Saturday, July 31

Factors in obedience, dissent and prejudice


Fascist Personality

  • Adorno et al. (1950) developed the F (Fascism) Test to try and work out what it was in personality that made people commit atrocities in WWII
  • The authoritarian personality is:
    • Rigid in his/her thinking
    • Obedient to authority
    • Sees the world in black and white
    • Sticks to the social hierarchy and rules
  • Adorno thought that having this personality could lead to prejudice and discriminatory behaviour especially to low status groups

Right Wing Authoritarianism

  • Rigid thinking
  • Likes society to have rules so it can function
  • Tends to obey rules and those in authority
  • Wants to punish those who don’t obey the rules
  • Prefer people to agree to submit to authority rather than using force!
  • Altemeyer (1996) found a positive correlation between RWA and prejudice
  • However, the link seems to be weakening (1 = perfect correlation, 0 = no relationship)
    • 1950 – correlation of 0.64
    • 1996 – correlation of 0.47
    • 2001 – correlation of 0.30

Situation and Prejudice

  • Which is more powerful – the situation you are in or your personality?
  • How did Germany become so prejudiced against its minorities? What triggered the rise of anti-Semitism?
  • How did US soldiers get to the point of mistreating prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison during the Iraq war after 9/11?
  • Not all Germans were anti-semitic during WWII – and not all US soldiers took part in the prisoner abuses of Abu Ghraib – what does this tell you?
  • How could we use ‘contact’ to change a situation where prejudice has arisen? What sort of discussions/rules/set up would we need for people to talk to each other?

Impact of Culture

  • The way we are brought up – the environment and influences around us impact our thinking patterns and behaviours
  • Guimond et al. (2013) looked at how societies are different in prejudice depending on whether they approach their diversity policies as: Multi-cultural or Assimilation. They found those cultures/countries with multi-cultural diversity policies were lower in prejudice than others.
  • So prejudice might occur in mono-cultural/assimilation cultures more than multicultural societies
  • You might also get more prejudice in collectivist than individualistic societies as the focus is on protecting your in-group rather the individual
  • We might find within-cultures (emic) trends or between-cultures (etic) differences