Hi Mandi:

I would be interesting in how you reacted this article.  I have not read it yet, but I am suspicious of any article that equates test scores with intelligence and then draws conclusions from correlations with other information, e.g., conservative ideology or poor abstract-reasoning skills and anti homosexual prejudice.  I am also concerned with how unambiguous the correlations actually are, even if it makes conservatives look bad.  Was their any income or socioeconomic analysis of the participants?  Also ordinary people have very low levels of contact with the rich out-groups. :)

Initial thoughts,


From: Mandi Smallhorne <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2012 11:34:54 +0200
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Bright minds, dark attitudes

Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes: Lower Cognitive Ability Predicts Greater Prejudice Through Right-Wing Ideology and Low Intergroup Contact

Gordon Hodson and Michael A. Busseri

Brock University


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.


cognitive ability, intelligence, right-wing ideology, contact, prejudice

Received 3/1/11; Revision accepted 7/25/11

Research Article

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