Repository logo

Race, gender and intelligence : a comparative study of Black, White and Indian students' lay theories of intelligence.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This study investigated Black, White, and Indian South African university students' lay theories of intelligence. 260 students participated in this study, with an age range of 18 - 39 years. The study, which is based on the theory of multiple intelligences, explored everyday perceptions of intelligence across race groups in a South African setting. The independent variables of interest were race/culture and gender, while overall and multiple intelligences served as dependent variables. Participants were asked to rate their own overall (general) as well as multiple intelligences. They were then asked to rate the overall as well as multiple intelligences of in-group (same race) and out-group (different race) members of both genders. There was a statistically significant race effect, with White and Indian students giving Black students lower ratings and Black students in turn giving White and Indian students lower ratings. This may be a result of historically racialized discourses that still influence everyday perceptions of the 'Other'. There was a statistically significant gender effect with females giving higher estimates to not only themselves, but also to mates as well for all the multiple intelligences. It can be postulated that this may be a consequence of a population that has been sensitized to gender stereotyping, in addition to educational institutions promoting female friendly policies.


Thesis (M.Soc.Sc.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2006.


Intellect., Intelligence levels--South Africa., Intelligence levels--Social aspects., Students--South Africa--Attitudes., Race., Racism--South Africa., Sex differences., Theses--Psychology.