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Chapter 2

PSYC37 - Chapter 2.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Anthony C Ruocco

Psychological Testing – Chapter 2 – The history of Psychological Testing The origins of psychological testing Rudimentary forms of testing date back to 2200 B.C. in China. The Chinese emperors used gruelling written exams to select officials for civil service. In the mid-to late 1800’s, several physicians and psychiatrist developed standardized procedures to reveal the nature and extent of symptoms in the mentally ill and brain injured. For example, in 1885, Hubert von Grashey developed the precursor to the memory drum to test visual recognition skill of brain-injured patients. Modern psychological testing owes its inception to the era of brass instruments psychology that flourished in Europe during the late 1800s. By testing sensory thresholds and reaction times, pioneer test developers such as Sir Francis Galton demonstrated that it was possible to measure the mind in an objective and replicable manner Wilhelm Wundt founded the first psychological laboratory in 1879 in Leipzig, Germany. Included among his earlier investigations was his 1862 attempt to measure the speed of thought with the thought metre, a calibrated pendulum with needles sticking off from each side The first reference to mental tests occurred in 1890 in a classic paper by James McKeen Cattell, an American psychologist who had studied with Galton. Cattell imported the brass instruments approach to the US One of Cattell’s students, Clark Wissler, showed that reaction time and sensory discrimination measures did not correlate with college grades, thereby redirecting the mental-testing movement away from brass instruments In the late 1800’s, a newfound humanism toward the mentally retarded, reflected in the diagnostic and remedial work of French physicians Esquirol and Seguin, helped create the necessity for early intelligence tests Alfred Binet, who was to invent the first true intelligence test, began his career by studying hysterical paralysis with the French neurologist Charcot. Binet’s claim that magnetism could cure hysteria was, to his pained embarrassment, disproved. Shortly thereafter, he switched interests and conducted sensory-perceptual studies, using his children as subjects In 1905, Binet and Simon developed the first useful intelligence test in Paris, France. Their simple 30-item measure of mainly higher mental functions helped identify schoolchildren who could not profit from regular instruction. Curiously, there was no method for scoring the test In 1908, Binet and Simon published a revised 58-item scale that incorporated the concept of mental level. In 1911, a third revision of the Binet-Simon scales appeared. Each age level now had exactly five tests; the scale extended into the adult range In 1912, Stern proposed dividing the mental age by the chronological age to obtain an intelligence quotient. In 1916, Terman suggeste
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