A study has found a scientific link between low levels of intelligence and those who express homophobic views.
The findings, published by researchers at the University of Queensland, Australia, supports existing studies that have previously drawn correlations between having a low IQ and holding prejudiced views.
However, this marks the first time a link between lower intelligence and homophobia has been examined in populations outside of the US.
Published in the journal Intelligence, the study drew from a sample of more than 11,500 Australians.
The research team analysed data from the 2012 Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, with questions intended to assess the cognitive abilities of respondents, as well as a 2015 HILDA survey that questioned respondents about their opinions on equal rights.
Among other questions, participants were asked to place the statement ‘Homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples do’ on a scale of one (strongly disagree) to seven (strongly agree).
It was ultimately discovered that, the lower a person’s intelligence was found to be, the more likely they would be to express prejudiced views against same-sex couples.
The authors of the study wrote:
There are well-known correlations between low cognitive ability and support of prejudicial or non-egalitarian attitudes.
This paper adds to existing knowledge by providing the first analyses of the associations between cognitive ability and attitudes towards LGBT issues. Individuals with low cognitive ability are less likely to support equal rights for same-sex couples.
The authors concluded: ‘Our results suggest that cognitive abilities play a critical, albeit underappreciated, role in prejudice. Consequently, we recommend a heightened focus on cognitive ability in research on prejudice and a better integration of cognitive ability into prejudice models.’
The link was found to be particularly strong during the assessment of verbal ability, and was found to hold true even after factoring in variables such as education and socio-economic status.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]