He wanted to understand the antisemitism of the Holocaust.


In 1950, 2000 middle class white American's were investigated for the causes of their obedient personality. They have an unconscious attitude towards other racial groups. They developed several scales including the Facism scale ( f scale) which is still used today to measure authoritarian personality.


People with an authoritarian leanings so those who score high on the F-scale, identified with 'strong' people and were generally weak. They were very conscious of their own and others status, showing huge respect to those of the higher status. Adorno found that authoritarian people had a cognitive style where there was no 'fuzziness' between categories of people, with fixed and distinctive stereotypes about other groups. There was a strong positive correlation between authoritarianism and prejudice.


He concluded that people with an authoritarian personality have a tendency to be especially obedient to authority. They have huge respect for authority and are submissive to it. Also show contempt for people they percieve as having inferior social status and high conventional attitudes towards sex, race and gender. Authoritarian people believe we need strong and powerful leaders to enforce love of our country, religion and family. Everything is either right or wrong and they're very uncomfortable with uncertainty.


Adorno also sought to identify the origin of the authoritarian personality type. Concluded that it formed in childhood, as a result of harsh parenting. The parenting style indentified by Adorno shows extremely strict discipline, absolute loyalty, impossibly high standards. Adorno argued that these experiences create hostility in the child. The child is unable to express feelings directly against their parents because of fear, so the fears are displaced onto others who were seen as weaker. This is a psychodynamic approach.


RESEARCH SUPPORT- Milgram and Elms (1966), conducted interviews


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