The History of IQ Test
The testing of a person’s mental strength or intelligence on the large scale can be traced to the first one that was carried out in China, during the imperial examination system, but the way it was carried out is different from what is obtainable today. The new and modern way of testing the IQ of an individual as seen today is one that is traceable back to the 19th century; the tests that were carried out in France. At that time, the carrying out of IQ tests was able to help in the reduction of ridicule and neglect that was experienced by mentally ill and mentally retarded persons because the persons that belong to each category were separatable by the test.
The” origin of species”, a publication of Charles Darwin (published in 1859) is one that is given credit as that which spurred the interest of researchers in the concept of IQ. Although, there is need to mention here that several studies on the small scale were carried out prior to this time on things bordering on intelligence. The publication of Darwin’s theory is that which made the British Scientist, Francis Galton to become interested in trying to discover the link between human ability and heredity. He was interested in disproving the general belief that the majority of people that lived at that time were intelligent and that it was just a small percentage of the population who fall into the category of genius or idiot. Galton’s belief, which he tried to prove, was that the traits of human as regards mental traits, was something that has its basis on physical factors.
The idea that Galton has about intelligence was later influenced by the works of Lambert Adolphe Jaccques Quetelet, a Belgian statistician who applied statistically based methods to his study of human characteristics. Quetelet discovered that the majority of the population observed have the tendency to fall between two extremes and he noticed that the number of people that make it to the two extreme are significantly low. Galton was able to make a scientific publication out of his idea when he published a book he titled “Hereditary Genius”.
One of Galton’s student, James McKeen Cattell got Galton’s idea about hereditary intelligence and IQ tests introduced to America in the 1890s and was given a warm welcome which lead to its popularity for a period of time. In the process of time however, the IQ tests of Cattell lost his wide popularity because of the invisible link that was noticed between scoring high in the IQ test and academic performance of students. The problem is that which brought Alfred Benet to the limelight.
The interest of Alfred Binet was in the measuring and testing of human capabilities. Binet preoccupied himself in getting understanding on intelligence by making use of trial and error methods, working with two groups of students- mentally handicapped and average. Under observation, he discovered that the mentally average students could handle some task which the handicapped could not.