Unit 5: Introduction

Conceptualizing and Measuring Intelligence, Abilities, and Creativity Across Cultures

Center for Cross-Cultural Research
Western Washington University

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In many respects, the contents of this chapter constitute the core of psychology when taking an historical perspective and reflecting on the work of early psychologists like Simon and Binet.  It is fascinating to reflect on how various cultures of the world identify and define essential human traits and psychometric strategies used to measure them.  The concept of intelligence (many say it is the single most important and heavily researched concept in all of psychology's history) is quite controversial.  Evidence of its importance to the thinking of thousands of psychologists during the past 100 years or more is the fact that the detailed study of intelligence and abilities were once at the center of cross-cultural research in psychology.  If one scans the contents of psychology journals in the 1920s or 1930s for culture-oriented reports, there is no doubt one would find that the most frequent topics included intelligence and  related concepts.

Given the speed with which the world of work, and therefore the world of education and training changes, learning effective strategies and techniques to assess and measure person-place interactions, workplace morale, interpersonal relationships, and the like, are helpful tools for clinical, cognitive, consulting, and organizational  psychologists.  In addition, psychologists have long sought ways to measure the creative energies of those who may benefit most from specialized education and training.  Understanding the chapters in this unit will help readers gain new insights as to the part culture plays in defining, measuring, and utilizing various human talents and abilities.

We have an excellent core of chapters in this unit. They will soon be enriched by other contributions whose purpose it will be to further expand the reader's understanding of these concepts.

Unit 5. To view a chapter, click on the title.
Chapter Author Title
- Editors Unit 5 Introduction
1 Robert J. Sternberg Cultural Explorations of Human Intelligence Around the World
2 Elias Mpofu Indigenization of the Psychology of Human Intelligence in Sub-Saharan Africa
3 Denise de Souza Fleith Creativity in the Brazilian Culture
4 Cheryl D. Foxcroft Ethical Issues Related to Psychological Testing in Africa: What I Have Learned (So Far)

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