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Genius in FranceAn Idea and Its Uses$
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Ann Jefferson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691160658

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691160658.001.0001

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Alfred Binet and the Measurement of Intelligence

Alfred Binet and the Measurement of Intelligence

(p.173) Chapter 14 Alfred Binet and the Measurement of Intelligence
Genius in France

Ann Jefferson

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the measurement of genius in Alfred Binet's “measuring scale of intelligence,” which he devised and successively refined between 1905 and 1911 (the year he died). Here, the chapter shows how experimental psychology had its own part to play in forming the basis of the child prodigy. And Binet's invention put France at the forefront of developmental psychology. In the words of the American introduction to the 1916 translation of Les Idées modernes sur les enfants, Binet's measuring scale was a “magnum opus” whose rapid acceptance worldwide was “little less than marvelous.” This invention established a language in which genius could be quantified, and precocity plotted against scientifically established developmental norms.

Keywords:   Alfred Binet, intelligence measure, intelligence scale, experimental psychology, child prodigy, developmental psychology, quantified genius, mental retardation

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