Answering unresolved questions about the relationship between cognitive ability and prejudice

M.J. Brandt, Jarret T Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Previous research finds that lower cognitive ability predicts greater prejudice. We test two unresolved questions about this association using a heterogeneous set of target groups and data from a representative sample of the United States (N = 5,914). First, we test “who are the targets of prejudice?” We replicate prior negative associations between cognitive ability and prejudice for groups who are perceived as liberal, unconventional, and having lower levels of choice over group membership. We find the opposite (i.e., positive associations), however, for groups perceived as conservative, conventional, and having higher levels of choice over group membership. Second, we test “who shows intergroup bias?” and find that people with both relatively higher and lower levels of cognitive ability show approximately equal levels of intergroup bias but toward different sets of groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)884-892
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Cite this