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Relation between Authoritarianism, Level of Cognitive Complexity and Political Ideology

Derya Hasta, Ali Dönmez
2009; 24(64):19-29

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The objective of this study was to investigate the relationships between political attitudes and authoritarianism, intolerance of ambiguity, submissive act and complexity of political thinking among university students. In other words three groups of students, namely, extreme right, extreme left and politically moderates were compared in terms of their authoritarianism, intolerance of ambiguity, submissive acts and complexity of political thinking. In the framework of this objective, hypotheses developed in accordance with the idea of the authoritarian right and the ideologue hypotheses were tested. The ideologue hypothesis indicates that if there is right wing authoritarianism there might also be a left wing authoritarianism as well. According to the intergroup comparisons extreme left oriented students were higher than the moderate and extreme right oriented students in the complexity of political thinking and in the level of political thinking. When the groups are compared in terms of authoritarianism, the extreme right group was the highest. The level of authoritarianism in the moderate group was signifcantly higher than what it was in the extreme left. Furthermore, boys were more authoritarian than the girls. When compared with the extreme left and moderates the extreme right oriented students, were more intolerant of ambiguity. However moderate and extreme left oriented students didn’t differ signifcantly in intolerance of ambiguity. Extreme right oriented group was more submissive acting than the extreme left group. The moderates on the other hand did not differ signifcantly from extreme right and extreme left in terms of submissive acting.

Keywords: Authoritarianism, complexity of political thinking, intolerance of ambiguity, submissive acts