Back in my university days studies about authoritarian personality types were abundant and respected. Links between personality types and politics were popular topics in the anti-war (Vietnam) community and in the alternate media. The Authoritarian Personality by Theodor W. Adorno was probably the most famous study written at the time. It was an attempt to understand the Nazi regime responsible for the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity.
Since then funding for research in social science and psychology dried up --until now:
Research into why someone leans left or right — a subject that stirred enormous interest in the aftermath of World War II before waning in the 1960s — has been revived in recent years, partly because of a shift in federal funds for politics and terrorism research, new technology like brain imaging and a sharper partisan divide in the nation’s political culture.
The newest work in the field, found in a growing number of papers, symposiums and college courses, touches on factors from genetics to home décor. Some people have greeted the results with fascination. Books by George Lakoff, a linguist and cognitive scientist at the Berkeley, who studies the psychological power of metaphors and the framing of issues, became required reading among Democrats after their defeat in the 2004 elections. Others have been decidedly less thrilled with studies they say portray conservatives as pinched and neurotic. MORE