A large body of empirical research has established that people with higher cognitive ability tend to have more
liberal opinions on "moral" issues. But why? This project proposes a new theory to resolve this, building on the researchers recent work on an argument-driven process whereby public opinion gradually changes toward more liberal opinions in the whole population. High cognitive ability makes it easier to understand moral arguments, which will make the opinion change process go faster in the high cognitive ability segment of the population - whereby the link between cognitive ability and liberal opinions will emerge.
The project involves theoretical development and a sequence of four empirical studies to test the mechanisms
proposed by thetheory as well as its population-level predictions. To test whether the theory holds across
societies the empirical studies will be conducted in three different countries in which prior research has
established a link between cognitive ability and liberal moral opinions, USA, Great Britain and Sweden.