Home Personal Psychology Personality THE AUTHORITARIAN PERSONALITY I: PRELIMINARY PERSPECTIVES AND STUDIES

THE AUTHORITARIAN PERSONALITY I: PRELIMINARY PERSPECTIVES AND STUDIES

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Other-Directedness

Guba and Getzels (1954) constructed an “other-directedness” scale and considered suggestibility to be the prime factor of influence on attitude scales. Guba submitted nineteen “inner­ directed” and nineteen “outer-directed” slogans which were associated with opposing behavior tendencies to a group of subjects. The subjects tended to accept slogans of either direction or reject both types of slogans. The tendency to accept any type of slogan also correlated significantly with scores on the F scale. The authors concluded that both of their scales demonstrated that scales on the F scale were associated with the tendency to be suggestible.

One major point of criticism may be directed against Guba and Getzel’s work. The authoritarian scale is primarily a measurement of right-winged conservative attitudes, i.e. fascistic attitude; it was not designed to test left-winged, liberal authoritarianism, which as Rokeach states, is an inadequacy of the authoritarian test. Therefore, a high rate of disagreement with the items on the F or E scale can be an indication of a liberal authoritarianism as would acceptance of statements antithetical to those on the F and E scale.

Consequently, acceptance of both extreme positions could be an indication of a generalized authoritarianism rather than suggestibility. A second alternative explanation, probably even more feasible, would be Bass’ acquiescence, i.e. the positive acceptance of all statements by the authoritarian individual. Hence, the findings of Guba and Getzel do not necessarily support the hypothesis of suggestibility but could be construed as evidence for the hypothesis of either a generalized “liberal-conservative” authoritarianism or acquiescence.

Status Concern

The fifth alternative theory to be presented was advocated by Walter C. Kaufman in a 1957 issue of the American Journal of Sociology. Kaufman began by stating that “the hope that the California research would validate a genetic ‘dynamic’ approach to the explanation of prejudice has not been fulfilled.” Kaufman believed that the California researchers had failed to consider concern with status which he believed to be more closely related to anti-Semitism than is authoritarianism. Further, he believed that the relationship between authoritarianism and anti-Semitism may be largely explained by their mutual relationship to concern with status.

In order to substantiate these beliefs Kaufman constructed an attitude scale which measured concern with status and correlated the results on this test with those on the F and A-S scales. The questionnaire included such items as: (1) Man’s ambition indicates good character, (2) Betterment of self is meritful, and (3} Ambition is the most important factor in determining success in life. This (Status-Concern) Scale correlated .71 with F, and .66 with A-S. The F scale correlated .53 with the A-S scale; hence, the concern with status appears to be the dominant dimension. This supports many findings Kaufman cited relating prejudice to mobility and attitudes about status.

Kaufman runs up against the problem of socio-economic class standards when he writes of status concern. It seems that status concern is closely linked to middle class standards and value systems. Can we be sure therefore that concern or lack of concern for status is a personality factor—rather than being a result of class membership? Consequently, how do we know whether anti-Semitism and fascism are closely related to social class or to social concern or to a combination of the two. Admittedly, just the recognition of the close interrelationship between fascism, intolerance, anti-Semitism and either social class or status concern is significant.

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