Thursday, February 2, 2012

Study Finds Conservatives Are ... Uh ... Not So Bright

(Note: Before my conservative buddies out there have a cow, let me note two points: 1. I did not author this study. I am simply a messenger. OK, a smug messenger. 2. The study says racists are mostly conservative, not conservatives are mostly racist. There's a big dif.)

A respected scientific journal, Psychological Science, has just released a study (here) that tells those of us of the liberal persuasion what we've believed all along: a lot of our brethren on the right are not among the sharpest pencils in the box.

In a study by Gordon Hodson and Michael Busseri of Brock University in Ontario "we found that lower general intelligence  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."

For those on the right who don't understand what the good professors just said:  We can tell pretty early who's going to turn out to be a Klansman. People with low IQs are more likely to be racists, among other things, than people who are smart, the study found. Hodson says that "people of low intelligence gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, which stress resistance to change and, in turn, prejudice," according to the Huffington Post.

Dodson says these rightward ideologies, simple as they are, offer structure and order for brains not always able to handle subtleties (think George Bush, who didn't do subtlety). UVa psychologist Brian Nosek told HuffPost, "Reality is complicated and messy. 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."


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