Leadership Institute


Date of this Version



Published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 28:8 (August 2002), pp. 1051–1062; doi: 10.1177/01461672022811004 Copyright © 2002 Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.; published by Sage Publications. Used by permission. http://psp.sagepub.com


Implicit theories of intelligence were investigated via surveys of exemplars of intelligence. Study 1 was a four-sample survey of famous exemplars. These diverse samples reported a similar set of popular exemplars, which clustered into five groups. These groups represented five types of intelligence: scientific, artistic, entrepreneurial, communicative, and moral intelligence. In Study 2, the minimal overlap of intelligence exemplars with those of fame, creativity, and wisdom refuted the possibility that exemplar reports are indiscriminate or solely a result of availability. In Study 3, knowledgeable judges rated the similarity of 50 famous persons to exemplars representing each type of intelligence. All five similarity ratings predicted exemplar popularities. In Study 4, where exemplar reports were not restricted to famous people, 31% were nonfamous (friends, family members, teachers, etc.). The results indicate that five implicit types of intelligence, each represented by highly available exemplars, play a role in people’s implicit theories.