(July 8, 1857- October 18, 1911) French Psychologist.
After receiving his law degree in 1878, Alfred Binet began to study science at the Sorbonne. However, he was not overly interested in his formal schooling, and started educating himself by reading psychology texts at the National Library in Paris. He soon became fascinated with the ideas of John Stuart Mill, who believed that that the operations of intelligence could be explained by the the laws of associationism.
In 1904 a French professional group for child psychology, La Société Libre pour l'Etude Psychologique de l'Enfant, was called upon by the French government to appoint a commission on the education of retarded children. The commission was asked to create a mechanism for identifying students in need of alternative education. Binet, being an active member of this group, found the impetus for the development of his mental scale.
Binet and Simon, in creating what historically is known as the Binet-Simon Scale, comprised a variety of tasks they thought were representative of typical children's abilities at various ages. This task-selection process was based on their many years of observing children in natural settings. They then tested their measurement on a sample of fifty children, ten children per five age groups. The children selected for their study were identified by their school teachers as being average for their age. The purpose of this scale of normal functioning, which would later be revised twice using more stringent standards, was to compare children's mental abilities relative to those of their normal peers.
The scale consisted of thirty tasks of increasing complexity. The easiest of these could be accomplished by all children, even those who were severely retarded. Some of the simplest test items assessed whether or not a child could follow a lighted match with his eyes or shake hands with the examiner. Slightly harder tasks required children to point to various named body parts, repeat back a series of 3 digits, repeat simple sentences, and to define words like house, fork or mama. More difficult test items required children to state the difference between pairs of things, reproduce drawings from memory or to construct sentences from three given words such as "Paris, river and fortune". The hardest test items included asking children to repeat back 7 random digits, find three rhymes for the French word obéisance and to answer questions such as "My neighbor has been receiving strange visitors. He has received in turn a doctor, a lawyer, and then a priest". For the practical use of determining educational placement, the score on the Binet-Simon scale would reveal the child's mental age. For example, a 6 year-old child who passed all the tasks usually passed by 6 year-olds--but nothing beyond--would have a mental age that exactly matched his chronological age, 6.0.
Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.)
An Intelligence Quotient or IQ is a score derived from one of several different standardized tests attempting to measure intelligence. The term "IQ", a translation of the German Intelligenz-Quotient, was coined by the German psychologist William Stern in 1912 as a proposed method of scoring early modern children's intelligence tests such as those developed by Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon in the early 20th Century. Although the term "IQ" is still in common use, the scoring of modern IQ tests such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale is now based on a projection of the subject's measured rank on the Gaussian bell curve with a center value (average IQ) of 100, and a standard deviation of 15 (different tests have various standard deviations; the Stanford-Binet IQ test has a standard deviation of 16).
IQ scores have been shown to correlate with such factors as morbidity and mortality, parental social status, and to a substantial degree, parental IQ: while IQ inheritance has been investigated for nearly a century, controversy remains as to how much is inheritable, and the mechanisms for inheriting are still a matter of some debate.
IQ scores are used in many contexts: as predictors of educational achievement or special needs, by social scientists who study the distribution of IQ scores in populations and the relationships between IQ score and other variables, and as predictors of job performance and income.
The average IQ scores for many populations were rising at an average rate of three points per decade during the 20th century with most of the increase in the lower half of the IQ range: a phenomenon called the Flynn effect. It is disputed whether these changes in scores reflect real changes in intellectual abilities, or merely methodological problems with past or present testing.
In 1905 the French psychologist Alfred Binet published the first modern intelligence test called the Binet-Simon intelligence scale. His principal goal was to identify students who needed special help in coping with the school curriculum. Along with his collaborator Theodore Simon, Binet published revisions of his intelligence scale in 1908 and 1911, the last appearing just before his untimely death, at the age of 53.
In 1912, the German psychologist William Stern coined the abbreviation "I.Q.," a translation of the German Intelligenz-Quotient ("intelligence quotient"), proposing that an individual's intelligence level be measured as a quotient of their estimated "mental age" and their chronological age. A further refinement of the Binet-Simon scale was published in 1916 by Lewis M. Terman, from Stanford University, who incorporated Stern's proposal, and this Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale formed the basis for one of the modern intelligence tests that remains in common use.
At first, IQ was calculated as a ratio with the formula
Thus, the modern IQ score is a mathematical transformation of a raw score on an IQ test, based on the rank of that score in a normalization sample. Modern scores are sometimes referred to as "deviance IQ", while older method age-specific scores are referred to as "ratio IQ".