Decomposing self-estimates of intelligence: structure and sex differences across 12 nations

Br J Psychol. 2009 May;100(Pt 2):429-42. doi: 10.1348/000712608X357876.

Abstract

This study examines the structure of self-estimates of intelligence (SEI) across 12 nations (Australia, Austria, Brazil, France, Iran, Israel, Malaysia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, UK and US). Participants rated themselves on general and specific abilities from three popular models of intelligence: Gardner's multiple intelligences, Sternberg's triarchic theory of intelligence, and Goleman's emotional intelligence. The results showed that (a) laypeople across nations have similar and invariant concepts of intelligence, (b) concepts of intelligence are cross-culturally closely related to academic notions of intellectual ability and (c) sex differences in general and specific SEI favouring men are consistent across countries. Male hubris and female humility in SEI seem independent of sex differences in actual cognitive ability and national levels of masculinity-femininity. Furthermore, international mean differences in general SEI could not be attributed to discrepancies in national intelligence quotient (IQ) levels or to cultural variations.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Concept*
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Young Adult