Chapter 10-The Darwinian Influence And The Rise Of Mental Testing Flashcards Preview

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Proposed that adaptive characteristics acquired during an organisms lifetime were inherited by that organisms offspring. This was the mechanism by which species were transformed

Jean Lamark


First a follower of Lamarck and then of Darwin. He applied Darwinian principles to society by saying that society should maintain a laissez-faire policy so that the ablest individuals could prevail. His position is called social Darwinism

Herbert Spencer


The observation first made by Bain and later by Spencer that behavior resulting in pleasurable consequences tends to be repeated and behavior resulting in painful consequences tends not to be

Spencer-Bain principal


Spencers contention that, if given freedom to compete in society, the ablest individuals will succeed and the weaker ones will fail, and this is as it should be

Social Darwinism


Devised a theory of evolution that emphasized a struggle for survival that results in the natural selection of the most fit organisms. By showing the continuity between humans and nonhuman animals, the importance of individual differences, and the importance of adaptive behavior, he strongly influenced subsequent psychology

Charles Darwin


Describe Darwins voyage on the beagle

Signed on as an unpaid naturalist aboard the beagle, which the British government was sending on a five-year scientific expedition.

Unusual facts: the captain of the beagle, Robert Fitzroy, who was a firm believer in the biblical account of creation, wanted a naturalist aboard so that evidence could be gathered that would refute the notion of evolution.
Also, Darwin himself began the trip as a believer in the Bible's explanation of creation and only after reading principles of geology aboard the ship he began to doubt the Biblical account.
Lastly, because captain Fitzroy believed in physiognomy, he almost rejected Darwin as the beagles naturalist


Describe Darwins life after the voyage

After he returned, his observations remained disjointed; he needed a principal to tie them together. Reading Thomas Makthus's essay on the principle of population, furnished to Darwin with that principal. Darwin embellished the concepts in this essay and applied it to animals and plants as well as to humans: food supply and population size were kept in balance by such events as war, starvation, and disease

Married his cousin, had 10 children, had serious health problems that were to plague him for the next 30 years, delayed publication of his theory of evolution for more than 20 years, after receiving a letter from Alfred Russell Wallace describing a theory of evolution almost a denticle to his own both of them prepared papers that were read at the Linnean society on the same day and with both authors absent. Neither paper roused much interest.

Because of the abundance of data Darwin amassed and the thoroughness of his work, we attribute the theory to him and not to Wallace


The situation that arises when there are more offspring of a species then environmental resources can support

Struggle for survival


A key concept in Darwins theory of evolution. Because more members of a species are born then environmental resources can support, nature select those with characteristics most conducive to survival under the circumstances, which allows them to reproduce

Natural selection


According to Darwin, an organisms ability to survive and reproduce



Those features that an organism possesses that allow it to survive and reproduce

Adaptive features


The notion that, in a struggle for limited resources, those organisms with traits conducive to survival under the circumstances will live and reproduce

Survival of the fittest


Describe Darwins influence on science and psychology

Popular topics in contemporary psychology clearly revealed a strong Darwinian influence: developmental psychology, animal psychology, comparative psychology, psychobiology, learning, tests and measurements, emotions, behavioral genetics, abnormal psychology, and a variety of other topics under the heading of applied psychology

Stimulated interest in the study of individual differences and showed that studying behavior is at least as important as studying the mind. Played a significant role in the development of the schools of functionalism and behaviorism

A number of his beliefs are now considered highly questionable or mistaken: contemporary primitive people are the link between primates and modern humans and are therefore, inferior. Women are intellectually inferior to men. Long practice habits become heritable instincts

Influenced sociobiology and inclusive fitness. Now sociobiology is called evolutionary psychology


The type of fitness that involves the survival and perpetuation of copies of one's genes into subsequent generations. With this expanded definition of fitness, one can be fit by helping his or her kin survive and reproduce as well as by producing one's own offspring

Inclusive fitness


A modern extension of Darwins theory to the explanation of human and non-human social behavior. Also called sociobiology

Evolutionary psychology


Influenced by his cousin, Charles Darwin, was keenly interested in the measurement of individual differences. He was convinced that intellectual ability is inherited and therefore recommended eugenics, or the selective breeding of humans. He was the first to attempt to systematically measure intelligence, to use a questionnaire to gather data, to use a word-association test, to study mental imagery, to define and use the concepts of correlation and median, and to systematically study twins

Sir Francis Galton


Describe Galton's beliefs with regard to The measurement of intelligence

Assumed that intelligence is a matter of sensory acuity because humans can know the world only through the senses. The more acute the senses, the more intelligent a person was presumed to be. And because sensory acuity is mainly a function of natural endowment, intelligence is inherited

Because he assumed that intelligence is inherited, he expected to see extremes in intelligence run in families. He assumed that high reputation or eminence was an accurate indicator of high intellectual ability and set out to measure the frequency of eminence among the offspring of illustrious parents as compared to the frequency of eminence among the offspring of the general population

Results were clear: the offspring of illustrious individuals were far more likely to be illustrious then we're the offspring of non-illustrious individuals. Zeal and vigor must be coupled with inherited capacity before eminence can be attained


The use of selective breeding to increase the general intelligence of the population. This practice was supported by Galton


Galton proposed that couples be scientifically paired and that the government pay those possessing desirable characteristics to marry and the government was also to take care of the educational expenses of any offspring


The debate over the extent to which important attributes are inherited or learned

Nature-nurture controversy


Describe Galton's beliefs with regard to The nature versus nurture controversy

Send 200 "questionnaires to his fellow scientists asking them to explain why they had become interested in science. Most scientists believed that their interest in science was inherited but Scottish scientists praised the broad and liberal Scottish educational system, and conversely, the English scientists had very unkind things to say about the English educational system. Galton urged that English schools be reformed to make them more like Scottish schools: he was acknowledging the importance of the environment and he revised his position to say that the potential for high intelligence was inherited but that it must be nurtured by a proper environment


Describe Galton's beliefs with regard to The word association test

Devised psychologies first word association test. He wrote 75 words, each on a separate piece of paper. Then he glanced at each word and noted his response to it on another piece of paper. He went through the 75 words on four different occasions, randomizing the words each time.

Three things struck him about this study: first, responses to stimulus words tended to be constant; he very often gave the same response to a word all four times he experienced it. Second, his responses were often drawn from his childhood experience. Third, he felt that such a procedure revealed of aspects of the mind never revealed before

Anticipated two aspects of psychoanalysis: the use of free Association and the recognition of unconscious motivation


Describe Galton's beliefs with regard to anthropometry

From his desire to measure individual differences he created an anthropometric laboratory where he measured 9337 humans in just about every way he could imagine such as head size, arm span, standing height, sitting height, length of the middle finger, etc. Some of these measures were included because he believed sensory acuity to be related to intelligence, and for that reason, his anthropometric laboratory can be viewed as an effort to measure intelligence

For a small fee, a person would be measured and for a smaller fee, a person could be measured again at another time. Each participant was given a copy of his or her results, and Galton kept a copy for his files. He was interested in examining test-retest relationships, gender differences on various measurements, enter correlations among various measurements, relationships of various measurements to socioeconomic status, and Family resemblances among various measurements.

Much of it went unanalyzed at the time


Describe Galton's beliefs with regard to mental imagery

Was among the first to study imagery. He reported the results of asking people to imagine the scene as they had sat down to breakfast. He found that the ability to imagine it was essentially normally distributed, with some individuals almost totally incapable of imagery and others having the ability to imagine the breakfast scene flawlessly

Found that many of his scientist friends had virtually no ability to form images and found that whatever a person's imagery ability was, he or she assumed that everyone else had the same ability


Systematic variation between two variables.



Defined by Galton The tendency for extremes to become less extreme in one's offspring. For example, the offspring of extremely tall parents tend not to be as tall as the parents

Regression toward the mean. Defined by Galton


Found that following Galton's methods of measuring intelligence often resulted in falsely concluding that deaf and blind children had low intelligence. Attempted to measure directly the cognitive abilities he thought constitute intelligence

Alfred Binet


Describe Binet's work in individual psychology

Rather than being interested in what people have in common, he was primarily interested in what made them different.

Sought a list of important variables and a way of determining the extent to which each variable exists in a given individual. This goal failed because administering the test took many hours, and interpreting the results required even more hours of subjective, clinical judgment


Describe Binet's work in assessing deficiencies in intelligence

Theodore Simon who worked as and intern at a large institution for children with mental retardation asked Binet to supervise his doctoral research. He agreed and viewed this as an opportunity to have access to a large subject pool.

Simon and Binet were appointed to the group that the French government commissioned to study the problems of children with retardation in the French schools. It was immediately clear that if children with retardation were to receive special education, it was necessary to have an adequate method of distinguishing them from normal children.

They set out to create tests that would differentiate between intellectually normal and intellectually sub normal children. Their first step was to isolate one group of children clearly diagnosed as normal and another group diagnosed as sub normal. The second step was to test both groups in a number of different ways, hoping to discover measurements that would clearly distinguish members of one group from the other. Many of the tests given to normal and sub normal children were in terms of complex, mental processes and after much trial and error, they arrived at the first test of intelligence that measure intelligence directly instead of indirectly through measures of sensory acuity


Describe Binet's work in developing the 1905 Binet-Simon scale of intelligence

Offered the scale as a valid way of distinguishing between normal children and children with mental deficiencies. The 1905 scale consisted of 30 tests ranging difficulty from simple I movements to abstract definitions. Three of the tests measured motor development, and the other 27 were designed to measure cognitive abilities. The tests were arranged in order of difficulty so that the more tests a child past, the more fully developed his or her intelligence was a soon to be. The scale was given to normal children and to children thought to have retardation, all of them between the ages of two and 12

Found that almost all normal children aged two years or older could easily pass tests 1 to 6. Also, children with slight or moderate retardation could pass some or all of these tests. Children with severe retardation could pass only a few or none of them. Found the same thing with tests seven through 15 for children ages two to five, but tests 16 through 30 could only be passed by normal children between ages of five and 12

He did believe that inheritance places an upper limit on ones intellectual ability but he also believed that almost everyone functions blow their potential and believe that everyone could grow intellectually


According to stern, a composite score reflecting all the levels of the Binet-Simon test that a child could successfully pass

Mental age


Stern's suggested procedure for quantifying intelligence. It is calculated by dividing mental age by chronological age

Intelligence quotient or IQ


The exercises that Binet suggested for enhancing determination, attention, and discipline. These procedures would prepare a child for formal education

Mental orthopedics


Claimed that his studies of identical twins reared together and apart showed intelligence to be largely innate. Evidence suggested that he invented his data, and a major scandal ensued

Cyril Burt


Describe the nature of the debate about intelligence testing that ensued after World War I and which continues, as reflected in Herrnstein and Murray's 1994 book, the bell curve

More and more, people realized that performance on so-called intelligence tests could be at least partially explained by such factors as early experience and education. Rather than simply measuring native intelligence, the tests were apparently also measuring personal achievement and the influence of life's circumstances. It followed that the more privileged a person was in terms of enriching experiences and education, the higher his or her scores would be on so-called intelligence tests.

The book the bell curve, reflects many of the earlier beliefs about intelligence accepted by Galton, Cattell, Spearman, Burt, Goddard, Terman, and Yerkes.

Organized their book around six conclusions, or points, about intelligence that are beyond dispute:
1. There is such a thing as a general factor of cognitive ability on which human beings differ
2. All standardized tests of academic aptitude or achievement measure this general factor to some degree, but I Q test especially designed for that purpose measure it most accurately
3. IQ scores match, to a first degree, whatever it is that people mean when they use the word intelligent or smart in ordinary language
4. IQ scores are stable, although not perfectly so, over much of a persons life
5. Properly administered IQ tests are not demonstrably biased against social, economic, ethnic, or racial groups
6. Cognitive ability is substantially heritable, apparently no less than 40% and no more than 80%

The belief that intelligence is largely inherited creates a major problem: an economic class structure based on inherited intelligence and the authors do not offer a solution to the problem

Some say that less intelligent individuals should be discouraged from reproducing

The six points are still hotly debated


Lamarck's contention that adaptive abilities developed during an organisms lifetime are passed on to the organisms offspring

Inheritance of acquired characteristics