Revisiting the link between low verbal intelligence and ideology



Publication Details

Leeson, P. R., Heaven, P. C. L. . & Ciarrochi, J. (2012). Revisiting the link between low verbal intelligence and ideology. Intelligence, 40 (2), 213-216.


We address a series of criticisms, raised by Woodley (2011), of our paper “Cognitive ability, right-wing authoritarianism, and social dominance orientation: A five-year longitudinal study amongst adolescents” (Heaven, Ciarrochi, & Leeson, 2011). We argue that, while Woodley (2011) presents some interesting points, his criticisms do not alter our initial interpretation that verbal intelligence influences the individual's ideological perspective. We also argue that the use of RWA and SDO in our paper is not problematic given that these variables are treated as ideological constructs and not measures of personality. We further challenge the assumption that our reported relationship between low IQ and conservative ideology reflects the greater flexibility of intelligent participants in endorsing liberal norms. Finally, as suggested by Woodley, we re-analysed our data using a General Factor of Personality (GFP). The results indicated that in predicting ideology, GFP did not uniquely account for variance above and beyond that of intelligence, thus failing to support one of the central hypotheses of the culturalmediation model.

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