Why do some individuals support nationalist policies while others don’t? The Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis in evolutionary psychology suggests that more intelligent individuals may be more likely to acquire and espouse evolutionarily novel values whereas less intelligent individuals may be more likely to hold evolutionarily familiar values. Nationalism is evolutionarily familiar, so the Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis suggests that less intelligent individuals may be more likely to be nationalist. The analyses of the General Social Survey (GSS) data in the US and the National Child Development Study (NCDS) data in the UK confirmed the prediction. Less intelligent Americans were more likely to have nationalist attitudes, and less intelligent British voters were more likely to support nationalist parties in five general elections over three decades. The tendency of less intelligent individuals to be more nationalist and belligerent may, among other things, form the microfoundation of democratic peace in international relations.
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Kanazawa, S. Possible Evolutionary Origins of Nationalism. Polit Behav 43, 1685–1705 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11109-021-09741-7
- Psychology of international relations