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Dhont, Kristof; Hodson, Gordon (2014)
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: BF
Historically, leading scholars proposed a theoretical negative association between cognitive abilities and prejudice. Until recently, however, the field has been relatively silent on this topic, citing concerns with potential confounds (e.g., education levels). Instead, researchers focused on other individual-difference predictors of prejudice, including cognitive style, personality, negativity bias, and threat. Yet there exists a solid empirical paper trail demonstrating that lower cognitive abilities (e.g., abstract-reasoning skills and verbal, nonverbal, and general intelligence) predict greater prejudice. We discuss how the effects of lower cognitive ability on prejudice are explained (i.e., mediated) by greater endorsement of right-wing socially conservative attitudes. We conclude that the field will benefit from a recognition of, and open discussion about, differences in cognitive abilities between those lower versus higher in prejudice. To advance the scientific discussion, we propose the Cognitive Ability and Style to Evaluation model, which outlines the cognitive psychological underpinnings of ideological belief systems and prejudice.
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