Study: People with Low Emotional Intelligence More Likely to Be Bigoted Authoritarians

Study: People with Low Emotional Intelligence More Likely to Be Bigoted Authoritarians September 8, 2019

We’ve seen lots of studies tying personality traits to political ideologies, including several that show that people who are less intelligent are more likely to be Right Wing Authoritarians. A new study extends that work to emotional intelligence and found an identical correlation, which certainly isn’t surprising.

In the new study, the researchers assessed the political ideologies and emotional abilities of 983 Belgian undergraduates. To measure emotional abilities, the participants took three tests: the Situational Test of Emotional Understanding, the Situational Test of Emotion Management, and the Geneva Emotion Recognition Test…

In a second part of the study, the participants’ emotional and cognitive abilities were measured. The results showed that participants who scored lower on the emotional abilities tests — particularly ones measuring emotional understanding and management — were more likely to score higher on measures of right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation.

Generally, people who score high in right-wing authoritarianism are especially willing to submit to political authorities and be hostile toward people outside of their in-groups. Meanwhile, those who score high in social dominance orientation tend to dislike egalitarianism and prefer inequality within and between social groups.

“The results of this study were univocal. People who endorse authority and strong leaders and who do not mind inequality — the two basic dimensions underlying right-wing political ideology — show lower levels of emotional abilities,” study author Alain Van Hiel, a professor at the University of Ghent told PsyPost.

Totally predictable. Those willing to submit to authority, especially in the service of maintaining rigid race, gender and class distinctions and inequality, tend to be very insecure emotionally. That’s why they feel so threatened by people who aren’t just like them. Thus the appeal of xenophobia and nativism, as well as more extreme versions like white supremacy.


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