Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Data: Compared to dumb people, are smart individuals more interested in politics?

I've always assumed that smart people are fascinated by politics. One complaint I have of social scientists is that they're so obsessed with politics, they can't conduct fair research. (But I can hear you saying, "You said SMART people.")  Anyway, is my assumption correct? Is it different for men and women?

The General Social Survey asked respondents: "How interested would you say you personally are in politics?" Answers ranged from 'very interested' to 'not at all interested.'  I measure IQ with a 10 question vocabulary quiz (sample size = 1,141):

Look at how those scoring a perfect score on the test are much more interested in politics than any other group. To get precise, the correlation between the two variables is .20 -- a moderate relationship.

Now for the women (sample size = 1,507):

I separated by sex because I suspected that the rise in interest as one moves up the IQ scale might be sharper for men. My experience is that smart women are more interested in politics than less intelligent women, but I see more intensity among men.

The female pattern is similar to that for men. The correlation is slightly weaker -- .18. The gender gap is pretty visible at the highest IQ level: 16.8% of these women have little or no interest, compared to only 5.4% of the men.

Interpreting Your Genetics Summit

1 comment:

  1. Nehemiah4:21 PM

    Although I knew a relationship existed, I am fascinated that it has been quantified. Do you know any other attitudes or interests that correlate .10 or higher with IQ? I am thinking it might be possible to devise a g-loaded test that is simple, quick, untimed, and almost effortless if we had enough questions whose answers correlated with general intelligence. I would be interested in hearing suggestions from anyone.


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