A new study by researchers at the University of Queensland, Australia has confirmed a clear link between low IQ and prejudicial views such as homophobia, it has been reported. The findings, published in the journal Intelligence, studied data gathered from more than 11,500 Australians using the 2012 Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey as well as the 2015 HILDA survey, which assessed cognitive ability and prejudicial views, respectively. The results were clear: the less intelligent a person was, the more likely they were to be anti-LGBTQI+ rights.
This isn’t necessarily news. While this was the first study of its kind to take place outside of the US, the results only confirmed what other studies have reported for years now. “There are well-known correlations between low cognitive ability and support of prejudicial or non-egalitarian attitudes,” the authors of the study wrote. “This paper adds to existing knowledge by providing the first analyses of the associations between cognitive ability and attitudes towards LGBT issues. Individuals with low cognitive ability are less likely to support equal rights for same-sex couples.”
Verbal abilities played a huge part in prejudice. Despite taking into account factors including education levels and socioeconomic status, the study found that those with the most homophobic views scored lowest on verbal abilities.
This link needs further study for sure. While it’s not hard to imagine that ignorance is behind many kinds of prejudice, the study authors believe the link between the two is “underappreciated” and deserves further study and exploration. “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,” the authors concluded.
Perhaps further education could lead to fewer prejudices. While it’s hard to imagine that you can change someone’s inherent intelligence level or cognitive capabilities, it’s worth working to understand more so perhaps in the future there can be change.
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