In this essay, I will define authoritarianism and discuss the differences and similarities between Adorno et al.’s and Altemeyer’s approaches towards authoritarianism. Authoritarianism refers to the obedience and strict adherence to rules and figures of authority, as well as this, an authoritarian personality can be characterised by hostility towards groups or individuals who differ from what they perceive as normal (The Open University, 2015, p23). Adorno et al. (1950) believe that authoritarianism stems from a strict, obedience-centred upbringing. He believed that a child who is raised in a household which structures itself upon core values of respect, discipline and obedience will be shaped by these attitudes in adulthood (The Open University, 2015, p28). These attitudes are what shape an individual’s personality, and following the Second World War, Adorno and his colleagues wished to gain a better understanding of the authoritarianism which was at the heart of the Nazi regime, and more specifically, focused on the attitudes towards Jews within Europe. Adorno et al. believed that …show more content…
and Altemeyer’s approaches to authoritarianism share many similarities, such as the more descriptive approach to their work than explanatory route, where neither clearly identify the source of authoritarianism. (Jones, 2002. Cited in The Open University, 2015, p50) Both approaches suffer from potential bias; Adorno el al’s. F-scale may have had confirmatory bias, potentially causing a problem in which the interviewers know the results from the participant’s prior questionnaires, and subconsciously steer the results and findings towards a particular goal, causing a self-fulfilling prophecy. Although Altemeyer’s approach may not have involved interviews, the results could have still been biased, as acquiescence response bias could have occurred if the participants have a tendency to agree with statements presented in scales and succumb to social desirability
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