Confirming what many LGBTQ individuals have long suspected, a new study from Australia has found that the lower an individual’s IQ is, the more likely he or she is to express homophobic views.
The UK youth news site Unilad has reported that when researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia analyzed data collected from 11,500 men and women throughout the country, they found direct correlations between intelligence levels and the propensity to hold a prejudiced view — in this case, against LGBTQ individuals.
Participants in the trial were given a series of surveys to complete. One was designed to “assess the cognitive abilities of respondents” while another “questioned respondents about their opinions on equal rights.”
According to Unilad reporter Julia Banim, “Among other questions, participants were asked to place the statement ‘Homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples do’ on a scale of one (strongly disagree) to seven (strongly agree).”
When researchers analyzed the data they had collected, they discovered that “the lower a person’s intelligence was found to be, the more likely they would be to express prejudiced views against same-sex couples.”
“The link was found to be particularly strong during the assessment of verbal ability, and was found to hold true even after factoring in variables such as education and socioeconomic status,” Banim reported.
Summarizing the results of his study, which was published in the journal Intelligence, Francisco Perales wrote: “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.’”
Perales’ study isn’t the first time that prejudice has been linked to cognitive ability. In 2012, HuffPost reported on a study published in Psychological Science which found “that people who score low on IQ tests in childhood are more likely to develop prejudiced beliefs and socially conservative politics in adulthood.”
In describing the findings that arose from his research, the study’s author, Gordon Hodson, a professor of psychology at Brock University in Ontario, said “the finding represented evidence of a vicious cycle: People of low intelligence gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, which stress resistance to change and, in turn, prejudice.”
“Why might less intelligent people be drawn to conservative ideologies?” HuffPost reporter Rebecca Searles pondered.
“Because such ideologies feature ‘structure and order’ that make it easier to comprehend a complicated world,” Dodson told her. “Unfortunately, many of these features can also contribute to prejudice.”