obedience: dispositional explanations

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  • Created on: 23-02-18 16:15
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  • Obedience: Dispositional explanations
    • Explanation: the authoritarian personality
      • a high level of obedience is pathological
        • Theodore Adorno et al wanted to understand the anti-Semitism of the holocaust
        • they believed that unquestioning obedience is a psychological disorder
          • And tried to find its cause in the individual's personality
      • Authoritarian personality includes extreme respect for authority and contempt for inferiors.
        • Adnorno et al concluded that people with an authoritarian personality are especially obedient to authority
        • they
          • have exaggerated respect for authority and submissiveness to it
          • express contempt for people of inferior social status
          • have conventional attitudes towards race and gender
      • Authoritarian personality originates in childhood.
        • Authoritarian personality forms in childhood through harsh parenting
          • Extremely strict discipline, expectation of absolute loyalty, impossibly high standards, and severe criticism
        • it is also characterised by conditional love
          • parents love depends entirely on how their child behaves
      • hostility towards/ fear of parents is displaced onto those who are socially inferior
        • These experiences create resentment and hostility in the child, but they cannot express these feeling directly against their parents because they fear reprisals
        • so the feelings are displaced onto others who are seen as weaker
          • this is scapegoating
            • this explains hatred of people seen as socially inferior
              • a psychodynamic explanation
    • Key study: adnorno et al the authoritarian personality
      • procedure
        • the study investigated unconscious attitudes towards other racial groups of more than 2000 middle- class white americans
        • several scales were developed
          • including the potential for fascism scale.
        • Examples from the F-scale
          • Obedience and respect for authority are the most important virtues for children to learn
          • there is hardly anything lower than a person who does not feel great love, gratitude and respect for his parents
      • findings and conclusion
        • Authoritarians identified with strong people were contemptuous of the weak
        • they were conscious of their own and others status
          • showing excessive respect and deference to those of higher status
        • Authoritarian people also had a cognitive style where there was no fizziness between categories of people
          • with fixed and distinctive stereotypes abut other groups


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