PSYCH 3CD3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Conventionalism, The Need, Fundamentalism

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Chapter 5: Personality and Prejudice
Questions:
1. How does an Authoritarian Personality predict and affect prejudice?
2. How does Right-Wing Authoritarianism affect prejudice?
3. What is the Intolerance of Ambiguity and how does it relate to prejudice?
4. What is the Personal need for Structure?
5. What is the Need for Closure?
6. Are there any examples of Religion and prejudice? If so, how can this be explained?
7. How does Political Conservatism relate to prejudice?
8. What does Social Dominance Theory/Orientation say about one’s expected levels of
prejudice?
9. Is there currently a Theory of Non-prejudice?
10. Explain the limitations of the Individual Differences approach.
Answers:
1. Authoritarian parents are usually incredibly strict with their children and oppose any
deviancies in behaviour both aggressively and sexually. The children can’t take out their
anger and frustration on their parents, and must therefore resort to a ‘safe target’ to project
on. These targets would be individuals viewed to be weaker than oneself, due in part by a
lower SES (Socio-Economic Status), class, race, etc.
Summary: Prejudice arises from projection of anger towards one’s parents onto an outgroup.
However, an alternative view is offered by Adorno et al: suggesting that highly strict parents
serve as models for further future aggressive acts.
2. Prejudice may arise against outgroups for those high in RWA (Right-Wing Authoritarianism),
as it is linked to political conservatism, and individuals may feel that outgroup members are
violating their values. New immigrants with different ideologies violate the admired qualities
of conformity, tradition and security – making individuals high in RWA feel vulnerable to the
changing social conditions and expectations.
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There are three clusters of RWA explained more fully in Dr. Ostovich’s lectures, they include:
Authoritarian Submission, Authoritarian Aggression, & Conventionalism.
3. Those high in authoritarianism also have difficulty tolerating situational ambiguity. They
desire a strict answer and assume a dichotomy should be available for all people, traits,
and situations. This can be explained further through the concepts of PNS (Personal
Need for Structure) and NFC (Need for Closure).
Summary: The simpler you want a situation or person to be to understand, the more
heuristics and stereotypes you’ll use.
4. The Personal Need for Structure is parallel to intolerance of ambiguity – heuristics are
used in unfamiliar situations, which equates to unconscious stereotyping.
5. The Need for Closure is one’s desire for an answer to an issue. An individual high in NFC
wants answers quickly and locks them in once they’re obtained. The problem is, these
answers may be untrue and prejudicial – and it is very hard to have the person reconsider
their answer.
6. There are tons of examples of prejudice based on religious justification (Christianity on
the Crusades and Inquisition, as well as ongoing conflicts between Arabs/Israelis,
Protestants/Catholics, Serbs/Muslims/Croats, Sikhs/Hindus, etc.)
There tends to be (counter-intuitively) a high correlation between religiosity and
prejudice; however, how one tends to be religious affects their level of prejudice.
a. Intrinsically Religious: Viewing religion as an end in itself
b. Extrinsically Religious: Viewing religion as a means to an end (reward)
i. Correlated higher with prejudice than Intrinsically Religious individuals
c. Religion as a Quest: Viewing religion as a means for finding answers
i. Least prejudiced overall
d. Religious Fundamentalism: Viewing religion as the one and whole truth
i. Most prejudiced overall
7. Political conservatism is correlated with prejudice, partly because conservatism and
racism stem from the desire to structure group relations into a hierarchy. As discussed in
answer #2, Right-Wing Authoritarianism is related to prejudice, and interestingly,
predictive of one’s affiliation with the conservative political-right.
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