Intelligence Testing, Eugenics, and The State Boys Rebellion

TERM PAPER:  Intelligence Testing, Eugenics, and The State Boys Rebellion

CONTENT:  Your paper should cover these topics:

  1. Read Chapter 11 to gain an understanding of how the nature/nurture debate influenced the development of intelligence testing.  Then, answer these questions: What is the nature/nurture debate in intelligence?  Does heredity play a larger role than environment in determining intelligence?
  2. Some of the pioneers of intelligence testing include the people listed below.  Select at least 6 of these individuals and answer these questions: How did each define intelligence and what were their contributions in developing intelligence tests?
    1. Pierre Broca: Craniometry
    2. Franz Joseph Gall: Phrenology
    3. Francis Galton: mental tests and human heredity
    4. Alfred Binet and Theo Simon

i.      What circumstances led to Binet’s development of an intelligence test? What was the Binet-Simon scale primarily intended to do?

  1. Henry Goddard

i.      What was Goddard’s position on eugenic sterilization? How did he justify his position?

  1. Lewis Terman: revision of the Binet-Simon Scales
  2. David Wechsler: the WAIS (Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale) & the WISC (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children)
  3. Charles Spearman (the “g” factor)
  4. L.L. Thurstone (7 primary mental abilities)
  5. Raymond Cattell & John Horn (2 types of intelligence: Crystallized and fluid)
  6. Robert Yerkes (Army Alpha and Beta tests)

i.      In what ways was the Army Testing Program of WWI a success for psychology? In what ways was the program a failure? In your judgment, was it more of a success or a failure? Why?

  1. Howard Gardner (8 independent intelligences)
  2. Robert Sternberg (3 types of abilities: analytical, creative, practical)
  3. Keith Stanovich (cognitive researcher: intelligence is not sufficient for good thinking, rationality which is independent of intelligence is also necessary)


  1. Identify and discuss some of the controversies involved in intelligence testing, such as  the Eleven-Plus program, The Cyril Burt Affair, the Identical Twin Evidence, the Burt Case Reopened, and “The Bell Curve Revisited”.
  2. Discuss what the Eugenics Movement is and how it developed.  Be sure to discuss the role that scientists and political leaders played in establishing the movement.
  3. Who were the major characters in the STATE BOYS REBELLION?  Who was incarcerated and why?  How were the children treated?  What is to be concluded from THE STATE BOYS REBELLION?  What are the arguments for and against institutionalizing people with sub-normal intelligence?  What’s the current status of intelligence testing and institutionalization?
  4. What do you conclude from THE STATE BOYS REBELLION?  What are the arguments for and against institutionalizing people with sub-normal intelligence?  What’s the current status of intelligence testing and institutionalization?
  5. 7.      Do you think the Fernald School experience of the STATE BOYS a misapplication of science born of a sincere desire to do good?

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