Är konservativa mindre smarta?

En ny studie, ”Conservatism and Cognitive Ability”, publicerad i Intelligence, undersöker sambandet mellan att vara konservativ och IQ. Vad menas med ”konservativ” här?

… a person who attaches particular importance to the respect of tradition, humility, devoutness and moderation (i.e., Traditional values) as well as to obedience, self-discipline and politeness (i.e., Conformist values), social order, family, and national security (Security values) and has a sense of belonging to and a pride in a group with which he or she identifies (In-group Collectivism). A Conservative person also subscribes to conventional religious beliefs (Alphaism) and accepts the mystical, including paranormal, experiences (Deltaism). The same person is likely to be less open to intellectual challenges (Openness) and will be seen as a responsible “good citizen” at work and in the society (Conscientiousness) while expressing
rather harsh views toward those outside his or her group (Harshness Towards Outsiders).

Man bör notera att detta rör sig om ett slags psykologisk konservatism, som troligen ligger nära politisk konservatism men som inte med nödvändighet gör det. Nå, studien finner följande:

Conservatism and cognitive ability are negatively correlated. The evidence is based on 1254 community college students and 1600 foreign students seeking entry to United States’ universities. At the individual level of analysis, conservatism scores correlate negatively with SAT, Vocabulary, and Analogy test scores. At the national level of analysis, conservatism scores correlate negatively with measures of education (e.g., gross enrollment at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels) and performance on mathematics and reading assessments from the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) project.

Det behöver nog inte sägas att kausaliteten är oklar, även om jag finner det rimligare att tro på en effekt från kognitiv förmåga till konservatism än tvärtom.