Conceptual Styles, Culture Conflict, and Nonverbal Tests of Intelligence



Conceptual styles are rule-sets for the selection and organization of sense data. Two mutually incompatible conceptual styles are identified—relational and analytic. Relational and analytic methods of conceptual organization appear to have been developed and reinforced in shared-function and formally organized primary groups, respectively, as socialization settings. Each style affects its carrier's ability to deal effectively with the alternate kind of group process requirements. A distinction is drawn between culture conflict and related notions of deprivation and culture difference. When the conceptual styles used between individuals and groups are mutually incompatible, culture conflict may be said to exist, whether or not the other phenomena are also present. It is found that highly relational pupils in the analytic school environment represent this type of culture conflict regardless of their native ability or the variety and relevance of their experience backgrounds. This difficulty is not obviated by developing context-free situations. Item solution requirements for common nonverbal tests of intelligence, for instance, focus directly on expertise in using the analytic rule-set as a measure of intelligence. Their culture bias has, thus, not been reduced but has been moved to a higher level of abstraction. Conceptual rule-sets also affect the assimulation of experience content. They determine to a great extent the number and nature of contextual attributes that will appear relevant to individuals. In addition, because a wide variety of social and psychological behaviors are meaningful only when they follow from these rule-sets, conceptual styles contribute to the formation of logically derived normative systems.