Does gender make any difference? Common-sense conceptions of intelligences

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Hannu Raty
Leila Snellman
Cite this article:  Raty, H., & Snellman, L. (1992). Does gender make any difference? Common-sense conceptions of intelligences. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 20(1), 23-34.


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In this study we examined the gender dependence of conceptions of intelligence: what kinds of gender stereotypes would emerge in identifications and descriptions of target persons, adults and pupils, whom the participants knew personally and considered to be intelligent. Characteristics of an intelligent adult were rated by a sample of the general population (N = 152) and characteristics of an intelligent pupil by a group of parents (N = 69). It was found that the image of the intelligent person, whether adult or pupil, consists of many qualities. However, it was the cognitive one (i.e., problem-solving skills) that is seen as the essence of adult intelligence, whereas school success was regarded as the essential element of pupils intelligence. Traditional gender stereotypes appeared in the images of pupils’ intelligence as cognitive skill differences favoring boys, and in the images of adult intelligence as social skill differences favoring women.


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