“Einstein Worked his Socks off”. Conceptions of Intelligence in University Teaching Staff





university teachers, higher education, implicit theories of intelligence, fields of knowledge, teaching experience, gender


There is vast amount of research that links implicit theories of intelligence with several learning-relevant variables in both learners and teachers alike. However, there is a gap in the literature, as there is almost no research done with university teachers.   Furthermore, most scientific research polarizes incremental and fixed views of intelligence in spite of data that show there is heterogeneity in participants’ views.  This study explores the implicit theories of intelligence of university teachers (N = 20), employing a category system for the analysis of semi-structured interviews designed to capture heterogeneity. Participants were asked to express their opinion about several small vignettes regarding intelligence. The number of participants’ explanations related to intelligence and the complexity in their argumentation was considered.  Results show differences in both measures among different fields of knowledge and gender, but not in relation to years of teaching experience. Future implications for research, intervention, and implicit theories measurement are discussed.

Author Biographies

Jose Antonio Matias-Garcia, University of Seville

Experimental Psychology

Rosario Cubero-Perez, University of Seville

Developmental and Educational Psychology


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How to Cite

Matias-Garcia, J. A., & Cubero-Perez, R. (2020). “Einstein Worked his Socks off”. Conceptions of Intelligence in University Teaching Staff. International Journal of Educational Psychology, 9(2), 161–194. https://doi.org/10.17583/ijep.2020.4553