Portraying intelligence: children's drawings of intelligent men and women in Finnish and Russian Karelia

Educational Studies 38 (5):573-586 (2012)

This study sets out to examine Finnish and Russian children?s representations of intellectual competence as contextualised in the hierarchies of abilities, age and gender. Finnish and Russian pupils, aged 11?12?years, were asked to draw pictures of an intelligent person and an ordinary person. It was found that gender appearance of intelligent men and women was less heterosexual than that of ordinary men and women. In Russian pictures, the intelligent characters, especially women, were widely separated from the ordinary ones in terms of cognitive-mental features. In Finnish depictions, the differentiation between the intelligent and ordinary characters, especially women, was not so categorical and was primarily based on status. It appears that Russian children are apt to relate their representations of intellectual ability to the institutionalised systems of cognitive competence, education and science, whereas Finnish children associate intelligence to social success as well. Further, cultural and gender-related hierarchies of age seemed to reflect in the children?s images
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DOI 10.1080/03055698.2012.661928
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