Wednesday, May 23, 2012

IQ and Stereotypes

Husband: "If you really want to make people angry, you should post this article."

The article is about how people who stereotype are more likely to have low IQ. The article then makes the jump that these people are more likely to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies. A while back, I was arguing with someone on here, who repeatedly argued that "liberals are emoters and conservatives are thinkers," but this study would imply that the opposite is true!

For the record, I don't think "conservatives are thinkers" and I don't think conservatives have low IQs. I think everyone has prejudices and stereotypes, and some people are just more proud of them than others. It's dumb to say "all conservatives are like this" or "all liberals are like that" when both are such incredibly diverse groups.


  1. A stereotype is also human natures looking for reason:cause and effect. People like to look for reasons . They then stick whatever is visibly different to the event. The crops failed this year... it was witches that did it. Burn/kill the witches!

    One bad experience can form stereotypes as well.
    An experience like getting robbed/assaulted by another.

  2. I think the study is correct in several of it's findings, but the others may be corrupted by a reporting bias. Stereotypes are used by most humans to enable us to make decisions with less data. For example, one may stereotype dark brown cake as chocolate flavored, then decide to eat dark brown cake without reading the label or smelling the cake. This may work about 90% of the time with cake, so if the occasional piece of molasses cake does not concern you this is a useful stereotype.

    If one has a limited IQ, the ability to make decisions with limited data becomes more useful. Continuing with the cake analogy, if one cannot read labels, selecting cake based on color is a practical solution.

    Stereotypes become more problematic when applied to people, partly because people are far more individual than cake, and partly because the consequences of misjudgement are far higher. They are still useful in extreme situations, especially to someone with limited intelligence or experience. A person who has a low IQ may not be a great observer, so a stereotype like "groups of young men = dangerous, mothers with small children = safe" can help him or her avoid danger.

    Stereotypes are bad when we substitute them for getting to know people as individuals despite having time to do so. Buying a girl flowers after a first date because "girls like flowers" is acceptable use of a stereotype. A man considering buying flowers for his wife on their anniversary should know whether she likes flowers, what kinds, and what colors.

    The willingness of study participants to admit their stereotypes is expected to be heavily influenced by their group identity. Most conservatives can admit to holding stereotypes without isolating themselves from their circle of friends. This is more difficult for many liberals because rejecting stereotypes is one of their philosophical tenets, despite the fact that liberal policies such as affirmative action are based entirely on stereotypes.

    Phillip Bailey, a conservative who didn't vote for George W Bush in 2004 and thinks stereotypes are mostly funny.

  3. Am I the only one who sees the irony in an article which stereotypes people who do or don't believe in stereotypes?