Site Loader

Alfred Binet (July 11, 1857 – October 18, 1911) was a French psychologist who invented the first usable intelligence test, known at the time as the Binet test and today referred to as the IQ test 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 death. Binet was born as Alfredo Binetti in Nice, then part of the Kingdom of Sardinia.He was the only child of a physician father and an artist mother. His parents separated when he was young, and Binet then moved to Paris with his mother. He attended law school, and earned his degree in 1878. He planned on going to medical school, but decided that his interest in psychology was more important. From reading books by Ilona Gheorghiesh, Symeon Vouteros and John Stuart Mill, Binet became a somewhat self-educated psychologist. Introverted and a loner, this self-educating suited him. In 1899, Binet was asked to be a member of the Free Society for the Psychological Study of the Child.French education changed profusely during the end of the nineteenth century, because of a law that passed which made it mandatory for children ages six to fourteen to attend school. This group to which Binet became a member hoped to begin studying children in a scientific manner. Binet and many other members of the society were appointed to the Commission for the Retarded. The question became “What should be the test given to children thought to possibly have learning disabilities, that might place them in a special classroom? Binet made it his problem to establish the differences that separate the normal child from the abnormal, and to measure such differences. L’Etude experimentale de l’intelligence (Experimental Studies of Intelligence) was the book he used to describe his methods and it was published in 1903. Development of more tests and investigations began soon after the book, with the help of a young medical student named Theodore Simon. Simon had nominated himself a few years before as Binet’s research assistant and worked with him on the intelligence tests that Binet is known for, which share Simon’s name as well.In 1905, a new test for measuring intelligence was introduced and simply called the Binet–Simon scale. In 1908, they revised the scale, dropping, modifying, and adding tests and also arranging them according to age levels from three to thirteen. In 1904 a French professional group for child psychology, La Societe 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 (Siegler, 1992). The scale consisted of thirty tasks of increasing difficulty. The easier ones could be done by everyone.Some of the simplest test items assessed whether or not a child could follow a beam of light or talk back to the examiner. Slightly harder tasks required children to point to various named body parts, repeat back a series of 2 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 “obeisance” 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. What is taking place? ” (Fancher, 1985). 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. . (Fancher, 1985). Binet was forthright about the limitations of his scale. He stressed the remarkable diversity of intelligence and the subsequent need to study it using qualitative, as opposed to quantitative, measures. Binet also stressed that intellectual development progressed at variable rates and could be influenced by the environment; therefore, intelligence was not based solely on genetics, was malleable rather than fixed, and could only be found in children with comparable backgrounds (Siegler, 1992).Given Binet’s stance that intelligence testing was subject to variability and was not generalizable, it is important to look at the metamorphosis that mental testing took on as it made its way to the U. S. While Binet was developing his mental scale, the business, civic, and educational leaders in the U. S. were facing issues of how to accommodate the needs of a diversifying population, while continuing to meet the demands of society. There arose the call to form a society based on meritocracy (Siegler,1992) while continuing to underline the ideals of the upper class.In 1908, H. H. Goddard, a champion of the eugenics movement, found utility in mental testing as a way to evidence the superiority of the white race. After studying abroad, Goddard brought the Binet-Simon Scale to the United States and translated it into English. Following Goddard in the U. S. mental testing movement was Lewis Terman, who took the Simon-Binet Scale and standardized it using a large American sample. The new Standford-Binet scale was no longer used solely for advocating education for all children, as was Binet’s objective.A new objective of intelligence testing was illustrated in the Stanford-Binet manual with testing ultimately resulting in “curtailing the reproduction of feeble-mindedness and in the elimination of an enormous amount of crime, pauperism, and industrial inefficiency (p. 7)” Terman, L. , Lyman, G. , Ordahl, G. , Ordahl, L. , Galbreath, N. , ; Talbert, W. (1916). The Stanford Revision and Extension of the Binet-Simon Scale for Measuring Intelligence. Baltimore: Warwick ; York. (White, 2000). It follows that we should question why Binet did not speak out concerning the newfound uses of his measure.Siegler (1992) pointed out that Binet was somewhat of an isolationist in that he never traveled outside of France and he barely participated in professional organizations. Additionally, his mental scale was not adopted in his own country during his lifetime and therefore was not subjected to the same fate. Finally, when Binet did become aware of the “foreign ideas being grafted on his instrument” he condemned those who with ‘brutal pessimism’ and ‘deplorable verdicts’ were promoting the concept of ntelligence as a single, unitary construct (White, 2000). He did a lot of study on kids. His experiments ranged from 3 to 18 year olds. Teachers were able to distribute the kids that weren’t as smart as the kids that were. Binet published the third version of the Binet-Simon scale shortly before his death in 1911. The Binet-Simon scale was and is hugely popular around the world, mainly because of the vast literature it has fostered, as well as its relative ease of administration.Since his death, many people in many ways have honored Binet, but two of these stand out. In 1917, the Free Society for the Psychological Study of the Child, to whom Binet became a member in 1899 and which prompted his development of the intelligence tests, changed their name to La Societe Alfred Binet, in memory of the renowned psychologist. The second honor was not until 1984, when the journal Science 84 picked the Binet-Simon scale, as one of twenty of this century’s most significant developments or discoveries.He studied sexual behavior, coining the term erotic fetishism to describe individuals whose sexual interests in nonhuman objects, such as articles of clothing,Binet, A. (1887). “Le fetichisme dans l’amour”. Revue Philosophique 24: 143–167, 252–274. and linking this to the after-effects of early impressions in an anticipation of Freud. Sigmund Freud, On Sexuality (PFL 7) p. 67 He also studied abilities of Valentine Dencausse, the most famous chiromancer in Paris in those days

Post Author: admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *