Frankly, those who give in to racism and prejudice may just simply be rather unintelligent. One study suggested that those who gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies were more inclined to form and hold racist and prejudice views, because the conservative ideologies stress hierarchy and “resistance to change.” But we all know that progress just for the sake of “progress” is equally meaningless.
It may be that those who hold deeply rooted prejudice, and racist views, may actually just not know any better, or are cognitively incapable of being free from bias. Several studies suggest that there is a strong correlation between intolerance, racism, and prejudice in general, with reduced cognitive ability, and lower integrative complexity (putting different, separate, ideas together). In an analysis of two large-scale data sets, it was found that lower intelligence in childhood predicted greater racism in adulthood. A secondary analysis of a U.S. Data set, also confirmed a predictive effect of poor abstract-reasoning skills on anti-homosexual prejudice. People with lower cognitive abilities were found to interact less with individuals of other races.
Although valid, this data shouldn’t imply that all racists are of low intelligence: it is likely that some are merely manipulative psychopaths. But the findings could suggest that those children of lesser intelligence are more likely to establish and hold racist, homophobic and other small-minded and prejudice views.
In one study conducted in the United States, researchers Hodson and Busseri compared 254 people with the same amount of education, but who had varying levels of ability in abstract reasoning. were poorer at abstract reasoning were more likely to exhibit prejudice against homosexuals. It doesn’t really come as a surprise that those who are less-tolerant would fall on the slightly close-minded side, because perhaps they lack the ability to abstract or think critically about information for themselves.