Researchers thought that cognitive talents like verbal reasoning, memory, and visual-spatial skills were indicators of underlying general intelligence, or the "g factor," in the late 19th century.
To determine each of those abilities and combine the results into a single score, Simon and Binet created a series of tests. Every age group had questions that were modified, and a child's score showed how they did in comparison to other kids their own age.
Simon and Binet believed that the skills their test measured would be a good indicator of overall intelligence. However, there is still no agreed-upon definition of general intelligence. This gave room for individuals to exploit the exam to support their own, preexisting notions about IQ.
Many people at the time supported the idea of eugenics, which held that desirable and undesirable genetic qualities in humans could and should be regulated by selective breeding.
This line of reasoning had numerous flaws, not the least of which was the idea that intelligence was not only fixed and inherited but also related to a person's race.
Children with low IQ scores were allowed to be murdered by the government in Nazi Germany. The Civil Rights Movement, the Holocaust, and the subsequent usage of IQ testing all raised ethical and logical objections to their respective justifications. Scientists started to compile data on how the environment affected IQ. While an illustration, throughout the 20th century, new generations continuously outperformed each previous generation on older exams as IQ testing was frequently calibrated. The Flynn Effect is the name for this occurrence. Environmental improvements in the form of better diet, healthcare, and education are most likely to blame.
Psychologists tried to utilize IQ tests to assess conditions other than general intellect, such as schizophrenia, depression, etc., around the middle of the 20th century. This diagnosis made use of a subset of the tests to assess IQ and partially depended on the clinical judgment of the elevators, a method that later research proved didn't offer clinically meaningful information. Although we now have a better method for spotting test bias, IQ tests still use many of the same types of questions and designs like the early tests.
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