Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
An intelligence quotient (IQ) is a purported measure of an individual's general intellectual ability. Over the past century there have been repeated attempts to link low intelligence with propensity to commit criminal acts and frequent claims that some supposed racial groups (in particular, Blacks) have lower intelligence than others. Critics have rejected such claims as racist pseudoscience. The French psychologists Alfred Binet (1857–1911) and Theodore Simon (1872–1961) devised the first mental tests in 1905, with the aim of identifying schoolchildren who would benefit from special education programs to improve their performance. Binet and Simon attempted to identify an array of intellectual tasks that an average French child of a particular age could be expected to perform. Children who performed more than 2 years below their chronological age were identified as needing special help. The German psychologist Wilhelm Stern (1871–1938) proposed the idea of dividing mental age by chronological age (and ...