Evolution of IQ Tests
By Adriana George
"Know yourself" is an ancient adage.
"Know your IQ." is modem craze.
The Greeks bequeathed to us the former. The British bequeathed to us the latter. It was left to the Americans to make a scientific fad out of them.
"Modern psychoanalysts believe", says H. J. Eysenck "nevertheless there is no doubt that most people have an Intense interest in their own personality, temperament, intelligence, traits, abilities, complexes, and so forth."
What Is IQ?
It is wrong to believe that IQ tests are developed and constructed according to a rational derived from sound scientific theory. There are also some difficulties encountered in going from the ivory tower to the market place. But there is no such thing as alleged inapplicability of psychological science to practical problems of applied life.
IQ tests, right from the beginning, have been outstandingly successful in their practical application. The evidence on this part is overwhelming. Useful measurements can be undertaken even in the absence of a sound theoretical basis.
Temperature, for example, can be measured in subjective terms. This was enunciated by the physicist Dolbear, in 1297, working with snowy tree cricket. His formula runs as follows: "Count the number of chirps this animal produce in fifteen seconds and add forty; the sum is the temperature obtaining at the time in degree Fahrenheit."
It was the French psychologist, Binet, who cane up with the theory that mental abilities and functions should be measured by means of mental tests (IQ tests) clearly involving these functions and abilities. In 1904 the Ministry of Public Instruction in Paris appointed a commission to study procedures for the education of mentally sub-normal children attending Paris schools, and it was in response to this practical demand that Binet prepared his first scale.
Binet constructed a series of thirty problems or test which were meant to call for judgment, comprehension and reasoning. The problems were of such a nature that these could be understood and solved without benefit of special school learning.
"This is a garden in which you have lost your ball. This gap represents the entrance. Use your pencil to show we how you would search for the ball"
Any systematic search, i.e., in ever-decreasing circle or going up and down along parallel paths, is counted a correct solution. While a vague wandering about is considered incorrect.
The problems varied widely in difficulty, and Binet graded them from the easiest to the most difficult by noticing the percentage of right answers given by the various group of children.
The IQ tests has achieved immediate popularity, and in spite of its many imperfections it has remained probably one of the most widely known psychological concepts among teachers, psychiatrists, social workers, and others connected in some way with psychology.
The author is an Editor with 3SmartCubes.com