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Jan 11 notes Wakefield case, Early history of testing and assessment, Broca, Binet, intelligence, mental levels, IQ, Henry Goddard, DSM III and IV, Axis

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York University
PSYC 3140
Robert Muller

Andrew Wakefield- published a study about a link between autism and vaccinations. This study caused a big stir; people found a reason why their child was so distant, so uncommunicative. The study had a HUGE impact but the problem was that it was based on faulty experimentation. If you don’t give a child a vaccine, the child gets the disease and then spread it to other kids and you have outbreaks. In 2009, it was discovered that the information was faulty. The sample size was 12, and 5 of the children were autistic before the vaccinations. There was a major decreased in vaccinations, especially in Britain. However, there is NO connection between vaccination and autism. The Lancet- is a well known medical journal that is agreed as irrefutable. The study was published in that journal which is a little weird for the sample was really small. Problems with Wakefield’s study  Studies about aspirin had 10,000 participants in their studies while this study by Wakefield only had 12 participants! How was it published in the Lancet in the first place?  Study was based on parent recollections, which is bad too. Memory is not accurate; parents recollect information inaccurately and unreliably.  His conclusions went way beyond the data. Early history of testing and assessment  Craniometry- the measurement of brain weights to measure intelligence. o Broca- was a surgeon who looked at cranium capacities who studied men and women and concluded that men were more intelligent than women due to their bigger brains. Cranial capacities of prehistoric people- prehistoric people’s skulls were smaller therefore believed his theory was correct. However, correlation doesn’t prove causation; he didn’t even establish that correlation, all he found was that men’s size of the brain was bigger and their capacities are greater. He failed to account for body mass. There’s a clear and logical flaw (alternate explanation); men are just plain bigger than women and brain is proportional. It turns out that when you factor in statistically body size, there is no difference between men and women. Men the same size as women have the same size of brain.  What does this mean? Could anybody publish a study like this today? Are we th way smarter than they were in the 18 century? Probably not. Broca was not dumb, so how could such an obvious error (to us) could go past him?  He was looking for an answer WHY men were smarter than women so looked for something to justify what he supposedly already knew.  People follow the trends of the era; the zeitgeist. Broca was a product of the dominant thinking of the time (zeitgeist). o Steven J. Gull is the one of figured out that Broca failed to factor out the whole body mass issue.  Intelligence and IQ o Alfred Binet- was a self taught psychologist and studies his own children and looked at their cognitive functioning (an inspiration to Piaget who also studied his own children). His joined a society that wanted to get rid of the old pedagogy and the way people taught child rearing. People relied on the bible and other religious texts as methods to rear children. Traditional thinking about child rearing tends to be fairly conservative and repressive. That’s what the old pedagogy based on and Binet wanted to get away from that. He was asked to come up a measurement to diagnose children who needed help with school.  He developed a test in order to be able to deal with those children and this was the first intelligence test. When it was brought to the US it was then called the Stanford- Binet test. He actually didn’t like the idea of IQ (intelligence quotient); he talked about mental levels and felt that it was important to look at whether the child functions in a level that could be expected from his age group. If you had a child who was 8 years old and was behaving in the level of a 4 year old, you could quantify it and compare it to the expected level. It is easier to communicate “your child who is in grade 4 functions in math in the level of a grade 2 child” than saying “your kid has an IQ of 63”. When you say it the first way, it means there’s something to do about it. It speaks to all the questions about the remediation and change. Labelling can be disempowering; the idea of diagnosis is limited and problematic. Parents may not understand what you tell them in terms of numbers or scientific terminology.  Binet was actually really concerned about using a certain kind of language in order for intelligence tests be used productively in the service of the individual. He always thought that the child should be compared to children in their age group and also thought that mental levels (not mental quotients) can be improved with proper instruction (big on remediation).  When you give a number (whenever you measure something and quantify it), it gives an allusion of scientific validity; the finding seems a lot more real. That’s what happened with IQ tests, it made it seem much more reliable and scientific. “Scientism”- when things look and sound scientific because they got numbers and fancy machines attached to them. That’s a huge problem in terms of public perception of validity. A lot of what happens in terms of scientific knowledge is in terms of perceptions.  Believed in:  Mental levels not mental quotient  Mental levels can change; remediation  Children need to be compared to children in their age group  Stern changed Binet’s idea; felt that mental age was too fixed, carved in stone. Came up with the following formula for IQ=MA/CA*100 (nowadays this kind of formula is no longer used for IQ). Average for that was a 100. If you give people a number it’s demoralizing. Binet had wanted the scales to be used to improve education but many of the test’s translations to other languages were done without restandardization.  All tests can be standardized- finding out what the average (below and above) speed is for a particular task. “In North America, a man in a certain age would solve this problem after so and so minutes”. If you take a test and you want to bring it to another test, you need to translate it but also restandardize it. Have to be able to change the test so it’s fair relative to the culture in which it’s given. If not a lot of people don’t drive a car in a country and you give a problem that involves driving a car, people are going to have a harder time solving it but it doesn’t mean people are more stupid. Tests can be culturally biased and that can be a big problem. o Henry Goddard- brought Binet’s scales to the US and wanted to translate the scale to the feeble minded and discussed eugenics. Saw feeble mindedness to be a family issue. Wanted to do somethin
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