Are smart people more likely to believe stereotypes


Intelligence is often seen as such a subjective thing. How do we define whether a person is intelligent or not? Besides, there are different sorts of intelligence to think about, and it’s difficult to truly define what makes someone smart. Perhaps we place a lot of emphasis on academic intelligence, but things like emotional and cultural intelligence also matter a great deal as well.
We know that people who are smart often display particular signs and certain cognitive biases that set them apart. Many of these are good things, but not all of them are. And there have long been studies carried out to determine what some of the curious functions associated with being intelligent. One of the big questions scientists have asked is whether or not intelligent people are more likely to believe stereotypes, and this is what we’re going to look at.

Journal of Experimental Psychology

Multiple tests have been carried out surrounding this very topic, and scientists have compiled their findings in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. The journal tells us that people with a high level of intelligence are often more likely to believe in stereotypes. This is largely due to the way in which intelligence works, and most commonly links to what is known as cognitive intelligence.

Cognitive intelligence

As we mentioned before, there are multiple different forms of intelligence, and many of them have their own unique subset of skills and abilities. It’s important to note that cognitive intelligence is the form that is most commonly applied to whether a person is intelligent. This is the ability to recognize faces, learn languages, and read emotional cues. But, as tests revealed, people with high cognitive intelligence can also buy into stereotypes more.

The tests

Researchers performed tests where candidates were shown a selection of different men’s faces and told something good or bad that the men had done. It was rigged so that every time a negative comment was made, a specific feature – wide nose or narrow nose – was paired most frequently with it. Afterward, candidates were told to pair up with virtual bots for a trust exercise, and the vast majority were untrusting of those who had the negative kind of nose!

It’s not all bad news

Yes, the tests indicated that intelligent people are likely to adopt biases and stereotypes more easily – though it could be argued that this is probably true of everyone. But, further tests have shown that It’s not all bad because these same people are able to shake off existing stereotypes pretty easily. So, it seems that though they can be swayed at first, these stereotypes are often not something that holds for very long.

It’s interesting to think about how much intelligent people often view things differently. They are taken in by stereotypes quite easily, but it’s shown that they also are more likely to discard them. As someone with a high level of intelligence, you might have found yourself stereotyping people without meaning to. Don’t worry unduly, science suggests you can disregard this pretty easily!