Alfred Binet Essay

1335 words - 5 pages

The following essay offers both a short biography of Psychologist Alfred Binet and a present day practical application using the theory from which Binet developed his Intelligence test.Alfred Binet, born in Nice, France, on the eleventh of July, whose mother was an artist and whose father was a physician, became one of the most prominent psychologists in French history.Having received his formal education in both Nice and later, in Paris, at the renowned Lycee Louis -le-Grand, Binet went on to become a lawyer. This profession, however, was not suited to him, and he found himself immersed in the works of J.S. Mill, Bain and Sully at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. He identified strongly with the associationism theory in following that his mentor was J.S. Mill.Binet began working with Charcot and Fere at the Salpetriere, a famous Parisian hospital, where he absorbed the theories of his teachers in regards to hypnosis, hysteria and abnormal psychology. During the following seven years, he continuously demonstrated his loyalty in defending Charcot's doctrines on hypnotic transfer and polarization until he was forced to accept the counterattacks of Delboeuf and the Nancy School, which eventually caused a split between student and teacher.Having been married in 1884 to Laure Balbiani, whose father was E.G. Balbiani, an embryologist at the College de France, Binet was given the opportunity to work in his lab where his interest in 'comparative psychology' was piqued and in which he eventually wrote his thesis for his doctorate in natural science, focusing his research on the 'the behavior, physiology, histology and anatomy of insects'(Wolfe, p.7). It was while working in Dr. Balbiani's lab, that Binet wrote 'Animal Magnetism', an obvious breaking away from associationism, showing Binet's ability to adapt and learn with every opportunity.Binet's next area of interest could be considered a precursor to some of Piaget's work with child psychology and began with the systematic observation of his two daughters, to whom he devoted much of his time, studying and writing about. It was at this point, that Binet 'came to realize that individual differences had to be systematically explored before one could determine laws which would apply to all people'(Pollack,p.xii).Soon after, Binet was nominated co-director and one year later, became director of the Laboratory of Physiological Psychology at the Sorbonne. He and Beaunis, also co-director, initiated and edited the first French psychological journal 'L'Annee Psychologique', which remains in press today.Although never having attained a professorship in his own country (a bitter disappointment for the proud nationalist) Binet did spend one spring in Bucharest where his knowledge in experimental psychology was fully appreciated as he taught to auditoriums filled to capacity, and was thus offered a chair in psychophysiology. Binet refused, unable to remain away from Paris.The 'Society Libre pour l'Etude...

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