In a study that is bound to incite controversy, Canadian researchers at Brock University in Ontario, have published the results of a research project in the academic journal Psychological Science, that they say demonstrates that people with lower intelligence are more likely to be conservative in their political views than are those that are more liberal.
The research team has based their results on a study they did of results from two studies made in Britain some thirty years apart. In the first study, done between 1958 and 1970, thousands of British children were given IQ tests. The second test involved tracking down many of those who participated in the earlier test and surveying them to find out among other things, what sort of political leanings they had.
The Canadian group ran statistical analysis on the results and found that the majority of kids who scored low on the IQ tests, wound up becoming rather conservative in their political thinking. Conversely, those who scored higher on the IQ tests tended to become more liberal in their thinking as adults. Those in-between were rated as average, and thus statistically meaningless.
This, the researchers conclude, means that conservative people are on average less intelligent than are liberal people. But that’s not all, they offer possible explanations as well. They suggest that the reason low IQ people lean towards conservative thinking, is because they find it “safer.” This they say, is because conservatives more often prefer to maintain the status quo, whereas liberals aren’t afraid to jump into new territory and in the process shake things up with sometimes unanticipated outcomes.
There’s more. The researchers also discovered in their research that those people who scored low on IQ tests also tended to be less racially tolerant as adults and more anti-gay.
The researchers say their study involved over 15,000 people in Britain and because of that, they believe their results are accurate. They also note that education level had very little bearing on whether those surveyed were more or less racist or anti-gay. They also say that social conservatism provides what they call a “pathway” for people with low intellects to form negative opinions regarding people of other races, cultures, and sexual orientations, hinting that because conservatives as a group tend to be less smart they tend to band together in groups that hold less than original or bright ideas. To back up their suppositions, they claim that superior cognitive abilities are necessary to form open minded thoughts.