Conceptions of Intelligence

Implicit Theories of Intelligence in the Recruitment of Individuals with Asperger Syndrome

Implicit theories are the informal theories used in the organisation and interpretation of information. Implicit theories’ role in recruitment has yet to be determined. Such research could be valuable to individuals with Asperger Syndrome (A.S.), as they often have exceptional cognitive abilities, but also social deficits. Emotional intelligence (E.I.), which is valued by employers contains social factors like interpersonal skills. Many individuals with A.S. have third-level degrees, but often find it difficult to obtain employment. The methodology employed was a mixed-methods design. Initially, case studies were carried out with individuals who have experience with A.S. in the workplace (n=4). This study investigated the effects of A.S. in recruitment and workplace, and a lack of employer knowledge. Next, employers (n=29) were then asked to describe candidate characteristics, and rank an A.S. and a neurotypical (without autism) candidate in intelligence and employability. There was no relationship between: cognitive characteristics and employability, perceived intelligence; and social characteristics and employability, perceived intelligence. Finally, employers implicit theories of intelligence were investigated using Sternbergs Implicit Theories of Intelligence Inventory and an E.I. Inventory. These were compared with ratings of an A.S. candidates perceived intelligence and employability. There was no relationship between employers implicit theory of intelligence and (a) employability, (b) perceived intelligence. An A.S. description was distributed in two conditions to investigate its effect on recruitment selection. The findings indicate that Candidate descriptions which disclosed the syndrome were considered more employable than those who did not confirm the syndrome. No difference was found between conditions with regard to intelligence. Implicit theories of cognitive and social intelligence are not the prominent assessor of a candidate’s employability and intelligence. A.S. candidates should confirm their condition with employers as it appears to increase employability.

The research was carried out by Lisa Gorry, and supervised by Dr Tim McNichols and Dr Grainne Kirwan. Lisa graduated with her masters degree in November 2009. Lisa is a graduate of the Psychology Applied to Information Technology degree at IADT.

Staff involved in Conceptions of Intelligence

Name Phone Email
Dr. Gráinne Kirwan
grainne.kirwan@iadt.ie
Dr. Timothy McNichols
01 239-4908
tim.mcnichols@iadt.ie