Personality and obedience

Business colleagues holding question mark signs in front of thei

One issue regarding the link between personality and obedience is the possible use of psychological knowledge for social control.

Can a person’s level of obedience be predicted using a personality test? If you need an army of ‘yes men’, then the use of personality tests in recruitment could just the ticket to help select people who are submissive to authority and will get on with the job in hand, whatever it might be.

Furthermore, the link between ‘Authoritarian Personality’ and obedience suggests that encouraging a harsh and punitive parenting style could lead to the development of a highly acquiescent society, who are unlikely to question or attempt to overthrow malevolent leadership. The government might try to control the way that children are raised with the intended outcome of raising a generation who are primed to maintain the status quo.

This insight is important as it demonstrates the importance of global legislation such as the UN Convention on ‘The Rights of the Child’ (1989) for maintaining democracy and the shared value of freedom of speech.



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