Intelligence Testing

Intelligence testing refers to the application of standardized tests in attempt to measure and assess intelligence. The first mental testing may have been performed in China in the form of the imperial examination system, and modern intelligence testing commenced in France in the 19th century as a means of separating mental retardation from mental illness (1). The French psychologists Alfred Binet, Victor Henri, and Theodore Simo, published the Binet-Simon test in 1905. This test was focused on verbal abilities and was meant to identify mental retardation in school children. The score on the test would then be termed the child’s mental age. The American psychologist Henry Goddard translated Binet’s work in 1910, and it was used by members of the eugenics movement to give them credibility in diagnosing mental retardation, resulting in thousands of women being forcibly sterilized based on their test scores (2).

Intelligence Testing focuses on any of a number of cognitive abilities, including:

Spatial imaging
General knowledge

Well-known modern IQ tests include Raven’s Progressive Matrices, Wechsler Intelligence scale for children, Wechsler adult intelligence scale, woodcock-Johnson sets of cognitive abilities, Stanford-binet, and the Kaufman assessment battery for children.


(1) Kaufman, Alan S. (2009). “IQ Testing 101“. New York, NY: Springer Pub. Co., Print.

(2) Larson, Edward J. (1995). “Sex, Race, and Science: Eugenics in the Deep South“. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, Print.