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15 FEBRUARY 2014

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

"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."

(Gordon Hodson and Michael A. Busseri, 2012)

Hodson, G. and M. Busseri (2012). "Bright Minds and Dark Attitudes: Lower Cognitive Ability Predicts Greater Prejudice Through Right–Wing Ideology and Low Intergroup Contact." Psychological Science 23(2): 187–195.

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TAGS

2012 • abstract reasoning • abstract reasoning skills • abstract thinkingabstract thought • antihomosexual prejudice • authoritarianismbelief systems • bright minds • childhood intelligence • cognitive abilities • cognitive ability • cognitive profilingcognitive psychologyconception of abilityconservative attitudesconservative ideology • dunce • general intelligence • Gordon Hodson • human behaviourintelligenceintelligence of mind • intergroup contact • interpersonal behaviour • Michael Busseri • orthodox practicesout-groupsoversimplificationpersonal valuespolitical compasspolitical ideology • predictive effect • prejudice • prejudice models • racismright-wingsocial conservatismsocioeconomic statusUKUSA

CONTRIBUTOR

Linda Carroli
23 SEPTEMBER 2005

Retrospective Identities: unambiguous, stable, intellectually impervious and collective

Retrospective "identities use as resources narratives of the past which provide exemplars, criteria, belonging and . ... This provides for an unambiguous, stable, intellectually impervious, collective identity. This consumes the self in all its manifestations and gives it a site outside of current and future instabilities, beyond current ambiguities of judgement, relation and conduct. In some contexts it produces a strong insulation between the sacred and profane, such that it is possible to enter the profane world without either being appropriated or colonised by it. Islamic fundamentalism enables the appropriation of western technologies without cultural penetration. Nearer home orthodox Jews in the 1920s, and even earlier, occupied small shops and business slots in the economy and retained their identity through strict orthodox practice. In the 1960s and onwards many British [Central] Asian Moslems occupied a similar economic and cultural context. The problem here for such retrospective identities is their reproduction in the next generation, and here we might expect a shift to prospective or even therapeutic positions. Age may well influence the expression of the retrospective identity through differential selection of resources. It may well be that the young are attracted to the current revival of charismatic Christianity with its emphasis upon the subjective, the emotional, upon intense interactive participation and upon oppositions to institutional orthodoxes. On a more anecdotal level I have been impressed with the revival of student fraternity rituals in Portugal, Norway and Germany. Finally we can consider nationalism and populism as subsets of retrospective fundamentalism, drawing on mythological resources of origin, belonging, progression and destiny (rise of the extreme right). Any weakening of the collective resource on which the fundamentalist identity draws and which minutely regulates conduct, belief and participation, as is likely in inter–generation reproduction, may entail a shift to re–centring identities on the part of the young."

(Basil Bernstein 2000, p.74)

Bernstein, Basil. (2000). 'Pedagogy Symbolic Control and Identity, Theory Research Critique'. Oxford, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

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TAGS

Basil Bernsteinbelief systemsbelongingChristianitycoherenceconservative attitudesfaithfraternityfundamentalismGermany • Hillsong Church • identityinsular communitiesIslamIslamicJudaism • Moslem • MuslimmythologynationalismNorwaynostalgiaold fashioned family valuesorthodox practicesorthodoxy • Paradise Community Church • populism • Portugalprofaneradicalisationreligionreligious fundamentalism • retrospective identity • ritualsacredsubculture • televangelism
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