Alfred Binet

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Alfred Binet (July 8, 1857 – October 18, 1911), French psychologist and inventor of the first usable intelligence test, known at that time as Binet test basically today called IQ test. His principal goal was to identify students who needed special help in coping with the school curriculum. Along with his collaborator Théodore Simon, Binet published revisions of his intelligence scale in 1908 and 1911, the last appearing just before his death.

A further refinement of the Binet-Simon scale was published in 1916 by Lewis M. Terman, from Stanford University, who incorporated William Stern's proposal that an individual's intelligence level be measured as an (I.Q.). Terman's test, which he named the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale formed the basis for one of the modern intelligence tests still commonly used today. They are all colloquially known as IQ tests.


Early years

Binet was born as Alfredo Binetti in Nice, at the time part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. He was the only child of a physician father and an artist mother. His parents separated when he was young, and Binet then moved to Paris with his mother. He attended law school, and earned his degree in 1878. He planned on going to medical school, but decided that his interest in psychology was more important.

Reading books by Charles Darwin, Alexander Bain and others, Binet became a somewhat self-taught psychologist. Introverted and a loner, this self-educating suited him.

Binet and Chess

Binet had done a series of experiments to see how well chess players played when blind folded. He wanted to test their knowledge of the game from memory. He found that only the master chess players could play from memory. They weren't able to do it the first time, but the second time they were mostly successful. This experiment proved the game wasn't from memory.

Education and early career

Binet attended law school in Paris, and received his degree in 1878. He also studied Natural Sciences at the Sorbonne. His first formal job was as a researcher at a neurological clinic, Salpetriere Hospital, in Paris from 1883–1889. From there, Binet went on to being a researcher and associate director of the Laboratory of Experimental Psychology at the Sorbonne from 1891–1894. In 1894, he was promoted to being the director of the laboratory until 1911 (his death). After receiving his law degree in 1878, Alfred Binet began to study science at the Sorbonne. However, he was not overly interested in his formal schooling, and started educating himself by reading psychology texts at the National Library in Paris. He soon became fascinated with the ideas of John Stuart Mill, who believed that the operations of intelligence could be explained by the laws of associationism. Binet eventually realized the limitations of this theory, but Mill's ideas continued to influence his work.

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