Multicultural Issues in Intelligence Testing

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If it were possible to hold a world cup competition between all of the concepts investigated in psychology based on importance, then intelligence would surely be the winner. It has been researched far more than any other concept and is seen as having far-reaching implications for everyone.

Personal definitions of intelligence by ordinary people are called implicit theories. Studies around the world suggest these can be influenced by cultural factors. They have been investigated by, for example, Demetriou and Papadopoulous (2004), Baral and Das (2004), Sternberg (2001), Sternberg et al. (1981) and Berry (1984), indicate some differences found.

Western cultures emphasize mental processing speed and efficient management of information, whilst those in the East also include social and spiritual aspects, although some research indicates the two viewpoints are converging (Lim, Plucker and Im, 2002).

Specific to India, Baral and Das (2004) foind that implicit definitions of intelligence included terms like Emotions, Modesty, Politeness, Self-awareness, Judging, Thinking, Decision-making and Interest in others.

Ever since the first intelligence measures were developed, psychologists have struggled to agree. Binet suggested intelligence related to judgement, understanding and reasoning. Others thought that it depends on the number of connections, their complexity, and the organization of cells in the cerebral cortex (Jensen and Sinah, 1993), although this doesn't provide an adequate operational definition. One definition has been: ‘Intelligence is what intelligence tests measure’ (Boring, 1923).

The definition by Boring has given a lot of emphasis on Intelligence Testing. Historically, in designing the intelligence scales, psychometricians have been working with a common aim: to identify individual differences derived from common experiences. They assume that, given similar experiences, people having higher intelligence will gain more from them than do...
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