The Journal of' Social Psychology, 1981, 113, 231-234.
AUTHORITARIANISM AND EYSENCK'S P SCALE*
University of New South Wales, Australia
JOHN J. RAY AND R. S. BOZEK
Eysenck's claim that Psychoticism (P) explains Tough-mindedness is examined. It is pointed out that authoritarianism is said by Eysenck to be one type of tough-mindedness. The P and F scales should therefore correlate positively. In a random postal survey of New South Wales (N = 172), the P scale, a balanced F scale, and the Ray Directiveness scale were administered. The F scale was found to correlate significantly negatively with the P scale. Authoritarian personality as measured by the Directiveness scale did however correlate positively with P.
In 1954 Eysenck (2) presented a claim that he had discovered a dimension of social attitudes orthogonal to conservatism which he called T (Toughmindedness). He claimed, however, that it was not so much an attitude dimension in its own right as a projection onto the attitude domain of a personality variable -- extraversion. Eysenck's claims in this respect were rather acrimoniously criticized by Christie (1) and Rokeach and Hanley (8) on the general ground that Eysenck had no right in the circumstances to refer to T as a "dimension" of attitudes. Since Eysenck had already set out the qualifications to his claim at some length, however, the criticisms appear to have been rather superrogatory. Eysenck himself, however, has recently made some modifications to his earlier claim. Eysenck and Wilson (5) now claim that Eysenck's new personality variable P (Psychoticism) is the main influence on T. This seems a rather confused claim for several reasons. The most obvious reason is that the P scale itself contains several attitude items of a sort that one might in fact call "Tough-minded." Items such as: "Do you think marriage is old-fashioned and should be done away with?" Or: "Do you think people spend too much time safeguarding their future with savings and insurances?" It would seem that Eysenck is simply using one set of "toughminded" items to explain variations in another. This impression is reinforced when we also find that Eysenck says that, except for extreme scorers, the P scale measures tough-mindedness rather than psychoticism. The proposition that "P explains T" reduces operationally, then, to: "Tough minded items correlate with other tough minded items."
A second puzzle is that Eysenck seems to vacillate concerning the nature of T. In 1954 he claimed, quite intelligibly, that you had to be tough-minded about something and there were hence no items that were just tough-minded. They were either Left-tough or Right-tough. In 1975, however, he said (3) that the second factor in his analysis of the structure of social attitudes is T even though it loads solely on religious/moral items. Does this suggest that Eysenck has abandoned any notion of Left-wing tough-mindedness? Even if it does, the identification of religion and morality with "Tough-mindedness'' is surely extravagant. Operationally, then, the proposition that "P explains T" now reduces to the following: "Tough-minded items correlate with religious/moral items".
Clearly, however, Eysenck's theory is meant to have greater explanatory power than this. T was originally proposed as an ideologically balanced measure of authoritarianism. Eysenck (2) is quite explicit that the California F scale is a measure of Right-tough attitudes. We should, therefore, be able to infer that authoritarians should score high an P. If P explains T, then it should also explain authoritarianism. We should be able to show that authoritarians are psychotic in Eysenck's sense. The present study tests this prediction.
The P scale from the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (4) was included in a questionnaire together with two different measures of authoritarianism: a short form of the Ray (6) balanced F scale and a short form of the Ray (7) scale of authoritarian personality in behavior inventory format. The questionnaire was mailed out to 500 addresses selected at random from the electoral rolls of the Australian State of New South Wales. Of these, 172 were returned. The demographic structure of the resulting sample (age, sex, occupation, and education) was indistinguishable from the demographic structure of contemporaneous samples gathered by means of random doorstep interviews in the Sydney metropolitan area. The final sample was thus in important respects representative in spite of the inevitable bias towards co-operative Ss. It did at least offer a better basis for generalization than the usual nonsample of students upon which most published psychological research seems to be based.
The P scale showed very poor reliability for a scale of its length -- .68 (alpha). The balanced F scale had a coefficient alpha reliability of .75 and a correlation between its positive and negative halves (before reverse-scoring) of -.472. The internal reliability of the "Directiveness" scale (a behavior inventory of authoritarianism) was .78.
The P scale correlated -. 238 with Balanced F and. 234 with Directiveness. Both coefficients are significant at the <.01 level. The implication of this, then, is that the Ss with authoritarian attitudes were significantly lower on psychoticism as measured by Eysenck, but those who reportedly behaved in an authoritarian way were significantly higher.
On one level, Eysenck's theory was supported. Authoritarian personality was predicted by scores on the P scale. This was true, however, only if personality was measured overtly by a behavior inventory. The supposedly "covert" measure via attitudes provided by the F scale correlated with P in a direction opposite to that which Eysenck would predict.
The result which most directly tests Eysenck's theory as originally formulated was, of course, the correlation with the balanced F scale. The F scale authoritarians, however, were anything but psychotic; they were, in fact, less psychotic than normal. If, therefore, T in Eysenck's theory still has any relation to authoritarian attitudes, the present results must represent a setback for that theory.
The correlation between the P scale and the Directiveness scale was surprisingly low. One would have thought that the confessions of dominating behavior characteristic of the Directiveness scale would have correlated quite strongly with the confessions of aggressive, uncaring behavior characteristic of the P scale. What the results suggest, then, is that the dominance of others was often neither aggressive nor uncaring.
1. CHRISTIE, R. Eysenck's treatment of the personality of Communists. Psychological Bulletin 1956, 53, 411-4.38.
2. EYSENCK, H.J. The Psychology of Politics. London: Routledge, 1954.
3. EYSENCK, H.J. The structure of social attitudes. British J. Social & Clinical Psychology 1975, 14, 323-331.
4. EYSENCK, H. J., & EYSENCK, S. B. G. Psychoticism as a Dimension of Personality. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1976.
5. EYSENCK, H. J., & WILSON, G. D. The Psychological Basis of Ideology. College Park, Md.: Univ. Maryland Press, 1978.
6. RAY, J.J. (1972) A new balanced F scale -- And its relation to social class. Australian Psychologist 7, 155-166.
7. RAY, J.J. (1976) Do authoritarians hold authoritarian attitudes? Human Relations, 29, 307-325.
8. ROKEACH, M. & HANLEY, C. Care and carelessness in psychology. Psychological Bulletin 1956, 53, 183-186.
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