“Do conservatives tend to be less intelligent? Or is this just political opinion masquerading as science?” – Rebecca Searles
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.”
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? – Huffington Post, Feb. 4, 2012
Prejudice can be learned when it is imposed by a foreign power on an occupied people as in the case of the British Raj in India. Homophobia was never part of the Indian consciousness until the British began “educating” Indians and imposing their Victorian Christian morality on the Hindu population. Many Hindus, including Hindu leaders and nationalists, have internalised this morality and now think it is traditional Hindu morality. It is not. The British targeted not only the hijra / aravani community but also various tribal groups which they declared as “criminal tribes” because they could not control them, and the Devadasi community which was not a system of organised prostitution as the British claimed, but a highly trained, sophisticated cultural institution. The British imposed draconian laws—such as Article 377—to control Indian society. The fact that many of these laws remain in place 65 years after Independence—though Article 377 has been struck down—indicates that the Indian psyche has been irretrievably damaged by the British occupation and it may take generations to heal it and return it to its healthy Hindu norm. – Editor