Friday, June 19, 2020

Is support for free speech correlated with intelligence?

3 studies on that question all point to the answer: yes!

Here's excerpt from that article in Heterodox Academy (an organization founded by Jonathan Haidt):

we again replicated the positive relationship between cognitive ability and supporting freedom of speech for all groups across the ideological spectrum.

Moreover, ... we found evidence that higher levels of Intellectual Humility could explain the relationship between cognitive ability and free speech support. In other words, those with higher cognitive ability might support principles of free speech because of their greater independence of intellect and ego, openness to revise their viewpoints, respect for others’ viewpoints, and lack of intellectual overconfidence.

The series of studies suggest that cognitive ability is related to support for freedom of speech for groups across the ideological spectrum. These results do not mean that people with higher cognitive abilities are free speech absolutists.... The results do suggest, however, that individuals with higher cognitive ability are more appreciative of the free flow of divergent ideas by groups at various places on the ideological spectrum ... even when these groups voice ideas that they don’t like.


Kay said...

I recently saw Angela Davis give a talk at a nearby university. During the q and a portion, someone asked her what she thought of “cancel culture.” I think a lot of people in the audience would presume that she supported it, but she said no, and went on to stand up for free speech instead.

Bob said...


Good for Angela Davis!