Schooling, cognitive development and social representations of intelligence: Their ontogenesis in the realm of school culture пѓҐ VirgГlio Amaral Felice Carugati Patrizia Selleri AbГlio Oliveira VIII International Conference on Social Representations Rome, Aug 2006 Theoretical References - Intelligence п‚„ Intelligence is a social and psychological phenomenon traditionally studied by explicit/ вЂњscientificвЂќ theories, but also implicit theories have become a subject of interest since de 80вЂ™s (e.g. Sternberg et al. 1981; Sternberg, 1985; Mugny & Carugati, 1985). п‚„ We can identify three main approaches to the study of implicit theories of intelligence in children and adolescents: п‚„ a strictly cognitive-developmental approach, inspired in Piagetian theory, without taking account the socio-cultural context of childrenвЂ™s developmental processes; п‚„ the вЂњtheory of personal conceptions of intelligenceвЂќ, which identify only two dimensions (static and dynamic); п‚„ and a multi-dimensional analysis, linked to the theory of social representations (e.g. Carugati, 1990 a. b.) Theoretical References - Intelligence п‚„ Our study about social representations of intelligence in children and adolescents is based in the previous results of exploratory research in Italy (Carugati, Selleri & Bison, 1994) and Portugal (Amaral, Vala & Carugati, 2004), with children and adolescents of both sexual categories. .. п‚„ The notions of cognitive ontogenesis (Piaget, 1978) and of the вЂњsocialвЂќ ontogenesis of social representations (Duveen & Lloyd, 1990; Duveen & De Rosa, 1992) inspire our research about the effects of cognitive development, academic performance, conceptions of intelligence as вЂњnatural giftвЂќ (Mugny & Carugati, 1985) and gender variables in the social construction of the notion of вЂњintelligenceвЂќ. Main Objectives of the Empirical Investigation п‚„ 1. Analysing the effects of cognitive development in childrenвЂ™s and adolescentвЂ™s representations of intelligence п‚„ 2. Analysing the gender effect on childrenвЂ™s and adolescentвЂ™s representations of intelligence п‚„ 3. Analysing the effects of academic performance on representations of intelligence п‚„ 4. Analysing the effects of the conceptionof intelligence as вЂњnatural giftвЂќ on representations of intelligence Hypotheses п‚„ Based in previous results (Carugati, Selleri & Bison, 1994; Amaral, Vala & Carugati, 2004), we formulated the following hypotheses: H1 вЂ“ вЂњConcreteвЂќ subjects stress studying and schooling in their representations, whilst вЂњformalвЂќ subjects stress cognitive dimensions and extra-curricular interests H2 вЂ“ The youngest subjects show more tautological explanations of intelligence than the oldest H3 вЂ“ Girls stress studying and motivation in their representations, and boys stress cognitive abilities H4 вЂ“ Girls refers more to altruism than boys H5 вЂ“ Creativity and social sensibility are more prominent in girlвЂ™s representations, whilst virility stands out more in boyвЂ™s representations. Method (Subjects, Instrument, Procedure, Variables) п‚„ Population: 493 portuguese pupils of both sexes in the classical piagetian вЂњconcreteвЂќ and вЂњformalвЂќ periods, and in a вЂњtransitionвЂќ period between concrete and formal stages, was given a structured questionnaire with 56 items (based in the results of the qualitative and exploratory studies) dependent variables - the representational dimensions of intelligence (previously found); independent variables - gender, cognitive levels, academic performance (in an exploratory way) and вЂњconception of intelligence as natural giftвЂќ - considered as a potential socio-cognitive principle of organization of specific representations (Mugny & Carugati, 1985; Raty & Snellman, 1995) (Splitting the sample in two categories: вЂњGiftвЂќ вЂ“ or pupils confident in intelligence as gif вЂ“ and вЂњNon GiftвЂќ вЂ“ or pupils not confident in intelligence as gift). Socio-cultural background of subjects was considered as a co-variable. Results - Social Representations (SR) of intelligence п‚„ SR of intelligence ( 5 main factors/dimensions ) . Studying/motivation (ex. вЂњintelligent people have better marks on school because they study much more than others) . Cognitive abilities (ex. Intelligent people are better at mathematics because they understand more quicklyвЂќ) . вЂњSocial intelligenceвЂќ (in terms of altruistic behaviours: вЂњhelping others is an intelligent actвЂќ)) . Representation intelligence вЂњas a natural giftвЂќ (ex. вЂњone is born intelligent because we already have some abilities at birthвЂќ) . Representation of intelligence in terms of вЂњculture/knowledgeвЂќ (ex. The more culture one is, the more intelligent one isвЂќ) Results - SR of intelligence Other complementary dimensions: . вЂњProcedural knowledgeвЂќ (corresponding to scripts of everyday routines: вЂњto be intelligent is know how to do things, such as putting a video tape on, etc.вЂќ) . вЂњTautological thinkingвЂќ (Intelligent people remember better and more things because they are intelligentвЂќ) . вЂњSocial IntelligenceвЂќ (in terms of socially desirable rules behaviour) . Masculinity and intelligence (linking intelligence to the practice of sports) . Femininity and intelligence (linking intelligence to sensibility to arts) . вЂњAdolescent interestsвЂќ (Item in the negative: вЂњgoing to the cinema or listening music has nothing to do with intelligenceвЂќ), . Biological explanations of intelligence (item вЂњintelligent people remember better and more things because they have more space in their brainвЂќ) Effects of the independent variables: Some Results and Discussion MANCOVA shows: . effects of cognitive level, conception of вЂњintelligence as giftвЂќ and academic performance, no effects of gender were observed (and so it does not confirm H3, H4 and H5 ) ANOVAs show: . вЂњFormalвЂќ subjects consider that intelligence develops in accordance with extra-school and adolescent interests, and youngest subjects (вЂњconcreteвЂќ andвЂњtransitionвЂќ) valuate more the studying and academic knowledge (in accordance with the school definitions of intelligence), what confirm H1 and exemplify the process of вЂњsocialвЂќ ontogenesis of SR in Duveen and LloydвЂ™s terms (symbolic contents of school definitions of intelligence are assimilated by the youngest children) Effects of the independent variables: Some Results and Discussion ANOVAs show: . вЂњConcreteвЂќ children are more confident in biological explanation of intelligence, in contrast with formal subjects - this can be explained: . by a progressive вЂњdecentrationвЂќ throughout cognitive development of intellectual operations on вЂњperceivedвЂќ concrete elements, as in this case the вЂњbrainвЂќ size; . in terms of the effects of the cognitive ontogenesis of the representations of the notion of вЂњintelligenceвЂќ . Tautological explanations of intelligence characterises the representations of вЂњconcreteвЂќ subjects . this confirm H2 and the theoretical considerations of Berger and Luckman (1966) about the role of tautology as a way of legitimization of вЂњsymbolic universesвЂќ (or SR) corresponding to pre-theoretical explanations that characterizes the SR of constructed on a level of early development Effects of the independent variables: Some Results and Discussion ANOVAs show: . Tautological explanations also characterises the representations of academically unsuccessful pupils . as they are school repeaters, they are accommodated in the peer culture of younger subjects: in fact, as it is showed by Biggs and Collis (1982), subjects less sophisticated in representations of school learning underline tautological conceptions of knowledge . The so called вЂњgiftвЂќ confident pupils underline the Gift representational dimension вЂ“ as should be expected вЂ“ but also the вЂњCognitive AbilitiesвЂќ (good memory, good mathematics understanding, rapidity in understanding well, etc.) . this is consistent with other results in the field of SR of intelligence with adults (Mugny & Carugati, 1985; Carugati, Selleri & Scapinni, 1994; Raty & Snellman, 1995) and children (Carugati, Selleri & Bison, 1994), and so . it is plausible to interpret the overall figure вЂ“ relation between вЂњgift theoryвЂќ (or conception of intelligence as a вЂњnatural giftвЂќ) and valorisation of the вЂњCognitive intelligenceвЂќ вЂ“ in terms of a kind of вЂњgenuine intelligenceвЂќ for the вЂњgift theoristsвЂќ (Raty & Snellman, 1995) Some Comments/Conclusions . The fact of some of our hypotheses were not confirmed вЂ“ namely the related with gender effects вЂ“ can be explained by the differences of methodologies used in the qualitative and exploratory studies, giving that in present research it was used a more imposing вЂ“ and less вЂњfreeвЂќ вЂ“ methodology . The pertinence of PiagetвЂ™s classical development theory to identify and explain the different social representations in the course of human development . The considerations of Berger and Luckman (1966) about the nature of вЂњcommon-sense thinkingвЂќ in children are very relevant in the field of research of the development of SR . The concept of ontogenesis proposed by Duveen and Lloyd (1990) appears to be very applicable and interesting, namely to understand the symbolic contents of SR . The вЂњtheoryвЂќ of intelligence as a вЂњnatural giftвЂќ seems to be a socio-cognitive organizer principle of a kind of вЂњgenuineвЂќ вЂ“ or gift and merely cognitive вЂ“ intelligence, as Raty and Snellman (1994) observed.