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CHAPTER 11 – HISTORICAL USES AND ABUSES OF INTELLIGENCE TESTING Dr. Nancy Alvarado.

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1 CHAPTER 11 – HISTORICAL USES AND ABUSES OF INTELLIGENCE TESTING Dr. Nancy Alvarado

2 Motivation for Intelligence Testing  In schools, the first intelligence tests were developed in France to enable public schools to measure children for proper grade placement.  Rural schools were primarily one-room with all ages taught by a single teacher.  Schools in cities were stratified by academic accomplishment (not age as is now done).  Children moving to large cities needed to be placed.  Other, concurrent efforts focused on measuring intelligence as an individual difference.

3 Broca’s Craniometry  Broca measured the body to understand its functions, including the head.  He equated a larger head with greater intelligence and concluded that men were more intelligent than women because their heads were larger.  He concluded that the sex difference was greater in contemporary people than in the past.  His assumptions exemplified the biases of the times, against women, the elderly, primitive people – he believed differences in brain sizes supported them.

4 Broca and Darwin  Broca used ideas from Darwin’s evolutionary theory to support his thinking.  “I would rather be a transformed ape than a degenerate son of Adam.”  Broca believed that men struggle to survive whereas women are protected, so bigger brains are selected for in men but not women.  Broca’s work was cited to justify denying education to women.

5 Criticisms of Broca  Stephen Jay Gould pointed out that brain weight decreases with age – the women studied were older than the men, introducing a confound.  Taking cause of death into account, Gould concluded that there is probably no difference in brain weight between men and women.  A man of the same height would have the same size brain as a woman of that height.  The sample size for prehistoric brains is too small (7 male and 6 female brains).

6 Alfred Binet ( )  Binet developed the first psychological scales to measure intelligence, supplanting earlier attempts using physical measures and subjective judgments.  Informal, subjective assessments may be correct or wrong, but are prone to prejudice and cause trouble when people place excess confidence in them.  An important result of Binet’s work was replacement of these haphazard and prejudiced methods with standard, uniform, objective methods of assessment.

7 Alfred Binet

8 Binet’s Early Education  Binet read Darwin, Galton & John Stuart Mill – he was a self-taught library psychologist.  This deprived him of interaction with others and training in critical thinking.  Binet accepted a staff position at La Salpetriere working with Charcot as his mentor.  Charcot used circular reasoning – people who could be hypnotized had unstable nervous systems – as evidence of this, they could be hypnotized.  Binet accepted Charcot’s reasoning without question.

9 Studies of Hypnosis  Binet and Fere claimed that hypnotic phenomena could be transferred from one side of the body to the other using magnets.  They also reported “polarization” in which a red hallucination would turn green with use of a magnet.  They believed the magnetic field was responsible.  Patients had full knowledge of what was expected so the expts were poorly controlled and carelessly conducted. Ultimately they had to admit their errors.  Hypnotizability was not necessarily linked to hysteria.

10 Binet’s Research on Cognition  Binet was humiliated and became obsessively concerned with suggestibility in experiments.  He became increasingly withdrawn and more shy.  Studying his own children, he published 3 papers describing their cognitive development.  He devised a number of tests of their thinking.  These studies anticipated Piaget’s work – Piaget later worked with Binet’s collaborator, Simon, analyzing the wrong answers children gave on intelligence tests.  In 1891 at the Sorbonne, he did a variety of studies

11 Binet’s Test of Intelligence  In 1882, a law established mandatory primary education for children from 6 to 14 years old.  A national system of exams had been established to select students for secondary and university education and vocational schooling.  Competition was intense, with 969 applicants to 1 opening at university (compared to 290 to 1 in the US).  Concern about “retarded” children in the schools (children unable to learn in school) motivated interest in a systematic way of identifying them.

12 Test Questions  Binet & Simon developed 20 subtests and investigated a variety of other measures and relationships between them.  They concluded craniometry had little value.  Tests included: association tests, sentence completion, themes on a given topic, picture descriptions and memory tests, object drawing and description, digit repetition and other memory and attention tests, tests of moral judgment.  They carefully specified controlled testing conditions.

13 Revised Binet-Simon Scale  They administered their tests to larger numbers of schoolchildren and a small number of retarded children, to develop norms.  In 1908, they developed a revised scale consisting of 14 of the original tests, 7 modified, 33 new tests.  Tests were arranged according to age levels from 3-13  The average 5 year old should score at a mental level of 5. If a majority (75-90%) passed a test it was assigned to that age level.  Binet and Simon rejected the concept of mental age.

14 IQ Scores  They believed that even retarded children could raise their mental levels and devised a system of training for the retarded (like Montessori’s).  Louis Stern introduced the concept of mental quotient as a ratio of chronological age to mental age.  A score below 1 indicated retardation, a score above 1 indicated superior intelligence, x 100 = IQ score.  Binet and Simon strongly opposed this concept of IQ.  Despite their objections, IQ became the standard way of depicting performance on intelligence tests.

15 Testing Spreads  The Binet-Simon scale was easy to administer and reasonably brief, so was quickly in wide use.  By WWI in 1914 the tests were being using in a dozen countries, often simply translated without any attempt to standardize them for the new setting.  Before the end of WWI, 1.7 million inductees to the US Army had been tested.  Terman revised the scale for use in the US and 4 million children were tested.

16 Henry H. Goddard ( )  In 1984, the editors of Science named development of the IQ test as one of the 20 most significant discoveries in science, technology & medicine of the 20 th century.  Henry Goddard and Lewis Terman were the two men primarily responsible for introducing the IQ test to America.  Goddard earned a doctorate at Clark University, then was appointed research director of a New Jersey home for 230 “feeble-minded” children.

17 Goddard’s Studies  Goddard became convinced of the need for a way to distinguish between normal and feeble-minded children, and a reliable way to identify levels.  He was given a copy of the Binet-Simon test in Europe.  He translated the scale into English, with some minor changes, such as names of coins.  He administered the test to 400 children at Vineland and 2000 in NJ public schools. The scores at Vineland agreed with their records.  The scores of public school kids varied widely.

18 Gregor Mendel ( )  Hothersall reviews Mendel’s work to put the study of the Kallikak’s into perspective.  Mendel did the first systematic experiments studying genetics and heritability of characteristics.  First Mendel bred wild mice with albinos to see what color coats they would have, then bred bees.  Next he bred peas to study blossom color, smooth or wrinkled seeds, green or yellow seeds, tall or dwarf plants – 10,000 plants, 300,000 peas.  His work established valid principles of inheritance.

19 Mendel’s Findings  First he bred tall & short plants – the resulting hybrids were all tall.  Next he bred hybrids with each other – most were tall, a minority were short.  He guessed that height was controlled by two genes (one from each parent).  Tall height was dominant, short recessive.  His ideas did not catch on and his papers were burned.

20 Example Using Pea Blossom Color Results across multiple generations

21 Mendel is Rescued from Obscurity  William Bateson published “Mendel’s Principles of Heredity: A Defence” (1902). Dutch botanist Huge de Vries also described Mendel’s work.  Goddard read De Vries’ report and applied it to intelligence – a major leap influenced by Galton’s reports of hereditary genius.  Goddard discovered that many of the siblings of the inmates of his institution had themselves been evaluated as feeble-minded.

22 The Kallikak Family  Deborah Kallikak was found to have a mental age of 9 (at age 22). Goddard traced her ancestry back to Martin Kallikak Sr. in the Amer. Revolution.  Deborah was descended from an illegitimate liaison with a feeble-minded barmaid, starting the “bad side” of the family tree, full of “riff-raff.”  Later Martin married a Quaker woman and founded the “good side” of the family tree, which was found to have little feeble-mindedness.  He concluded that feeble-mindedness is genetic.

23 Family Tree A=Alcoholic, Sx=Sexually Immoral, E=Epileptic Good side: 496 descendants, 3 degenerate (2 A, 1 Sx) 15 infant deaths Bad side: 480 descendants, 143 feeble-minded, 33 Sx, 3 E, 24 A, 36 illegitimate, 82 infant deaths

24 Criticisms of Goddard’s Study  The study took 2 years, which seems short.  Conducted by untrained staff, perhaps biased.  Little objective testing of the relatives – reliance on reports by family & associates. Position in society used to infer intelligence, etc.  Criminal behavior and feeble-mindedness were equated.  Assumption of a single gene for IQ is implausible.  Influence of environment was totally ignored.

25 Pictures of Kallikaks Stephen Jay Gould claimed that Goddard tampered with photos to make them appear less normal. Fancher suggested the publisher perhaps tried to eliminate blank, staring expressions. Goddard believed the feeble-minded look normal, so he would have been less likely to modify them – undercutting Gould’s claim. Pictures of Deborah are attractive.

26 Eugenic Sterilization  Similar studies of the Jukes, the Hill Folk, the Nams, the Ishmaelites, and the Zeros, reportedly showed reproduction rates twice those of “normal” families.  Goddard spoke about practical methods for eliminating “defective people” from the US population.  Mainstream psychologists supported eugenics, including Yerkes, Thorndike, Cannon, Terman.  US involuntary sterilization laws were upheld by the courts & stayed in place until the 1960s.

27 Goddard at Ellis Island  In 1910, one-third of the US population was foreign born, raising fears that the US was being swamped.  Teddy Roosevelt appointed a commission to study this.  More recent immigrants were from East & So Europe.  It was feared that immigrants would be an impetus for development of unions (to keep them out), which would threaten the US economic system.  New immigrants were Catholic not Protestant.  It was claimed that many immigrants were mentally defective – 2% were denied entry and sent back.

28 Goddard’s Innovations  Goddard began using psychological methods and the number of feeble-minded increased dramatically – 350% in 1913, 570% in  Goddard claimed that 83% of Jews, 80 of Hungarians, 79% of Italians, 87% of Russians were feeble-minded, based on culturally biased testing.  Restrictive immigration quotas were enacted.

29 Some people were considered too inferior to become citizens – such as the Irish. "Now the fact is, that workmen may have a 10 year intelligence while you have a 20. To demand for him such a home as you enjoy is as absurd How can there be a thing such as social equality with this wide range of mental capacity?" - Goddard, before a group of Princeton undergraduates, 1919

30 Eugenics Demonstrators

31 Goddard and Gifted Children  In 1918, Goddard left Vineland for a position as director of Ohio State Bureau of Juvenile Research, then became professor at Ohio State University.  Goddard was hired as consulting psychologist to help establish classes for gifted children.  Those with IQs above 120 were included.  Goddard advocated enrichment, not rapid promotion.  The program produced long-lasting, positive results.

32 Lewis M. Terman ( )  Terman grew up on a farm in Indiana, then was sent to Central Normal College in Danville to become a teacher. He earned an M.A. from Univ. of Indiana.  A former student of G.S. Hall helped him obtain a fellowship to Clark Univ to work with Hall.  Hall disapproved of mental tests so Terman switched to Edmund Sanford to direct his thesis.  After becoming a high school principal in San Bernardino, he taught at CSULA (formerly LA Normal School), then joined Stanford University.

33 Terman’s Stanford-Binet IQ Test  At Stanford, Terman revised the Binet-Simon, as described in “The Measurement of Intelligence.”  He used a large standardization sample (2300, including 1700 children, 200 “defective” and superior, and 400 adults.  His goal was to make the median chronological and mental ages coincide, to prevent IQs from changing across different ages, with an average of 100.  This became the standard measure of intelligence, with a standardization sample in 1916 of 10,000 people.

34 Terman’s Studies of Genius  In 1921, Terman began an ambitious longitudinal study of children with exceptionally IQs of  The study was continued after his death.  Those participating in the study were called “Termites.”  His findings contradict the stereotype of geniuses as sickly weaklings interested in nothing but books, “early ripe, early rot.”  Exceptional performance continued in adult careers.  The sample was unrepresentative, admittedly.

35 Robert Mearns Yerkes ( )  Yerkes worked his way through college, then worked with Munsterberg for this doctorate in comparative psychology, publishing “The Great Apes.”  He was offered a job and remained at Harvard for his whole career.  He replaced photos of James, Royce & Palmer with pictures of great apes – his “philosophers.”  He also worked at Boston State Psychopathic Hospital, which focused him on the need for better ways of measuring mental abilities.

36 Army Alpha & Beta Tests  At the start of WWI, Yerkes organized a meeting to figure out how psychologists might aid the war.  Yerkes traveled to Canada to study their war experiences.  They decided to focus on adapting mental measurement to military needs – IQ testing in the Army.  40 psychologists prepared tests for the Army, to identify mentally incompetent, classify men by mental ability and select individual for special training and extra responsibility.

37 Test Requirements  Group administration.  Measuring “native wit” not education.  Steeply graded in difficulty – hard enough to tax those with high ability but easy enough for those of lesser ability.  Could not take more than an hour and be simple to score objectively.  Alpha test – for those who are literate, Beta test for those illiterate or non-English speaking.

38 Results of Army Testing  Only a minute percentage of inductees were discharged due to low test scores.  A 900-page report concluded that the average mental age was 13 years, much lower than assumed  Racist, antidemocratic conclusions were part of popularized versions of this report.  Goddard proposed a meritocracy based on IQ to replace our democracy.  Studies blamed non-Nordic immigrants for the low scores (Brigham). Quotas were established.

39 Dissenting Voices  In The New Republic, Lippmann lambasted Terman, Goddard & Yerkes, criticizing the assumption that IQ tests measure intelligence & mental age is 13.  He stressed differences in early environment and experiences making comparisons across class/race meaningless.  Logically impossible for the intelligence of an adult to equal that of a child. Labeling of kids is contemptible.  Terman’s reply was sarcastic and hostile.

40 Later Controversies  Cyril Burt’s twin studies – did he fake his data?  No way to know for certain, but Burt’s findings have been replicated by other researchers.  Debates over social bias in testing arose in the 1940s & 1950s (working class vs upper class).  Debates over racial bias arose in the 1960s with Arthur Jensen’s claim that IQs cannot be raised.  The Bell Curve (Herrnstein & Murray) in 1994 reignited debates about racial differences.

41 Current Trends  Earl Hunt, Robert Sternberg & Howard Gardner have proposed cognitive approaches studying the knowledge structures underlying intelligent behavior  Hunt developed the “cognitive correlates” approach, correlating response times with scores on cognitive tasks.  Sternberg proposed a “cognitive components” approach decomposing performance on analogies into a series of cognitive processes.

42 Current Trends (Cont.)  Gardner proposed a “theory of multiple intelligences” based on a decomposition of factors contributing to performance.  This recapitulates the debate between Spearman and Thurstone over “g” – a single factor correlating performance across multiple tests, versus specific skills.  There remain few alternatives to objective, group- administered standardized tests and intelligence testing remains controversial today.


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