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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2012 Nov;103(5):787-803. doi: 10.1037/a0029263. Epub 2012 Jul 16.

Can everyone become highly intelligent? Cultural differences in and societal consequences of beliefs about the universal potential for intelligence.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Jordan Hall, Building 420, Stanford University, 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. arattan@stanford.edu

Abstract

We identify a novel dimension of people's beliefs about intelligence: beliefs about the potential to become highly intelligent. Studies 1-3 found that in U.S. American contexts, people tend to believe that only some people have the potential to become highly intelligent. In contrast, in South Asian Indian contexts, people tend to believe that most people have the potential to become highly intelligent. To examine the implications of these beliefs, Studies 4-6 measured and manipulated Americans' beliefs about the potential for intelligence and found that the belief that everyone can become highly intelligent predicted increased support for policies that distribute resources more equally across advantaged and disadvantaged social groups. These findings suggest that the belief that only some people have the potential to become highly intelligent is a culturally shaped belief, and one that can lead people to oppose policies aimed at redressing social inequality.

PMID:
22800285
DOI:
10.1037/a0029263
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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