Who is Alfred Binet?December 13, 2020
Alfred Binet is a French psychologist and thinker who lived between July 8, 1857 and October 18, 1911. He received his university education at the University of Paris.
It is he who defines the concept of sexual fetishism. He is also the creator of Intelligence tests and has made important contributions to the evaluation of individual differences.
His father was a doctor, and his mother was a painter. He took his curiosity to observe concrete facts from the medical tradition in his family, and his interest in art from his mother. At one point in his life he was interested in the psychological aspects of painting and literature, and wrote some successful theater plays. He studied high school in Nice and Paris, studied law, and at the age of twenty he gave the first exam for his doctorate in law. Around this time he became interested in psychology and never worked as a lawyer. He started to study psychology on his own, as he was able to earn a living with family income.
Binet’s interest in psychology began in 1877, when he met Théodule-Armand Ribot, one of the important philosophers of the day. The 1870-1880s were the years when the foundations of scientific psychology were laid in France. Hyppolyte Taine, one of the pioneers of this trend, took the first steps with his work called Intelligence (“Intelligence”) in 1870 and stated that unlike the German psychologist Wundt, cognitive functions cannot be separated from all psychological functions. Ribot, following in Teine’s footsteps, argued that psychology should get rid of the influence of philosophy and take natural sciences as an example, as in England and Germany. Binet became more interested in psychology at Ribot’s suggestion, and wrote his first article on experimental psychology in 1880.
In those years, the most intensive research studies on psychology and psychiatry in France were carried out in Salpetriere Hospital under the direction of the famous psychiatrist Charcot. Binet also joined Charcot’s circle in 1882 and started working on psychopathology. Charcot founded the Physiological Psychology Association for the first time in 1885, and the first international Congress of Psychology was chaired by it in 1889.
In this environment, Binet started to work and broadcast with his colleague Fere, especially on hypnosis and animal magnetism. During this period, my books such as La psychologie du raisonnement (“Psychology of Reasoning”), Animal Magnetism (“Animal Magnetism”), On Double Consciousness (“Double Consciousness), Les Alterations de la Personality (” Personality Changes “), along with Fere. released. Although this period was fruitful, it did not produce fully successful results for Binet. With the excitement of developing new concepts, young Binet had done some experiments that did not comply with scientific rules and published the results of these in the books listed above. He made a scientific error, especially in the argument that magnets have an effect on individuals’ behavior and emotions.
This view had been put forward by his teacher Charcot before. Experienced researcher admitted Delboeuf’s mistake on this subject as a result of his criticism. These publications, which are the products of Binet’s youth, still occupy an important place among the works of the period. Binet accused Charcot of turning a blind eye to his students’ mistakes in later years.
While Binet was working at Salpetriere, he began studying biology in the laboratory of his father-in-law Ballrani, who was a professor of histology. As a result of these studies, he received his doctorate in natural sciences at the age of thirty-seven.
Ribot was appointed as the head of the experimental psychology chair established at the Sorbonne in 1889, and the physiologist Beaunis was the head of the physiological psychology laboratory. Beaunis invited Binet to work together, and Binet left Salpetriere in 1891 and moved to the Sorbonne. After Beaunis retired in 1895, he was appointed as the director of the laboratory and continued in this position until his death. The same year he started publishing the journal L’Annee Psycbologique (“Psychology Yearbook”).
– What is the mental age?
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Ömer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Department of Sociology 1st Class “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2., 3., 4. Class “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook