A picture is worth a thousand words: a comparison of pupils’ images of intelligence in Finnish and Russian Karelia
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- Räty, H., Komulainen, K., Skorokhodova, N. et al. Soc Psychol Educ (2011) 14: 1. doi:10.1007/s11218-010-9137-8
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The study set out to examine Finnish and Russian children’s images of intelligence as contextualized in the systems of the school and gender. Finnish and Russian pupils, aged 11–12 years, were asked to draw pictures of an intelligent and an ordinary pupil and a good and an ordinary pupil. A distinctive feature shared by the children in both countries was that intelligent pupils were depicted as positively orientated to knowledge and studies and as similar to good pupils. The Russian children’s pictures emphasized academic performance, suggesting that the contribution of the school to children’s representations was greater in Russia than in Finland. In regard to gender appearance, the intelligent pupil was usually pictured in gender-neutral or childish features, suggesting that being defined as intellectually competent entailed deviating from the heterosexual ideal. In the discussion, the ambivalence associated with social definitions of intelligence is addressed.