Binet compared to Galton and Cattell

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The failure of Galton's and Cattell's intelligence tests opened the door for Binet to develop a more practical alternative. He succeeded where they had failed at devising a test that was related to intelligent behavior in real life. Today, most useful intelligence tests for people of all ages are still based on Binet's model. Such tests require people to use several mental abilities to perform a broad range of complex tasks.

One factor that may have helped Binet succeed was his choice of study population. Galton and his followers had been mainly interested in studying intelligence in adults at the high end of the ability range. Binet, in contrast, was interested in testing the intelligence of children at the low end. Because he worked with children, Binet was able to see the way intelligence developed over time. And because he looked at less advanced mental processes, basic patterns may have been easier to notice.

Binet's own studies of very creative adults, such as dramatists, had found that there was great individuality and complexity in higher-order abilities. When the Binet-Simon Scale was introduced, Binet noted that some children had a mental level that was a year or more ahead of their age in years. Were these children destined to grow up into very bright and talented adults? At first, Binet believed that it might be possible to answer that question by extending his scale upward. By 1908, however, he had developed doubts. The mixture of mental abilities measured by his test had only been shown to be something that prevented people from being retarded. They had not been shown to be the source of high ability, talent, or genius. Therefore, the very nature of the "intelligence" measured by Binet's test seemed to be rather different from the "intelligence" Galton had had in mind.

Another major difference between Binet and Galton was their position on the nature-nurture debate. Galton mainly focused on the nature side of the equation. He viewed the upper limits of a person's ability as fixed by genetics rather than culture. Binet, in contrast, was more interested in the role of nurture. He believed that cultural factors played a large role in shaping an individual's mental abilities. He also stressed that intelligence was changeable within limits through proper education.

Because Binet saw culture and intelligence as closely related, he had no qualms about including culturally based items on his test. Of course, this meant that the test was only valid for people who came from a certain background. Galton's and Cattell's physiological tests, on the other hand, would have been more applicable to people from many different backgrounds—if only they had worked.

By a twist of fate, both Galton and Binet died in 1911. After the two men's deaths, a strange thing occurred: Binet's scale was immediately taken up by scientists whose views and goals were otherwise much closer to Galton's. Clearly, Binet's test survived because it had practical value. The theory behind the test, however, was not as quickly embraced. In part, this may have been because Binet himself was always more interested in measuring intelligence than in explaining it within a theoretical framework.

It may also have been due, in part, however, to the way the two scientists led their lives. At the time of their deaths, Galton was an old man, long past his active research days, while Binet was still in the prime of his career. Yet Galton held greater sway in scientific circles. During the last years of his life, Galton drummed up considerable support for his eugenics program and the hereditary theory of intelligence. Binet, on the other hand, had gained far fewer followers. As a result, the next generation of intelligence testers tended to use Binet's techniques to advance Galton's ideas.

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  • kevin
    How are binet and cattell different?
    8 years ago
  • chica
    What is the difference between galton and cattell test vs binet?
    7 years ago
  • mollie
    How to trranslate cattell to binet?
    7 years ago
  • temshe
    What were differences in regard to intelligence for Galton and Binet?
    6 years ago
  • peter
    What are the differences between galton and cattell?
    4 years ago
  • Venla
    How did binets approach to the study of mental events differ from galtons and cattells?
    4 years ago
  • joan
    What is the difference between Galton's approach and Binet's approach to measuring intelligence?
    4 years ago
  • reagan
    How is Wundt differ from Galton, Binet, & Cattell?
    3 years ago
  • Bellisima
    How does Wundt differe from Binet, Galton and Cattell?
    3 years ago
  • zewdi
    How did the work of Wundt differ from that of Galton?
    3 years ago
  • mhret idris
    What is test in galton tradition?
    3 years ago
  • tina johnson
    How did the work of Wundt differ from that of Galton, Binet, and James McKeen Cattell?
    2 years ago
  • heli
    What was binets approach to test construction?
    2 years ago
  • mathias
    How did Galton influence Cattell?
    1 year ago
  • eija tervo
    Did galton test muscle power?
    1 year ago
  • Faye
    What were the similarities of galton and cattell?
    11 months ago
  • wolfgang
    What are your views on Galton?
    11 months ago

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