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F scale


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A questionnaire to measure authoritarianism, first published by the German philosopher, sociologist, and psychologist Theodor W(iesengrund) Adorno (1903–69) and several colleagues in the book The Authoritarian Personality (1950). It is composed of the following nine aspects, typical items being shown in italics, and a Yes answer always indicating a tendency to authoritarianism. Conventionalism (rigid adherence to conventional middle-class values): Obedience and respect for authority are the most important virtues children should learn; Authoritarian Submission (a submissive and uncritical attitude towards authority figures): Young people sometimes get rebellious ideas, but as they grow up they ought to get over them and settle down; Authoritarian Aggression (a punishing attitude towards violations of conventional values): Sex crimes, such as rape and attacks on children, deserve more than mere imprisonment; such criminals ought to be publicly whipped, or worse; Anti-Intraception (a dislike of subjectivity and imagination): When a person has a problem or worry, it is best for him not to think about it, but to keep busy with more cheerful things; Superstition and Stereotypy (a belief in supernatural determinants of human fate and a tendency to think in rigid categories): Some day it will probably be shown that astrology can explain a lot of things; Power and Toughness (a preoccupation with strong/weak, leader/follower relationships): People can be divided into two distinct classes: the weak and the strong; Destructiveness and Cynicism (a distrustful and misanthropic attitude towards people in general): Human nature being what it is, there will always be war and conflict; Projectivity (a tendency to project one's own unconscious impulses on to others): Homosexuals are hardly better than criminals and ought to be severely punished; Sex (exaggerated concern with people's sexual activities): The wild sex life of the old Greeks and Romans was tame compared to some of the goings-on in this country, even in places where people might least expect it. Also called the California F scale. [From (Potentiality for) F(ascism) scale]


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