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The Avoidance Of Fatigue

Against the validity of intelligence tests it is often argued that the result
of an examination depends a great deal on the time of day when it is made, whether
in the morning hours when the mind is at its best, or in the afternoon when it is
supposedly fatigued. Although no very extensive investigation has been made of this
influence, there is no evidence that the ordinary fatigue incident to
school work injures the child's performance appreciably. Our tests of
1000 children showed no inferiority of results secured from 1 to 4 P.M.,
as compared with tests made from 9 to 12 A.M.

An explanation for this is not hard to find. Although school work causes
fatigue, in the sense that a part of the child's available supply of
mental energy is used up, there is always a reserve of energy sufficient
to carry the child through a thirty-to fifty-minute test. The fact that
the required tasks are novel and interesting to a high degree insures
that the reserve energy will really be brought into play. This
principle, of course, has its natural limits. The examiner would avoid
testing a child who was exhausted either from work or play, or a child
who was noticeably sleepy.

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