CHAPTER 4:: THE PREJUDICED PERSONALITY: ARE
SOME PEOPLE MORE LIKELY TO FEEL PREJUDICE
Adorno: authoritarian personality
Authoritarians: certain patterns of prejudice, childhood upbringing, and
relationships with parents tended to be quite common.
Specifically, authoritarians tended to group in homes in which the parents or
guardians were strict disciplinarians, often using harsh discipline to keep the
children from misbehaving and to punish them when they disobeyed the
parents or guardians.
More likely to adhere strictly to middle class traditions and values, and to
think very rigidly.
Submissive to authority
Tended to hold prejudices against not just one group but many groups
Hated deviant impulses and were also more likely to externalize these
unacceptable impulses to others via projection.
These unacceptable impulses are displaced to stereotyped groups.
The authoritarian person does not believe they have these negative
qualities, but these undesirable characteristics are attributed to various
Can also be found in some minority group members
Believed it was based on a constellation of nine related traits that were in
fact very ill defined.
CHARACTER CONDITIONED PREJUDICE:
Allport: such a personality is a strong contributor in developing prejudiced
He believed that the prejudiced personality emerged out of a "crippled" ego.
Specifically, this individual feels threatened, insecure and fearful of virtually
In trying to overcome these insecurities, the person develops a prejudiced
view of others as a way of projecting their fears a self doubts onto others.
Suggested that people with a prejudiced personality tend to repress their
fears and insecurities so that they can avoid facing their anxieties and
This repression leads to the development of many of the same
characteristics possessed by the authoritarian individual: ambivalence
toward parents, moralist, a need for definiteness, and dichotomization
(categorical, black or white thinking)
PROBLEMS WITH THE PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACH:
Four main reasons for the decline of empirical interest in the theory
First, researchers became more and more critical of psychoanalytic
approaches to personality.
Prejudice may be result of an intolerant personality.
Second, methodological and other conceptual problems with the notion of
the authoritarian personality caused many researchers to conclude that the
approach was unsatisfactory under scientific standards.
Third, the theory only explained the presence of prejudice in a small subset
of the population and did not explain why many people who did not have an
authoritarian personality did show prejudice toward at least one other group.
Fourth, the authoritarian-personality perspective suggests that there is little
hope of changing an authoritarian individual to be more accepting of others.
RIGHT WING AUTHORITARIANISM:
Altemeyer found that three of these traits seemed to show a strong
relationship with each other.
These traits "attitudinal clusters" are authoritarian submission, authoritarian
aggression, and conventionalism,
Authoritarian submission indicates a strong degree of submission to
perceived legitimate authorities in one's society
Authoritarian aggression suggests a general aggression and hostility directed
toward out groups that is viewed as acceptable by recognized authorities.
Conventionalism is defined as a strong adherence to social norms and
traditions that are perceived as sanctioned by recognized authorities.
Altemeyer termed this constellation of attitudes right wing
Altemeyer has found that people who are identified as high RWAs, as
measured by Altemeyer's RWA scale tend to be conservative politically, wish
to restrict personal freedoms are more punitive toward criminals and tend to
hold more orthodox religious views
They are also very prejudiced toward their out groups.
They tend to show more prejudiced attitudes when their answers on
the questionnaires are anonymous.
"Equal opportunity bigots"
Fearful and self righteous-- two factors that account for the strong link
btwn RWA scores and prejudice
Its hard to change their views, cos their friends are probably the
We think that if anyone were nonprejudiced, it would be someone who is
Research suggests, though, that there is a positive correlation between
being more religious and having less tolerance and more stereotyped
cognitions about others.
Some have suggested that the reason for this correlation is that, with
greater adherence to strict tenets of religious scripture comes an increase in
the tendency to think in rigid, either-or terms that partitions the world into a
basic good-bad dichotomy
COMMITTED VERSUS CONSENSUAL RELIGIOUSITY:
Allen and Spilka suggest that these different findings result from using
different methods to assess religiosity.
Essentially, a committed religious orientation is one that allows an
individual to hold wide range of believe categories through which one can
evaluate the world, and ones ideas about the world and others tend to be
more complex and open minded. Committed individuals show a greater
tolerance for diversity, and they are more likely to thoughtfully consider
different ideas, beliefs, and opinions.
Consensual religious individuals tend to interpret religion more
literally and concretely, tend to make more generalizations about religious
topics and they are relatively unreceptive to different ideas and opinions.
EXTRINSICE VERSUS INTRINSIC RELIGIOUS ORIENTATION
In another attempt to examine the relationship btwn religion and prejudice,
Allport and Ross examined two different types of religious individuals. They
suggested that it is useful to differentiate between an extrinsic and an
intrinsic religious orientation.