Lay persons' perceptions of intelligence : students' estimates of their own and their parents' overall and multiple intelligences.
Intelligence as a psychological construct has received vast attention from professionals and lay persons. The theory of multiple intelligences as a perspective of understanding intelligence has enjoyed extensive research. The present study took advantage of the theory of multiple intelligences as stipulated by Gardner (1983), which puts fourth seven types of intelligences (verbal/linguistic, bodily – kinesthetic, musical, logical/mathematical, spatial, interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence). The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between these types of intelligences and gender, age and education. Participants comprised of 83 female and 75 male university students between the ages of 18 years and 50 years. Participants were requested to estimate their own and their parents’ scores for the seven multiple intelligences and overall intelligence. For parents’ estimates on overall and multiple intelligences, there was no statistically significant difference in those types of intelligences traditionally associated with females (musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal intelligences) and those traditionally associated with males (logical and verbal intelligences). Parents’ level of education had a significant impact on their estimated levels of intelligence; those parents in the Diploma/Degree category were rated as statistically significantly more intelligent than those in the No Diploma/Degree category. The mothers in the Diploma/Degree category were rated as significantly more intelligent on overall, verbal, logical, spatial, musical, and interpersonal intelligences, while the fathers in the same category were estimated as significantly more intelligent on overall, verbal and logical intelligences. Future studies on lay persons’ conceptions of intelligence should include more refined measures of socio-economic status and level of education. Qualitative investigations into the meaning of intelligence in different cultural contexts are also needed.