Psychology Learning & Teaching
ISSN 1475-7257

Volume 4 Number 1 2004


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Self-perception of Intelligence in Male and Female Undergraduates in Old and New Welsh Universities


In 1991 John Major's UK government announced that the binary divide in UK higher education was to be phased out as polytechnics would be given permission by the Privy Council to apply for university status. But has the binary divide really ceased to exist in higher education? Given that the 'old' universities typically ask for higher A-level grades than the 'new' ones we might ask: do students at new universities perceive themselves as being less able than those at old universities? In addition to the possibility of differences between institutions we might also ask do the sexes differ in their self-perceptions of intelligence? Over the last 25 years, a number of studies have demonstrated a robust gender difference in self-estimation of intelligence, with female undergraduates consistently producing lower ratings of their own intelligence than their male counterparts (see for example Hogan, 1978; Higgins, 1987 and Furnham, 2000, 2001). Does this situation still prevail in today's universities where more women than men now enter higher education? Finally, given the rapid rise in the proportion of the population entering higher education during the 1990s we might ask whether this rise has had an effect on the self-perception of intelligence in students. The current study was designed to throw some light on all three of these questions by simply asking undergraduate samples at an old and a new Welsh university what score they think they would achieve on an /Q test. The findings suggest that female undergraduates still rate themselves less highly than males, that students attending new universities perceive themselves as being less intelligent than those studying at old universities and finally, that during the 1990s there was a general fall in self-estimates of IQ amongst university students.

To cite this article

LANCE WORKMAN (2004) Self-perception of Intelligence in Male and Female Undergraduates in Old and New Welsh Universities, Psychology Learning & Teaching, 4(1), 22-26.


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