More “evidence” that social conservatives are just plain stupider*

Posted on February 2, 2012 by

Discover magazine has determined that social conservatives have lower IQ on average that those who are more liberal on social issues. More intriguing was the way the authors of the study the article references make the blanket assumption that social conservatives are almost all racists and homophobes by default:

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 wonder what they’d make of the editors here at Traditional Christianity. Maybe we really are special snowflakes.

* Yes, I realize that stupider is not a word.

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