion.


See Sam talking about identification with all humanity concept and studies


Research interests

His early research focused on prejudice, authoritarianism, and the psychology of religion. In recent years, his research and writing have focused on “Identification with All Humanity” and on human rights. His “Human Rights 101: A Brief College-Level Overview” is a free download available for use by any individual, class or group (see in resources section). In 2022, his book on hoeroes of human rights, persons who made major contributions to the advance of human rights was published (e.g. Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term “genocide” in 1944 and led in creating the United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide).

He had been happily married to Cheryl Whitaker McFarland. The McFarland’s had one admirable son, a fine daughter-in-law, and two marvelous grandsons.


Selected publications:


Hamer K. & McFarland, S. (2023). The role of early intergroup experiences for identification with all humanity in adulthood. Frontiers in Psychology. 14:1042602.


McFarland, S. (2022). Heroes of human rights. San Diego: Cognella Academic Publishing.


Hamer, K., Penczek, M., McFarland, S., Wlodarczyk, A., Łużniak-Piecha, M., Golińska, A., Manrique Cadena, L., Ibarra, M., Bertin, P., Delouvée, S. (2021). Identification With All Humanity - a test of the factorial structure and measurement invariance of the scale in five countries. International Journal of Psychology. 56 (1), 157-174.


McFarland, S., Hackett, J., Hamer, K., Katzarska-Miller, I., Malsch, A., Reese, G., Reysen, S. (2019). Global Human Identification and Citizenship: A Review of Psychological Studies. Advances in Political Psychology, 6, 141-171.

Hamer, K., McFarland, S., & Penczek, M. (2019). What lies beneath? Predictors of Identification with All Humanity. Personality and Individual Differences, 141. 258-267.

Hamer, K., McFarland, S., Czarnecka, B., Golińska, A., Manrique Cadena, L., Łużniak-Piecha, M., & Jułkowski, T. (2019). What is an "ethnic group" in ordinary people’s eyes? Different ways of understanding it among American, British, Mexican and Polish respondents. Cross-Cultural Research, 53, 1-45.


Dunwoody, P., & McFarland, S.G. (2018). Predicting support for anti-Muslim policies: The role of political traits and threat perception. Political Psychology, 39, 89-106.


McFarland, S. (2017). Identification with all humanity: The antithesis of prejudice and more. In S. G. Sibley & F, K. Barlow (Eds.), Cambridge Handbook on the Psychology of Prejudice (pp. 632-654). New York: Cambridge University Press.   

McFarland, S. G. (2017b). A brief history of an unsung hero and leader—Jean Henry Dunant and the founding of the red cross and the Geneva convention. Int. J. Leadersh. Change 5, 41–46.


McFarland, S. G. (2016): The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: A Tribute to Its Architects, Public Integrity.

McFarland, S., & Hamer, K. (2016). Rafał Lemkin: jak ludobójstwo zostało uznane za zbrodnię [Raphael Lemkin: how genocide became a crime]. Civitas et Lex. 69-85.


McFarland, S. (2015). Culture, individual differences, and support for human rights: A general review. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 21, 10-27.

McFarland, S.G., & Hornsby, W. (2015). An analysis of five measures of global human identification. European Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 806-817.


McFarland, S, Brown, D., & Webb, M. (2013). “Identification with All Humanity” as a Moral Concept and Psychological Construct. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22, 192-196.


McFarland, S., Webb, M., & Brown, D. (2012). All humanity is my ingroup: A measure and studies of “Identification with all humanity.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103, 830-851.


McFarland, S. (2011). Presidential address: The slow creation of humanity. Political Psychology, 32, 1-20.


McFarland, S. (2010). Personality and support for universal human rights: A review and test of a structural model. Journal of Personality, 78, 1735-1763.


McFarland, S., & Brown, D. (2008). Who believes that identification with all humanity is ethical? Psicologia Politica, 36, 37-49.


McFarland, S. G., & Mathews, M.  (2005). Who cares about human rights?  Political Psychology, 26, 365-385.