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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 attitudes • conservative 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
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