28 January 2012

Why Stupid People are More Prejudiced

Yahoo reports:

The research finds that children with low intelligence are more likely to hold prejudiced attitudes as adults. These findings point to a vicious cycle, according to lead researcher Gordon Hodson, a psychologist at Brock University in Ontario. 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.

I’ve written elsewhere on the acquisition costs of knowledge, and how they relate to prejudice.  Another overlooked factor is the variance in the demand curves for knowledge.  It should be no surprise that people of varying intelligence have varying demand for knowledge, for one’s ability to usefully process information is undoubtedly going to influence how much information one can reasonably attain.  Stated another way, those with lower cognitive abilities are going to have a lower demand for knowledge because they cannot process it as quickly or effectively as the more cognitively gifted.  As such, it should make sense that less-intelligent people are more prejudiced because their demand for additional knowledge will necessarily be lower, which in turn means that it is “cheaper” for them to rely on their prejudices than to seek new data.


  1. just more typical left wing popaganda. Republicans are stupid. Conservatives are stupid. Christians are morons. Only liberals are smart. Since there is a biological root for that, the only logical conclusion is to "treat" conservatives to cure then of their illness. (or keep them from breeding).

  2. @Prof. Hale- what bothers me the most is how prejudice is viewed in moralistic terms instead of economic terms. All of us have to make decisions on minimal amounts of information all the time. This may be prejudicial, but it's also inescapable. Trying to act like someone is immoral for acting rationally is simply dishonest and reprehensible.

    Yeah, people are prejudiced. So what?