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While these factors must all be addressed, the important point to be drawn from this criticism of Rokeach and other social psychologists interested in authority-related issues is the need to delve empirically into even more basic, sub-rational (not necessarily irrational) modes of perception and conception to find the ground of authoritarianism. Is there a cluster of correlated traits composing a sub-ideological, sub-rational authoritarian syndrome?

One of several hierarchical systems of behavior or action (Klein, Parsons, etc.) can serve to synthesize this syndrome with other ongoing behavioral processes. The empirical studies of perception and cognition as related to authoritarianism which was initiated by Rokeach in his use of the Luchin water jar test suggests a possible basis or starting point for such syndrome, and some of the “environmental” or social factors such as ego- and task- involvement which are shown to be influential in these studies indicate possible areas of interplay between various levels of the behavioral hierarchy.

All of these matters will be addressed in the companion essay which looks back on the 1950s and 1960s from the perspective of mid-21st Century social psychology and contemporary displays of authoritarianism, ethnocentrism, rigidity, dogmatism, misanthropy –and anomie. Tragically, these perspectives and practices have not gone away during the intervening sixty plus decades. They might have even become more prevalent and pernicious as we face the realities of contemporary societal volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, turbulence and contradiction.


Adorno, T. W , et.al.. The Authoritarian Personality. New York: Harper & Bros., 1950.
Bass, Bernard, “Authoritarianism or Acquie1ccence?”, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, v. 49, 1954, pp. 246- 250.
Brown, Roger, “A Determinant of the Relationship Between rigidity and Authoritarianism, Journal of Abnormal and· Social Psychology. v. 48, 1953, pp. 469-76.
Campbell, Donald and McCandless, Boyd., “Ethnocentrism, Xenophobia, and Personality,” Human Relations, IV, No. 2, 1951, pp. 185-191.
Christie, Richard and Garcia, John, “Subcultural Variation in Authoritarian Personality,” Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. v. 46, 1951, pp. 457-469
Christie, Richard and Marie Jahoda (Eds) (1954) Studies in the Scope and Methods of “The Authoritarian Personality” Glencoe Illinois. The Free Press.
Fromm, Erich (1941) Escape from Freedom. New York: Rinehart & Co.
Fromm, Erich (1955) The Sane Society. New York: Fawcett.
Fromm, Erich. The. Art of Loving. New York: Harper Colophon, 1956.
Guba, E.B., and Getzel, J .W., “The Construction of an Other directedness Instrument, with Some Preliminary Dita on Validity, American Psychologist, v. 9, 1954, pg. 385.
Hoffer, Erich. The True Believer. New York: New American Library, 1951.
Jackson, D. N,, Messick, S. J., and Solley, C .IL, “How ‘Rigid’’ is the Authoritarian’?”; Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, v. 51, 1957, pp. 137-140.

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