What is the Age of Intelligence, How is it Calculated?June 26, 2021
Leaving Salpetriere and moving to the Physiological Psychology Laboratory marked the beginning of a new era in Binet’s life. In these years, Binet, who became a father for two consecutive years, started to make observations at home as well as laboratory studies and systematically followed the developmental processes of his children.
In his research published on this subject starting from 1890, he claimed that there was no difference in some psychophysiological index measurements for children and adults. He compiled these studies, in which the foundations of the concept of “age of intelligence”, one of his most important discoveries, were laid in his book Etüde experimentale de l’intelli-gence (“Experimental Study of Intelligence”) in 1903.
Binet began to establish and root experimental psychology in France in the 1890s. Binet was not really interested in physiological psychology, nor in the senses like the German psychologists. While he was in Salpetriere, he started to focus on the integrity of personal processes as a result of Taine’s views and observations on his daughters. Thus, like Wundt, one of the leading psychologists of the period, he turned to develop an individual psychology that preserves the integrity of the human being, based on complex cognitive processes, not a general psychology on simple senses. There is no doubt that Darwin’s evolutionist views, which attach great importance to individual differences, and the work of Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, on this subject were influential in Binet’s development of this approach.
As a result of the observations he made on Binet’s children, he started to see intelligence as a feature that is reflected in all behaviors of the individual and argued that this feature, which is found even in young children, can be measured through questions that require complex evaluations. Continuing his studies in this direction, Binet also pioneered Piaget by arguing that children’s use of logic develops gradually.
In an article he published with his colleague Henri in 1896, Binet talked about a project to develop a series of tests to evaluate ten different personal functions, but was unable to complete it. According to Binet, the most important problem in this regard is that cognitive functions such as memory, cognition and attention cannot be measured individually; that each individual reflects the same basic holistic, cognitive process. Although the result was unsuccessful, these studies between 1896 and 1904 were preparatory stages for Binet’s later discovery.
The turning point in Binet’s development was the intelligence test he developed in 1905. In 1899, Binet began working with Theodore Simon, a physician in Perray-Vauclusese, where retarded and abnormal children and adults were staying. The director of the institution, Dr. Blin was also interested in measuring the cognitive processes of retards. Blin and his student Damaye created a rough test of general intelligence to distinguish between the three levels of retardation (idiot, imbecile, and moron) recognized at the time. While this test had some inaccuracies, it did provide a clue to Binet that different cognitive functions could be evaluated not individually, but to the extent that they were reflected in concrete behavior. Accordingly, the intelligence test was not an experimental tool that simplifies complex phenomena, but a tool that evaluates complexity as it is.
Thus, Binet started to progress towards conceptualizing intelligence not as a process consisting of individual abilities, but as a general ability that is reflected in the entire behavior of the individual, but has not yet been successful in developing a scale that evaluates this general ability. He needed some other clues to make this final breakthrough and realize his breakthrough in the world of psychology. One of these became evident as a result of Binet’s activities in the working group La Societe. This association was open to anyone interested in the psychological study of children, and its members included teachers, school principals, lawyers, doctors, psychologists, sociologists, and parents. Founded by education professor Ferdinand Buisson, the association came under the management of Binet after a while, continued its activities under the name La Societe Alfred Binet after Binet’s death and continued to publish the bulletin developed by Binet.
Intelligence Age Concept and Intelligence Test
The test published by Binet and Simon in 1905 was a preliminary study and a method for obtaining a total score had not yet been specified. In the test developed in 1908, the concept of “age of intelligence” was used for the first time. The questions that children of all ages between 3 and 12 were expected to answer correctly were determined. The questions, the number of which was increased to 58, were clustered according to the answers expected from each age group. Accordingly, the evaluator could determine the age matching the set of questions that a child answered correctly as the intellectual age of that child. This test became the first objective and applicable intelligence assessment tool in the world. Binet published an even more advanced version of the test in 1911.
Binet’s test had repercussions in psychology, education, and medicine. With some researchers who see intelligence not as a whole but as piecemeal functions.