The world’s more deeply divided than we think. As if differences based on caste, class, gender and wealth weren’t enough, now researchers reveal that people are prejudiced against all those who do not share their beliefs and ideologies.
“Very few people are immune to expressing prejudice, especially towards people they disagree with,” said Mark Brandt, researcher, Tilburg University, the Netherlands, in the study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.
The researchers analysed data from 5,914 people that includes a measure of verbal ability and prejudice towards 24 different groups.
Analysing the results, the researchers found that people with both relatively higher and lower levels of cognitive ability show approximately equal levels of intergroup bias but towards different sets of groups.
People with low cognitive ability tended to express prejudice towards groups perceived as liberal and unconventional such as atheists, gays and lesbians.
People with high cognitive ability showed the reverse pattern. They tended to express prejudice towards groups perceived as conservative and conventional such as Christians, the military, big business, revealed the study.
“In our prior work we found that people high and low in the personality trait of openness to experience show very consistent links between seeing a group as ‘different from us’ and expressing prejudice towards that group. The same appears to be true for cognitive ability,” added Brandt.
According to the study, low cognitive ability express prejudice towards some target groups. For other target groups the relationship was in the opposite direction. For these groups, people with high levels of cognitive ability expressed more prejudice.
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