Australian Psychologist, Volume 6 No. 1 March 1971, 31-50.



Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Workers in educational research and psychologists working for the armed services may often wish to measure attitude to authority in a standardised way. For this purpose existing scales of "authoritarianism" are not wholly suitable. The best known of these is the California 'F' scale (Adorno et al., 1950). In spite of the title of their book, the 'F' scale was not in fact described by these authors as a measure of authoritarianism. They consistently referred to it as a scale- of pre-Fascist (hence the 'F') ideology. Clearly, an educational researcher who simply wishes to measure the favourableness/unfavourableness of a student's attitude to authority must be rather dubious whether pre-Fascist attitudes are his immediate concern. Even if authoritarianism as measured by the 'F' scale were not a greatly more complex psychodynamic entity than simple attitude to authority, there is still the major fault that the 'F' scale fails almost entirely to predict actual behaviour (Titus, 1968).

This failure is also of concern for its apparent indication that the "covert" type of scale used by these authors may be in principle unsuitable for behaviour prediction tasks. Since there is in any case a considerable discrepancy between expressed attitudes and behaviour (La Piere, 1934), it must come as no surprise that attitude items only indirectly relevant to what is being measured fail to predict behaviour at all. In this paper, therefore, items are of a quite "overt" type. The relatively easy fakeability that this implies would hence make it unsuitable for use in selection. In a research instrument, however, the usual guarantees of anonymity and confidentiality might be expected to offset faking practices.

There has been one previous scale designed to meet the above need -- that by Rudin (1961). This scale, however, is poorly constructed, with incomplete balance against acquiescent response set and a rather unexpected sort of "negative" items. Rudin's "negative" items would, in fact, appear to be as paranoid as positive 'F' scale items. This being so, it was not surprising that a re-analysis by the present author of Martin's (1964 ) data revealed a positive correlation of .175 (n=691) between the two halves of the Rudin scale. This is where a significant negative relationship should normally be expected.

The scale to be presented here (the AA scale) must also be differentiated from "Attitude to Teacher", "Attitude to School" or "Attitude to University" measures. It does pretend to tap a general disposition in a way that will sidestep the outcome of experiences associated with the school or university alone. For example, a poor student may be expected to acquire an unfavourable attitude to school and all associated with it by reason of the unrewarding and punishing setting it probably represents to him. For all that, he could still quite conceivably have a favourable attitude to authority in general. For this reason many items in the scale refer to "the Army" and to "leaders" (institutional identification unspecified).

Attitude to authority then, was conceptualized as falling into three broad content areas. Positively stated, these are:

1. View of the leader as a guide and director rather than an executive of democratic decisions (1);

2. Approval of institutions and practices notable for the exercise of authority (The Army being the example par excellence of this);

3. Preference for regulation versus libertarianism.


Conscript Sample

A group of 54 items were written covering the three areas mentioned above. Both "pro-authority" and "anti-authority" items were included. These were administered in the first instance to a group of 96 Australian Army conscripts. This group was chosen with a view to making the scale as generally applicable as possible. Scales normed on samples drawn from educational institutions notoriously collapse when applied to the population at large (Ray, 1970). As the present study will show, the reverse is not true. A scale normed on a sample drawn at random from a general population segment (as Australian conscripts or "National Servicemen" are) does not suffer greatly when administered to a more homogeneous population. The items were presented interspersed among a larger group of 338 items.

Item analysis of the scale was carried out by the conventional method of item-total correlations (Guilford, 1954). To check on the a priori structure of the scale proposed in the introduction, it was desired to carry out an objective check on the actual structure to be found in the items of the final scale.

To this end a cluster analysis of the items (McQuitty, 1961) was carried out. McQuitty's method was chosen because, unlike factor analysis, it is completely objective -- requiring no arbitrary decisions about factor structure or parameter size.

In addition to the main purpose of norming the scale, a secondary purpose of this study was to examine anew the basic hypothesis of Adorno et al (1950) that the pro-authority person is an inflexible, paranoid deviant. To this end a group of items to measure social adaptability (SA) was included: This scale was similar in conception to Eysenck & Eysenck's (1969) neuroticism variable but was more restricted in focus (on social behaviour only). Unlike the `N' scale, the SA scale in its final form was completely balanced against acquiescent response set. This was felt to be a vital feature. It seems quite likely that acquiescence of some sort is a feature of a favourable attitude to authority. This being so, if the 'N' scale were used a positive correlation with the AA scale might be expected simply on the grounds of the contamination of 'N' scale scores with acquiescent response set.

In this study then, one is able to examine free of artifact and on a general population sample the relation between social maladjustment and attitude to authority. If there is anything at all in the characterization of the authoritarian by Adorno et al as an inflexible, paranoid deviant, one ought to be able to hypothesize a substantial negative correlation between scores on the AA and SA scales.

As a methodological refinement, an acquiescence (Yeasaying) score on the AA scale was also computed by adding Agree responses across all items. This enabled the empirical relationship of attitude to authority and acquiescence to be examined.

Student Sample

The new scale derived from the study above was administered to 95 day and evening second-year students in a social psychology course at Macquarie University. The 28 AA scale items were presented interspersed with the 30 items of the "balanced 'F' scale" presented by Lee & Warr (1969). This scale itself has in other work been found by the present author to correlate only .622 with the original 'F' scale. The relations between the scale scores and actual political party preference was also found. Conservatism of preference for Australian political parties was scored as under (in decreasing order of conservatism) :

5. Democratic Labour Party.
4. Liberal-Country Party.
3. No preference.
2. Labor Party.
1. Communist Party.

One of the prime purposes of this study was to provide a validity check of the criterion groups kind for the new scale. Since students are well known for their suspicion of authority (Lipset, 1965), one would expect them to gain substantially lower mean scores than the more heterogeneous conscript group.

School Sample

In this study there were three goals:

1. To draw out at length whatever implications for political preference and conservatism in general that a favourable attitude to authority might have;

2. To demonstrate the reliability of the scale for school students as distinct from the samples taken earlier;

3. To provide some direct evidence for the behavioural validity of the scale.

The sample taken (2) was the entire fifth and sixth form class of Meadowbank Boys' High School (n=110). This school was selected because of the-wide range in socio-economic background evident among those attending. In addition to the AA scale, a new 20 item political deference (Nordlinger, 1967) scale, and a general liberalism-conservatism battery were administered - all under allegedly anonymous conditions of administration. The conservatism battery contained scales to measure:

(1) Economic conservatism (33 items)
(2) Political conservatism (22 items)
(3) Social conservatism (36 items)
(4) Moral conservatism (15 items)
(5) Religious conservatism (20 items)
(6) Aesthetic conservatism (21 items)

These six scales were collated from the great number of items said to measure conservatism in Shaw & Wright (1967). The deference scale is a new development by the present author, to be reported elsewhere. All scales were subjected to item analysis and only the reduced forms were used. (See Appendix B.) Moral conservatism was defined in the narrow sense of sexual morality. All scales in the battery were scored alike (i.e. 5 (Strongly agree), 4 (Agree), 3 (Not sure), 2 (Disagree), 1 (Strongly disagree) ).

Other information obtained was father's occupation and political party preference (scored as in Study 11). The occupations of fathers were scored from one (high status) to seven (low status) on the basis of Congalton's scale (Congalton, 1969).

Data to help assess behavioural validity were sought in the form of teacher ratings on six personal characteristics of each student. These were selected to extend across the full range of behaviour usually called "authoritarian". (See the "Results" section for the actual listing of these ratings.) Each of 57 students was rated from one (very true) to seven (very false) on each of the above descriptions by a committee of three teachers. All of these teachers had the benefit of knowing at least some of the students in a variety of extra-classroom settings (hiking, sports, etc. ) over periods of time up to four years. The rating method has been advanced as highly suitable for assessing behaviour by Hollander (1957). The raters reported no substantial problems of disagreement but where disagreement did exist, the teacher knowing the particular student best was deferred to.

Community Sample

Since all the groups to whom the scale had been given were in fact contacted as a consequence of their relation to some special authority -- either military or educational -- it seemed just possible that the internal consistency of the scale that had been observed (via the reliability coefficients) might be due to an unusual sensitivity to authority in these people.

To provide a sample wherein this could not a priori be claimed, the scale was included in a social survey being conducted by second year Macquarie University students. In this survey, each student received three interview schedules which he was instructed to administer to males "of as low a social class as possible". These instructions were given to offset the usual tendency of samples so obtained to be predominantly middle and upper class. A second stipulation was that one subject at least had to be in the 40-55 age range. This was to offset another tendency of students to interview only their own age group (Christie, 1956). In this way 203 subjects were interviewed.


Conscript Sample

Item analyses on the initial scale reduced it in length to 14 'pro' and 14 'anti' items with a reliability (coefficient alpha) of .83. It should be stressed that the scale is naturally "balanced" (with respect to 'pro' and 'anti' items) at this length, i.e. identical criteria for selection were applied to all items -- regardless of which area they tapped or whether they were 'pro' or 'anti'. The basis for selection was the correlation of each item with the total score derived from summing across all items. The mean and standard deviation (on the final scale) obtained with this sample were 88.34 and 14.14. See Appendix A for the AA scale.

The first eight items given are those from sub-scale 1 ("leadership"), and, treated as a separate scale, show a reliability of .66. The next 11 are from sub-scale 2 ("institutions") and show a reliability of .82. The third sub-scale ("freedom") is represented by the last nine items and has a reliability of .64. The three subscales correlated .746, .900 and .836 with the total scale. The correlations of 1 and 3 with 2 were .484 and .650. Numbers 1 and 3 correlated .473. In this light it will be evident that the second sub-scale could well be used in its own right as a short form of the scale.

The final form of sub-scale two showed a great preponderance of "Army" items. This justifies the view of the Army as the most salient authority institution in the community.

The structural study of the AA scale revealed seven first order clusters and one second order cluster. Only cluster one of the first order clusters resembled an a priori sub-scale. This cluster was composed of nine items -- of which six were from the second subscale. The focal item of the cluster was: "The army is very good for straightening men out and smartening them up." In the second order cluster, cluster one of the first-order clusters was the focal cluster. The fact that there was only one second order cluster provides strong support for the unidimensionality of the scale and the fact that the second sub-scale was so strongly represented reinforces the view presented elsewhere that this sub-scale could well be used as a short form of the scale. The correlation between positive and negative halves of the scale was also tested and found to be -.536. The relationship of the AA scale to social adaptability was examined using the total score, the sub-scale scores and the cluster scores. The total and sub-scale scores correlated .224, .210, .186 and .170 respectively. All are significant at the .05 level and indicate that the pro-authority person is well adjusted. Thus, even the most exact operationalization of the California hypothesis concerning Authoritarian psychopathology leads to a decisive rejection of that hypothesis. It is well-known (Masling, 1954) that there is no relation between 'F' scale scores and neuroticism but one could always claim that neuroticism is too general a variable: a more particular type of psychopathology is involved. The present scale makes such a defence impossible. If there was any truth at all in the view that the authoritarian is an inflexible paranoid deviant, the present work should have shown a negative correlation between the AA and Social Adaptability scales. The sub-scale scores also show that the positive correlation observed is not contributed by any one set of items but by all items in the scale. Four out of seven cluster-scores showed non-significant correlations but this can be attributed to their low reliability when used as measuring instruments.

The differences between this study and that of Adorno et al can be attributed to the use in this study of, 1. a general population sample; 2. the absence of selective bias in "cases" described; 3. the elimination of acquiescent response set; 4. more precise definition of concepts.

The acquiescence part of this study produced a correlation between AA score and Yeasaying score of .107 -- which is not significant. This shows that a pro-authority attitude, as it is measured here, is not related to yeasaying.

Student Sample

The correlation here between the two balanced scales was .760 and the reliabilities were .81 (AA) and .76 (F). The mean and standard deviation on the AA scale were 76.46 and 12.47 for this sample.

The correlation between the scale scores and conservatism of actual political party preference was for the AA scale .476 and for the balanced 'F' scale .409. The correlation between sex (44 males scored as "1" and 51 females scored as "2") and the AA scale score was 0.30. Thus, although the scale was not deliberately so designed, sex of the respondent does not seem to influence the score obtained.

The difference between the means of this sample and the previous one was significant at the .001 level. This is in line with the prediction made earlier and represents substantial validation for the new scale.

School Sample

The reliability on this sample of the AA scale as a whole was .78. The slight drop thus evidenced flows from lower overall intercorrelation among the items. This is such as might well be expected wherever attitudes are less stable and well-defined. That 16 and 17-year-olds might represent a population with this characteristic is the first explanation one is inclined to advance for the finding. As it happens, however, there is another significance in this reliability decrease. The detailed item analysis of the scale for this population reveals that the six items correlating less than +0.100 with the scale total all come from the first sub-scale. The only good item from this sub-scale (correlating .232) was Number 4 -- which puts the leader in a particular role and institutional context, i.e. the leader of a nation. For use with a school population, then, it might be desirable to omit all but item 4 of the leadership sub-scale. If the weakest item of sub-scale 2 is also dropped (Number 13), this leaves a balanced 20-item scale with a reliability of .82 and only two sub-scales. (This procedure would not, however, be necessary with other samples.) The reliabilities of the unaltered sub-scales on this sample were .53, .81 and .66 respectively. Sub-scales 2 and 3 correlated .539 but the correlation of sub-scale 1 with 2 and 3 were .062 and -.084 respectively. Each sub-scale then shows much the same reliability as before but the relationship between them has altered. Among schoolchildren, the type of leader preferred is not related to authority attitudes in general and the scale, therefore (on this type of sample only), is less general in its coverage.

Of the other scales and variables included in this study, the AA scale correlated .212 with political party choice, -.086 with occupational status of father, .613 with political conservatism, .217 with social conservatism, .121 with aesthetic conservatism, .271 with economic conservatism, .197 with religious conservatism, .287 with moral conservatism, and .109 with political deference. Although all these correlations except that with status are significant at the .05 level, it is quite clear that it is conservatism in the political area rather than conservatism in general to which the AA scale is related. The most surprising result is the low relation to political deference. Evidently, deference to one's social superiors in politics is not just a particular instance of attitude to authority. The mean score on the shortened scale was 59.01 with a standard deviation of 11.26. See Table 1 for the complete correlation matrix.


Correlates of the AA scale. "Year" is scored: 5th form (1), 6th form (2)


1. Age...........19....70.....06....-04....-21.....13.....01.....-06.....25.....03......07
2. Polit. Pref.........08....-06.....22.....01.....06.....28.....-04.....08.....10......21
3. Year..........................08....-05....-18.....04....-02.....-17.....23....-03......03
4. Status...............................-18...-14.....-00....-13.....-17.....13....-04.....-09
5. PoIit. Cons..................................39....-19......38.....10.....-02.....22......61
6. Social Cons........................................-30.....00.....-09.....-08.....14......21
7. Aesthetic Cons............................................-.05......25.....24.....-12.....12
8. Economic Cons.......................................................00.....07.....36.......27
9. ReIigious Cons.................................................................38......00......20
10. Moral Cons...............................................................................04......29
11. Deference..........................................................................................19
12. Att. Auth.

The teacher rating study showed that the person who expresses acceptance of authority (per the AA scale) is also seen by his teachers actually to submit to authority. The correlations between the AA scale scores and teacher ratings are given below.

1. Tends to follow instruction without critical thought r = .314
2. Likes to push others around r = .065
3. Is inclined to trust the motives of others r = .270
4. Does not have to be told what to do all the time r = -.070
5. Is a submissive person towards his teachers r = .357
6. Is an aggressive person towards his fellow students r = .049

The correlations between teacher ratings are presented in Table 2.


Correlations between Teacher Ratings



Community Sample

The reliability of the 20 item balanced AA scale on this sample was .80 with a mean of 62.39 and an SD of 9.36. The shorter form of the scale was used here not because there was any reason to believe the longer form generally unsatisfactory but because of length limitations on the questionnaire. The first two studies have shown the suitability of the full scale on non-school samples. In order to gain a coverage of the full construct range, therefore, the full scale should normally be used if space permits. Where the short form is necessary however, the mean and standard deviation of this study offer tentative norms.

In any case, it is clear from this study that the consistency of response to authority items was not artificially high in the previous samples.


The scale has been shown to provide a consistently reliable measure over a wide range of subject populations. Findings of major interest that have emerged in the course of testing the scale are:

1. Although the AA scale is unlike the 'F' scale in that it does not contain items of broad ideological reference, a favourable attitude to authority is still shown to go with political conservatism. Previously, the correlation of the 'F' scale and conservatism could well have been seen as artifactual or true by definition but the advent of the AA scale, where the ideological artifact is "removed" shows this relationship to be a substantive one.

2. Pro-authority people are submissive and well-adjusted, not aggressive, domineering or sick. This represents an extension of findings by Titus (1968) with the 'F' scale. It does call into some doubt the identification by Adorno et al (1950) of authoritarianism and Nazism. A favourable attitude to authority is not an explanation for aggression, paranoia and ferocity. The only part of the Nazi historical phenomenon it might perhaps explain is the ready acceptance of leadership per se.

There are evidently several meanings of "authoritarian". The attempt here has been to measure authoritarianism in the value-neutral sense of "attitude to authority". This simple meaning was very greatly extended by Adorno et al on the basis of several empirical propositions for which they purported to present proof. These propositions were felt by those authors to be sufficient to warrant consistent reference in their concluding chapter to pro-authority attitudes as being symptoms of a "disease" (sic) which had to be "cured" (sic) by hook or by crook.

The two basic propositions which the California authors appear to depend on are that:

1. Given the chance, all people with favourable attitudes to authority will behave as did the German Nazis.

2. The personal adjustment of the authoritarian is maladaptive: "desperate clinging", "repressive denial", "weakness, fear and dependency" (sic) are said to be characteristic.

Because these propositions appear to have been widely accepted as true, a social scientist using the word "authoritarian" of someone nowadays may normally be expected to be referring to a person with the undesirable characteristics mentioned above. There is no doubt, of course, that such persons exist. There is even no doubt that some brutal and poorly-adjusted people have favourable attitudes to authority. Such people in fact are the ones described (selectively) at length by Adorno et al. What is doubtful, however, is whether such people are characteristic of all persons having a favourable attitude to authority. If brutality and maladjustment are not characteristic of a pro-authority person, it is difficult to stigmatize pro-authority attitudes as caused by brutality and maladjustment. Correlation is taken to be a necessary though not sufficient condition for causation. The suggestion here then is that there may also be a large group of brutal and maladjusted people who have anti-authority attitudes.

Let us look back at the two broad propositions given above that do seem to have become accepted. For the first there has never been any evidence whatsoever. The few studies of behaviour that have been carried out (e.g. Titus (1968) and the present study) have found a complete lack of relationship between aggressive, domineering behaviour and pro-authority attitudes (see ratings 6 and 2 in the "Results" of Study 111). "But what about the correlation with ethnocentrism?" one might protest. In answer it must be observed that this gets us from attitude to attitude, not from attitude to behaviour. The lack of relation between ethnocentric attitudes and behaviour has long been known (La Piere, 1934). "But what about the Second World War?" yet another might protest, "Authoritarian behaviour and attitudes certainly went together with the Nazis!" True, but it is also true that authoritarian behaviour and egalitarian ideology went together in Soviet Russia. In fact the Israeli scholar Unger (1965) concludes that Russia was more authoritarian than Germany.

The second proposition above has been disconfirmed by Masling (1954), Schmuck & Chesler (1967), Elms (1970) -- as well as in the present work.

Why then has what must at the very least be regarded as a very poorly supported view of the pro-authority person come to be so widely accepted?

A suggestion advanced here not without some trepidation is that the work of Adorno et al provided an attractive conceptual simplification for many social scientists. If it be taken as given that social scientists generally have a somewhat "leftish" ideological orientation, then any theory which enables them to identify "people who disagree with me" and "psychological misfits" must seem very attractive. This cannot be done by the direct approach of correlating political preference with neuroticism scores. As is well known (Eysenck, 1954) there is in general no relationship. Adorno et al therefore provided an intuitively appealing explanation for the phenomenon of other people disagreeing with one's own opinion.


A reliable scale has been presented which neither required nor supports the assumptions of the 'F' scale. Unlike the 'F' scale it has clearly demonstrated behavioural validity and is completely balanced from the beginning.


{Articles below by J.J. Ray can generally be accessed simply by clicking on the name of the article. I am however also gradually putting online a lot of abstracts, extracts and summaries from older articles by other authors so if an article not highlighted below seems of particular interest, clicking here or here might just save you a trip to the library}

Adorno, T. W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D., & Sanford, R. N. The authoritarian personality. New York: Harper, 1950.

Christie, R. Eysenck's treatment of the personality of communists. Psychological Bulletin, 1956, 53, 411-430.

Congalton, A. A. Status and prestige in Australia. Melbourne: Cheshire, 1969.

Elms, A. C. Those little old ladies in tennis shoes are no nuttier than anyone else, it turns out. Psychology Today, 1970, 3(9), 27-59.

Eysenck, H. J. The Psychology of Politics. London: Routledge, 1954.

Hollander, E. P. The reliability of peer nominations under various conditions of administration. Journal of Applied Psychology, 1957, 41, 85-90.

Jacobs, P. E., Teune, H. & Watts, T. Values, leadership and development, a four nation study. Social Science Information, 1967, 7, 49-92.

La Piere, R. T. Attitudes and actions. Social Forces, 1934, 13, 230-237.

Lee, R. E. & Warr, P: B. The development and standardization of a balanced 'F' scale. Journal of General Psychology, 1969, 81, 109-129.

Martin, J. Acquiescence, measurement and theory. British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 1964, 3, 216-225.

Masling, M. How neurotic is the authoritarian? Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1954, 49, 316-318.

Nordlinger, E. A. The working class Tories. London: McGibbon & McKee, 1967.

Ray, J.J. (1971) "A new measure of conservatism" -- Its limitations. British Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, 10, 79-80.

Rudin, S. A. The relationship between rational and irrational authoritarianism. Journal of Psychology, 1961, 52, 179-183.

Schmuck, R. & Chesler, M. Superpatriot opposition to community mental health programs. Community Mental Health Journal, 1967, 3, 382-388.

Shaw, M. E. & Wright, J. M. Scales for the measurement of attitudes. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967.

Titus, H. E. 'F' scale validity considered against peer nomination criteria. Psychological Record, 1968, 18, 395-403.

Unger, A. L. Party and state in soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. Political Quarterly, 1965, 36, 441-459.

1. I am indebted to Jacobs, Teune & Watts (1967) for most of the items used to tap this first concept.

2 The assistance of Mr. J. Howard in collecting the data for this study is gratefully acknowledged.



All items are scored from 5 to 1 with 5 for "strongly agree" and 3 for "not sure".

Sub-Set 1

View of leader: executive vs. decision maker

1. If there is disagreement about a policy, a leader should be willing to give it up. (Reverse-scored.)
2. A leader should always change his actions to ensure agreement and harmony in the community. (Reverse.)
3. It is important for a leader to get things done even if he must displease people by doing them.
4. A national leader should follow the wishes of the community, even if he thinks the citizens are mistaken. (Reverse.)
5. If a leader is himself sure of what is the best thing to do, he must try to do this, even though he has to use some pressure on the people.
6. It is all right for a leader to do something unauthorised, if he is sure it will be for the good of the people in the long run.
7. It is most important to have the participation of everybody in making decisions, regardless of their knowledge of the issues involved. (Reverse.)
8. It's always better to try to talk people into doing things, rather than give them straight out orders. (Reverse.)

Sub-Set 2

Evaluation of authoritarian institutions and other examples of the exercise of authority.

9. There's generally a good reason for every rule and regulation in public service departments.
10. In the Army, soldiers should not obey an order if it is obviously morally wrong. (Reverse.)
11. If the Army allowed more room for individuality it might be a better institution. (Reverse.)
12. There is something wrong with anybody who likes to wear military uniform. (Reverse.)
13. When the dictator Mussolini made Italy's trains run on time, that at least was an important thing to achieve.
14. Two years in the Army would do everyone the world of good.
15. The army is very good for straightening men out and smartening them up.
16. Civilians could learn a lot from the Army.
17. I disagree with what the Army stands for. (Reverse.)
18. You can be sure that Army procedures will be good, because they have been tried and tested.
19. Schoolchildren should have plenty of discipline.

Sub-Set 3

Freedom vs. regulation

20. People should be guided more by their feelings and less by the rules. (Reverse.)
21. People should be made to be punctual.
22. Efficiency and speed are not as important as letting everyone have their say in making decisions. (Reverse.)
23. There is far too much regimentation of people nowadays. (Reverse.)
24. You know where you're going when you have an order to obey.
25. People should not be expected to conform as much as they are today. (Reverse.)
26. People who say we don't have enough freedom here in Australia don't know what they're talking about.
27. I don't mind if other people decide what I am to do, or advise me how to do it.
28. It would be must -better if we could do without politics altogether. (Reverse.)


FINAL FORMS OF THE CONSERVATISM SCALES. Reliabilities given are coefficient "alpha"

Political Conservatism (final reliability =.72)

1. The danger of communist infiltration into the union movement is great and the government should take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that it does not become widespread.
2. An occupation by a foreign power is better than war. R.
3. Because many of the minor political parties merely confuse national issues, all political parties except the two major ones should be abolished.
4. Australia will not win respect in Asia by building up armed forces. R.
5. In taking part in any form of world organisation, this country should make certain that none of its independence and power is lost.
6. In disarmament negotiations the West should take the initiative by making concessions since such a procedure could produce concessions from the Soviet block. R.
7. Australia should seek more ties with Asia. R.
8. Patriotism and loyalty to one's country are more important than one's intellectual convictions and should have precedence over them.
9. A standing army of 100,000 men or over is necessary for our national defence at all times.
10. "My country right or wrong" is a saying which expresses a fundamentally dangerous attitude. R.
11. In some ways dictatorships are desirable.
12. Australia should withdraw its troops from Vietnam immediately. R.
13. Conscription should be abolished. R.
14. International communism is the main danger to Australia today.

Social Conservatism (Final reliability =.76 )

1. The Japanese are a very productive people and should be allowed to settle in Australia. R.
2. Most migrants from Southern Europe become good citizens. R.
3. Nearly all Jews are money hungry.
4. The English-speaking countries have reached a higher state of civilization than any other country in the world and as a consequence have a culture which is superior to any other.
5. Over 10 per cent of the population is incapable of democratic participation in government by reason of their lack of inherited abilities.
6. Crime could be greatly reduced if we restricted migration to British people only.
7. Our treatment of criminals is too harsh; we should try to cure them, not punish them. R.
8. All men are equal. R.
9. Treason and murder should be punishable by death.
10. The death penalty for crime is barbaric, and should be abolished. R.
11. Certain religious sects whose beliefs do not permit them to salute the flag, should either be forced to conform or else be abolished.
12. There will always be superior and inferior races in the world and in the interests of all concerned it is best that the superior continue to dominate the inferior.
13. In the national interest, private schools should either be abolished or restricted in their teachings so that the control of education is largely in the hands of the Federal government. R
14. We should have complete freedom of speech even for those who criticize the law. R
15. Allowing educated Asians to immigrate benefits Australian society. R
16. The white Australia policy is a good policy because it helps to keep Australia white.
17. We must be careful not to let too many Asians into the country or they'll take over the place.
18. People should be allowed to hold demonstrations in the streets without police interference. R

Aesthetic Conservatism (Final reliability =.59 )

1. I like the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer.
2. There is nothing like a good stirring march tune.
3. I don't like classical music. R
4. I like music written by Bach.
5. I am usually bored by sacred and religious music. R
6. I like realistic paintings best.
7. I prefer the old masters to modern art.
8. The highly ornamented architecture of earlier centuries looks clumsy and ugly today. R
9. I really like to watch and hear birds and other animal life about us.
10. I don't like Shakespeare. R
11. I enjoy modern music better than music written years ago. R

Economic Conservatism (Final reliability=.72 )

1. A free dental service should be provided by the government. R
2. Private enterprise is always the most efficient system.
3. Capitalism is immoral because it exploits the worker by failing to give him full value for his productive labour. R
4. The nationalization of the great industries is likely to lead to inefficiency, bureaucracy, and stagnation.
5. Ultimately, private property should be abolished and complete socialism introduced. R
6. Production and trade should be free from government interference.
7. The principle of free competition is a natural law which should govern our business system without governmental interference.
8. The growth of large corporations makes government regulation of business necessary. R
9. The government should take over all industries. R
10. Trade Unions should have much more voice in deciding government policies. R
11. For men to do their best, there must be the possibility of unlimited profit.
12. Poverty is chiefly a result of injustice in the distribution of wealth. R
13. The government should not attempt to limit profits.
14. Large incomes should be taxed more than they are now. R
15. Men would not do their best if government owned all industry.
16. On the whole, our economic system is just and wise.
17. When a rich man dies, most of his property should go to the state. R
18. The incomes of most people are a fair measure of their contribution to human welfare.
19. A man should strike in order to secure greater returns to labour. R
20. A man should be allowed to keep as large an income as he can get.
21. Money should be taken from the rich and given to the poor during hard times. R

Religious Conservatism (Reliability =.78 )

l. If God listens to prayers, he certainly doesn't do much about them. R
2. One's chances of life after death are not likely to be affected by what religious denomination one belongs to. R
3. The form of worship (music, communion, ritual, etc. ) is unimportant. R
4. Every word of the Bible is inspired by God.
5. I believe that there is a physical Hell where men are punished after death for the sins of their lives.
6. I believe there is a supernatural being, the Devil, who continually tries to lead men into sin.
7. There are other religions in the world as good as Christianity. R
8. No church property should be exempted from taxation. R
9. A marriage that is not solemnized in a church is not complete.
10. To me the most important work of the church is the saving of souls.
11. I believe that there is a life after death.
12. I believe that there is a Divine plan and purpose for every living person and thing.
13. The only benefit one receives from prayer is psychological. R
14. The churches are out of date and could easily be done away with. R

Moral Conservatism (Final Reliability =.77)

1. Most decent men have a right to expect that they will marry a virgin.
2. I think girls should remain virgins until they marry.
3. Men and women have the right to find out whether they are sexually suited before marriage (e.g. by trial marriage). R
4. Pre-marital pregnancy is nothing to be ashamed of or to hide providing the couple is in love and later gets married. R
5. It is best not to try to prohibit erotic and obscene literature and pictures by law, but rather to leave people free to follow their judgments and tastes in such matters. R
6. Marriage is a sacred covenant which should be broken only under the most drastic circumstances.
7. Sex relations except in marriage are always wrong.
8. Petting and necking between single people is unwise.
9. The pill should be made freely available to school-children and students, even though they do not expect to marry soon. R
10. Abortion should be legalized. R

Deference (Final Reliability =.63 )

1. Men who have made a success of themselves in business are most likely to make a good job of running the country too.
2. The son of a rich businessman or grazier has been brought up to take on leadership and responsibility and is therefore the one best fitted to represent the people of his district in parliament.
3. If a poor man were elected to parliament he wouldn't know what to do in those high circles.
4. Social class should not influence our thinking when we are deciding who to vote for. R
5. Ruling the country is a task for which only the highly educated are fit.
6. It is best to vote for a man who is already rich because if he gets in he is less likely to be tempted by opportunities of making money on the sly.
7. Just because a man is a successful businessman it doesn't mean he will be any good at running a country. R
8. Men who were educated at one of our better private schools would usually be the ones best fitted to run this country.
9. This country would be best run by men who have had a university education.
10. A Prime Minister does not need to be a highly educated man because if he is in doubt about something he can always call on the advice of outside experts. R
11. What we need in Parliament is people who have led the same sort of life that the ordinary man has to put up with every day. R
12. We would have a lot more honesty and fair dealing in the Government if more working-men were elected to Parliament. R
13. I would prefer to be represented in Parliament by someone of my own social class. R
14. People who have been to private schools are no better trained than the ones who only went to State-run schools. R
15. It is best that this country should be run by upper-class people.
16. The ordinary man would not make a good Prime Minister even if he were given the opportunity.


The principal follow-ups to the above work may be found as under:

Ray, J.J. (1972) The measurement of political deference: Some Australian data. British Journal of Political Science 2, 244-251.

Ray, J.J. (1976) Do authoritarians hold authoritarian attitudes? Human Relations, 29, 307-325.

Ray, J.J. (1984). Half of all racists are Left-wing. Political Psychology, 5, 227-236.

Replication is one of the cornerstones of science. A new research result will normally require replication by later researchers before the truth and accuracy of the observation concerned is generally accepted. If a result is to be replicated, however, careful specification of the original research procedure is important.

In questionnaire research it has been my observation that the results are fairly robust as to questionnaire format. It is the content of the question that matters rather than how the question is presented (But see here and here). It is nonetheless obviously desirable for an attempted replication to follow the original procedure as closely as possible so I have given here samples of how I presented my questionnaires in most of the research I did. On all occasions, respondents were asked to circle a number to indicate their response.


Some 2007 research by Haidt would seem to be of considerable interest in connection with the above. Haidt argues that the basis of morality is instinctive but that conservatives display greater cognitive complexity in dealing with moral questions. Given the frequent Leftist assertion that "there is no such thing as right and wrong", that is not inherently surprising. Although they often use moral talk in an attempt to influence others, Leftists would seem, on their own admission, to have no serious interest in or committment to morality of any kind. That does make the invariable brutalities of Communist regimes rather understandable.

Part of a summary of Haidt's review:

"Haidt argues that human morality is a cultural construction built on top of -- and constrained by -- a small set of evolved psychological systems. He presents evidence that political liberals rely primarily on two of these systems, involving emotional sensitivities to harm and fairness. Conservatives, however, construct their moral understandings on those two systems plus three others, which involve emotional sensitivities to in-group boundaries, authority and spiritual purity."

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