Critical Response

Anastasi was rather quiet in her revolution of ideas. She was one of many psychologists teaching and making discoveries at roughly the same time through their research. She had been inspired by her love of mathematics, and from the career of Charles Edward Spearman, whose hard work in experimental psychology and psychometrics brought about the opening of the first psychological research center in Britain. James McKeen Cattell began his work defining differential psychology in the early twentieth century. This experimental psychologist who met Francis Galton after leaving Wundt in Leipzig was inspired by Galton's work on individual differences. Anastasi is a descendent of those who first defined differential psychology.

The simple fact that Anastasi's texts remain the standard for students of psychological testing, and that all of her books have gone into several revised editions, shows that her work has achieved critical success. She was in a different situation than some other psychologists might have been. Anastasi was a tenacious and determined researcher while also being a devoted and gifted teacher. She functioned as a messenger as well, relating and responding to as much of the work of her contemporary researchers as possible. Her own ideas were continually evolving. As research became available that might have changed what she had deemed true, Anastasi let valid scientific evidence change her perspective.

In his introduction to Differential Psychology, Hollingworth called attention to the necessity of the work she was doing. He wrote that the tale of human diversity needed "constantly to be rewritten." Anastasi was doing that.

Especially it needs now to be written by one who can hold prejudice at a minimum, who is equipped with technical tools and native endowment to know and to expose sources of error, to evaluate reported data in terms of the recent refinements of statistical and mathematical method, and who has, by virtue of original contributions to this field, demonstrated a competence therein and achieved contemporary authority.

Hollingworth had more or less hand-picked his former student for her first teaching position at Barnard College of Columbia University. Although he was also her friend, he was a professional who viewed Anastasi with careful and critical consideration regarding what she brought and would continue to bring to the field of differential psychology.

What is evident in the discussion of Anastasi's work is the praise she received, especially following her death. John Hogan, of St. John's University, recalled in his tribute that, "For Anastasi, there was nothing mysterious about psychological tests. They were simply tools, and their effectiveness depended on the skill and integrity of the examiner." Anastasi herself had objections to the way some testing was done, and the way results might have been interpreted. According to Takooshian, "Far more than other psychometricians, Anne consistently emphasized the limitation of psychological tests, their environmental and cultural contexts, and the value of qualitative information."

Anastasi was still in her 20s when she entered into a debate with L.L. Thurstone (1887-1955) on the subject of personality traits. The first president of the Psychometric Society, Thurstone was a well-known psychometrician and psychologist, and almost 50 at the time. He was educated as an electrical engineer and had been offered a job with Thomas Edison in developing his motion picture techniques. However, psychology interested him enough to abandon engineering and

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