Alfred Binay and Simon Binay Intelligence Scale

Alfred Binet is a French psychologist who is remembered for developing the first widely used intelligence test. The test originated from the French government commissioning Binay to develop a tool that can identify schoolchildren who need tutoring. Together with his collaborator, Theodore Simon, they created the Binay-Simon Intelligence Scale.

Lewis Terman later revised the scale and standardized the test with subjects drawn from a sample of the United States. The test was called the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale. This test is still in use today and is still one of the most widely used intelligence tests.

most famous

  • Binay-Simon Intelligence Scale
  • Stanford-Binet IQ Test

early life

Alfred Binay is born Alfredo Binetti July 8, 1857, in Nice, France. His father was a doctor and his mother was an artist. He divorced when he was very young. Binay then moved to Paris with his mother.

After graduating from law school in 1878, Binay originally planned to follow in his father’s footsteps to enter medical school. He began to study science at Sorbonne University, but soon began to learn psychology by himself by reading the works of Charles Darwin and John Stewart Mill.

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Under the guidance of Jean-Martin Charcot, Binay began working at the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris. Later, he was transferred to the deputy director and researcher of the Experimental Psychology Laboratory. In 1894, Binay was appointed director of the laboratory, a position he held until his death in 1911.

Binet’s early support for Charco’s hypnotism research caused professional embarrassment, when Charco’s ideas were shaken under stricter scientific evaluation. He quickly turned his interest to the study of development and intelligence, and his research was often based on observations of his two daughters.

Although Alfred Binay’s interests are wide and varied, he is best known for his work on the subject of intelligence. The French government asked Binay to develop a test to identify students with learning disabilities or who need special assistance in school.

Binay Intelligence Test

Binay and colleague Theodore Simon developed a series of tests designed to assess mental abilities. Binay did not focus on learning information such as math and reading, but on other mental abilities such as concentration and memory. The scale they developed is called the Binay-Simon Intelligence Scale.

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The test was later revised by psychologist Lewis Terman and was called Stanford-Binet. Although Binay’s original intention was to use the test to identify children who needed additional academic help, the test soon became a means of identifying people considered “mentally handicapped” by the eugenics movement.

Eugenics is the now debunked belief that by controlling who can have children, the population can be genetically improved. By doing so, eugenicists believe that they can produce more ideal genetic characteristics.

This change in the way the test is used is worth noting because Binay himself believes that the intelligence test he designed has limitations. He believes that intelligence is complex and cannot be fully captured by a single quantitative measurement. He also believes that intelligence is not fixed.

Perhaps most importantly, Binay also believes that this measure of intelligence is not always universal and can only be applied to children with similar backgrounds and experiences.

Alfred Binay’s contribution to psychology

Today, Alfred Binay is often considered one of the most influential psychologists in history. Although his intelligence scale is the basis of modern intelligence tests, Binay himself does not believe that his test measures permanent or innate intelligence. According to Binay, individual scores may vary. He also suggested that factors such as motivation and other variables can affect test scores.

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Featured Publications

Binay, A. (1916). A new method for the diagnosis of low normal intelligence. In ES Kite (Trans.), The development of children’s intelligence. Vineland, New Jersey: Publication of the Vineland Training School. (Originally published in 1905 Annie Psychology, 12, 191-244. )

Binay. A., & Simon, T. (1916). Children’s intellectual development. Baltimore, Williams and Wilkins. (Reprinted in 1973, New York: Arno Press; Salem, New Hampshire, 1983: Ayer Company).

In his own words

“Some recent philosophers seem to have given moral approval to these sad judgments. These judgments affirm that personal intelligence is a fixed amount, an amount that cannot be increased. We must protest and oppose this cruel pessimism; we Will try to prove that it is built on nothingness.”-Alfred Binay, Les ideées modernes sur les enfants, 1909