...Once upon a time... The case of social representations of intelligence
This commentary goes over the research on the sociogenesis of social representations of intelligence (SRI), following the hypothesis that representations tend to turn an unfamiliar thing or the unfamiliar in general, into something familiar. In the case of intelligence, the importance of its study in terms of SR is justified by reminding that it is a social object which almost everybody agrees in placing a positive value on it, but science may not be allowed the ultimate explication of it; furthermore SR of intelligence could be seen as having an impact on the development of child’s intelligence, through the parents’/teachers’ educational procedures. Four conditions are proposed as the sociogenesis of SRI: i) the functional necessity for specific categories of people to organize their own conceptions ii) because they are confronted with a given value-laden topic or a set of interrelated value-laden topics which iii) should be salient and relatively inexplicable for these people, for whom iv) the topics activate some identity problems and imply an unavoidable decision making. Several categories of women (mother, teachers, working mothers, housewives) have been chosen for testing the plausibility of this way of studying SRI. The role of relative inexplicability of intelligence has been documented as the origins of SRI in terms of a theory of naturally gifted inequalities. Over years this approach to SRI has been documented in more recent empirical investigations, different social categories of women and different cultural settings. Future perspectives are discussed to expand the study of sociogenesis of SR in different social subjects, focusing on the role of the relationships between the relative inexplicability of a subject, the conflict of identities, and the necessity of decision-making.