Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: October 03, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412956253 | Print ISBN: 9781412916707 | Online ISBN: 9781412956253| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Noelle M. Nelson
The authoritarian personality describes a type of person who prefers a social system with a strong ruler—the authoritarian person is comfortable being the strong ruler but if the individual is not the strong ruler then he or she will demonstrate complete obedience to another strong authority figure. In both cases, there is little tolerance toward nonconservative ways of thinking. People whose personalities are structured in the manner of an authoritarian personality tend to conform to authority and believe that complete obedience to rules and regulations is completely necessary; any deviation from rules is to be treated harshly. The authoritarian personality often results in people harboring antagonistic feelings towards minority groups, whether religious, ethnic, or otherwise. The history of research on the authoritarian personality stems largely from the end of the Second World War and the Holocaust. During the 1950s, one prevailing fear was the potential spread of anti-democratic ideologies as ...