Adorno et al administered the test to a sample of
2,000 Americans. Respondents were asked their strength of agreement
or disagreement with statements so that researchers could determine
their attitudes towards religious and ethnic minorities, their
views on politics and economics, and their moral values.
About 1/10, equally balanced between male and
female, were interviewed in more depth under the supervision of
Adorno's co-author, Else Frenkel-Brunswik . This sub-sample
consisted of one group which had expressed the most prejudiced and
authoritarian views and one group which had expressed the least
such views. The males were equally balanced between high and low
scorers in authoritarianism but the females were divided between 25
high and 15 low. The groups, matched on age, political and
religious affiliation, and national or regional background, were
compared to see which other factors seemed to give rise to the
The study was severely criticised by Roger
Brown (1965) who thought the structure of the test
invited acquiescence responses - ie: the respondents
agree with one item because they've agreed with other items.
Robert Rosenthal (1966) pointed out that
the interviewers knew both the hypothesis and the interviewees'
test scores. Therefore, there was more than a possibility of
researcher bias influencing the process and, therefore, the