Authoritarianism and Correlates: Behavior, Attitudes, Personality

Using Altemeyer’s Right-Wing Authoritarianism Scale (abbreviated as RWA scale for now on) and a Big-Five personality test, Rosolack (1991) found that authoritarianism correlated negatively with intellect/ openness, conscientiousness and extraversion at -0.30, .23, and .14, respectively. Meaning that those who score higher on the RWA are less likely to seek, detect, comprehend and utilize patterns; more likely to do one’s work well and thoroughly; and are more likely to be full of energy. Other studies have found an insignificant correlation between RWA and extraversion (Costa & McCrae 1992 ; Truskosky and Vaux 1997 [in Butler 2000]). From this, we can see that individuals who are less open to new experiences are more likely to be authoritarians. Butler (2000) found that authoritarianism was correlated with ethnocentrism (.39) and anti-gay attitudes (.60). Interestingly enough, it was also found that authoritarians disliked fat people but didn’t fear becoming fat themselves.

Ray (1976) looked at 117 students and administered a 14-item scale. He found that authoritarians, in the present sense, or not racist. Nor was it related to religious background, moralism, or attitude to morality. Looking at 250 students for study II, it was found that authoritarians are more likely to be male, better educated, and have higher occupation status. One of the more interesting studies come from Eysenck and Coulter (1972) who compared Communist and fascists in personality. Communist party members, fascist party members, and a control group was used in this study with 10 tests used for the sample. Fascist were higher in ethnocentrism with communist being lower on it than average; communists were more radical than fascist and fascists were tough minded, but the latter was an artifact from the high presence of Jews in the Communist Party. Removing the anti-Semitic items showed no differences in tough-mindedness; Communist could be prejudiced but not when race differences were involved; Fascists were more emphatic; communists were more dominant and stood their ground when challenged, but fascist changed the topic; fascists were more aggressive; fascist also cared less about finding new members and relied more on open-air meetings than recruiting, with communist actively going out to seek new members. They also found that The Communist Party controlled the lives of their members more so than other parties, and fascists were very aggressive (indirectly and directly).

Scott Alexander from Slate Star Codex recently ran an online survey with a large sample size of 8,043 respondents (Alexander 2020a)! Using the STC data, Twitter user Philippe Lemoine made box plots of political orientation and outcomes, which can be seen below:

As can be seen, leftists are more likely to have been diagnosed with a mental illness, but Alexander has some caveats — especially since he didn’t make the graph (Alexander 2020b). This poll can be unrepresentative, both the extreme right wing and left wing are more likely to have been diagnosed with most conditions (still higher in the far left than right, though), and a few other things. The Inductivist (2007) used GSS data, which is more representative and less biased, and found that liberals are more likely to have a mental illness:

Political Orientation:% Having Had A Mental Illness:
Extremely liberal30.0
Slightly liberal12.1
Slightly conservative7.8
Conservative 5.6
Extremely conservative5.1

Published by Unorthodox Theory

Monkey Gone to Heaven

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