Intelligence and its development: Social representations and social identities
From the paradigm of social representations theory, results from an interview-based study are presented. Forty-five Portuguese participants with different educational roles were interviewed individually about their definitions of intelligence and perceived family and school contributions for its development. Content analyses of the answers led to the differentiation of distinct categories, presenting intelligence as a multi-dimensional concept and identifying which specific educational practices are perceived as enhancing its development. Subsequent correspondence analyses shed light on the relationship between the various representational components and individuals’ group membership, as defined by their educational roles. Extracted dimensions and typologies illustrate the socio-cognitive complexities of representations both by disentangling which domains build up an intelligible sense of intelligence for each group of participants and by demonstrating social representations’ function in protecting a positive self-image. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings in educational research and intervention are discussed.