PSYC12 Textbook chapter 4
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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
More likely to adhere strictly to middle class traditions and values, and to think
Submissive to authority
Tended to hold prejudices against not just one group but many groups (anyone
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 minority groups.
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.
Allport: such a personality is a strong contributor in developing prejudiced
Believed that the prejudiced personality emerged out of a "crippled" ego.
Specifically, this individual feels threatened, insecure and fearful of
In trying to overcome these insecurities, the person develops a prejudiced
view of others as a way of projecting their fears a self doubt 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
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Four main reasons for the decline of empirical interest in the theory:
1. Researchers became more and more critical of psychoanalytic
approaches to personality.
Prejudice may be result of an intolerant personality.
2. 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.
3. 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
4. The authoritarian-personality perspective suggests that there is little hope
of changing an authoritarian individual to be more accepting of others.
-Altemeyer found that three of these traits seemed to show a strong relationship with
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 authoritarianism
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 between
RWA scores and prejudice
It’s hard to change their views, because their friends are probably the SAME.
-We think that if anyone were non-prejudiced, it would be someone who is religious.
-Research suggests, though, that there is a positive correlation between being more
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