Intelligence Tests For Vocational Fitness

The time is probably not far distant when intelligence tests will become a recognized

and widely used instrument for determining vocational fitness. Of course, it is not

claimed that tests are available which will tell us unerringly exactly what one of

a thousand or more occupations a given individual is best

fitted to pursue. But when thousands of children who have been tested by

the Binet scale have been followed out into the
ndustrial world, and

their success in various occupations noted, we shall know fairly

definitely the vocational significance of any given degree of mental

inferiority or superiority. Researches of this kind will ultimately

determine the minimum "intelligence quotient" necessary for success in

each leading occupation.

Industrial concerns doubtless suffer enormous losses from the employment

of persons whose mental ability is not equal to the tasks they are

expected to perform. The present methods of trying out new employees,

transferring them to simpler and simpler jobs as their inefficiency

becomes apparent, is wasteful and to a great extent unnecessary. A

cheaper and more satisfactory method would be to employ a psychologist

to examine applicants for positions and to weed out the unfit. Any

business employing as many as five hundred or a thousand workers, as,

for example, a large department store, could save in this way several

times the salary of a well-trained psychologist.

That the industrially inefficient are often of subnormal intelligence

has already been demonstrated in a number of psychological

investigations. Of 150 "hoboes" tested under the direction of the writer

by Mr. Knollin, at least 15 per cent belonged to the moron grade of

mental deficiency, and almost as many more were border-line cases. To be

sure, a large proportion were found perfectly normal, and a few even

decidedly superior in mental ability, but the ratio of mental deficiency

was ten or fifteen times as high as that holding for the general

population. Several had as low as 9- or 10-year intelligence, and one

had a mental level of 7 years. The industrial history of such subjects,

as given by themselves, was always about what the mental level would

lead us to expect--unskilled work, lack of interest in accomplishment,

frequent discharge from jobs, discouragement, and finally the "road."

The above findings have been fully paralleled by Mr. Glenn Johnson and

Professor Eleanor Rowland, of Reed College, who tested 108 unemployed

charity cases in Portland, Oregon. Both of these investigators made use

of the Stanford revision of the Binet scale, which is especially

serviceable in distinguishing the upper-grade defectives from normals.

It hardly needs to be emphasized that when charity organizations help

the feeble-minded to float along in the social and industrial world, and

to produce and rear children after their kind, a doubtful service is

rendered. A little psychological research would aid the united charities

of any city to direct their expenditures into more profitable channels

than would otherwise be possible.