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Untitled Essay, Research Paper

Alfred BinetThe following essay offers both a short biography of Psychologist Alfred

Binet and a present day practical application using the theory from which

Binet developed his Intelligence test.Alfred Binet, born in Nice, France, on the eleventh of July, whose mother

was an artist and whose father was a physician, became one of the most prominent

psychologists in French history.Having received his formal education in both Nice and later, in Paris, at

the renowned Lycee Louis -le-Grand, Binet went on to become a lawyer. This

profession, however, was not suited to him, and he found himself immersed

in the works of J.S. Mill, Bain and Sully at the Bibliotheque Nationale in

Paris. He identified strongly with the associationism theory in following

that his mentor was J.S. Mill.Binet began working with Charcot and Fere at the Salpetriere, a famous Parisian

hospital, where he absorbed the theories of his teachers in regards to hypnosis,

hysteria and abnormal psychology. During the following seven years, he

continuously demonstrated his loyalty in defending Charcot’s doctrines on

hypnotic transfer and polarization until he was forced to accept the

counterattacks of Delboeuf and the Nancy School, which eventually caused

a split between student and teacher.Having been married in 1884 to Laure Balbiani, whose father was E.G. Balbiani,

an embryologist at the College de France, Binet was given the opportunity

to work in his lab where his interest in ‘comparative psychology’ was piqued

and in which he eventually wrote his thesis for his doctorate in natural

science, focusing his research on the “the behavior, physiology, histology

and anatomy of insects”(Wolfe, p.7). It was while working in Dr. Balbiani’s

lab, that Binet wrote ‘Animal Magnetism’, an obvious breaking away from

associationism, showing Binet’s ability to adapt and learn with every

opportunity.Binet’s next area of interest could be considered a precursor to some of

Piaget’s work with child psychology and began with the systematic observation

of his two daughters, to whom he devoted much of his time, studying and writing

about. It was at this point, that Binet “came to realize that individual

differences had to be systematically explored before one could determine

laws which would apply to all people”(Pollack,p.xii).Soon after, Binet was nominated co-director and one year later, became director

of the Laboratory of Physiological Psychology at the Sorbonne. He and Beaunis,

also co-director, initiated and edited the first French psychological journal

‘L’Annee Psychologique’, which remains in press today.Although never having attained a professorship in his own country (a bitter

disappointment for the proud nationalist) Binet did spend one spring in Bucharest

where his knowledge in experimental psychology was fully appreciated as he

taught to auditoriums filled to capacity, and was thus offered a chair in

psychophysiology. Binet refused, unable to remain away from Paris.The ‘Society Libre pour l’Etude Psychologique de l’Enfant’, was established

in 1900 by Binet and Ferdinand Buisson. This organization’s concerns dealt

with practical problems in the school setting. Binet, after having proven

himself through his work here, was appointed to a commission which was to

adorn Binet with his most famous contribution in Psychology…the ‘Methodes

Nouvelles pour le Diagnostic du Niveau Intellectuel des Anormaux’, a series

of tests developed by he and his partner, Theodore Simone, allowing the

differentiaion of normal from retarded children in the school system, thus

allowing the slower children to be separated for remedial help. Although

never used extensively in France, this of course, was the precursor (although

used for different and opposable reasons than were initially intended by

Binet) of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test.Alfred Binet “attempted to penetrate the human mind, to analyze its wellspring,

to understand [it as] a complete whole”(Wolfe, p. 327). His work was diverse,

covering areas such as systematic introspection, suggestibility, research

with abnormals, mental fatigue, psychology of legal testimony, experimental

study of children and experimental pedigogy.Binet died in Paris in 1911. As a French Psychologist, he was never appreciated,

specifically by the French, to the extent that his work and dedication merited

him to be. Binet’s work was diverse, showing interest in the person as a

whole and therefore, trying to understand all facets comprising man. His

work, although contributing much in the sense that it was often the precursor

of more detailed, profound research, was never detailed enough to formulate

any firm theories in any one area.Binet’s crownig glory was the formulation of the first intelligence test.

The development of this test is explained fully in the ‘The Psychological

Testing Enterprise, An Introduction’ pages 191 to 208.Binet’s theory which argues that “the best way to predict success in school

was to measure success in school”(Rogers, p.653), can equally be applied

in other situations. In breaking up the whole into a series of minitasks

which allow the demonstration of ability, one can properly assess and place

the learner in a learning situation which will best benefit that

individual.The following example deals with the sport of hockey. As it stands, children

are separated into age divisions regardless of physical development, experience,

etc.. In following Binet’s theory, we shall take the game of hockey and divide

it into minitasks such as:1) Skatingforward

backward2) Stoppingspontaneously

on command

stopping and starting3) Agilityswitching directions quickly

switching directions quickly on command4) Stick handlingwhile still

while skating

while playing5) Puck handlingalone

with others

passing accurately

receiving6) Playsremembering

executing7) Anticipating opponents

Although I’m sure there are many more minitasks into which this complex game

can be sub-divided, this provides a starting point from which to work and

is the first step in our process.Start testing all children in the norm group in all tasks. Some of the children

will perform many of the subtests well, but others will not. There will be

a natural division due to the abilities of the children.Start with the easiest subtests and gradually increase difficulty.The subtests in each scale will be determined by the percentage of children

who can do this subtest well.Sixty-five to seventy-five per cent of children in each level should be able

to pass the subtests of that specific scale. Each scale would therefore,

be determined following the natural separation of subtests by the different

abilities of the participants.Most of the children in the level below, should not be able to perform the

subtests in this specific scale; most of the children in the level above

should be able to perform the subtests well.Therefore, if the lowest 65% of the children can skate forward, stop

spontaneously and switch directions, but cannot perform the other tasks well,

these three subtasks will become one scale. The next scale would consist

of the following tasks which are performed at a consistent level by the next

lowest 65% of the players.Each level will thus contain a scale of subtests which the children will

work at mastering during the session. The levels should range from basic

scales, concentrating on the easiest subtests to levels which are comprised

of scales needing great skill in order to master the subtests.In this manner, children would be separated on the basis of skill level and

would thus receive the attention that they needed. They would play more and

see more ice time, because they would be playing with their equals and they

would thereby be provided with the optimal opportunity for skill development.

Advancement would be based on the acquiring of the skills of the next level:

Children would not be moved automatically to the next level with this same

group. They would advance when they demonstrate that they can perform 80%

of the subtests of the scale they are presently in and would therefore always

be playing at a level which would be most beneficial to the development of

their individual potential.

Work CitedPollack, B., The Experimental Psychology of Alfred Binet, Selected Papers.

Springer Publishing Co., Inc., New York City, @ 1995.Robinson, D.N., Significant Contributions to the History of Psychology 1750-1920

- Bine Psychometrics and Educational Psychology. University Publications

of America, Inc., Washington, D.C., @ 1977Rogers, T.B., The Psychological Testing Enterprise, An Introduction. Books/Cole

Publishing Co., Pacific Grove, California, @ 1995.Wolf, T.H., Alfred Binet. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago &

London, @ 1973.

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