Why would a progressive society line up behind a ruler who invades other nations unprovoked? What would lead ordinary people to carry out orders that risked their nation's future in order to commit genocide? Nazi Germany posed such questions to many social scientists. Authoritarian personality theory (APT), based in psychodynamic theory, was developed to explain these behaviors and their psychological underpinnings. Studies based on APT have shown that prejudice is related to the outlook of the people who hold such views rather than to characteristics of the groups they disdain. Thus the social significance, testable hypotheses, and intellectual ambition of APT has drawn much attention and criticism and inspired a wide variety of new research. In addition, the cross-culturally robust association of authoritarianism with prejudice, ...

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