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Cultural Perceptions Of Intelligence In Japanese And American Indian Societies

1459 words - 6 pages

The field of psychology has continuously endeavored to find an appropriate method in evaluating intelligence. The Stanford-Binet intelligence test is one of pioneering tests created to measure facets of intelligence, and it is still being utilized today (Anastasi & Urbina, 1997). Weschler created several intelligence tests focusing on age range in relation to intelligence (Anastasi & Urbina, 1997). While these tests are staples in the psychological testing community, there are many criticisms of intelligence testing. One such criticism is the absence of race and culture as influential factors of intelligence (Carroll, 2010).
The definition of intelligence can be personalized to one’s culture. While some studies look to examine intelligence in an age bracket, an important feature that is not taken into account is how culture influences intelligence and development (Sternberg & Grigorenko, 2004). Stereotypes of race state Asians are proficient in mathematical areas, African-Americans are musical and artistic, and European-Americans are skillful in scientific areas. While these stereotypes may hold a small level of truth, they box each culture into a small section of intelligence while leaving out the cultural focus. Our daily behavior has influence over our intelligence, and our daily behavior is based around the culture in which we are raised (Sternberg & Grigorenko, 2004). This is the beauty of the cultural context. It allows culture to be incorporated as a major influence in intellectual development (Sternberg & Grigorenko, 2004 pp. 369).
The idea of cultural context allows perspective to be placed on the subject of intelligence. We now can say that each culture puts its emphasis on a specific point in the scheme of intelligence which should be considered when discussing the element of intelligence. Certain cultures in particular, Japanese and American Indian, have been documented as having cultural influence with intelligence (Furnham & Fukumoto, 2008; Tsethlikai, 2011). What does each culture emphasize in behavior shapes the perception of intelligence they hold? This reading will examine how culture influences the perception of intelligence, and how these concepts can be measured.
Multiple Intelligences
It is important to understand that intelligence itself is not easily defined. Howard Gardner introduced the theory of multiple intelligences which states intelligence is more than a single unit (Smith, 2008). Thus, intelligence is not just spatial, mathematical, or linguistic (Smith 2008). Rather, intelligence encompasses other categories that require knowledge to and skill (Smith, 2008). Should this hold to be true, then there are several ways to view someone’s intelligence with respect to the specific situation. Also, the theory points to cultural influences that cannot be accounted for in a single entity (Smith, 2008).
Japanese Perceptions of Intelligence
Removing culture from the scheme of intelligence, we could say that some people are...

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