Thursday, January 26, 2012

Low IQ Correlates with Racism Through Social Conservatism

A fascinating study by Gordon Hodson, a psychologist at Brock University in Canada, found that people with low intelligence in childhood were more likely to be racist adults. This was expected, given earlier research on education and racism.

The new finding tried to answer how, exactly, the two became connected. Hodson's conclusion:

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.


The researchers speculate that conservative ideologies offer a more black-and-white worldview, which would be more appealing to people who finding it hard to take the position of the Other.

These findings correspond with Hetherington and Weiler's studies of authoritarianism and polarization which I blogged about before. Hodson's psychological study does not really look at the political mechanism by which low-IQ people find out about socially conservative ideologies. Political scientists Hetherington and Weiler, on the other hand, point to the fact that conservative organizations and parties have, over the past generation, actively sought out fearful people.

It seems a reasonable step to me to suppose that low-IQ people are more fearful than others. That would be an excellent subject for the next study.

8 comments:

poochie said...

Don't liberal ideologies offer a black and white world view too? You know, Dick Cheney bad, Barney Frank good. Both sides do it, don't they?

Mac said...

So, the Tea Party, the Republican party and some Democrats are conservatives. The Pelosi wing of the Dem Party has said that conservatives in general and the Tea party and newt Gingrich in particular are racist. Now the academy comes full circle and says "Conservatives are stupid." How convenient for our smarter, more enlightened, and oh, so liberal friends on the Left.

Anonymous said...

Both sides seek out fearful people.

Anonymous said...

Both sides include people with low IQ.

Sister Edith Bogue said...

Thank you for posting this. I'm teaching Research Methods this semester, and this article provides such a great opportunity to rev up discussion about objectivity, the politics of research, and ethics while also learning about mediating and moderating variables, correlational studies, sampling, and the like.

gruntled said...

Both political parties definitely include people with low IQs. Both parties definitely contain fearful people. One party, though, has cultivated the fearful ever since the "Southern strategy."

gruntled said...

Sister Edith: I would be interested to hear what your students make of this study.

Anonymous said...

Republicans scare Whites, Democrats scare Blacks... neither position is righteous.