Comedy character Larry the Cable Guy gits ‘er done. (AP)
Children with low intelligence are more likely to grow up to be social conservatives and racists, researchers found in a study published out of the U.K.
The study, which appeared in the journal Psychological Science and was written up by LifeScience, built upon previous research linking low education with prejudice, using data from two studies testing IQ and then political beliefs.
“As suspected, low intelligence in childhood corresponded with racism in adulthood. But the factor that explained the relationship between these two variables was political: When researchers included social conservatism in the analysis, those ideologies accounted for much of the link between brains and bias,” LifeScience wrote.
Lead researcher Gordon Hodson, of Brock University in Ontario, concluded that people with low IQs are attracted to the hierarchy and structure in socially conservative institutions.
His findings are expected to cause some controversy since they play into some stereotypical notions of the political divide in the U.S., where liberals can be characterized as elitist and intellectual and conservatives as dumb and backwards.
The Daily Beast, however, points out that the report only addressed socially conservative beliefs and not the whole spectrum of political and economic values of the right.
Hodson also noted that the results should not be used broadly across all people of either political affiliation, saying: “There are multiple examples of very bright conservatives and not-so-bright liberals, and many examples of very principled conservatives and very intolerant liberals.”
In the study, researchers used two forms of IQ tests to determine intelligence and a survey of statements on family life, authority and race relations to determine levels of social conservatism and racism, LifeScience reported. In another study, Hodson and colleagues found a similar link between low education and homophobia.
“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.”