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The "Unnatural" Preferences of Intelligent People

A new study may finally put to bed the age-old question: Are liberals smarter than conservatives? Well, it would appear so. The study, which will appear in the March 2010 issue Social Psychology Quarterly, advances a new theory suggests that more intelligent people are more likely than less intelligent people to adopt preferences and values that are considered "evolutionarily novel." The researchers say that our intelligent ancestors were able to find new and novel ways to work out problems for which there were no innate solutions. The theory argues that humans are designed by evolution to be conservative, and care mostly about their own families and friends, and that being liberal means caring about an indefinite number of genetically unrelated strangers they never meet or interact with, which is evolutionarily novel. So more intelligent children may be more likely to grow up to be liberals. However, one finding of the study is that more intelligent people are no more or no less likely to value such evolutionarily familiar entities as marriage, family, children, and friends.

The Scan

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