Right-wing authoritarianism is a central construct in individual differences approaches to prejudice. Its power to predict prejudice is often attributed to perceived threat. However, the exact moderating and mediating processes involved are little understood. In two studies (Ns=53, 84), exposure to threatening versus nonthreatening information about an ethnic out-group had reliable indirect effects on prejudice in authoritarians, but not in nonauthoritarians, largely because authoritarians were more likely to perceive actual threat when they interpreted the information received to represent a threatening argument. Additionally, in Study 2, authoritarians reacted more strongly with negative emotions when they perceived actual threat.
Cohrs, C., & Ibler, S. (2009). Authoritarianism, threat, and prejudice: An analysis of mediation and moderation. BASIC AND APPLIED SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, 31(1), 81-94. https://doi.org/10.1080/01973530802659638