Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Sam McFarland, Jackie Pope, John Bruni

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Since social identity theory and authoritarian personality theory have been presented as opposing theories of discrimination, the present experiment explored whether authoritarianism could explain discrimination in social identity theory's minimal group paradigm. High, high average, low average, and low authoritarians were given three measures of in-group favoritism in minimal groups (two point -distribution tasks and a group -rating task). An authoritarianism main effect and an authoritarianism by order interaction on the point -distribution tasks indicated that authoritarianism significantly enhanced discrimination, but only when these tasks followed the group-rating measure. This interaction indicates that authoritarianism has greater influence on discrimination as in-group/out-group distinctions are made more salient. Authoritarianism did not influence discrimination in group ratings. Social identity theory proposes that individuals use discrimination to enhance their self-esteem, but only high authoritarians appeared to do so in this study.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Psychology Commons