Adorno et al. (1950) and Allum (2011) both completed
research regarding personality types and both studies contain similarities and
differences. Each research study has a different topic and aim but both manage
to reach the same conclusion regarding the authoritarian personality, which
qualifies a personality characterised by obedience to authority, strict
adherence to rules and ethnocentrism. They published a common hypothesis. We
will then see what methods have been used in each study to reach that result as
both studies are based on quantitative data, but also qualitative for Adorno et
al. Finally, we will be able to determine the finding and limitations of both
Adorno et al.(1950) were focused on the authoritarian personality in
order to explain what happened in Europe between 1933 and 1945 (The Open
University, 2012). Indeed most participant of that study were witness of the holocaust.
Adorno et al. believed that this characteristic wasn’t only Germanic and were
willing to enlighten a correlation between fascism and authoritarianism.
(2011) is concerned about the fact that people doesn’t always make the
difference between science and pseudo sciences and is looking for the reason
why some considere astrology as scientific. He was looking for people more
inclined to be influenced by pseudo science, confused between astronomy and
astrology. Nowaday, such belief might have impact on understanding important sector
such as biotechnology.
However, they both reach one same hypothese: people having an
authoritarian personality are more incline to believe in pseudo science,
meaning that no proper method to prove anything was carried and the cause to
effect not taken in consideration and vice versa. Allum (2011), cited in McAvoy
and Brace(2012, p.38) state that Adorno (1994) ‘posit an “astrological
ideologiy” that he claims “resembles, in all major characteristics, the
mentality of the high scorers of the Authoritarian Personality”‘.
Adorno used a survey to build up the F-Scale and measuring attitude and
personality underpinning potential for fascism (The Open University, 2012). He
used a sample of 2000 persons from the white middle class in San Fransisco and
around were supposed to choose from the
answer provided in a questionnaire to obtain quantitative data based on
his point, Allum also used the quantitative method, a survey. This time, the
sample, a representative group from the population under study, was way larger:
the Eurobarometer (European Commission, 2005 a, 2005 b), containing 30000
paticipants from 25 countries in Europe.
But the difference between those two studies is that Adorno also used a qualitative
methode: a structured interview asking the same question to all participant
asking them for a self-report to know more about who they, are, what they
believe in and what they feel (The Open University, 2012). 150 participants Were
picked from the previous survey on a base of half potentially fascite and the
other half not to draw a psychoanalytic conclusion, in an other term, to know
how unconscious process works with authoritarian’s personality.
report can affirm that people with an authoritarian personality are more
straight minded and therefore more credible facing the occult as they would
believe what an higher figure would affirm without taking any information’s and
without linking any causes to effect.
Adorno et al.(1950) were critised because of the confirmatory bias in the interview:
the researchers knew about participant’s score and therefore migh have unatentionally
confirmed there own hypothese . The study were accused to be directed in favour
of what they were willing to demonstrate. The researchers should have reconduct
a double-blind interview meaning that the researcher would have been totally objective
as not aware of the participant’s results from the previous survey.
Allum could find out a confusion between astrology and astronomy and revalidate
Adorno et al. (1950) hypothese as astrology can be seen as an higher force. However,
Allum(2011)’s study is still not cognitive based (the way the mind and brain process
the information and it is quite a cons with today’s technologies at the scientist’s
We outlined the
main similarities and differences between Adorno et al. (1951) study and Allum
(2011)’s one. As we saw, the purpose of those study were quite different but
Allum used Adorno et al. hypothese for his own study to confirm his point.
Allum could confirm Adorno et al. hypotheses even if the methods used were
different. Adorno et al. study was critised as there was clear bias in their
questionnaire, but bias or not, the conclusion stay the same 60 years later.