In July of 1905, the first version of the Simon-Scale of intelligence was published in L’Annee Psychologique. Up until this point, there was no reliable standardized test for intelligence in existence; except for the Western world, the test was not widely accepted or used until after Binet’s death, not until the late 1920’s for France. The development of this test is what Binet is most recognized for today, as it was able to establish a “progressive metric scale of intelligence”. The test was created within only a few weeks, consisting of 5 subtests and 25 abstract questions that had been based on fifteen years of Binet’s research; certain sections, including the test which measured short-term memory and produced by Jacobs in 1887, were directly taken from other studies. The sample size for testing the validity of the original Binet-Simon scale only consisted of 50 children. It was also the first intelligence test to arrange the questions in order of ascending difficulty; this concept is still used in the current versions of the Standford-Binet scale being used today. Many of the subtests as well as specific questions in the test being used today were also included in the original 1905 scale.
From 1905 until his death in 1911, Binet spent a large amount of his time revising his test, though he was still able to make time for other endeavors. He published more than 100 articles on courtroom testimony, psychotic patients, language, mental fatigue and it’s effects on intellectual performance, and others that focused on his progression of revisions for the intelligence test. In October 1905, Binet established the laboratory-school at Grange-aud-Belles, where he continued his research along with Simon. In January of 1907, the first of five experimental “special” classes were opened up Paris. The same year, he found that 5% of children that had difficulty in school were not mentally handicapped, but it was due to the fact that they could not see the blackboard. Binet and Simon then produced a vision test that was easy enough for teachers to use; another example of a small contribution made by Binet.
From 1909-1910, Binet and Simon worked together on publishing a series of articles focused on mental deficiencies and psychoses, titled “mental alienation”; these articles became popular and were widely used in medical schools for over 15 years after Binet’s death. Both Binet and Simon also revised the intelligence test once in 1908 and another revision in 1911; this time more effort was placed validating these subsequent versions with a larger sample of children. At the age of 54, Binet died due to a cerebral hemorrhage.
Binet gained most of his popularity through his development of the first standardized intelligence test, and probably one of his most significant contributions. Even though Binet never intended for his test to quantify a person’s intellectual ability, psychologists continued to use, revise and interpret it in their own way. Louis William Stern started the idea of an intelligent quotient by taking a ratio of mental age over chronological age. Shortly after, Lewis M. Terman went ahead and multiplied that quotient by 100, the resulting number what we now refer to as the “IQ”. Although Binet would probably not agree with the way his test has been used to quantify intelligence, without his work, intelligence testing would not have progressed the way it has.
For most of his life, he spent most of his time focused on other intellectual efforts other than the test; he never even held a job in a paid position. His ability to conduct research was only possible because of his independent income. He made contributions in many academic fields including natural sciences, physiology, and many areas of psychology. As noted throughout the paper, in many cases his methods used and his suggestions based off his research actually predated better-known studies. Over his lifetime he wrote over 200 reviews, books, and articles that were published in various journals. He even founded many journals himself, some of which are still produced today, including: Intermediaire des Biologistes. , Bulletin des Travaux du Laboratoire de Psychologie Physiologique, Physiologie et Psychologie, Botanique, as well as Annee Psychologique.
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