Authoritarian Personality T. Adorno, E. Frenkel-Brunswik, D. Levinson, R. Nevitt Sanford 1950
Earlier Studies Jean-Paul Sartre: Anti-Semite & Jew Erich Fromm: Escape from Freedom
Personality Syndrome Sense of insecurity & vulnerability Submission to & identification with threatening in-group authorities Source of threat shifted to out-group Projection of negative traits out-group Displacement of aggression out-group
Study Design Scales to measure facets of authoritarian syndrome Surveys of target groups Clinical-style interviews Projective tests
Survey Scales A-S: Anti-Semitism E:Ethnocentrism PEC:Political & Economic Conservatism F:potential for Fascism A-S, E & PEC measure manifest attitudes F measures latent personality organization
Hypothesis If A-S, E, PEC all positively correlated with F, then form syndrome
F – Sacle Potential for Fascism Scale 9 Sub-Scales: Each measuring a facet of authoritarian syndrome
Conventionalism A rigid adherence to conventional, middle-class values Obedience and respect for authority are the most important virtues children should learn. The businessman and manufacturer are much more important to society than the artist and the professor
Authoritarian Submission A submissive, uncritical attitude toward idealized moral authorities of the in- group. Young people sometimes get rebellious ideas, but as they grow up they ought to get over them and settle down. Science has its place, but there are many important things that can never possibly be understood by the human mind
Authoritarian Aggression A tendency to be on the lookout for, and to condemn, reject, and punish people who violate conventional values Sex crimes, such as rape and attacks on children deserve more than mere imprisonment; such criminals ought to be publicly whipped, or worse. If people would talk less and work more, everybody would be better off.
Projectivity A disposition to believe that wile and dangerous things go on in the world; the projection of unconscious emotional impulses. Wars and social troubles may someday be ended by an earthquake or flood that will destroy the whole world. Nowadays when so many different kinds of people move around and mix together so much, a person has to protect himself especially carefully against catching an infection or disease from them.
Sex Exaggerated concern with sexual “goings-on.” The wild sex life of the old Greeks and Romans was tame compared to some of the goings-on in this country, even in places where people might least expect it. Homosexuals are hardly better than criminals and ought to be severely punished.
Power and Toughness A preoccupation with the dominance- submission, strong-weak, leader- follower dimension; identification with power figures. People can be divided into two distinct classes: the weak and the strong. Most people don’t realize how much our lives are controlled by plots hatched in secret places.
Destructiveness & Cynacism A generalized hostility & vilification of the human Human nature being what it is, there will always be war and conflict. Familiarity breeds contempt.
Superstition & Stereotypy The belief in mystical determinants of the individual’s fate, the disposition to think in rigid categories. Some day it will probably be shown that astrology can explain a lot of things. Some people are born with an urge to jump from high places.
Anti-Introception An opposition to the subjective, the imaginative, the tender-minded. When a person has a problem or worry, it is best for him not to think about it, but to keep busy with more cheerful things. Nowadays more and more people are prying into matters that should remain personal and private.
Evidence for Syndrome Factor analysis of F-scale items found one factor –No evidence sub-scales form separate factors F-scale items have high reliability: inter- item correlations
Evidence for Syndrome A-S with F:r =.53 E with F:r =.65 PEC with F:r =.57
Theory Parents’ status anxiety authoritarian parenting (rigid & harsh) identification with aggressor projection of bad qualities & displacement of hostility toward out-groups
Authoritarianism, SES & Education Strong correlation of F-scale score with education “Authoritarianism may be the world- view of the uneducated in western industrial societies.” Or product of “status anxiety”?
Critique Sampling: purposive samples of people in organizations “joiners” differ from non-joiners Item wording: all positively-phrased “Yea-sayers” vs. “Nay-sayers” Interviewers & coders knew study hypotheses