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Who Believes It’s the Government’s Responsibility?

Sebastian Jensen and Emil O. W. Kirkegaard


Published: 2023/12/01


Research has shown that intelligence correlates with different ideological and political beliefs, even when extensive controls are used. Based on data from the NLSY97 dataset, Belief in Governmental Responsibility (BGR) (r = -.35, 95 % CI -.40, -.30) and Belief in Individual Responsibility (BIR) (r = -.25, 95 % CI -.30, -.20) were both negatively correlated with general intelligence. Analysis using a bifactor model indicated that, independent of general intelligence, crystalized ability was negatively associated with BIR (path coefficient = -.24, p < .001). General intelligence was negatively related to both BIR (path coefficient = -.24, p < .001) and BGR (path coefficient = -.29, p < .001) according to structural equation modeling. Covariates such as race, sex, parental SES, income, and education could not account for these relationships. The relationship between ideological extremism and intelligence was also evaluated. Contrary to previous research, the correlation between political extremism and cognitive ability was weak and negligible for both BGR (r = -.008, p = .77) and BIR (r = -.07, p < .01). Keywords: Intelligence, IQ, Psychometrics, g factor, Political views

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