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PSYCH101 Lecture Notes - Intelligence Quotient, Jean Piaget, Mental Chronometry

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Richard Ennis

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Intelligence & I.Q.
Francis Galton (18221911): Was English and was rich, well connected socially and was dramatically outperformed by
other students in school. Was involved in many of today‟s technology, like:
o The discovery of normal distribution
o Correlation co-efficient
o Discovery of using finger examination
o High and low pressures in metrology
Was also an explorer- and had travelled around Africa-which became a best-seller. His cousin wrote to him too.
This led him to believe in the idea of intelligence- and that he believed intelligence was inherited. Success and
geniuses stemmed around the family tree. His family tree had many successful people, which led him to believe
that intelligence was biological.
Biological: Powerful and efficient brain and nervous system, determined by heredity.
o So he had set out to create an intelligence test needing proof to prove his hypothesis
o He would measure the circumference of your head
o Reaction time tests (Invented word-association test). He would also flash lights, and you would have to
stop it
o Would blindfold you and then have you weigh two weights- adding the smallest increment to see if you
could determine which one is heavier
o As well, he took family background (Invented the self-report questionnaire). He wanted to see if there
was a correlation between those who had a good or bad family history depending on the size of your head,
reaction-time, etc.
Then Charles Darwin‟s (cousin) book came out, and had him wondering whether it was selection that had families
evolve faster and better
Then he had developed Eugenics: Families that have superior gene stocks. Upper society was much more
intelligent than the lower-society. Eventually he didn‟t believe that theory
Determined that should breed intelligence like horses. Those who were intelligence should be given the best of
everything as soon as possible- why waste resources who were not as competent- because you want to make the
best of the best, stemming from young children
Charles Darwin believed that intelligence was being able to cope with your environment, and didn‟t agree with his
cousins point of view
Alfred Binet (1857-1922): Was well off, wealthily, but was interested in psychology. So he went to the Institute of
Psychology in France, and did not agree with Galton.
Intelligence according to Binet was:
o “The tendency to take and maintain a definite direction; the capacity to make adaptions for the purpose
of attaining a desired end; and the power of auto-criticism”
o Very flexible and pragmatic definition
o Intelligence was not fixed, but grows naturally with time
o Loose collection of various capabilities
e.g. memory, attention, reasoning
o Tied together by good judgement or “good sense”
o Eventually he gave up on it, until the French government instilled national education for all children
So then the French government wanted to know what level of education children who had never had an education,
What was the mental age of the children, since he know the chronological age of the change
Therefore he had invented another intelligence test- a comparative standard measured
What was the mental age of all of the years? So he had sample questionnaires for each age, seeing on average
when they stop giving the right answers- then that is the stopping point.
o Jean Piaget was one of the workers- but he eventually got bored
Binet finally established an intelligence test, measure the intelligence of children. Examples:
o Two Year Olds
Followed lighted match with eyes
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