Furthermore, compared with liberals, individuals who endorse right-wing ideologies are more fearful and anxious that out-groups will cause the disintegration of societal moral stan- dards and traditions (Altemeyer, 1996; Jost et al., 2003; Sibley & Duckitt, 2008). Consistent with this apprehension is the well- established relation between right-wing ideologies and attitudes toward out-groups, whereby both conservatism (Van Hiel et al., 2004) and authoritarianism (Altemeyer, 1996; Hodson & Costello, 2007; Sibley & Duckitt, 2008) are associated with heightened prejudice. Recent meta-analyses have confirmed that there are strong positive correlations between right-wing ideologies and prejudice (see Sibley & Duckitt, 2008). How- ever, the endorsement of right-wing ideologies is not synony- mous with prejudice against out-groups (Sniderman & Tetlock, 1986). According to social-dominance theory, the positive asso- ciation between right-wing ideologies and negative evaluations of out-groups reflects the fact that both constructs share the core psychological element of a desire for hierarchies among groups (Sidanius, Pratto, & Bobo, 1996). Socially conservative ideolo- gies have therefore been conceptualized as “legitimizing myths”: Although they are often rooted in socially acceptable values and traditions, such ideologies nonetheless facilitate neg- ative attitudes toward out-groups (Sidanius & Pratto, 1999; see also Jost et al., 2003; Sidanius et al., 1996; Van Hiel et al., 2010)
Together, the well-established theoretical and empirical links between lower g and greater right-wing ideology and between greater right-wing ideology and heightened prejudice suggest a mediating mechanism (Baron & Kenny, 1986) by which lower g may be associated with greater prejudice. We propose a model (see Fig. 1) in which lower g predicts greater right-wing ideology (Path a) and greater right-wing ideology predicts more prejudicial attitudes (Path b). Furthermore, although we expected that lower g itself predicts greater preju- dice (Path c), we hypothesized that this association is facili- tated in large part by right-wing ideology (i.e., through Path a and Path b). Therefore, we expected that if right-wing ideol- ogy (i.e., the mediator) is included in the predictive model, the anticipated negative direct effect between g and prejudice (Path c′) will be substantially attenuated or statistically non- significant; such a finding would support a significant nega- tive indirect effect (the product of Paths a and b; Shrout & Bolger, 2002). Thus, individuals with lower cognitive ability may be more attracted to right-wing ideologies that promote coherence and order, and because such ideologies emphasize the maintenance of the status quo, they may foster greater out- group prejudice.
Luego la parte de los resultados estadísticos (la parte experimental si se quiere):
Results and discussion
Results from both the NCDS and the BCS supported each component of the hypothesized mediation model (see Table 1). For both men and women, the NCDS data demon- strated significant negative paths from the latent g factor in childhood to the latent conservative-ideology factor in adult- hood (Path a) and significant positive paths from the latent conservative-ideology factor to generalized racism in adult- hood (Path b). As predicted, without the hypothesized media- tor in the model, the direct effect of the latent g factor in childhood on adult racism (Path c) was negative and signifi- cant, but this effect was attenuated in magnitude and reduced to nonsignificance (Path c′) when the latent conservative- ideology factor was included. Of the total predictive effect of childhood cognitive ability on adult racism, between 92% and 100% was indirect, mediated via conservative ideology (see Table 2). The BCS data set revealed a virtually identical pattern for men: Conservative ideology fully mediated the negative effect of childhood cognitive ability on adult racism. Among women, conservative ideology mediated the effect of childhood cogni- tive ability on adult racism significantly but only partially, with the direct effect of childhood cognitive ability on adult racism remaining significant (see Table 1). For longitudinal path models showing all estimated parameters, see the Supple- mental Material available online. These results from large, nationally representative data sets provide converging evidence that lower g in childhood pre- dicts greater prejudice in adulthood and, furthermore, that socially conservative ideology mediates much of this effect. Our model tests are particularly compelling because in both the NCDS and the BCS, the measurement of childhood intel- ligence preceded the assessment of adulthood prejudice by at least two decades. Moreover, all predictive effects were inde- pendent of socioeconomic status and education.
Laboratory Evidence From a U.S. Sample
Does the pattern observed in the two U.K. samples general- ize to other cultures with their own distinct political values? In a report of a recent American study, Keiller (2010) argued that the capacity for abstract (as opposed to concrete) think- ing should facilitate comprehension of other people and the complex mental processing required for the interpretation of relatively novel information (i.e., the type of information encountered during intergroup contact). For instance, adopt- ing another person’s perspective requires advanced cognitive processing, abstraction, and interpretation, particularly when the target is an out-group member (and thus “different”). Given that perspective taking reduces prejudice (Hodson, Choma, & Costello, 2009), stronger mental capabilities may facilitate smoother intergroup interactions. Consistent with this rationale is Keiller’s finding that abstract reasoning neg- atively predicted prejudice against homosexuals. Although his objective did not involve explaining why lower cognitive ability predicts greater prejudice, Keiller’s report provides all the necessary data, collected in a controlled laboratory setting from an American sample, with which to test such possibilities. The participants in this U.S. sample had equiva- lent levels of education; potential differences in cognitive ability or prejudice due to education were thus empirically controlled for. Our analysis of Keiller’s (2010) data set allowed us to extend our model in several important ways. Specifically, Keiller’s study tapped a different cognitive ability (abstract reasoning), a different but related measure of right-wing ideol- ogy (right-wing authoritarianism), and attitudes toward a spe- cific out-group (homosexuals) rather than generalized racist attitudes. Furthermore, the study measured an additional potential mediator of the relation between cognitive ability and prejudice: intergroup contact. Both experimental and lon- gitudinal studies have demonstrated that greater contact with out-groups predicts lower prejudice (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006); these findings have distinguished such contact as a par- ticularly valuable prejudice-reduction tool (Hodson, 2011). However, because intergroup contact is cognitively demand- ing (Richeson & Shelton, 2003), it may be avoided by indi- viduals with lower cognitive abilities and approached by individuals with stronger cognitive abilities. Furthermore, given that intergroup contact predicts favorable attitudes toward out- groups independently of personal ideology (Hodson, Harry, & Mitchell, 2009), it is possible that such contact uniquely medi- ates the relation between cognitive ability and prejudice and that this relation is independent of mediation effects through right-wing ideology. We therefore undertook a secondary analysis of Keiller’s (2010) findings to test the generalizability of our hypothesized mediation model with respect to different measurements of cognitive ability, right-wing ideology, and prejudice in the context of a different political