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  1. #1

    Exclamation Low Child IQs Predict Prejudice Thru Right-Wing Ideology & Low Intergroup Contact

    The Live Science article is below.

    Low IQ and Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice
    "They've pulled off the trifecta of controversial topics," said Brian Nosek, a social and cognitive psychologist at the University of Virginia who was not involved in the study. "When one selects intelligence, political ideology and racism and looks at any of the relationships between those three variables, it's bound to upset somebody."
    Hodson was quick to note that the despite the link found between low intelligence and social conservatism, the researchers aren't implying that all liberals are brilliant and all conservatives stupid. The research is a study of averages over large groups, he said.

    "There are multiple examples of very bright conservatives and not-so-bright liberals, and many examples of very principled conservatives and very intolerant liberals," Hodson said.
    Hodson and Busseri's explanation of their findings is reasonable, Nosek said, but it is correlational. That means the researchers didn't conclusively prove that the low intelligence caused the later prejudice. To do that, you'd have to somehow randomly assign otherwise identical people to be smart or dumb, liberal or conservative. Those sorts of studies obviously aren't possible.
    "There may be cognitive limits in the ability to take the perspective of others, particularly foreigners," Hodson said. "Much of the present research literature suggests that our prejudices are primarily emotional in origin rather than cognitive. These two pieces of information suggest that it might be particularly fruitful for researchers to consider strategies to change feelings toward outgroups," rather than thoughts.
    The Psychological Science Paper from Jan. 5, 2012 is below.

    Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes: Lower Cognitive Ability Predicts Greater Prejudice Through Right-Wing Ideology and Low Intergroup Contact


    Despite their important implications for interpersonal behaviors and relations, cognitive abilities have been largely ignored as explanations of prejudice. We proposed and tested mediation models in which lower cognitive ability predicts greater prejudice, an effect mediated through the endorsement of right-wing ideologies (social conservatism, right-wing authoritarianism) and low levels of contact with out-groups. In an analysis of two large-scale, nationally representative United Kingdom data sets (N = 15,874), we found that lower general intelligence (g) in childhood predicts greater racism in adulthood, and this effect was largely mediated via conservative ideology. A secondary analysis of a U.S. data set confirmed a predictive effect of poor abstract-reasoning skills on antihomosexual prejudice, a relation partially mediated by both authoritarianism and low levels of intergroup contact. All analyses controlled for education and socioeconomic status. Our results suggest that cognitive abilities play a critical, albeit underappreciated, role in prejudice. Consequently, we recommend a heightened focus on cognitive ability in research on prejudice and a better integration of cognitive ability into prejudice models.
    I have no doubt... no doubt this will be ruffling feathers. I highlighted the green text because I thought it was important and I suspect it will get lost in the heated shuffle of the public discourse.

    I think that the emotional origin of prejudice is THE MOST important aspect of the research noted in the article, but it is treated as merely a footnote in the article and the research paper doesn't even mention it as part of its concluding recommend! /exasperated/

    I also want to know, what is the application of this research? I quoted their concluding recommend, but how can it be used to combat prejudice?
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  2. #2
    Member Yussa Tampon's Avatar
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    Mar 2011


    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    I also want to know, what is the application of this research? I quoted their concluding recommend, but how can it be used to combat prejudice?

    I wonder as well what kind of programs will come as a result to their findings. What I would hope to see is strategy's that take place in schools involving both kids of high and low intelligence to distill whatever prejudice they have and replace it with love, sunshine and rainbows while still getting the bigotry-is-bad point across.

    What I DON'T want to see is children that score low on the cognitive test and high on the bigot scale being singled out and sent to some sort of pseudo internment camp rehabilitation center where they're forced to be tolerant without reasons as to why it is just to be tolerant towards others in the first place - because lord knows children love to ask "why" . Any kind of rhetoric imposed to a child that consists of "being tolerant is best for society so abandon your selfish bigoted beliefs" isn't going to cut it when it comes to kids. A better solution is to instill children with regret of what such bigoted beliefs have led to in the past. Or in short, just show a kid a goddamn history book. Will them to mentally live all the ugly parts. All of them. Kids may differ in intelligence but they're all curious; they'd learn so much from all the random terrible crap in the past that spawn out of bigoted ideology. Show them the early 17th century; bigoted ideals didn't just fuck up the oppressed - slave owners didn't harm themselves physically or emotionally in most senses in the past, but they did a damn good job of making themselves into shitty men, and THAT is one of the darkest, most sick forms of blind self-harm history shows us. I weep over how misguided the world's ancestors were, and the vigil against prejudice is an eternal rebellion against (and destruction of) those ancestors' sick, evil, perverse values.

    History lessons in schools already handle this to an extent, and the schools themselves don't discriminate history lessons to those of lower IQ; everybody, both 500 IQ paragons and knuckleheads, are responsible for making sure the circumstances that led to shit like Segregation never exist again, and that responsibility begins by showing them that "justice for all" requires a vigil that cannot be lived down and cannot succumb to fatigue. That being said, I'm all for more programs that indiscriminately target children about the idea of tolerance, especially if such programs gain proponents from research data like those you provided in your OP.

  3. #3
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Sep 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    I also want to know, what is the application of this research? I quoted their concluding recommend, but how can it be used to combat prejudice?
    More and better education?

    I wonder what Governor Jan Brewer would think about this study?
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

    "I'm outtie 5000" ― Romulux


  4. #4
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Aug 2010


    and low levels of contact with out-groups

  5. #5
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    May 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    More and better education?

    I wonder what Governor Jan Brewer would think about this study?
    Sometimes we wonder if GED Jan knows how to read at all.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  6. #6
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Aug 2007


    Apparently, 'right-wing ideology' is one and the same with 'social conservatism'.

    Anyway, here's a rebuttal I found after a quick online search, I imagine more will show up later (I just had unpleasant flashbacks to my statistics classes....God, I hated them):

    I don't remember enough of that nightmare of a class to comment on his purely statistical criticisms, anybody with the requisite knowledge care to do so?

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post

    Apparently, 'right-wing ideology' is one and the same with 'social conservatism'
    I noticed that too, along with the omission of the authoritarianism in summary articles. The layperson articles this research are spawning are also omitting the 'low IQ in childhood' with 'unintelligent' along with some other irresponsible simplifications.

    Another big simplification is the leap by journalists from prejudice to racism: the article includes antihomosexual attitudes in its analyses.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  8. #8


    I think that because little research has gone into how cognition works through prejudice, prejudice is largely considered emotional and even subconscious in nature. There's no reason why prejudice can't be a purely cognitive choice to judge things based on how well they resonated in past experiences. That's an element of common sense, but it usually lacks complexity of context. My point is that prejudice has its uses, but it isn't always valid.

  9. #9
    Senior Member FunnyDigestion's Avatar
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    Mar 2011


    I guess we should start telling the low-IQ children of today about this so they can resign themselves to it.
    "Man is free, but his freedom ceases when he has no faith in it."

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by Ginkgo View Post
    My point is that prejudice has its uses, but it isn't always valid.
    If prejudice is fear-based it would be just as dangerous to eradicate it as it would be to encourage it, so that should not be the goal. Cultures that don't distinguish themselves from 'other' --die. We're programmed to survive. The goal should be education and broader context (ie exposure) to different worldviews. There is such a thing as informed prejudice. Social as well as classroom learning should happen. Make rapport with a foreign culture part of the daily classroom experience. Teleconference with a sister school in Greece or something. We should know by now most things can't be learned in a book.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

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