Obedience: Dispositional explanations

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  • Created by: Gottowork
  • Created on: 15-05-16 14:17
What did Adorno et al. investigate?
The causes of the obedient personality, in a study of more than 2000 middle-class, white Americans and their unconscious attitudes towards other racial groups
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What scale did Adorno et al. use?
The F scale
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What did Adorno et al. find from their investigation?
Those who scored high on the F scale (and so had authoritarian leanings) identified with 'strong' people, fixed and distinctive stereotypes about other groups. Strong positive correlation between authoritarianism and prejudice
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What does an authoritarian personality consist of?
Especially susceptible to obeying authority, submissive to those of a higher status, dismissive of inferiors. Everything is black and white (uncomfortable with uncertainty) and they view society as 'going to the dogs'
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What is the origin of the authoritarian personality?
Formed in childhood, as a result of harsh parenting. Impossibly high standards, severe criticism, conditional love. Resentment and hostility displaced onto those perceived as weaker (scapegoating)
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What research support is there for the authoritarian personality?
Milgram and Elms - interviews with fully obedient participants who scored highly on the F scale. However, only a correlation between authoritarian personality + obedience - may be other factors, e.g. lower level of education
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The authoritarian personality has a limited explanation. Why?
E.g. pre-war Germany - millions of people displayed obedient, racist behaviour. Unlikely that they could all have had an authoritarian personality, social identity could explain obedience instead
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What methodological problems are there with Adorno's research?
Based on F scale - every item worded in same direction, so just measures tendency to agree to everything (acquiescence bias). Also, Adorno et al. carried out interviews about childhood experiences - knew the hypothesis and who was authoritarian
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What scale did Adorno et al. use?

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The F scale

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What did Adorno et al. find from their investigation?

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Card 4

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What does an authoritarian personality consist of?

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What is the origin of the authoritarian personality?

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