Human Intelligence Essay

Human Intelligence Essay

Explore the history of intelligence theory at “Human Intelligence” and answer the following questions. Which theorist has had the greatest impact on our modern understanding of intelligence? Why? Describe how the Binet tradition of mental testing differs from the Galton/Cattell tradition and explain why Binet would have hated the concept of “IQ.”

Modern-day understanding of Human intelligence is because of Charles Darwin, a theorist who largely contributed to the development of the theory of natural selection. His contribution towards the history of human intelligence cannot go unmentioned because it is through his theory of Evolution that several psychologists like Cyril Burt, Francis Galton, Henry Goddard and Arthur Jensen developed their concepts. Charles Darwin defined intelligence as complex instincts and actions learnt voluntarily that soon develop into habits and can be performed with quickness and certainty of reflex action. (Darwin, p.68) In His book The Descent of Man, Darwin elaborated that humans and nonhumans share cognitive attributes like wonder, curiosity, paying attention, behavioural imitation, long-term memory and logical reasoning. (Plucker & Esping)

With the development of human intelligence, theorists like Binet and Galton developed mechanisms that they used when conducting mental tests on their subject of study and the methods would later be used as standards for measuring intelligence. Binet developed an intelligence testing mechanism know as the Binet- Simon scale while Galton developed a eugenics movement used for intelligence testing. The two testing methods have a couple of differences that include:

  • Binet’s intelligence testing mechanism was biased to a specific subject that was students which differed from Galton’s testing mechanism that was general to whichever subject regardless of age.
  • In Binet’s mental testing mechanism, a variety of tasks standard to children at various ages are used to measure the intelligence level of the subject and this greatly differs from Galton’s eugenic movement that uses the hereditary tree to gauge an individual’s intelligence.
  • Though both mental tests involved observation, Binet’s method involved conducting various experiments on the subject which differed from Galton’s intelligence tests that involved studying previous data related to the subject.

To conclude, Binet would not have fancied the concept of IQ because he always felt his scale had limitations since intelligence was to be studied in a qualitative manner rather than in a quantitative manner. He further added that the development of intellect varies and could be influenced by the environment and not only through genetics. Finally, he condemns the incorporation of foreign ideas into his instrument that promoted the concept of intelligence as being a single numerical construct. (Plucker & Esping)

Work cited

Plucker, J. A., & Esping, A. (Eds.). (2016). Human intelligence: Historical influences, current controversies, teaching resources. Retrieved [insert month day, year], from

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