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Other Fallacies In The Estimation Of Intelligence








Another source of error in the teacher's judgment comes from the difficulty in
distinguishing genuine dullness from the mental condition which results
sometimes from unfavorable social environment or lack of training.

_V. P. Boy, age 7._ Had attended school one year and had
profited very little from the instruction. He had learned to
read very little, spoke chiefly in monosyllables, and seemed
"queer." The teacher suspected his intelligence and asked for a
mental examination. The Binet test showed that except for
vocabulary, which was unusually low, there was practically no
mental retardation. Inquiry disclosed the fact that the boy's
parents were uneducated deaf-mutes, and that the boy had
associated little with other children. Four years later this boy
was doing fairly well in school, though a year retarded because
of his unfavorable home environment.

_X. Y. Boy, age 10._ Son of a successful business man, he was
barely able to read in the second reader. The Binet test
revealed an intelligence level which was absolutely normal. The
boy was removed to a special class where he could receive
individual attention, and two years later was found doing good
work in a regular class of the fifth grade. His bad beginning
seemed to have been due to an unfavorable attitude toward school
work, due in turn to lack of discipline in the home, and to the
fact that because of the father's frequent change of business
headquarters the boy had never attended one school longer than
three months.

Another source of error in judging intelligence from common observation
is the tendency to overestimate the intelligence of the sprightly,
talkative, sanguine child, and to underestimate the intelligence of the
child who is less emotional, reacts slowly, and talks little. One
occasionally finds a feeble-minded adult, perhaps of only 9- or 10-year
intelligence, whose verbal fluency, mental liveliness, and
self-confidence would mislead the offhand judgment of even the
psychologist. One individual of this type, a border-line case at best,
was accustomed to harangue street audiences and had served as "major" in
"Kelly's Army," a horde of several hundred unemployed men who a few
years ago organized and started to march from San Francisco to
Washington.





Next: Binet's Questionnaire On Teachers' Methods Of Judging Intelligence

Previous: The Intelligence Of Retarded Children Usually Overestimated



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