Alfred Binet


Alfred Binet Alfred Binet has come to be known as the person who invented intelligence tests. With Théodore Simon, Binet devised a series of tests that, with revisions, came to be known as the Binet-Simon scale. It was used widely in schools, industries, and the army.

Binet was a French psychologist who served as the director of the psychology laboratory at the Sorbonne (1894-1911). He was a member of the French Ministry’s Commission on the Education of Retarded Children (1904).

Binet defined intelligence as “the components of intelligence are reasoning, judgment, memory, and the power of abstraction.” He measured intelligence as “general mental ability of individuals in intelligent behaviors.” He described intelligence testing as classifying, not measuring.

Binet realized the limitations of his scale. HHe argued for the use of qualitative as well as quantitative measures for evaluating intelligence.

Translated Writings by Alfred Binet and Colleagues, in Chronological Order

Binet, A. (1916). New methods for the diagnosis of the intellectual level of subnormals. In E. S. Kite (Trans.), The development of intelligence in children. Vineland, NJ: Publications of the Training School at Vineland. (Originally published 1905 in L'Année Psychologique, 12, 191-244.) See related introduction and commentary by Henry L. Minton.

Binet. A., & Simon, T. (1916). The development of intelligence in children. Baltimore, Williams & Wilkins. (Reprinted 1973, New York: Arno Press; 1983, Salem, NH: Ayer Company). The 1973 volume includes reprints of many of Binet's articles on testing.

Writings about Alfred Binet

Bergin, D. A., & Cizek, G. J. (2001). Alfred Binet. In J. A. Palmer (Ed.), Fifty major thinkers on education: From Confucius to Dewey (pp. 160-164). London: Routledge.

Fancher, R. E. (1985). The intelligence men: Makers of the IQ controversy. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Siegler, R. S. (1992). The other Alfred Binet. Developmental Psychology, 28, 179-190.

Wolf, T.H. (1973). Alfred Binet. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.