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Social Processes: Methodology · Types of test

The California F Scale is a personality measure of the traits associated with the authoritarian personality("implicit antidemocratic tendencies and fascist potential"). This scale is comprised of the following subscales:

  • Conventionalism -- the tendency to accept and obey social conventions and the rules of authority figures; adherence to the traditional and accepted
  • Authoritarian Submission -- submission to authorities and authority figures
  • Authoritarian Aggression -- an aggressive attitude towards individuals or groups disliked by authorities; particularly those who threaten traditional values
  • Anti-Intraception -- rejection of the subjective, imaginative and aesthetic
  • Substitution and Stereotypy -- superstition, cliché, categorization and fatalistic determinism
  • Power and Toughness -- identification with those in power, excessive emphasis on socially advocated ego qualities
  • Destructiveness and Cynicism -- general hostility, putting others down
  • Projectivity -- the tendency to believe in the existence of evil in the world and to project unconscious emotional impulses outward
  • Sex -- exaggerated concerns with respect to sexual activity

The authors of the study expected a positive correlation between results on the F-scale and being marked by conservatism, ethnocentrism and anti-Semitism.

Robert Altemeyer found that three facets of this authoritarian personality were important: conventionalism, authoritarian aggression and authoritarian submission. He has refined the concept of the authoritarian personality into the Right-wing Authoritarian scale.


As Kohn points out[1], there have been three main lines of critisism of the F Sale.

  • That the scale is susceptible to acquiescence response set
  • That it is orientated towards measuring right wing ideology and extremism and
  • That extreme right wing views or ethnic prejudices do not necessarily reflect externalization or ego-denses, but could reflect a lack of cognitive sophistication, or result from learned attitudes adopted from parents of reference groups.

See also

References & Bibliography

  1. Hohn, P. (1972). The Autoritarianism-Rebellion Scale:A balanced F-Scale with Left-Wing reversals. Sociometry,35,1,176-189

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