It’s easy to think that prejudiced people are just idiots. Obviously, they’re not smart enough to know any better. I mean, what kind of dumbass is so racist that they’d want to build a wall along the southern border of the United States?
A new study from Tilburg University, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, has found that prejudice may have to do with our overall intelligence.This basically reaffirms the theory that it may be human nature to dislike people who are different than us, especially those who don’t look or think like us.
For the study, researchers Mark Brandt and Jarret Crawford had 5,914 participants (a representative sample of the United States). The researchers first ascertained the subjectsusing a wordsum test (which is thought to be a good indicator of intelligence). Once the intelligence levels were determined, the participants were asked a series of questions that corresponded to two tests.
The first test was “Who are the targets of prejudice?”
“We replicate prior negative associations between cognitive ability and prejudice for groups who are perceived as liberal, unconventional, and having lower levels of choice over group membership,” the authors saidy. “We find the opposite (i.e., positive associations), however, for groups perceived as conservative conventional and having higher levels of choice over group membership.”
The second test was “Who shows intergroup bias?” The researchers found that “people with both relatively higher and lower levels of cognitive ability show approximately equal levels of intergroup bias but toward different sets of groups.”
In a nutshell, the study found that people who have lower in cognitive ability tend to be prejudiced against non-conventional or liberal groups, as well as groups who don’t any choice in their status, such as people who are defined by their race, gender, or sexual orientation.
On the other hand, individuals of higher intelligence were likely to be prejudiced against groups considered conventional and groups thought to have a high choice in their associations, such as conservatives.
Brandt and Crawford referenced previous research that has shown that less intelligent people often essentialize or see different groups as being distinct from each other with clear boundaries and less of a threat.
“On the flipside, people high in cognitive ability express more prejudice against high-choice [conservative] groups,” Brandt and Crawford said. “They may be especially angered by groups that they think they should be able to change their minds.”
Smart people, as well as dumb people, are prejudiced. The only difference is who they target with their hate.