Advertising
Advertising

Who You Hate Reflects How Smart You Are, Study Finds

Who You Hate Reflects How Smart You Are, Study Finds

It seems that the famous saying by William Hazzlit “Prejudice is the child of ignorance” isn’t true any longer, as the studies have shown that people of all cognitive abilities have prejudice. However, there is still a difference between highly intelligent people and those of lesser cognitive abilities – it lies in the object of their prejudice.

Types of prejudice according to different levels of intelligence

According to a study “Answering Unresolved Questions about the Relationship between Cognitive Ability and Prejudice”[1] by Mark Brandt and Jarret Crawford, past findings that state that people with lower intelligence are more likely to form prejudice are no longer viable. The authors tested cognitive abilities of 5,914 people using a wordsum test. They then were able to draw conclusions about each group regarding their levels and objects of prejudice. The results showed that both groups were equally prejudiced in terms of intensity, yet they were prejudiced against different matters.

Advertising

Namely, subjects of low cognitive ability confirmed previous findings as they were more prone to be prejudiced against non-conventional or liberal groups, as well as people who have lower levels of choice over group membership (i.e. people defined by their race, gender, nationality, or sexual orientation). Authors explain this tendency of less intelligent people to be prejudiced against people who are different from them as a way of making clear distinction and boundaries between them: “Having clear boundaries helps people feel like the opposing group is distinct and far away. That is, they won’t be so much of a threat.”

On the contrary, people with higher IQs are more prone to be prejudiced against “conservative, conventional” people and people who have “higher levels of choice over group membership”.

Advertising

Miscommunication and prejudice

Another study by Jessica J. Cameron and Jackquie D. Vorauer,[2] provides some very interesting findings regarding prejudice. Namely, it challenges people’s beliefs about being transparent. It starts from a premise that most people believe their thoughts, intentions and feelings are easily conveyed to others through their conduct around them. Yet, the study states that

“Individuals’ metaperceptions regarding how another person views them tend to be egocentrically biased by their own private self-knowledge: They overestimate the extent to which their traits, feelings, and intentions are ‘transparent’, perceiving more congruence between their inner self and the other person’s impressions than actually exists.”

The study goes on to explain how human brains aren’t actually wired to read minds, a notion that is most evidently seen in certain interactions between members of different groups. In those cases, if one side is trying too hard to convey a certain feeling, their efforts can be read as negative emotion by the other side and can be counterproductive since it prolongs the bias on both sides. The research ultimately shows that the way out of prejudice requires openness to listen prior to making any judgments. No matter how different certain set of attitudes or beliefs seems from ours, there is always common ground where we can meet, only if we are willing to find it.

All things considered, it seems that the question should not be how intelligent we are, or what or who we are prejudiced against, but how willing we are to take all assumptions aside and approach another human being with eagerness to understand, rather than to judge. Ultimately, being smart doesn’t mean holding stubbornly to our set of beliefs and considering others’ wrong. But, to the contrary, it means having an open mind and being open to communicate with and understand the other side, even if it seems at odds with ours.

Advertising

Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com/ via pixabay.com

Reference

More by this author

Ana Erkic

Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

Who Says All Introverts Hate Socializing? Here’s The Truth About Introvert And Extrovert Every Time You Drink A Beer, Remember To Drink The Same Amount Of Water You’re Exceptionally Creative If You See The Correct Image (Only 1/100 People Can Do This!) If You Have These 6 Struggles, You’re Highly Intelligent Who Can Resist Avocado! It Is One of the Most Nutrient Fruit In The World!

Trending in Brain

1 Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think 2 How to Improve Your Memory: 7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways 3 What Causes Brain Fog? (7 Things You Can Do to Prevent and Stop It) 4 How to Improve Your Brain Memory Naturally: Foods to Eat And Skip 5 15 Ways Meditation Benefits Your Brain Power and Your Mood

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on June 6, 2019

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”

Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for VisitFinland.com said: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.

Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.

Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence.

c021f7eaf726bd5dbe1d0771e21e9a8e

     A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice.[1] The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.

    Advertising

    The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

    “We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”

    In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

    The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence

    066f12d4b43c32a9a66c692b52826153

      A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.

      Advertising

      Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.

      “When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.

      When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.

      The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.

      As Herman Melville once wrote,[2]

      Advertising

      “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

      Silence relieves stress and tension.

      da47b0582836795829a5b6b716a314f1

        It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

        A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech. 

        “This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.[3]

        Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.[4]

        Silence replenishes our cognitive resources.

        049da49ea55fb677185adba10795f01f

          The effect that noise pollution can have on cognitive task performance has been extensively studied. It has been found that noise harms task performance at work and school. It can also be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making.  The cognitive functions most strongly affected by noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving.

          Studies have also concluded that children exposed to households or classrooms near airplane flight paths, railways or highways have lower reading scores and are slower in their development of cognitive and language skills.

          But it is not all bad news. It is possible for the brain to restore its finite cognitive resources. According to the attention restoration theory when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.[5]

          Advertising

          Summation

          Traveling to Finland may just well be on your list of things to do. There you may find the silence you need to help your brain. Or, if Finland is a bit out of reach for now, you could simply take a quiet walk in a peaceful place in your neighborhood. This might prove to do you and your brain a world of good.

          Featured photo credit: Angelina Litvin via unsplash.com

          Reference

          Read Next