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Adorno's Authoritarian Personality Theory of Prejudice

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Faisal Ahmed

on 13 November 2016

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Transcript of Adorno's Authoritarian Personality Theory of Prejudice

Adorno’s Authoritarian Personality Theory of Prejudice
Agree or disagree?
Developed his F-scale survey to see how prejudiced people were.
Adorno’s Authoritarian Personality Theory of Prejudice
To investigate the roots of prejudice attitudes , particularly anti-Semitism.

The researchers developed a personality questionnaire known as the F-scale; which measured a personality trait known as authoritarianism (Characterized by or favoring absolute obedience to authority, as against individual freedom)

100’s of U.S.A participants, from all walks of life, completed F-scales. People who scored highly were said to have an authoritarian personality.

After the test, the researchers interviewed 40 high scorers and 40 lowing scoring participants.

They found a relationship between authoritarian personalities and prejudicial beliefs. The high scorers were not only anti-Semitic but also prejudiced towards other minority groups.

people with authoritarian personality characteristics are highly likely to think prejudicially.


+ A representative sample; Adorno interviewed people from all walks of life.

- Doesn’t explain all prejudice such as ageism or sexism.

- Research done in USA after WW2; can’t be “generalised” to everyone, everywhere in the world.

- People may not have told the truth in order to make themselves appear less prejudice.
Adorno’s Authoritarian Personality Theory of Prejudice
What does this mean?
'Hurt people
hurt people'
Adorno’s Authoritarian Personality Theory of Prejudice
Freud called this “displacement”
Maybe people who have been hurt by others in the past tend to turn that hurt on to innocent people around them today
What does this mean?
Hurt people hurt people
Adorno’s Authoritarian Personality Theory of Prejudice
Adorno’s work was an attempt to understand why people harmed others in war
War can give some people a reason to cause harm to others.
Adorno’s Authoritarian Personality Theory of Prejudice
Learning Objectives:

To explore Adorno's theory regarding why some people are prejudice.

Learning Outcomes:

To be able to evaluate Adorno's theory.

To be able to describe Adorno's authoritarian personality theory.

To be able to identify the characteristics of someone who has an authoritarian personality.
Do Now
(5 minutes)

Define the following keywords: Stereotyping, Prejudice and Discrimination.

Illustrate your understanding by providing an
example for each.

Devise a 'rule of thumb' to remember the difference between all three.
Our first explanation of why people are prejudice and discriminatory

Adorno's theory states that prejudice is the result of a certain type of personality; known as an
authoritarian personality
; that predisposes people to have prejudiced attitudes.

What kind of characteristics do you think an individual with an authoritarian personality will show?
A rigid bond to traditional and conventional values.

Belief in harsh punishment.

Extreme need to submit to those in higher authority.

Lot of hostility and anger generally; particularly directed toward minority groups.
Authoritarian personality is a state of mind or attitude characterized by one's belief in absolute submission to one's own authority.
Personal, Learning and Thinking skills:

Self Managers

Reflective Learners
Literacy Focus:

Spell all keywords correctly.
Authoritarian Personality
Please complete the F scale questionnaire with 5 members of your family or friends. Please do not record their names.
Home Learning
F scale Questionnaire
Please complete the F-scale questionnaire:


answer honestly and don't spend too long thinking about each question.

Record the results in your book.
Please write a short essay, focus on the following questions:

1. What is the Holocaust, provide some details?

2. How did Hitler manage to get his soldiers to commit such acts of barbarity?

3. Does this example provide possible reasons why some soldiers are more likely to listen to obey even the most
barbarous orders?
Mini Essay
20 minutes/ Continuous prose / SPaG
Exam Questions
Full transcript