Ever since the nineties when the book The Bell Curve implied that black people are less intelligent than whites and used junk science to back it up, the idea that I.Q. tests measure intelligence has been an especially touchy subject in the black community. But a recent study’s results suggests something we’ve been saying for hundreds of years: racists aren’t just mean, they’re more likely to be dumb. The study showed that people who score low on I.Q. tests are more like to align themselves with racially prejudiced beliefs as well as socially conservative views.

From The Huffington Post:

Dr. Gordon Hodson, a professor of psychology at the university and the study’s lead author, 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? Because such ideologies feature “structure and order” that make it easier to comprehend a complicated world, Dodson said. “Unfortunately, many of these features can also contribute to prejudice,” he added.

Dr. Brian Nosek, a University of Virginia psychologist, echoed those sentiments.

“Reality is complicated and messy … ideologies get rid of the messiness and impose a simpler solution. So, it may not be surprising that people with less cognitive capacity will be attracted to simplifying ideologies.”

These findings do not leave out the possibility of less intelligent people also being drawn to simplified liberal ideologies (such as moral relativism, for example), but researchers say that interest in more ordered ideas remains more likely. However, these trends also paint racism and prejudice as benign features of a slow mind, which simply does not fit with the violent and insidious history of race relations in America.

What do you think? Do I.Q. tests measure anything? And if so, do you think racists actually are less intelligent?

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