Jung Jae, John McCormick, and Miraca Gross. “The Forced Choice Dilemma: A Model Incorporating Idiocentric/Allocentric Cultural Orientation”


Three scholars jointly authored this article and it covers the topic of the forced-choice dilemma. This is a scenario where gifted students feel they have to choose between peer acceptance and academic achievement. The research described by the article was conducted on a group of high achieving Australian students. The students were picked from grades seven to twelve (Jung, McCormick, and Gross 15). The findings and results of the research were then discussed in detail. The purpose of the article was to help educators and guardians guide and understand gifted students better.

Subject matter

The subject matter of the article is not only relevant but it is also interesting. The forced-choice dilemma as discussed in the article helps gain insight into the quagmire faced by gifted students. This is because it has often been assumed that intellectually gifted students are incapable of pursuing friendships with their peers. It has also been misconceived that their choice to pursue academic excellence whilst neglecting their social life is often a simple one. This research refutes both of these notions. According to the article, gifted students’ choice to pursue academic achievement is influenced by several factors. First, there is the issue of rampant anti-intellectual attitudes that are mostly found in western countries. These attitudes often lead to stereotyping of intellectually gifted people. This on the other hand makes it hard for an individual to have the best of both worlds. The article also addresses those scenarios when gifted students find acceptance from their peers. For example, it is noted that if the peers of a gifted student accept him/her, then the student can achieve a healthy social life as well as academic excellence. All these factors make this article a revelation to the subject of the forced-choice dilemma.

The goal of the Article

This article is supposed to help society have a better understanding of intellectually gifted students. This goal is effectively achieved through the way the article lists the coping mechanisms that are often adopted by gifted students. The first method is by trying to mask their intellect and adopt personalities that may seem acceptable to their less gifted peers. The other adaptation is by pursuing intellectual achievement at the expense of their peers’ acceptance. Given that human beings require a balance of both, none of these groups end up being satisfied with their choice. This factor accounts for most of the “awkwardness” associated with intellectually gifted students.

Influence of Culture on Forced Choice Dilemma

The influence of culture on this study is a bit understated. The article recommended looking at culture from Hofstede’s perspective. This means looking at it from five dimensions. The article only delved into the dimension of individualism and collectivism. While this may be the most relevant dimension of Hofstede’s theory that applies to this study, other dimensions may apply. For example, the dimension of uncertainty avoidance can be very relevant to this study. This is because it involves human beings avoiding unnecessary stimuli. The gifted students in this case lean towards this dimension as they are avoiding unpleasant situations when they desist from pursuing peer acceptance or otherwise. The dimension of long-term/short-term orientation can also apply to this research. This is because while peer acceptance is mostly a short-term affair, academic excellence may turn out to be a long-term endeavor. Therefore, the study should not have been limited to the individualism/collectivism dimension. The translation of individualism/collectivism to mean idiocentrism and phallocentrism is however very helpful to the research. It also forms the central basis of the study and with good results.

Method. Discussion. Limitations

The method employed in this research was watertight. First, the method used to collect the sample was very efficient. The sample was collected from students whose level of intelligence puts them above ninety-five percent of the population. This makes their level of intelligence almost impossible to miss. For this reason, one expects their level of intelligence to feature prominently even when they are among their peers. Because involvement in this study was voluntary, the information given by the respondents is likely to be tangible. The fact that the research was self-administered is also likely to have favored the expected respondents. Highly achieving students prefer to take initiative in such situations.

In addition, if another method like face-to-face interviews was used, it would have been difficult for these students to admit to having no meaningful peer relations. Among those groups that were excluded from this study, including those students attending schools exclusive to high achieving students. This was a logical consideration given that the students in these schools do not have to contend with peers of average intelligence. The other group consisted of home-schooled students. Technically, these students still have peer interaction but in fewer instances. Still, excluding them from the study was good for the research. The racial balance employed was also detrimental to the effectiveness of the research. Another impressive factor about the employed methodology is that it had been previously tested in a different study and with good results.

One of the most interesting findings in this study was that those students who believed in a healthy balance between peer acceptance and academic achievement were less concerned with the former. One would assume that because they believe that both aspects are important, they would go out of their way to try to attain peer acceptance. The results of this study indicated that vertical phallocentrism among this group was limited only to close friends. According to the article, this may be because by having only close friends these students enjoy a high level of social acceptance. The acceptance and the satisfaction this factor brought all seem to have had profound effects on the need for peer acceptance. This notion is very interesting as far as the forced-choice dilemma goes. For one it makes it clear that hunger for peer acceptance only leads to the desperation of some kind. Therefore, those so intent on achieving it only end up with unfulfilled desires. In addition, it corrects the misconception that those students who do not aggressively seek peer acceptance are desperately yearning for it. On the contrary, it indicates they are more content lot than it was earlier thought. This is a rich area for future research. Such research can be focused on both the subject of peer acceptance and its supporting factors.

According to the article, it is recommended that future research be focused on the other cultural dimensions specified by Hofstede. This is a very relevant point given the above research was only focused on the dimension of individualism/collectivism. The other aspects including uncertainty avoidance, power distance, masculinity/femininity, and short-term/long-term orientation might also apply to the subject of forced-choice dilemma. This assertion is therefore realistic and anyone considering undertaking future research on the subject should seriously consider it.

The article failed to cover practical applications of this research. Real-life scenarios in which this research may be used were not covered even in the discussion part. The article only listed parties that may have been interested in this research. That was an inconclusive way of doing this because all research is conducted to solve specific problems. A possible application of this research would be when developing extra curriculum activity programs. In addition, the research would come in handy when preparing after-school programs for gifted kids.

Among the limitations of the study is the fact that the volunteered information might have been subject to single-source bias. The effect of this may have been of lesser magnitude than assumed. This is because of all methodologies that were available for use; this method had the potential of bringing out the best results. Other methods could have had bigger error margins. The assertion that this study covered only a small scope of the forced-choice dilemma was however true. A study on the forced-choice dilemma could take more than a dozen angles. Therefore, this particular research served just as a scratch on the surface.


In conclusion, this article was of high quality and very well organized. All aspects of the subject matter were well covered. The explanations are also easy to synthesize. The article also employed a highly effective methodology that covered almost all loopholes. The subject matter also happens to be an interesting topic. In addition, the authors of this article were successful in dissecting the subject matter. However, the discussion part of the article failed to provide a lot of new information that would have aided in enriching the article even more.

Works Cited

Jung Jae, John McCormirk, and Miraca Gross. “The Forced Choice Dilemma: A Model Incorporating Idiocentric/Allocentric Cultural Orientation”. Gifted Child Quarterly 56.1 (2012): 15-24. Print.