Intelligence Tests

Reliable intelligence testing began in the early 1900s with researchers named Alfred Binet and Henri Simon. They were instructed by the French government to develop an intelligence test to use on children in order to determine which ones might have difficulty in school. The test included many verbally based tasks. American researchers soon realized the value of such testing and Louis (Lewis) Terman, a Stanford professor, modified Binet’s work by standardizing the administration of the test, which was standardized by testing thousands of different-aged children in the United States to establish an average score for each age group. The Stanford-Binet, is a measure of general intelligence made up of a wide variety of tasks including vocabulary, memory for pictures, and naming of familiar objects and is primarily used with children.

Later, David Wechsler created an adult intelligence test named the Wechsler Adult intelligence Scale (WAIS), which is the most widely used intelligence test for adults (Watkins, Campbell, Nieberding, & Hallmark, 1995). The current version of the WAIS, consists of 15 different tasks including working memory, arithmetic ability, spatial ability, and general knowledge about the world. These 15 tasks measure a dimension of intelligence and provide psychologists with four domains scores: verbal, perceptual, working memory, and processing speed. The WAIS is highly correlated with the Stanford-Binet, as well as with criteria of academic and life success, including college grades, measures of work performance, and occupational level. It also shows significant correlations with measures of everyday functioning among individuals with intellectual disabilities.


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Culture and Psychology by L D Worthy; T Lavigne; and F Romero is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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