Less intelligent people are more likely to hold discriminatory attitudes towards same-sex couples, according to a new study by Queensland researchers.
The study, led by Dr Francisco Perales at The University of Queensland’s Institute for Social Science Research and published in the journal Intelligence, analysed data from 11,564 Australians to examine possible links between cognitive ability and anti-gay prejudice.
The participants’ cognitive ability was assessed using three tests: the National Adult Reading Test, the Symbol Digits Modalities Test and the Backwards Digit Span test.
The researchers found that those who scored lower on the tests were more likely to disagree with the statement “Homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples do.”
“Despite the significance and contemporaneity of the subject matter, few studies have specifically addressed the links between cognitive ability and attitudes towards [LGBTI] issues,” Dr Perales told PsyPost.
The findings held even after controlling for various socioeconomic and demographic factors, including education.
“Altogether, the findings provide clear evidence that cognitive ability is an important precursor of prejudice against same-sex couples,” Dr Perales wrote in the study.
“The findings in this report suggest that strategies aimed at increasing participation in education and improving levels of cognitive ability within the population could act as important levers in counteracting prejudice towards same-sex couples and [LGBTI] people.”
But the findings don’t mean that everyone who opposes rights for same-sex couples is unintelligent, PsyPost reported.
A 2016 study on racism in the United States found evidence that smart people could be just as prejudiced — they were just better at concealing it.
Meanwhile, a separate study, also led by Dr Perales, found lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) Australians suffered poorer well being in the parts of the country that most strongly voted against marriage equality in the postal survey last year.
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