What You're Prejudiced Against Depends on How Smart You Are

hate written out on keyboard

You're forgiven for thinking that hatred, prejudice, and racism all start online, on social media channels and comments sections of websites. But new research shows that these negative emotions have a more insidious source. Uh, it's your IQ.


Before we dive it, let's all admit that there's a stereotype that people who are hate-mongering are just not that smart. And past research has kinda sorta fleshed that out.

But a new study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science suggests that prejudice is a little more nuanced than that. People who are super-smart discriminate just as much as those who are a few IQ eggs short of a dozen. The difference is what they're prejudiced against.

The breakdown?

People with lower cognitive abilities tend to hate on liberal groups or groups that are defined by their race, gender, or sexual orientation. The LGBTQ community, for instance. Or ethnic groups.

Groups like these are classified by the study's researchers as "low choice" groups, meaning people don't really have a say as to whether they want to be in them or not. They just are.

For people who scored damn well on IQ tests, the opposite was true. They turned up their noses at conventional or conservative groups.

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Groups like these are considered "high choice," meaning people can leave and get a different outlook anytime. And smartypants-peeps get irked by them because shouldn't they do that already?

Whew. That's a lot of hatred roiling around out there. But don't be tempted to use this research as a litmus test of who must have a high IQ and who doesn't, based on the demographic they grouse about. A better use of time would be to ask: Why such different prejudices?

"People dislike people who are different from them," the study's researchers explained to Broadly.

Sticking to people who share our same worldview can make us feel a little more comfy and in control of our life. True, it's an illusion, but hey, it's a crazy world out there. We take what we can get.

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But just because you disdain -- or despise -- a certain group of people doesn't mean you need to live and die with this mantle of hate. Research shows that you CAN successfully fight against your own feelings of prejudice.

What works? Traveling somewhere that challenges your worldview, be it another country or another neighborhood across town. Making a friend with someone in a group you're wary of. Acknowledging the differences you have with people -- then trying to find similarities. Hell, you can even take a class about prejudice and get all intellectual about it.

Whatever you do, do something. Because don't we owe it to the people we DO love to try?


Image via iStock.com/Jaren13

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