A recent Canadian study claims that people with right wing tendencies are less intelligent than those on the left wing.

Remember the findings that those on the right are more likely to a larger amygdala and those on the left a larger anterior cingulated cortex? With the amygdala being held responsible for fear and other ‘primitive’ emotions. This led to claims that children as young as three could be scanned to see if they were prone to criminal behaviour.

Well now those with more conservative tendencies are being targeted again with claims that they are less intelligent than the more socialist amongst us.

A psychologist in Brock University Ontario Canada, Gordon Hodson, found that children with low IQs are more likely to become prejudiced as they got older. But ne also claims to have found that there is also a link between prejudice and conservatives.

According to the research says LiveScience.com, a vicious cycle is set mup as ‘Low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, the study found. Those ideologies, in turn, stress hierarchy and resistance to change, attitudes that can contribute to prejudice, Hodson wrote in an email to LiveScience.

"Prejudice is extremely complex and multifaceted, making it critical that any factors contributing to bias are uncovered and understood," he said.

One psychologist who was not involved in the study, Brian Nosek ,a cognitive psychologist from the University of Virginia, pointed out how controversial this would be. "They've pulled off the trifecta of controversial topics," he said "When one selects intelligence, political ideology and racism and looks at any of the relationships between those three variables, it's bound to upset somebody."

Two studies of children in the UK were pointed to by Hodson. One in 1958 and one in 1970 that tracked children through their lives. The childrens’ intelligence was measured at age 10-11 and their social views assessed between 30-33.

As suspected,” reports Live Science “low intelligence in childhood corresponded with racism in adulthood. But the factor that explained the relationship between these two variables was political: When researchers included social conservatism in the analysis, those ideologies accounted for much of the link between brains and bias.”

One concept that does stand out from all this is that “…intergroup contact is mentally challenging and cognitively draining, and consistent with findings that contact reduces prejudice”. Or more simply as the old adage goes, ‘travel broadens the mind’.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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