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Chapter 4

PSYC12H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Authoritarian Personality, Authoritarianism, Ethnocentrism

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Michael Inzlicht

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Chapter Four: The Prejudiced Personality: Are Some People More Likely to Feel Prejudice?
Psychodynamic Perspectives
One of the first attempts to examine the prejudice personality was put forth by Adorno
ad his olleagues, ith thei desiptio of hat the alled the authoitaia
pesoalit. Aodig to Adoo et al., soe people hae pesoalit stutues that
are flawed in such a way that they are conditioned to be especially likely to adopt
prejudice attitudes.
The authoritarians exhibited certain patterns of prejudice, childhood upbringing and
relationships with parents tended to quite common. Specifically, authoritarians tended
to grow up 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 parent or guardian. Authoritarians were more likely to be submissive
to authority, to adhere strictly to middle-class traditions and values, and to think very
Adorno et al. also found that authoritarians, more than other individuals, tended to hold
prejudices against not just one group but many groups.
Character-Conditioned Prejudice
Allpot elaoated o Adoo et al.’s theo of authoitaia pesoalit ad suggested
that such a personality is a strong contributor in developing prejudice attitudes. Like
Adorno et al., Allport discussed the prejudiced personality in psychodynamic terms.
Allpot eliee that the pejudied pesoalit eeged out of a ippled ego.
Specifically, this individual feels threatened, insecure, and fearful of virtually everything.
Problems with the Psychodynamic Approach
World-idedess is a oept that idiates oe’s attitudes toad ad aeptae of
people from other countries (low scores indicate greater intolerance). Smith and Rosen
suggest that their scale and the F scale measure essentially the same personality
characteristics, and yield similar results.
In another line of inquiry, Martin and Westie suggested that prejudice maybe a result of
an intolerant personality. These individuals tended to be suspicious of politicians,
intolerant of ambiguity, more superstitious, and inclined to believe in mystical and
bizarre definitions of reality.
The important point about both the world-mindedness and the tolerant-personality
approach is that each nicely measures the same constellation of personality
characteristics and uncovers the same findings as those of Adorno et al., but they do so
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without assuming the psychodynamic process that were the supposed casual force in
creating the authoritarian 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. The primary measure of authoritarianism, the
F scale (facism), A-S scale (for anti-Semitism), and the E scale (ethnocentrism), were
worded in such a way that it was unclear whether high scores indicated agreement with
the authoritarian beliefs or an acquiescence bias.
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 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
These taits, hih Alteee oeptualizes as attitudial lustes. Ae authoitaia
submission, authoritarian aggression, and conventionalism. Authoritarian submission
indiates a stog degee of suissio to peeied legitiate authoities i oe’s
society. Authoritarian aggression suggests a general aggression and hostility directed
toward outgroups, that is viewed as acceptable by recognized authorities. Finally,
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 (RWA).
Cunningham and his colleagues found that people who are high in explicit prejudice are
also high in implicit prejudice, and that people who demonstrate a rigid, right-wing
ideology tend to be prejudiced toward many disadvantaged groups that have little in
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 that world into a basic good-bad dichotomy.
Committed Versus Consensual Religiosity
Essentially, a committed religious orientation is one that allows an individual to hold a
ide age of elief ategoies though hih oe a ealuate the old, ad oe’s
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
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