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Monday, January 30, 2012

Three interesting studies on intelligence

Are conservatives stupid?...Does working in groups make you stupid?...Do babies understand physics?
By Will Collette

Stupidity and prejudice. A new study out of Brock University in Ontario finds that children with low IQs are more likely to hold prejudiced views when they become adults. And low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies. According to lead researcher Gordon Hodson "Prejudice is extremely complex and multifaceted, making it critical that any factors contributing to bias are uncovered and understood,"

In reporting this study, LiveScience.com notes that this is but the latest of a long string of studies linking low intelligence with prejudice and conservative beliefs. Read the article for links to the other studies.

While this study, like others, does link lower intelligence and conservativism, it is false logic to say that all conservatives are therefore stupid. Beyond that, I’ll leave it to the conservatives to defend themselves.



Working in groups can make you stupid. Science Daily reports  a new study by neuroscientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute found that small group interactions tend to lower the IQs of some individuals.

They looked at such activities as committee meetings, jury deliberations, collective bargaining sessions and cocktail parties. "You may joke about how committee meetings make you feel brain dead, but our findings suggest that they may make you act brain dead as well," said Read Montague, director of the Human Neuroimaging Laboratory and Computational Psychiatry Unit at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, who led the study. This goes a long way toward explaining the Charlestown Planning Commission.

The researchers found little difference based on age or ethnicity, but a marked difference based on gender, with women’s expression of IQ in small group settings significantly lower than men’s.

Babies understand physics at two months old. Northwestern University researchers found evidence that infants seem to have an intuitive understanding of fundamentals of physics such as gravity and matter. They appear to understand that objects will fall and that when an object goes out of their line of sight, it still exists.

Says researcher Kristy vanMarle, "We believe that infants are born with expectations about the objects around them, even though that knowledge is a skill that’s never been taught. As the child develops, this knowledge is refined and eventually leads to the abilities we use as adults.”

They note that by five months, babies know the difference between solids and non-solids like water or sand. By ten months, they consistently choose larger amounts when presented with two different amounts of food.

Why? The report doesn’t say.