“Intelligence is an individual’s ability in a range of tasks including vocabulary, verbal reasoning, number and problem solving” ( Brain & Mukherji, 2005).
One main aim in the history of measuring intelligence was to improve childrens chances, as it was thought that if children of lower intelligence were given additional help and teaching they would improve. For the purpose of this essay, reference will be made to Francis Galton (1822-1911), a pioneer of intelligence testing and also Alfred Binet (1857-1911) who was responsible for designing the first intelligence test at the beginning of the twentieth century. This essay will also examine modern methods of intelligence testing.
Francis Galton (1822-1911) was a cousin of Charles Darwin, the man who was known for his theory of evolution in the late nineteenth century. Galton was inspired by Darwin and like him, he strongly believed in positive eugenics, the project to improve the human race through selective breeding. Combining the idea of natural selection with his own beliefs, Galton produced a eugenicist view of intelligence as he wanted to use a measure of intelligence to decide who would pair off with whom in order to create the best race. ( Brain & Mukherji, 2005).
In 1844, visitors that attended the International Health Exhibition in London’s South Kensington museum became the first large sample to take Galtons intelligence test when he used his “Anthropometric Laboratory”. In the tests Galton constructed, he started with physical measures including head size and strength of hand grip. Other measures that occurred to Galton were reaction time, visual activity, breathing
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