PERCEPTION OF INTELLIGENCE
Childrenare brought up in different cultural and social contexts whichinfluence different aspects of life. This means that cultural factorshave an influence on the individual intelligence and how he or sheviews intelligence (Sternberg & Grigorenko, 2004b). According toSternberg (2004a), if individuals grew up devoid of culturalcontexts, the developmental psychology in textbooks would be moreaccurate and adequate. However, the life of an individual is notconfined in a bubble and is subject of different aspects that have adirect impact on development psychology of an individual. Culture hasa direct influence on the perceptions and measurement ofintelligence. For example, some cultures view intelligence in termsof the ability of an individual to process and respond to informationwhile others look at abilities to consult, solve problems orperformance in formal education. Although psychology has specificdefinition of intelligence, cultural factors directly influenceintelligence measurement.
Japaneseand Korean cultures are some of the richest cultures in the world. Asa result, globalization and integration of the modern societies hasnot eroded the Japanese and Korean cultures. Additionally,individuals and groups from these cultures are able to practice theirculture where they live in any part of the world. Culture includeshow the society conceptualizes the different aspect of intelligence.Additionally culture includes other factors such as fashion, food,mannerism, and language. Due to the geographical closeness, bothJapanese culture and Korean culture have numerous similarities.Additionally, both Korean and Japanese cultures have been influencedby modernity and other cultures in Asia as well as other parts of theworld, although they have remained distinct. A typical example ofexternal influence by other cultures is the huge influence of Chineseculture as well as Buddhism from India in Japanese literature. Due tothe relative size of the Korean society, compared to other Asiansociety, it has also been influenced by the Indian and Chinesecultures. For example, in both Korean and Japanese culture, there isa huge relationship between education and intelligence. The culturestherefore support formal education which has an influence on howintelligence is measured (Brown, 2006).
Thereare several cultural factors that have an influence on how theJapanese culture perceives intelligence. This includes parental rolein children intellectual development, gender roles and how theculture values education. One of the most visible aspects of theJapanese culture has been the zealous of the Japanese society towardsacademic performance of their children. Due to this cultural factor,intelligence in the Japanese culture is perceived and measured interms of academic performance. This is emphasized by the fact thatthe Japanese culture puts a lot of value to formal education. Thus,an individual is considered to be more intelligent if he or shescores high in formal education. Gender roles are another importantcultural factor that influences intelligence in the Japanese culture.Due to the traditional role of men in the Japanese society, thesociety view male members of the society to be more intelligentcompared to female. For example, a parent is more likely to ratetheir sons higher that their daughter. Additionally, male are morelikely to rate themselves higher compared to females due to socialand cultural factors (Furnham & Fukumoto, 2008).
Inthe Korean culture, some of the factors that influence theperceptions about intelligence include cultural values, the idea ofself cultivation and the role of family. For over two thousand years,performance in regional and national formal examinations in Korea hasbeen the basis of measuring individual’s intelligence. Just like inthe Japanese culture, academic merit determines the level ofintelligence and therefore the role of the individual in the society.For example, people who are considered to be more intelligent basedin their academic performance are given key position in the societyand government. However, family has an influence on the perception ofintelligence in the Korean culture. This means that a child ofintelligent parents is considered to be intelligent. Although tomaintain the gentry’s status, the child must excel in formaleducation. The self cultivation culture has an important influence onintelligence in the Korean culture. Due to the value of formaleducation, the culture puts pressure on children to learn and exceleither individually or as a group. This is a source of motivationfrom a young age where Korean culture teachers the members of thesociety to focus and devote their energy towards attaining theirgoals. Thus, self cultivation is itself a measure of intelligence inthe Korean culture (Kim & Park, 2006).
Inthe Japanese and Korean societies, the culture puts more emphasis onthe skills and knowledge the individual has been able to gain ratherthan the potentials of the individual. Thus, the common measures ofintelligence in both cultures are achievement tests. Studies suggestthat there is a close relationship between achievement test score andintelligence in an individual. For example, children with higheracademic score have been found to have higher intelligence score whenvarious methods of measuring intelligence are used (Frey &Detterman, 2004). Thus, due to the cultural and social perceptionsabout formal education performance and intelligence in the Korean andJapanese culture, I would use achievement test as a measure ofintelligence. As a result of the various factors that affectachievement tests score especially in formal education such asinterest in learning and the learning environment, it is important toincorporate a psychological intelligent test. In both the Korean andJapanese cultures I would use the Stanford Binet intelligence test. The test can be used to test both developmental achievements anddeficiencies in children that have an impact on intelligence. It isapplicable to children as well as adults (Bain & Allin, 2005).
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Furnham,A. & Fukumoto, S. (2008). “Japanese parents’ estimates oftheir own and their children are multiple intelligences: Culturalmodesty and moderate differentiation”. JapanesePsychological Research.50(2), 63– 76.
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Sternberg,R. & Grigorenko, E. (2004b). “Why we need to exploredevelopment in its cultural context”. Merrill-PalmerQuarterly50(3), 369-386.