Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Bruce Hunsberger

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The relationship between Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) and cognitive style was examined. Consistent with social learning theory, it was hypothesized that the development of authoritarian attitudes may be accompanied by the development of certain ways of thinking about the objects of these attitudes. High and low RWAs provided solutions for social conflicts which involved authoritarian and nonauthoritarian issues. After having provided their initial solutions, students were encouraged to increase the complexity of their reasoning by means of "prodding" questions. Results suggested that, instead of thinking less complexly for only authoritarian issues, high RWAs displayed lower integrative complexity scores than low RWAs for their initial solutions to all of the vignettes. Results further indicated that high RWAs were somewhat more likely to respond to prod questions to increase their level of integrative complexity. lt is suggested that the development of RWA may be associated with the development of certain patterns of problem solving, that is, while high and low RWAs may be equally capable of producing complex solutions, the initial inclination of high RWAs may be to produce simpler answers unless encouraged to reason more complexly.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season