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Why could measuring differences between people become socially sensitive?

Because not only are you saying people are different, but that they might be worse at something.


What is a psychometric test?

Psychometric tests aim to express a psychological construct in numerical form.


Who was Robert Yerkes?

-He was a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University.
-He became frustrated that his subject was viewed as a 'soft' science


What was Yerkes' primary aim?

To prove that psychology could be as rigorous a science as physics - can be focuses on numbers and quantification.


What sample was used in Yerkes study?

-US Army during the First World War gave Yerkes opportunity to build a large pool of data
-He administered mental tests to 1.75million men during WWI


Describe the Army Alpha Test.

-Written examination for literate recruits
-8 parts, took less than an hour
-Most items in the test comprised such tasks as filling in the next number in a sequence, unscrambling sentences, and analogies
-Also included series of multiple choice questions


Describe the Army Beta Test.

-Test designed for illiterates and people who failed Army Alpha
-7 parts including maze running, cube counting, finding next symbol in X-O series, translating numerals into symbols


Describe the Individual examination.

People who failed the Army Beta test were recalled for an individual examination.


How did the psychologists grade the tests?

-Graded each man from A to E.
-Yerkes suggested that recruits with a score of C- should be marked as 'low average intelligence' and be recommended for the rank of 'ordinary private'.


What was the problem with how Yerkes administered the tests?

It was hard to keep everything standardised.


What did Yerkes say about men who were illiterate in English and what was the problem with this?

-Yerkes said they should automatically take the Army Alpha Test
-Problem because this wasn't always the case due to logistics and practicality and recruits had spent less time in school than Yerkes anticipated
-Due to this many men were queuing for the Beta test, and they ended up lowering the definition of literate so more could take the Army Alpha


What happened to the illiterate men who ended up taking the Army Alpha test?

They ended up getting zero or close to it therefore they needed to take the Army Beta test anyway, but due to time pressures this didn't always happen.


How many cases did E.G. Boring select for analysis?

160,000 cases were selected for analysis.


What was the average mental age of White American adults?

13 - they were only just above the level expected of a moron.


What were the results regarding immigrants from Europe?

Darker people of southern Europe and the Slavs of eastern Europe were found to be less intelligent than the fair people of western and northern Europe.


What was the average mental age of Russians, Italians and Poles?

-Russians - 11.34
-Italians - 11.01
-the Pole - 10.74


What was the average mental age of black Americans?

10.41 - bottom of the scale.


How were the results of this study used and what impact did they have?

-The results led to the Immigration Restriction Act of 1924
-Estimated that as a result of the results, up to 6 million southern, central and eastern Europeans were barred entry to the USA between 1924 and the outbreak of the Second World War.


What did Gould say with regard to the design of the tests?

He said they were 'ludicrous' and the tests were culturally biased (most of the questions were about Americans).


What did Gould say about the administration of the tests?

-Points out the men who were most likely to be illiterate were black men (who would have less schooling due to segregation, poor condition in black schools etc) or those who only recently migrated - systematic bias.


What did Gould say about the way Yerkes findings were used?

Sent many people to their deaths by the Nazis as they had nowhere to go.


What are Gould's conclusions of Yerkes study?

He concluded that Yerkes study had consequences every bit as tragic as more deliberate and direct attempts to do harm.