Scientists fought with data-driven analysis on fascism and autocracyism emerging during the Second World War

ByLisandro M. Enrique

The history of human beings who have repeated wars and conflicts until the present age can be regarded as repetition of acts to confront and dissemble others who are different from themselves. When the society becomes unstable and the anxiety spreads among people, "inward" vectors are born in society, and the air to eliminate others is strengthened. Such air expanded in the early 1900s when fascism and authoritarianism emerged, but in such an era, in such times scientifically grasp the minds of people, science trying to understand the essence scientifically based on data A trial by the person was done.

How World War II scientists invented a data-driven approach to fighting fascism | Ars Technica

"Personality test" that can understand person's personality and personality by answering a plurality of questions once used a person to submit to authorityAuthoritarianWhether or notNazismIt was used to judge whether there is an intention to be inclined to. In 1943, the three psychologists at the University of California at Berkeley had begun with the outbreak of World War II and the massacre of Jews "HolocaustI was struggling to understand. To unravel the mystery and stop the rise of Nazism, three scientists, Daniel Levinson, Nebtt Sampford, and Elz Frenkel Brunswick, are planning to use the idea of ​​"scientific rationality" Was established.

Three people created a personality test called "F scale" that was able to identify the orientation of the authoritarian potentially possessed by the people, but this is one of "to find the bad guy" We understand why some people are fascinated by politicians like Adolf Hitler and further improve the education system so that young people are not inspired by such ideas It was the purpose.


In drawing up the research plan, three scientists decided to use a controversial idea even in psychology that "Personality may be broken down into discrete personality". It was widely endorsed in the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century and later led to the racial policy by the Nazi regimeEugenicsThe foremost anthropologistFrancis GoltonThe scientists thought that human character could be measured in the same way as "dog personality test". This way of thinking gathers interest from the society and the US military receives high stress, so that military soldiers suffer psychological disability "Shell ShockThe personality test to judge the resistance to resistance "was made for the first time in the world.

And this test will be applied later as a personality test to tend to tend to be anti-Semitism and authorist according to dictator. Mr. Levinson, Mr. Sanford, Mr. Frenkel Brunswick's team of scientists succeeded in obtaining a subsidy of 500 dollars from the psychology department of Berkeley in 1943 and started developing this personality test. The team conducted thorough individual interviews and written personality tests for Berkeley students. As a result, despite mentioning an opinion reflecting democratic value such as "I hire a diverse labor force and I want to work with people all over the world" from a student who studies business, from a student who studies law school "I It is also clear that discriminatory responses such as "America is carrying a burden of inappropriate people gathering in other countries" is obtained, "it is possible to distinguish Jews."

ByMicha? Gorecki

This research later,American Jewish CommissionWe will attract the attention of Mr. Max Hawkheimer, a prominent social scientist at the Board of Governors' Board of Directors, which will lead to the acquisition of more funds. As a result, the team expanded the scope of research and brought "qualitative analysis" to the quantitative framework up to that point, and the later "F scale" test will be completed.

A book written by the team of scientists "The Authoritarian PersonalityAccording to the team, in interviewing a large number of people, the subject of personality test was to turn from anti-Jewishism to black people, Filipinos, people who have ideas to eliminate immigration. As a result, I found that what is common to people judged highly as authoritarian is a generalized disgust against the "strange people" different from theirs. Also, those who showed high scores on the item "not anti-Semitic oriented authoritarian" (= anti-Semitic) "have a hatred for another group of outsiders" I also found that it also shows high scores in the item of.

ByD. E. Hanna H

Another finding is that the authoritarian strongly disliked science and strongly hated the idea of ​​solving problems with imagination. Authoritarians tended to stick to already proven and traditional methods as a way to organize society. They believed that "war is an essential derivative of man, so armed force is the best way to deal with conflict." He also strongly opposed homosexuality and claimed that he had to kill homosexuals or at least be housed in prison. But more generally, they were fascinated by regulating the sexual life of other people. Among other things, "freaky sex life" by artists, weak politicians, ethnic minorities, etc. was in mind.

Comprehensively, the scientific team is that the authoritarian is "like a powerful person to control the weak," "the best choice to be on the power side"cynical"In other words, I got to the explanation that they are people with attitude that looked down on others. As a result of these findings, the F scale eventually becomes an element that forms a personality that will be fascinated by authoritarianists, such as nationalism, superstition, aggression, cynicism, conservatism, and excessive to exclusive sexual life It was aimed at measuring factors such as interests of people. The team of scientists subsequently collected F scale data for a wide range of people including Oregon University and George Washington University students, union members, war veterinarians, inmates of Saint-Quentin prison, psychiatrist patients, etc. did.

In the following link, you can experience the reconstructed version of the actual F scale. Originally there was a stepwise choice from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree", but here it is simplified to 2 choices of "agree" and "not agree". Also, since the question was made in the late 1940's, there are parts that make you feel old. The judgment of the result is carried out by the number of times "agree" is selected, and the more times, the stronger the authorist intention is.

Where do you fall fall on the F-Scale? | Page 1 of 1 |

As mentioned above, the structure of this test is simple, so we have a couple of problems. Christopher Federico, a political psychologist at the University of Minnesota, points out that the psychological phenomenon called "silence bias" influences the outcome. Some people prefer to agree on what others say, while people with high scores may have a dictatorship tendency, but there is also the possibility that serious influence from silent bias will also be exerted It will remain.

Harvard political scientist Pippa Norris said about the scientific team's achievement "Although they could hardly produce a full test structure, collecting good quality data that scholars who learn today's authoritarian think appropriate We have set a paradigm in the field of social psychology. "

In the subsequent psychology of the 21st century, the completeness of the test to clarify the potential dictatorship tendency is raised. In most tests, assumptions such as "right-wise oriented authoritarian who respect tradition but not much imaginative solution," priority to conformity to diversity "like the F scale I was told that I was. The most common test on contemporary authoritarianism was created by a political scholar Karen Stenar who did not refer to specific groups or prejudice but had enough broad questions to capture authoritarianism in many ways Will be made. An example of this is as follows.

1. Which of the following is important for children? : "Independence" "respect for older people"
2. Which of the following is important for children? : "Fidelity" "independence"
3. Which of the following is important for children? : "Thoughtful" "polite"
Four. Which of the following is important for children? : "Curiosity" "good manners"

For this question authoritarian answers that children should have respect, obedience, politeness, good manners. But what exactly is the way that people who attach emphasis to "obedient children" join the side of genocide and racism at times? Mr. Stenor mentioned above was published in 2005 "Authoritarian DynamicInside ", the deeply prejudiced beliefs of authoritarians are activated by a certain" trigger "and it shows that it surfaced. Mr. Federico mentioned above said, "Authoritarians are basically intolerant only when threatened from the outside," a particular threat that "social common sense changes" and "the society diversifies" It is a factor. "

Mr. Federico believes that Mr. Stenner's activation theory can explain the situation where radical leaders such as President Putin and President Trump are popular in various places around the world and authoritarianism emerges. "Authoritarians are being activated by visible social changes, such as the president of the Black people, the spread of equality of marriage, and changing social demographics such as" American non-whites "," Federico points out . The majority of California's population is now not a Caucasian, but a Latin American. In response to this situation, Mr. Stenar and Mr. Federico analyzed that the generation of grandchildren who caused the exclusion movement in the 1940's is going round the circumference and making a similar exclamation campaign.


This flow of society can be regarded as the rise of fascism. The point that whether fascism can be suppressed by science will be noticed, but there is a view that it is not easy. Martin Jay of Berkeley said, "The method of confronting fascism is not at a level that is somewhat convincing in discussion, it is necessary to work on the unconscious motivation part. How can we deal with an opponent whose argument does not pass? Is it? ", Tells the difficulty.

Authoritarian social clusters are widely spreading their ideas by making good use of modern media such as the Internet as radio and movies were once used as propaganda tools. And this has led to the support of non-scientific ideas such as "Earth-plane theory" in the United States and the spreading of strong-minded ideas to reject others.

I can not get an absolute way to prevent people from forming irrational prejudices until I understand what Mr. Frenkel Brunswick suggests what he calls "self-deception mechanism" in his mind. However, Mr. Frenkel Brunswick says at the end of the article "The Authoritarian Personality" there is a reason to believe that tolerability meets the basic needs of human beings, there are reasons for it.The person who shows tolerance contradicts the flow of society On the other hand, feeling guilty is felt more strongly than people with prejudice, while "fear" and "destruction" are the main emotional sources of fascism If it is, it is because "that of democracy is" Eros "meaning free love" is concluded.

in Note, Posted by darkhorse_log