ERIC Number: ED251371
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Totalitarian Egos versus Totalitarian Societies.
Greenwald, Anthony G.
The roles that totalitarian egos play in political systems are examined. Persons who have totalitarian ego biases function more effectively than do those who lack them. The biases are (1) egocentricity, the tendency to perceive events primarily in terms of their relation to oneself; (2) "beneffectance," the tendency to perceive oneself selectively as responsible for desired, but not undesired, events; and (3) cognitive conservatism, the tendency to adhere to one's initial judgments even in the face of disconfirming evidence. In contrast with the effectiveness claims that can be made for the totalitarian ego, totalitarian societies usually operate ineffectively. One major reason is that totalitarian societies suppress totalitarian egos, thus reducing people's effectiveness. Additional aspects of the relationship between personal and political systems are (1) the functioning of totalitarian-ego characteristics in the personalities of political leaders; (2) the paradox that effective political leaders may be the ones who have only an illusion of control; and (3) the possibility that our society might evolve toward a form characterized by collective unity of thought, rather than individuality. (RM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (92nd, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 24-28, 1984).