Study Finds Link Between Low Intelligence And Homophobia

A study has found a link between lower intelligence levels and prejudice against same-sex couples.

  • The research was conducted by the University of Queensland, Australia.
  • 11,654 individuals participated in the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey.
  • Francisco Perales: “The findings provide clear evidence that cognitive ability is an important precursor of prejudice against same-sex couples.”

Researchers at the University of Queensland, Australia examined the link between IQ and homophobia.

In his paper, Francisco Perales explains that the study built on previous research findings to find a connection between intelligence and bias against same-sex couples. He writes that while research in the US, Canada and Western Europe has shown “correlations between low cognitive ability and support of pre-judicial or non-egalitarian attitudes towards certain social groups (including ethnic minorities, migrants, women and people with AIDS), […] few studies have specifically addressed the links between cognitive ability and attitudes towards LGBT issues”.

This is the first study to analyze the link between intelligence and attitudes towards LGBT issues in a non-US sample.

To assess cognitive ability, the researchers used three tests: the National Adult Reading Test, the Symbol Digits Modalities Test and the Backwards Digit Span test. Moreover, they analyzed data from 11,654 Australians who participated in the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. The participants were asked to rate the following statement on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) – 7 (strongly agree): “Homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples do”. The results of the survey illustrated that those who scored lower on the cognitive ability tests were more likely to disagree with the statement. Furthermore, the link between low intelligence and homophobia was particularly strong where verbal ability was assessed.

Perales commented on the study’s findings as he wrote:

Altogether, the findings provide clear evidence that cognitive ability is an important precursor of prejudice against same-sex couples […] The findings in this report suggest that strategies aimed at increasing participation in (higher) education and improving levels of cognitive ability within the population could act as important levers in counteracting prejudice towards same-sex couples and LGBT people.

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