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.
The survey, which compared childhood intelligence with political views, is bad news for David Cameron, the Conservative Party Prime Minister but should give a lift to Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, pictured in Question Time
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.
Left-wingers tend to be more open-minded says the survey – Democrats voted in first black U.S. president Barack Obama. But right-wing ideology forms a pathway for prejudice – Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney, pictured right, was glitter-bombed yesterday by gay-rights activists because of his views
‘Cognitive abilities are critical in forming impressions of other people and in being open minded,’ say the researchers.
‘Individuals with lower cognitive abilities may gravitate towards more socially conservative right-wing ideologies that maintain the status quo.
‘It provides a sense of order.’
The study, by academics at Brock University in Ontario, Canada, used information from two UK studies from 1958 and 1970 , where several thousand children were assessed for intelligence at age 10 and 11, and then asked political questions aged 33.
The 1958 National Child Development involved 4,267 men and 4,537 women born in 1958.