Important study showing prevalence of conservative (authoritarian) personality traits in the convict population, and their relationship to poor education, fear and prejudice.
Change in the Conservative Personality
Equals Change in the Offender
with a Resultant Reduction in Recidivism
by Michael D. Parsons and Jennifer G. Parsons
Journal of the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Research Consortium
Offenders have many of the characteristics of the conservative personality as defined by Adorno, Collins, Wilson, and Boshier. The characteristics of the conservative personality limit change necessary for rehabilitation. Until that personality is modified, it is very difficult to reduce recidivism. Modification of the conservative personality through education and environment can lead to change in the offender’s behavior.
Is it possible to reduce violence by the criminal offender during incarceration? This paper presents the basis for a model which deals with certain offenders through an educational effort to modify some of their negative characteristics which include violence. The model in this paper is based on the concept of a conservative/authoritarian personality as it is found in offenders. The concept of the authoritarian personality remains important today as evidenced by coverage in current introductory psychology textbooks (Crooks & Stein, 1991; Dworetzky, 1991; Gleitman, 1991). “It appears that conservatism has pathological dimensions manifested in violence and distorted psycho-sexual development” (Boshier, 1983, p. 159). This is supported by a study conducted by Walker, Rowe, and Quincey (1993) in which there was a direct correlation between authoritarianism and sexually aggressive behavior. An investigation done by Muehlenhard (1988) revealed that rape justification and aggression toward subordinate individuals was much higher in traditional (conservative personality) than non-traditional personalities. It is postulated in this paper that the offender has a conservative personality and, therefore, manifests that violence.
The conservative personality work has as its antecedents the efforts on authoritarianism as developed by Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswick, Levinson, and Sanford (1950) in their book The Authoritarian Personality. Adorno, et al. developed what was called an F-Scale, or Fascist scale, which dealt with nine variables thought to be found in the authoritarian personality: anti-contraception, conventionalism, authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, power/toughness, projectivity, superstition/stereotyping, destruction/cynicism, and sex. Historically several problems with the F-Scale instrument were found. To counteract these problems, a Conservatism or C-Scale was developed by Wilson and Patterson in 1968 (Boshier, 1983, p. 50). To reduce confusion, the remainder of this paper will interchange the terms conservatism/authoritarianism, as “neither conceptually nor empirically does there appear to be any grounds for distinguishing authoritarianism and conservative personality–except that the former may be regarded as a somewhat more particular case of the latter” (Wilson, 1973, p. 33). Dogmatic attitudes tend to be related to close-mindedness. The individuals who adhere to dogmatic attitudes have behaviors including: authoritarianism, tough-mindedness, conservatism, and alienated behavior (Rajnarain, 1986). Continue reading
By Kathleen Maclay
22 July 2003 (revised 7/25/03)
BERKELEY — Politically conservative agendas may range from supporting the Vietnam War to upholding traditional moral and religious values to opposing welfare. But are there consistent underlying motivations?
Four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature about the psychology of conservatism report that at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include:
“From our perspective, these psychological factors are capable of contributing to the adoption of conservative ideological contents, either independently or in combination,” the researchers wrote in an article, “Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition,” recently published in the American Psychological Association’s Psychological Bulletin.
Assistant Professor Jack Glaser of the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and Visiting Professor Frank Sulloway of UC Berkeley joined lead author, Associate Professor John Jost of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and Professor Arie Kruglanski of the University of Maryland at College Park, to analyze the literature on conservatism.
The psychologists sought patterns among 88 samples, involving 22,818 participants, taken from journal articles, books and conference papers. The material originating from 12 countries included speeches and interviews given by politicians, opinions and verdicts rendered by judges, as well as experimental, field and survey studies.
Ten meta-analytic calculations performed on… Continue reading
Those agape at the barbed-wire cage designated as a “free speech zone” in Boston may wonder how it can be topped for its fascist implications. Actually, this already happened last month and went largely unnoticed.
Early in his administration Bush invited a group of pharmaceutical firms, among them companies that have been financing him since he was Texas governor, to join a commission on mental health and disabilities known as the New Freedom Initiative.
In its report presented in June, NFI proposes a universal program of mental health “screening” for everyone in the United States – starting with a captive market of 52 million pupils and 6 million teachers in the schools. The panel recommends that those diagnosed with a syndrome receive a prescription regimen based on treatment algorithms devised by the participating drug companies. (Now what makes me think there is a syndrome waiting for pretty much everyone?) The algorithms (hey, science!) derive from a program already implemented by Bush in Texas.
Unfortunately, Orwellian moments like these are only going to come thicker. The thrust towards the New Feudalism, Corporate Totalitarianism, New World Order, or whatever other name you like is in the open now, and it will not slow down unless we arise as a people to end it.
The New Freedom program fits seamlessly into the Kean Commission report proposals for a national ID system using biometric indicators. If we are all about to be fingerprinted and retinal-scanned and fed into a single database integrating all federal… Continue reading