Voices from Russia

Saturday, 4 February 2012

4 February 2012. Video. From RT: “Study Says Racists and Conservatives are Dumb”… Your “Gut” was Telling You Something



Next time you call group of right-wing racists a bunch of idiots, you can back yourself up with one simple word: Science! Researchers from Brock University in Ontario (Canada) slaving over test results came to the same conclusion that many not-so-scientifically-inclined have said for ages… that both right-wing thinkers and racists alike are kind of dumb. This conclusion came after spotting a correlation between children with low IQs and their ideologies later in life. It turns out that those with limited intelligence at a younger age are more likely to exhibit racist tendencies and favour more “conservative” political thinking as adults. Gordon Hodson, a professor of psychology and primary author of the findings, explained to LiveScience that the, well, science of the issue is rather simple:

Socially-conservative ideologies tend to offer structure and order. Unfortunately, many of these features can also contribute to prejudice.

Of course, structure and order, are much easier to make sense of than, say, disarray and chaos. Given that, Professor Hudson believes that the less intelligent will gravitate towards more manageable idealsThe study in its entirely was published this week in the Psychological Science, and, in it, Professor Hodson and Michael A Busseri wrote that, after studying a data set of 15,874 persons from the UK:

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 US data set confirmed a predictive effect of poor abstract-reasoning skills on anti-homosexual prejudice, a relation partially mediated by both authoritarianism and low levels of intergroup contact. Right-wing ideologies, which are socially-conservative and authoritarian, represent a mechanism through which cognitive ability is linked with prejudice. For example, research has revealed that individuals who more strongly endorse social conservatism have greater cognitive rigidity, less cognitive flexibility, and lower integrative complexity. Socially-conservative individuals also perform less well than liberals on standardised ability tests.

In smaller words (for all you racists out there), here’s how Brian Nosek from the University of Virginia explained it to the Huffington Post:

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.

Of course, the study’s authors note, “All socially-conservative people aren’t prejudiced, and all prejudiced persons aren’t conservative”. We’d like to see their research in full before we go ahead and agree on that one though.


Click here for a link to the study.

4 February 2012



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