Problematic constructs and cultural-mediation: A comment on Heaven, Ciarrochi and Leeson (2011)

Michael A. Woodley

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

12 Citations (Scopus)


A recent study [Heaven, Ciarrochi & Leeson, (2011). Cognitive ability, right-wing authoritarianism, and social dominance orientation: A five-year longitudinal study amongst adolescents. Intelligence, 39, 15-21] finds evidence that amongst an Australian student sample, low g and verbal ability are predictive of Right Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) and that low verbal ability is predictive of Social Dominance Orientation (SDO). They speculate that those high on RWA might expend little effort in information processing, exhibit simplified judgments and (in the case of SDO) possess lower social competence. RWA and SDO are primarily measures of attitudes and it is known that explicit attitudes can be wholly at variance to implicit orientations. The finding is reinterpreted in light of the cultural-mediation hypothesis, whereby high-IQ individuals possessing flexible and adaptable personalities explicitly process the political and social attitudes that best resonate with culturally constructed norms. It is concluded that the cultural-mediation hypothesis should be the default hypothesis in explaining the direction of the correlation between IQ and political orientation. Only when potential cultural mediators have been ruled out should other hypotheses be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-248
Number of pages4
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2011


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