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"Intelligence Study Links Low I.Q. To Prejudice, Racism, Conservatism"

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Sheeth, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. I found this really interesting.

    The link between a lower IQ and tendency towards Prejudice and Racism is a bit of a no brainer. But the link to Conservatism? Now that is interesting! Does that link come from a tendency towards these beliefs in the Conservative mindset? I don't know..



    "Are racists dumb? Do conservatives tend to be less intelligent than liberals? A provocative new study from Brock University in Ontario suggests the answer to both questions may be a qualified yes.

    The study, published in Psychological Science, showed that people who score low on I.Q. tests in childhood are more likely to develop prejudiced beliefs and socially conservative politics in adulthood.

    I.Q., or intelligence quotient, is a score determined by standardized tests, but whether the tests truly reveal intelligence remains a topic of hot debate among psychologists.

    Dr. Gordon Hodson, a professor of psychology at the university and the study's lead author, said the finding represented evidence of a vicious cycle: People of low intelligence gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, which stress resistance to change and, in turn, prejudice, he told LiveScience.

    Why might less intelligent people be drawn to conservative ideologies? Because such ideologies feature "structure and order" that make it easier to comprehend a complicated world, Dodson said. "Unfortunately, many of these features can also contribute to prejudice," he added.

    Dr. Brian Nosek, a University of Virginia psychologist, echoed those sentiments.

    "Reality is complicated and messy," he told The Huffington Post in an email. "Ideologies get rid of the messiness and impose a simpler solution. So, it may not be surprising that people with less cognitive capacity will be attracted to simplifying ideologies."

    But Nosek said less intelligent types might be attracted to liberal "simplifying ideologies" as well as conservative ones.

    In any case, the study has taken the Internet by storm, with some outspoken liberals saying that it validates their suspicions about conservatives and conservatives arguing that the research has been misinterpreted.

    What do you think? Do conservatives tend to be less intelligent? Or is this just political opinion masquerading as science?
  2. The thought never even occurred to me, but this is interesting indeed.

    I reckon it somehow makes sense. Conservatism, the way I see it, often includes doing what you're told and whatever is expected of you. Which in turn, reduces the need to think and / or decide for yourself. Whereas prejudice may very well be a byproduct, resulting from lack of effort to seek deeper insight into the subjects in question.

    Of course, these are all just my opinions.
  3. Is there an election coming up soon or something?
  4. Those yanks go nutsballs at this time of election cycle. It's great entertainment if you're able to laugh at the inanity of it all.

    I have to admit, most of the people I associate with are mostly non-conservative.. and i consider them to be mostly well educated, smart people. The only conservative I've ever spent time with to any large degree was a total dumbass but my feelings about him might be a little biased. There's only so much conservative, howard-praising, racist, homophobic, religious bigotry I can handle at once.
  5. It tends to reinforce my own prejudices :D.

    I did find this bit interesting:-

    Which might explain all the generally well meaning but unbearably dim and wet folk who are the backbone of many new age type belief systems.
  6. Ontario is yank land now? The Canadians might be pissed about that, then again maybe not 8-[.
  7. Aren't we laughing at conservatives? I was laughing at the lead up to the US election.. ;p
  8. As Captain_Slow said, the link was a hilarious 404.

    I'm not sure what my IQ is, but I think of myself as intelligent, however I don't like drastic changes. That's probably because I don't like responsibility with added laziness. I like to keep to the K.I.S.S principle...does that make me a conservative or does that mean I am intelligent enough to not over complicated simple things?
  9. The very fact that you are capable of asking the question provides the answer :D.
  10. Shit like this makes me ashamed to have gotten my degree in psychology.
  11. There have been a number of studies in the past that have linked conservatism to xenophobia and a desire to put society into the "us" and "them" groupings. They have also linked conservative thinking to feelings of disgust, and conservative thinking can be increase in subjects by exposing them to faecal odours before testing.

    First time I have seen it linked to low IQ, but in the America's, where the "good ol' boys" tend to be more conservative than others I am not really surprised. Liberal values have been shown to require more cognitive effort, to overcome inherit biases we all have from our upbringings and the society around us. This could be what the study is picking up.
  12. What do they mean by "conservative". Many people regarded as conservative here would be regarded as raging left-wing socialists by the loony fringe of the Tea party.

    Without a definition of what is meant by conservative this is useless. Even within the Liberal party there's a huge difference between the likes of Malcolm Turnbull and Cory Bernardi for instance.

    In fact, the term conservative these days has generally been hijacked by the ultra-right.
  13. Good call TonyE, the traditional definition of conservative isn't really used any more, and that was a like of natural progression rather than radical change.

    These days (and most likely with this article) it probably refers to 'neo-liberal' or mainstream right wing.

    Think Andrew Bolt as your pinnacle of all things 'conservative.' I think haha
  14. I agree, I hate this bundling crap. Stealing a word from the English language, which the yanks have mnanaged to sytematically reduce to gibberish, and giving it a meaning which is convenient to your cuase is crap.
    I consider myself conservative in many ways. I am neither racist, prejudiced or of low intelligence. They can all f...k off and leave my language alone.
    My mother used to come home after a party saying she had a "gay" time, god knows what that means now.

  15. Yes, definitely blame America for things that make no sense in the English language. Australia, on the other hand, is the last bastion of sensible linguistics. :applause:

    Anyway, using words like "conservative" and "liberal" was never, ever appropriate because they're relative labels that attempt to pigeonhole people into a tidy little box. Nobody I've ever met fits into those boxes properly.
  16. I like Linguini, particularly with mussels.
  17. I may hazard a guess that a conservative or liberal is considerably more dependent on location and upbringing than amount of intelligence.
  18. There's an element of self-replication that sometimes goes on in the conservative worldview - at least in the pseudo-religious sphere (think American conservative). (This may also be true on the liberal / libertarian end of the spectrum, but I'm personally down that end of the spectrum and find it harder to be objective.)

    If you don't value empathising with those who are different, you are less likely to understand them. If you don't understand them, you are more likely to judge them. If you already judge them, you are more likely to be convinced that your position is right and theirs wrong. If you already know their position is wrong, you won't value attempts to empathise with them.

    Thus I see more conservative world-views as being quite self replicating.

    As for any relationship between intelligence and such views, I would put forward the theory that those whose intellectual processes don't score well on an IQ test may also struggle to see the world from another's point of view. So it may be the equivalent of testing whether colour blind people are likely to say "the light was orange".

    I think that the real question is, does the opposite hold true? Are higher IQ people more likely to be liberal? I suspect the answer to that would be quite inconclusive.
  19. Perhaps Socrates would suit you better as a nic?