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Jul 242011

Part Three presents a previously unpublished and copyrighted paper completed as an undergraduate psychology class assignment written over 30 years ago : “Fraternity Membership and Authoritarianism.” The paper was submitted by the author and graded by the graduate assistant; the red markings are those of the graduate assistant. The light and now barely visible pencil markings done after the paper was graded were made by the author. The original paper (versus a scrubbed/erased paper or a rewritten paper) was submitted to The Hygiology Post.  The paper did have deficits which included how subjects were selected. As indicated in the paper a monumental number of studies have been done researching the F Scale. The reader could note the references which included Elms and Milgram (1966).

Per Elaine Korry (November 14, 2005) who wrote (https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5012154) “A Fraternity Hazing Gone Wrong”,  National Public Radio :  “It’s a parent’s nightmare and a nagging fear for the people who run colleges and universities : A young fraternity pledge dies when hazing gets out of control. It’s happened at least once each year for more than three decades. Nine months ago it happened at Chico State University in California, and this time prosecutors did something unusual : They filed felony criminal charges against the fraternity brothers involved…Carrington died during Chi Tau’s ‘Hell Week’. Junior fraternity brothers were in charge and were told to be tough on the pledges….The two pledges were ordered downstairs and told to do calisthenics in raw sewage that had leaked on the floor. For hours…were ordered to drink from a five-gallon jug of water, which was filled over and over. Fans blasted icy air on their wet bodies. They urinated and vomited on themselves….Carrington collapsed and started a seizure. Fraternity members didn’t initially call an ambulance. By the time they did, it was too late. Carrington was taken to Enloe Medical Center, where his heart stopped. At about 5 a.m. he was pronounced dead from water intoxication, which caused the swelling of his brain and lungs. Not a single fraternity brother was there, a fact that still haunts his mother….There’s a growing movement to toughen the penalties for hazing. Two states, New York and Florida, have done it already, and Carrington’s parents say now it should be California’s turn. They want hazing out of the education code and charged under the penal code, like other violent crimes….”

Another media outlet posted a story which included : “Of five pledges who had hoped to join the fraternity, only Carrington and Quintana made it through ‘Hell Week’ and into the basement”  written by Cecilia M. Vega (March 4, 2005).  The title was “Horrifying details in hazing death. (https://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?/c/a/2005/03/04/MNGK9BKG681.DTL#ixzz1SNDouYAr)

A third media outlet presented here was apparently MSNBC : “Two weeks before the trial was to begin, first Maestretti, then all the others, were asking for plea deals.  Guilty pleas in exchange for sentences of a year or less. And the prosecutor answered : maybe. But only if Matt’s mother agreed, and how could she?…But the mother, who loved her son so dearly, was unable to find it in her heart to hate his killers….Matthew Carrington’s mother came to court, and with tears flowing down her cheeks; she read a statement agreeing to the plea deal on one condition : Gabe Maestretti and all the rest of them would have to agree to educate college students about the dangers of hazing….In the end the fraternity brothers got sentences of 1 to 12 months and have been ordered by the court, in accordance to Debbie’s wishes, to take part in an anti-hazing educational campaign. And that’s why they talked to us.” This was written by Keith Morrison (June 24, 2005) and the title was “Chico hazing death.”  MSNBC. (https://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13529682/)

Since the experimental paper, “Fraternity Membership And Authoritarianism” was written in 1981, Authoritarianism (as a personality construct) has continued to be researched. The research identified below has utilized The Right Wing Authoritarianism Scale (RWA), by Bob Altemeyer (Right Wing Authoritarianism, 1981, The University of Manitoba Press). He wrote on page 77 that “There is no convincing evidence that high F Scale scores result from certain early childhood experiences and family situations…There is highly conflicting evidence as to whether persons who score high on the F Scale conform more to peer pressure than do non-authoritarians. There are very few studies which show conformity when socially relevant stimuli are involved….F Scale scores do seem to be moderately associated with tendencies to be aggressive against people considered unconventional and lower in status. High F subjects may also be relatively aggressive against peers.”  Altemeyer defined Right Wing Authoritarianism as “covariation of three attitudinal clusters” : Authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, and conventionalism (Pages 147-148).  In 1988 Bob Altemeyer wrote in “Enemies of Freedom Understanding Right-Wing Authoritarianism” : “It appears…right-wing authoritarians openly admit their hostility when they perceive strong social supports for being aggressive…also admit to a bit more hostility when they feel safe doing so, as when they are anonymous….” (Page 190) He also wrote in the same book on page 328 : “We now understand why authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, and conventionalism covary. Highly submissive, conventional persons seem unusually fearful that the world is personally dangerous and that society is collapsing into lawlessness. This fear, along with other factors, instigates aggressive impulses. Submissive, conventional persons also tend to be highly self-righteous (although they have failed numerous times to prove more moral than others). This self righteousness  disinhibits the agressive impulses.” On page 329 he wrote : We found no evidence for ‘the authoritarian on the left’…appears to be no psychological basis thus far for labelling them ‘authoritarian’. In “the Authoritarian Specter” by Bob Altemeyer, 1996, Harvard University Press : On pages 51-52 he reported that the RWA was developed as a way to measure the construct of authoritariansism and had been completed in 1973 with 24 items; there were several versions afterward. The 1994 version was made to apparently increase construct validity by having high internal consistency and to be able to explain and understand things. On page 54 Altemeyer wrote : “…the RWA scale is essentially unidimensional.” The 1996 RWA Scale consisted of 30 scored items in which items 5-34 are scored. The “latest version of the RWA scale” as presented in “The Authoritarians” (which was also written by Bob Altemeyer [2007], Winnipeg : University of Manitoba) has 22 items.    

In “The role of ‘dark personalities’ (narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy), Big Five personality factors, and ideology in explaining prejudice” Journal of Research in Personality, Volume 43, Issue 4, August 2009, Pages 686-690 by Gordon Hodson, Sarah M. Hogg and Cara C. MacInnis, the Abstract included : “…(low) Openness to Experience predicted right-wing authoritarianism….” In a second article by J. C. Butler, Personality and emotional correlates of right-wing authoritarianism, 2000, in Social Behavior and Personality, 28, Pages 1-14 the Abstract shows : “Authoritarianism, the tendency to be hierarchical, conventional, and intolerant, has been implicated by research as an extreme feature of general right-wing ideology. The relationship between this ideological pattern and variables of personality and emotion was investigated in three studies…The results demonstrate that the authoritarian syndrome is primarily characterized by low openness to experience, and that it is unrelated to self-reported measures of emotion.”  McCrae & Costa (1997) found that openness to experience as measured by the NEO-PI-R Openness (to Experience, personality dimension) is negatively correlated to RWA (r=-0.57). (It is also noteworthy that Openness to Experience has been found to be positively correlated to Intuition on the MBTI with a positive correlation of .72 according to one study by McCrae, R R; Costa, P. T.  [1989] : “Reinterpreting the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator From the Perspective of the Five-Factor Model of Personality”. Journal of Personality 57 [1]: 17–40.)

In  “The Authoritarians”, an online book, copyright 2006,  Bob Altemeyer (2007) wrote on page 245 : “….I’ve always worried that publicity would invalidate my future studies. But I’ve mainly laid low, sticking to academic outlets, because what I’ve found is alarming, and I know that raising this alarm can horrendously backfire…” Altemeyer  also wrote : “Authoritarian followers usually support the established authorities in their society, such as government officials and traditional religious leaders. Such people have historically been the ‘proper’ authorities in life, the time-honored, entitled, customary leaders and that means a lot to authoritarians.  Psychologically these followers have personalities featuring: 1) a high degree of submission to the established, legitimate authorities in their society; 2) high levels of aggression in the name of their authorities; and 3) a high level of conventionalism. Because the submission occurs to traditional authority, I call these followers right-wing authoritarians. I’m using the word ‘right’ in one of its earliest meanings, for in Old English ‘riht’ (pronounced ‘writ’) as an adjective meant lawful, proper, correct, doing what the authorities said…In North America people who submit to established authorities to extraordinary degrees turn out to be political conservatives, so you can call them ‘right wingers’…But someone who lived in a country long ruled by communists and who ardently supported the Communist Party would also be one of my psychological right-wing authoritarians even though we would also say that he was a political left-winger. So a right wing authoritarian follower doesn’t necessarily have conservative political views. Instead, he’s someone who readily submits to the established authorities in society, attacks others in their name, and is highly conventional. Its an aspect of his personality, not a description of his politics…” (Pages 9-10) Left Wing Authoritarianism was defined by Altemeyer as : “If one submits to authorities who want to overthrow the establishment, that’s left wing authoritarianism, as I define things.” (Page  35)

On page 20 he wrote : “The ‘Milgram experiment’,…offers another example of authoritarians ‘going easy’ on authority…Tom Blass of the University of Maryland at Baltimore found that high RWA students tended to blame the experimenter less for what happened to the victim than most students did. Whom did they blame instead? I found, when I replicated the study, they blamed the poor devil who was ordered to deliver the shocks, and the victim, more than most others did.” 

On page 58 Altemeyer also wrote that “…we should also realize that fear can increase submission as well as aggression.” 

Altemeyer’s  research presented in “The Athoritarians” showed that authoritarian followers especially tend to exhibit (Pages 78-92) : Illogical thinking, highly compartmentalized minds, double standards, hypocrisy, blindness to themselves, a profound ethnocentrism, and dogmatism. On pages 95-96 he wrote : “That said, let’s take what we have learned in this chapter about how authoritarian followers think and see if it explains what otherwise might seem quite baffling. Beginning in late 2001, the Bush administration stated that Saddam Hussein was a source of terrorist activities around the world, and frequently implied he was involved in the attacks of September 11th, even though nearly all the attackers had come from Saudi Arabia, and none from Iraq. The administration also said Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, even though United Nations inspectors had never found any, so an invasion of Iraq was necessary….Those who urged caution were denounced, even as late as the fall 2006, as traitors, fools, and idiots by officials and supporters who will likely never admit that the critics were proved right. For after the successful military invasion of Iraq, no pre-existing ties to Al-Qaida were discovered and no weapons of mass destruction were found….But several months after the administration itself conceded that no weapons of mass destruction had been discovered, pollsters found that a lot of Americans believed such weapons had been found. And for these believers and others the new justification for the invasion, viz., to remove Saddam and bring freedom to Iraq, to make it a shining example in the Middle East of what democracy will bring, was good enough anyway…”      

Altemeyer also identified characteristics of Authoritarian Leaders in his book as measured by Social Dominance Orientation Scale (the test was originally presented as a measure of belief in social inequality by other researchers) who; have a desire for power and want to control others; have low levels of empathy; very much dislike and deride equality; and most often lack religiosity (pages 162-172). On pages 177-178 he wrote : “The small correlation exists because 5 to 10 percent of my samples score highly on both tests. I call these folks ‘Double Highs’, and while you only find them by the handful, they are a fascinating group to study. For starters, they win the gold medal in the Prejudice Olympics, whether you’re talking about prejudice against racial and ethnic minorities, hostility toward homosexuals, or men-who-hate-women-who-want-to-control-their-own-lives. They also score higher than anyone else on a ‘Militia’ scale I developed after the Oklahoma City bombing which measures belief that a Jewish-led conspiracy is plotting to take over the United States through such dastardly devices as gun control laws and the United Nations. In only rare cases (5-10%) does an individual who scores high in terms of both social domination and authoritarian-follower tendencies take control of leadership.” 

Altmeyer had published on this topic at an earlier date :  The Journal of social psychology 2004;144(4) : 421-47 The Abstract showed that Altemeyer “…considered the small part of the population whose members score highly on both the Social Dominance Orientation scale and the Right-Wing Authoritarianism scale. Studies of these High SDO-High RWAs, culled from samples of nearly 4000 Canadian university students and over 2600 of their parents and reported in the present article, reveal that these dominating authoritarians are among the most prejudiced persons in society. Furthermore, they seem to combine the worst elements of each kind of personality, being power-hungry, unsupportive of equality, manipulative, and amoral, as social dominators are in general, while also being religiously ethnocentric and dogmatic, as right-wing authoritarians tend to be.”

On page  221 he wrote in “The Authoritarians ” : “It is one-sided if we conclude that authoritarians have no good qualities, for they do. High RWAs are earnest, hard-working, happy, charitable, undoubtedly supportive of people in their in-group, good friends, and so on. Social dominators are ambitious and competitive–cardinal virtues in American society. It’s as big a mistake, I have to keep telling myself, to see people as all-bad as it is to see them as all-good.

But the downside remains and I want to emphasize that it’s really there…”  

Bob Altemeyer additionally wrote on page 230 : “That is the Great Discovery of Social Psychology. Experiment after experiment demonstrates that we are powerfully affected by circumstances encasing us. And very few of us realize how much….Milgram has shown us how hard it is to say no to malevolent authority, how easy it is to follow the crowd, and how very difficult it is to resist when the crowd is doing the biding of malevolent authority. It’s not that there’s some part of ‘No’ we don’t understand. It’s that situational pressures, often quite unnoticed, temporarily strike the word from our vocabulary.” To reduce right-wing authoritarianism he apparently identified (pages 240-245) behaviors such as : Increased contact with those who are different; supporting higher education institutions; working for better laws; modeling and providing leadership to oppose bullying actions/activities; minorities speaking out for their rights; and non-violent protest. 

A news headline and article dated 7-24-11 from Reuters titled “Norway mourns victims  of anti-Islam ‘Crusader’ ” by  By Victoria Klesty and Gwladys Fouche started this way : “SUNDVOLLEN, Norway (Reuters) – Norway mourned on Sunday 93 people killed in a shooting spree and car bombing by a Norwegian who saw his attacks as ‘atrocious, but necessary’ to defeat liberal immigration policies and the spread of Islam.” The publications by Bob Altemeyer may be at least somewhat helpful in understanding what happened just days ago as described above.  The current author was able to obtain three of Bob Altemeyer’s books through interlibrary loan and view the most recently aforementioned titled book, “The Authoritarians” online. The aforementioned books provide a wealth of information on the personality construct of Authoritarianism. The Hygiology Post series titled “Six Part Series : Healthy Change” in its entirety may provide the reader additional insights into this particular current event as well as many other wide-ranging current events—by providing information, news, and commentary relating to health enhancement and health preservation.   

The copyrighted paper, “Fraternity Membership and Authoritarianism”, written in 1981 can be read below. Each of the copyrighted documents (by the author) can currently be purchased for one dollar (One USD). If interested in purchasing a document, send an e-mail identifying its name to The Hygiology Post at info@hygiologypost.com to learn how to make the purchase.

The Hygiology Post welcomes feedback from readers on all six parts of the series (individually and/or as a total package) upon completion of the series as to whether the articles help fulfill its vision and mission.

Louis DeCola, Jr.                                                 © 2011 The Hygiology Post

https://hygiologypost.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Authoritarianism 1981.pdf

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