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Conservatives are dim, says science

Posted by Doghouse_Reilly on Wed 8 Feb 2012 to Informed_Debate

This story hasn't been getting much press. It deserves a lot.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2...

Absolutely amazed that the Daily Mail covered this of all papers, and that by and large this pretty robust study didn't get a lot of play elsewhere. I mean you can expect that the usual suspects will devote a couple of feet of coverage to the latest study that tells us cat videos are full of win, or that NASA have successfully counted the moon. But a study that supports the conclusion that the political left is smarter than the political right? Nobody wants to touch that.

Except the Mail. Bravo.

Right-wingers tend to be less intelligent than left-wingers, and people with low childhood intelligence tend to grow up to have racist and anti-gay views, says a controversial new study. Conservative politics work almost as a 'gateway' into prejudice against others, say the Canadian academics. The paper analysed large UK studies which compared childhood intelligence with political views in adulthood across more than 15,000 people. The authors claim that people with low intelligence gravitate towards right-wing views because they make them feel safe.

Crucially, people's educational level is not what determines whether they are racist or not - it's innate intelligence, according to the academics. Social status also appears to play no part. The study, published in Psychological Science, claims that right-wing ideology forms a 'pathway' for people with low reasoning ability to become prejudiced against groups such as other races and gay people.

And remember guys, this is quoting from the Daily Mail. This is about as right wing an interpretation as you're going to get on this.

It's important to note I think that this study isn't exactly news to a lot of people. The dirty little secret is that the stupidity of many on the political right, figures like George Bush, Sarah Palin, George Osborne and Boris Johnson, is so blatant that it's worn almost as a badge of honour. But to have this backed up by an actual scientific study is definitely interesting.

But, again, not really very surprising.

It does lead interestingly onto this article though:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb...

Why does the political left, if it is the brains of the outfit (on a societal level) let the right wing get away with so much? Is it easier to get what you want with a legion of willing idiots? Should the left exploit the dim in the same way the right does?

The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.

Reply by couth748 on Wed 8 Feb 2012

As usual, reports in the papers are completely lacking in figures, it would be interesting to know how strong they think the correlation is.

At the Leveson Inquiry this morning when they were discussing statistics a witness said:-

"Famously the average person has one testicle, but it doesn't tell you very much about people."

These studies show tendencies over a large number of people but are not relevant to individuals.

Reply by emark on Wed 8 Feb 2012

Whilst the right-wing and conservative Daily Mail might not have an obvious agenda here, the bottom line is, it's still the Daily Mail. Let's have the peer reviewed paper, not an interpretation from a paper that thinks everything causes cancer, and is known to make up quotes.

Admittedly it is strange, though the most obvious explanation for their motive is that it's easy clickbait for their ad revenue...

A problem with all this is pigeon holing people into a 1D line. I don't identify as left wing economically, but that certainly doesn't mean I have the various right wing views of anti-immigration, anti-welfare, anti-gay etc, and I identify as liberal, not conservative. I'm neither left nor right wing (and "centrist" doesn't cover it either - I dislike the implication that I'm closer to homophobes just because I don't share left wing economic views). Yes, "left wing" and "right wing" are useful as first approximations of two kinds of people, but the names are poorly chosen due to implying that everyone exists in those two categories, or somewhere between the two.

Sign the Consenting Adult Action Network's statement

Reply by Doghouse_Reilly on Wed 8 Feb 2012

couth748 wrote:
As usual, reports in the papers are completely lacking in figures, it would be interesting to know how strong they think the correlation is.

http://pss.sagepub.com/content/23/2/187

Here you go chuckles, knock yourself out.

The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.

Reply by Happy_Monkey_J on Thu 9 Feb 2012

Doghouse_Reilly wrote:
Is it easier to get what you want with a legion of willing idiots? Should the left exploit the dim in the same way the right does?

Very interesting article, and I don't dispute it in any way.

However, I don't think it actually means that the right is elected by a 'legion of willing idiots'.

I think it means if you are quite dim, you're much more likely to be right wing and homophobic.

If you're quite bright, you're much more likely to be left wing and non-homophobic.

If you're somewhere in the middle (like most people) you might go either way.

So the sensible tactic (to win an election at least) is to try to appear to be somewhat in the centre, and try to suck in as many votes of the people in the middle as you can. Which is pretty much what happened, given we have a coalition of a centre-right and centre-left party in government and a centre-left party in opposition.

Personally, I prefer enlightened despotism, corporal punishment, and a no-nonsense attitude to law and order, but enough about my bedroom antics...

Monkeys are superior to men in this: when a monkey looks into a mirror, he sees a monkey - Malcolm De Chazal

When you're dealing with monkeys, you've got to expect some wrenches - Alvah Bessie

Reply by couth748 on Thu 9 Feb 2012

Doghouse_Reilly wrote:
couth748 wrote:
As usual, reports in the papers are completely lacking in figures, it would be interesting to know how strong they think the correlation is.

http://pss.sagepub.com/content/23/2/187

Here you go chuckles, knock yourself out.

Many thanks. To go direct to the full text http://pss.sagepub.com/content/23/2/187.full

I suggest people scroll down 2/3 of the page to General Discussion. The first 2/3 are rather dry.

Passages that stood out:-

"When the effects are expressed as a binomial effect size display, the implications are compelling: In the BCS, 62% of boys and 65% of girls whose level of intelligence was below the median at age 10 expressed above-median levels of racism during adulthood. Conversely, only 35% to 38% of the children with above-median levels of intelligence exhibited racist attitudes as adults. Keiller's (2010) cross-sectional data revealed a similarly impressive binomial effect: Sixty-eight percent of individuals whose abstract-reasoning scores were below the median scored above the median on measures of antihomosexual bias. The magnitudes of these effects strongly suggest that cognitive ability plays a meaningful role in the expression of prejudice."

"Of course, prejudice cannot be explained solely by intelligence, ideology, or intergroup contact. Prejudice has complex origins, including personal factors, such as ignorance and a lack of empathy (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2008), and social factors, such as resource competition and intergroup hierarchies (Sidanius & Pratto, 1999). Yet some factors, such as the ability to adopt alternative perspectives, might be driven by mental capacity, given that contact with out-groups is mentally demanding (Richeson & Shelton, 2003). If so, the efficacy of innovative interventions against prejudice, such as imagined intergroup contact (Crisp & Turner, 2009), may have unrealized boundary conditions imposed by cognitive ability. Thus, to complement the tremendous progress made by exploring motivational factors and cognitive styles (Jost et al., 2003), researchers studying prejudice should begin directing serious attention toward cognitive abilities (Van Hiel et al., 2010)."

"In conclusion, our investigation establishes that cognitive ability is a reliable predictor of prejudice. Understanding the causes of intergroup bias is the first step toward ultimately addressing social inequalities and negativity toward out-groups. Exposing right-wing conservative ideology and intergroup contact as mechanisms through which personal intelligence may influence prejudice represents a fundamental advance in developing such an understanding."

Reply by Amante_Della_Goma on Thu 9 Feb 2012

Charlie Brooker: "When the Daily Mail calls rightwingers stupid, the result is dumbogeddon"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb...

***Disclaimer: I accept no liability for the content of this post, or for the consequences of any misconstruction taken on the basis of the information provided, unless that information is subsequently confirmed in writing. Please do not ask for credit as a punch in the mouth will often offend***

Reply by katie_may on Thu 9 Feb 2012

they all dim in areas! including the reporters

Reply by AmberStClare on Thu 9 Feb 2012

There's a vast difference between being a Conservative and being a far-right, racist you know.

I'm the one your mother warned you about

You set the mood baby, for a big bad beautiful blues...

Reply by done_with_wondering on Thu 9 Feb 2012

For an alternative view, try this :-) http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/science-%26-t... .

"Wisdom begins in wonder” (Socrates)

"Imagination is more important than knowledge" (Albert Einstein)

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est. http://www.informedconsent.co.uk/posts/226772/

Reply by Captain_Sensible on Thu 9 Feb 2012

There is only one political party worth consideration by intelligent informed people.

http://www.omrlp.com/

To Honor! if you can't come in her, come on her!

Reply by AmberStClare on Thu 9 Feb 2012

wonderer wrote:
For an alternative view, try this :-) http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/science-%26-t... .

I like it :)

I'm the one your mother warned you about

You set the mood baby, for a big bad beautiful blues...

Reply by A_Poster on Thu 9 Feb 2012

Happy_Monkey_J wrote:
Doghouse_Reilly wrote:
Is it easier to get what you want with a legion of willing idiots? Should the left exploit the dim in the same way the right does?

However, I don't think it actually means that the right is elected by a 'legion of willing idiots'.

With only 10% swing between the main parties, it only takes a cohort of willing idiots to elect a party.

To be honest I think charisma wins over the legion, not politics; cameron vs brown, blair vs major, thatcher vs kinock, boris vs ken ....

And all men kill the thing they love, By all let this be heard, Some do it with a bitter look, Some with a flattering word, The coward does it with a kiss, The brave man with a sword!

Reply by Happy_Monkey_J on Thu 9 Feb 2012

wonderer wrote:
For an alternative view, try this :-) http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/science-%26-t... .

LOL! Brilliant!!

Monkeys are superior to men in this: when a monkey looks into a mirror, he sees a monkey - Malcolm De Chazal

When you're dealing with monkeys, you've got to expect some wrenches - Alvah Bessie

Reply by David_uk on Thu 9 Feb 2012

Doghouse_Reilly wrote:
Conservatives are dim, says science

This story hasn't been getting much press. It deserves a lot.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2...

Absolutely amazed that the Daily Mail covered this of all papers, and that by and large this pretty robust study didn't get a lot of play elsewhere. I mean you can expect that the usual suspects will devote a couple of feet of coverage to the latest study that tells us cat videos are full of win, or that NASA have successfully counted the moon. But a study that supports the conclusion that the political left is smarter than the political right? Nobody wants to touch that.

Except the Mail. Bravo.

Right-wingers tend to be less intelligent than left-wingers, and people with low childhood intelligence tend to grow up to have racist and anti-gay views, says a controversial new study. Conservative politics work almost as a 'gateway' into prejudice against others, say the Canadian academics. The paper analysed large UK studies which compared childhood intelligence with political views in adulthood across more than 15,000 people. The authors claim that people with low intelligence gravitate towards right-wing views because they make them feel safe.

Crucially, people's educational level is not what determines whether they are racist or not - it's innate intelligence, according to the academics. Social status also appears to play no part. The study, published in Psychological Science, claims that right-wing ideology forms a 'pathway' for people with low reasoning ability to become prejudiced against groups such as other races and gay people.

And remember guys, this is quoting from the Daily Mail. This is about as right wing an interpretation as you're going to get on this.

It's important to note I think that this study isn't exactly news to a lot of people. The dirty little secret is that the stupidity of many on the political right, figures like George Bush, Sarah Palin, George Osborne and Boris Johnson, is so blatant that it's worn almost as a badge of honour. But to have this backed up by an actual scientific study is definitely interesting.

But, again, not really very surprising.

It does lead interestingly onto this article though:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb...

Why does the political left, if it is the brains of the outfit (on a societal level) let the right wing get away with so much? Is it easier to get what you want with a legion of willing idiots? Should the left exploit the dim in the same way the right does?

Just shows what utter dickheads they employ at the Dail Fail !!!!!!!!

Reputation is what others think they know about you, honour is what you know about yourself.

Reply by femsup on Thu 9 Feb 2012

What is so seductive to people who are very thick in any country is that they can find solace in extreme chauvanism.

After all they do not have to achieve anything or be good to people they just have to have been born in that country.

They can then say that their country is the best in the world at everything and by being a native of that country are thus superior beings.This is of great comfort to people who have been treated badly just because they are thick and are at the bottom of the pile.

Perhaps we should try and stamp out hatred of people who are not that bright and make sure that if they are good and kind in all sorts of ways that they are equally appreciated for that.

Reply by Romolalalalalalala on Fri 10 Feb 2012

Nonsense, I'm a commie and as thick as shite. So the fascist Right loses again! Eat that, bitches!

@Romola has pronounced.

Reply by Adrenochrome on Fri 10 Feb 2012

Black0rchid wrote:
Amante_Velora wrote:
Charlie Brooker: "When the Daily Mail calls rightwingers stupid, the result is dumbogeddon"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb...

I guess the only reason the Daily Mail got away with insulting its own readership was because they didn't understand the comments were about them! It's stupidity gone mad.

life Jim but not as we know it.

Brilliant and imagine very true!! Very well put! :-D

Adren x

“It would be almost unbelievable, if history did not record the tragic fact, that men have gone to war and cut each other's throats because they could not agree as to what was to become of them after their throats were cut.” - Walter P. Stacy

Reply by littlenic on Fri 10 Feb 2012

Romola wrote:
Nonsense, I'm a commie and as thick as shite. So the fascist Right loses again! Eat that, bitches!

And yet I've been known to vote Tory on occasion and I'm quite bright.

I call shenanigans, Science. That's it. I'm throwing my hat in with Religion from here on in.

Reply by Empress_Martine on Sat 11 Feb 2012

Black0rchid wrote:
littlenic wrote:
I've been known to vote Tory on occasion and I'm quite bright.

Not saying this is or isn't true, but how can you be sure?

Did you sit the "quite bright" test?

Not sure if there is such a test.Mind you there might be one day.

http://empressm7.uboot.com/ http://www.socialkink.com/empressmartine Vampire, pro/lifestyle ts dom/switch.Ageplay mummy/aunty/AB,medical play,domestic,energy, outdoor specialist."Who you calling"@?!;:$£<&#931;#"!" "Did you just call me a "@€$££!?"!

Reply by Blondage on Sat 11 Feb 2012

Doghouse_Reilly wrote:
pretty robust study

I don't think there's anything robust about a study that's based on research from 1958/1970/1986. That's basically implying that nothing has changed in politics, education, racial tensions or social attitudes in the last sixty years. Actually, I'd say it's a pretty ridiculous study/article to be discussing.

It's no surprise to me that the Daily Maily are arrogant or clumsy enough to run a story that insults a bulk of their readers.

I also hate the nature vs nurture argument. 'Innate intellect' and not education is to blame for racism? That's a hideously lazy conclusion to draw. The two aren't mutually exclusive. They have a direct impact on each other. Just like any nature vs nurture debate.

This whole piece is just another annoying non revelation, based on a flimsy study.

Reply by Blondage on Sat 11 Feb 2012

Black0rchid wrote:
blonde_obedience wrote:

It's no surprise to me that the Daily Maily are arrogant or clumsy enough to run a story that insults a bulk of their readers.

What I can't help loving is the knowledge that all the Daily Mail readers are sat at home reading that article, nodding their heads and saying, "yeah that's right that is", not realising they are the very people the study is aimed at!

Warren Mitchell lives.

Ha. I must admit, I did also delight in this.

The article (if it can be called that), the media frenzy caused by it and even this thread are all a load of absolute piffle. What ARE worth a read, however, are the responsory comments. There are some absolute corkers!

Reply by couth748 on Sun 12 Feb 2012

Black0rchid wrote:

Warren Mitchell lives.

If you do not like nit pickers look away now.

That should have been Alf Garnett.

Warren Mitchell is a left winger.

Reply by Blondage on Sun 12 Feb 2012

couth748 wrote:
Black0rchid wrote:

Warren Mitchell lives.

If you do not like nit pickers look away now.

That should have been Alf Garnett.

Warren Mitchell is a left winger.

And David Jason doesn't sell telephones out of suitcases but everybody knows he's synonymous with Del Boy.

Oh, relentless pedanticism!

Reply by Elysium on Sun 12 Feb 2012

I'd be wary of any study that attempts to link politics/beliefs/anything with the idea of innate intelligence. The metrics for such things are inherently flawed.

I would use the same arguments against this study as I would the ethnicity to IQ correlation in The Bell Curve ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bell_Curve ). Which controversially linked low IQ's with ethnic minorities. Essentially justifying socioeconomic inequality with a biologically determinist sleight of hand.

I'm pretty left wing in terms of my political leanings. Although that's a gross over simplification. However, this study adds nothing to discourse and is somewhat of a cheap pointless joke.

The neuroscience concept of neuroplasticity blows all these biologically determinist theses out of the water. At least with regard to intelligence. I would certainly add more weight to culture and environment in determining an individuals capacity for cognitive reasoning and resulting ideology. If for no other reason than maintaining my optimism for human potential and individual as well as cultural change.

'They're stupid and ignorant. It's scientifically proven!'

A fleeting moment of simplistic and ultimately ironic smugness amongst the tolerant liberal left wing. This study is actually based on a regressive circle jerk of an ideology. Which should be greeted with suspicion by the intelligent. As it in itself is a gateway to justifying irrational prejudice.

Let's televise and broadcast the raping of kings.

Reply by chegne on Sun 26 Feb 2012

It all depends on what you mean by left and right. In this country, mainstream politics nowadays consists of different varieties of right. Dennis Skinner seems to be about the sole remaining socialist in parliament.

Even if we had an effective Left in this country, they'd be ill-advised to use this evidence in their propaganda. Many people resent and distrust high intelligence.

I'm prepared to beleive that racism correlates with lower intelligence, because like all prejudice its a substitute for thinking.

However, looking at political leaders, what I notice is the lack of real intelligence on all sides. I get the impression that really bright people just don't go into politics. I think the modern media actually makes intelligence disadvantagous, because it requires all arguements to be encapsulated in soundbites of a few seconds. It thus favours people who are stupid enough to think that all problems are simple, but clever enough to convince others to agree with them.

Very few political leaders possess impressive levels of intelligence, and those who do are found on all sides. Examples are George Galloway, Nick Griffin, Enoch Powell, and Tony Benn.

Reply by Doghouse_Reilly on Wed 29 Feb 2012

Wow. If there was a proper old school revolution tomorrow it's really heartening to know that most of the people on the chopping block would be lying, cheating, stupid bastards.

The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.