Psychological Testing
Study Questions: GOULD INTRODUCTION
Spring, 1998
Aubyn Fulton



1. How has modern science validated Plato's myth?

2. What is Biological Determinism and how has psychology contributed to it?

3. What is the important difference between Socrates and modern science and how does Condorcet's observation makes us suspicious of science?

4. What is Gould's primary criticism?

5. How does Gould reconcile his vision of science as a "social phenomena" with his belief that "the earth really does revolve around the sun".

6. What are the two deep fallacies underlying Biological determinism?

7. Explain Gould's assertion that "what craniometry was for the 19th century, intelligence testing has become for the 20th".

8. What often misunderstood argument is at the heart of the "great IQ debate"?

9. Explain why Gould believes his method of reanalyzing classical data sets can liberate science from Platonic prison.

10. Explain why the crimes of Burt & Goddard are the most obvious, but least important examples of a priori prejudice in supposedly objective science.

11. Why is Biological Determinism and the predictable increase in the number of Americans who suspect "that their prejudices are scientific facts after all" more than merely a scholar's abstract concern?



Psychological Testing
Study Questions: GOULD CHAPTER 5
Spring, 1998
Aubyn Fulton
 

1. Explain how Binet's "forthright self-scrutiny" illustrates one of Gould's primary themes.

2. Explain how Binet avoided the logical error identified by Mill. What was the original purpose of the IQ score, and what dangers did Binet see if the scale was used wrongly? Have we listened to Binet's warnings?

3. What is the real difference between strict hereditarian and their opponents?

4. Explain the 2 fallacies and the underlying political motivation that resulted in the American subversion of Binet's 3 cardinal principles for using his IQ tests.

5. Explain the seeming paradoxical truth that the hereditary theory of IQ is a "home-grown American product".

6. Compare and contrast Goddard & Binet. What was Goddard's "crucial error"?

7. Explain why Goddard's term "moron" more aptly describes those who use it than those who it was meant to describe.

8. Why was Goddard more afraid of "morons"s than he was of "idiots"?

9. How did the rediscovery (and gross misunderstanding) of Mendelian genetics "solve" Goddard's problem? What lesson regarding supposedly objective science is illustrated here?

10. Explain the example of unconscious prejudice in a supposedly objective description noted by Gould on p. 165.

11. Goddard administrated the Binet scale to 152 subjects on Ellis Island in the spring of 1913, one of the first uses of the intelligence test in the USA. Summarize his results, and give both his explanation of the results and the one he considered but rejected.

12. Summarize and evaluate the "primal myth" of the eugenics movement.

13. Explain the extent, and limits, of Goddards "recantation".

14. What was Terman's test called, and what skills did it stress and downgrade? Illustrate with examples.

15. Explain why it is true that much of the elaborate statistical work of psychological testers over the last 50 years has done little to demonstrate the validity of intelligence tests.

16. Explain Walter Lippmann's fear that psychological testing would lead to the psychologist "occupying a position of power which no intellectual has held since the collapse of theocracy".

17. Give Terman's 5 major reasons supporting his claim that the correlation between social status and IQ represents a genetic, not environmental influence. Analyze these arguments.

18. How did World War I provide Robert Yerkes with the "philosopher's stone of psychology" that would help fulfill his deepest wish?

19. How did Yerkes use the Alpha and Beta exams to circumvent Binet?

20. List and evaluate the three "facts" which emerged from Boring's summary of Yerkes' data. What was the effect of psychology's role in WWI on racial attitudes in the 20th century?

21. Summarize the conditions under which the Army Alpha & Beta tests were administered. What impact do such conditions have on the validity of the tests?

22. One source of systematic bias against blacks and immigrants was the inappropriate use of Alpha as opposed to Beta scores. Explain the significance of this problem, and the two major reasons Gould gives for why it occurred.

23. Explain the problem presented by the bimodal distribution on most of the Beta subtests, the common-sense interpretation and Yerkes'& Boring's solution.

24. Explain why one might think that Yerkes never read his own monograph. Illustrate with examples of correlation between test scores and disease, and differences between northern and southern test scores for both blacks and whites.

25. Discuss the evidence on which the "pattern so dear to the hearts of Nordic supremacists" rests.

26. What 3 biases explain the IQ's which Yerkes found both "too good to be true" and "too low to be believed"?

27. What were the "facts, not theories or opinions" which Brigham gave to support his program of immigration restriction and eugenics? Why does Gould call the 1924 bill which Coolidge said was required to "keep America American" as "one of the greatest victories of scientific racism in American history"?

28. Although Brigham later recanted, why does the fact that approximately six million potential immigrants from eastern and central Europe were denied entry to the United States between 1924 and 1939 make it chillingly clear that he did not undo the damage he had done?