Researchers Find Link Between Low Intelligence And Homophobia

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

clockJun 6 2018, 16:55 UTC

You've all long suspected it, but it's nice to have it confirmed: A study has found a link between lower intelligence and holding prejudiced views about same-sex couples.


Researchers from the University of Queensland, Australia looked at the link between intelligence and attitudes towards same-sex couples, building on previous studies that have shown correlations between having a low IQ and supporting prejudiced views, such as homophobia and racism.

This, however, was the first time the link between intelligence and homophobia has been looked at in populations outside the US, PsyPost reports.

“Despite the significance and contemporaneity of the subject matter, few studies have specifically addressed the links between cognitive ability and attitudes towards LGBT issues,” study author Francisco Perales told them.

The study, published in the journal Intelligence, looked at a sample of 11,564 Australians. Researchers analyzed data from the 2012 Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, which asked questions to assess people's cognitive abilities, and a 2015 HILDA survey that asked respondents about their attitude towards equal rights.


Specifically, they were asked to rate the statement “Homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples do” on a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). 

They found, essentially, that the stupider you are, the more likely you are to be prejudiced against same-sex couples.

"There are well-known correlations between low cognitive ability and support of prejudicial or non-egalitarian attitudes," the authors write in the study.


"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 link was especially strong where verbal ability was assessed, and held true after controlling for variables including education and other economic and social variables.

A 2012 study published in Sage found a similar correlation between cognitive ability and holding prejudiced attitudes. Looking at over 15,000 data sets in the UK, researchers found that lower intelligence in childhood predicted greater racism by the time you reach adulthood.


"Our results suggest that cognitive abilities play a critical, albeit underappreciated, role in prejudice," the authors of that study concluded. "Consequently, we recommend a heightened focus on cognitive ability in research on prejudice and a better integration of cognitive ability into prejudice models."

The authors of the new study concluded that lower intelligence levels seemed to be an important precursor to more prejudiced views and suggest strategies involving increased participation in education of young people and improving the levels of cognitive ability in the population in general could be an important step towards eradicating prejudice towards same-sex couples.