Alfred Binet

Alfred Binet

Alfred Binet, is the psychologist behind the revolutionary concept of Intelligence quotient or IQ . Born on July 8, 1958 in Nice, France, this man spent his early years in the same city and graduated from law college. He identified his passion for psychology when he wanted to go for medical college but deep in his heart he know that psychology is more important to him  so that decision became a turning point in his life for good. At first he started learning about psychology on his own by gaining knowledge from the works of Darwin, Mill, Bain and other notable authors of psychology. He as a worker of French commission developed a scale for gauging the mental age of children. Also the famous invention Intelligence Quotient is very helpful for children who face hurdles in understanding their school’s curriculum effectively. He then started practicing at Salpetriere hospital in Paris with John Martin Charcot as his mentor. He got the position of associate director and researcher after serving at Salpetriere Hospital where he worked as an experimental psychologist. He served at this position till his death.

One of the most notable and fascinating aspect of Binet is that he never studied for a formal degree in psychology instead he gained more insights into the subject by self-learning. This says a lot about the his passion which led him to achieve greater heights in the subject.

Alfred Binet joined French government to conduct his studies on child intelligence by gauging their mental capabilities according to their ages. He, along with his counterpart, Theodore Simon, designed an IQ testing system which identified the mental strengths and capabilities of a child also the test to compare their mental age with their chronological or real age. This scale was named Binet-Simon intelligence scale, after the two psychologists Binet and Simon.

Like everyone else Binet also had his share of failures, when he got his first work published in 1880, it suffered the fate of plagiarism much to his disappointment. After that misfortune he started his job at Salpetriere hospital in Paris with Charcot who was trusted a lot by Binet. Together they proposed a theory about perceptual polarization through testing their findings and ideas about the concept but to their misfortune the theory did not get approval and recognition and all their hard work went down the drain, this was the major setback faced by him, perhaps he faced this failure due the lack of formal degree and training in psychology. He did not loss hope though, he learned to use his failure as a stepping stone to success.

He got married to Edouard-Gérard Balbiani, from whom he had two daughters and they proved to be a success for his career. He conducted studies regarding cognitive processes on them through which the foundations of devising intelligence tests were laid as he made the concept of intelligence tests around attention span and cognitive development. His profound works on intelligence tests earned him accolades. He got the much prestigious laureate award by French Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, as a well Worth Prize Money Award. He was selected as a member of French biological society in recognition for his notable works in the field of psychobiology. After his death in 1917 the free society for the psychological study of the child changed their name after Alfred Binet in recognition for his priceless efforts and contributions to psychology. The free society named itself as La Societe Alfred Binet. Even after 50 years of his death his works on intelligence tests is appreciated and recognized and is considered as one of the most momentous developments by Science Mag.


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