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Diplome d'lnstruction Primaire Superieure 

Paris le 23 juillet, 1905 

Member of the Staff of the Vineland 

Research Laboratory 

/^/ TO THE \0% 
0m: interests of -J.^^ 
^S: -- *^'* 


NO. 11, MAY, 1916 

Copyright, 1916 


Henry H. Goddard 






Editor's Introduction 5 

I. Upon the Necessity of Establishing a Scientific Diagnosis of In- 
ferior States of Intelligence. {L'Ann6e Psych., 1905, pp. 

1 63-19 1 ) V ^ 9 

II. New Methods for the Diagnosis of tfer4«tetlectual Level of 

Subnormals. {UAnn6e Psych., 1905, pp. 191-244) 37 

III. Application of the New Methods, to' ^he Diagnosis of the In- 

tellectual Level among Normal and Subnormal Children in 
Institutions and in the Primary Schools. {UAnn^ Psych., 
1905, pp. 245-336) ,. . . 91 

IV. The Development of Intelligence in the Child. (L'Annie 

Psych., 1908, pp. 1-90) 182 

V. New Investigations upon the Measure of the Intellectual Level 

among School Children. (U Annie Psych., 1911, pp. 145-201) 274 


The first contribution of Drs. Binet and Simon to the problem 
of measuring intelligence appeared in L'Ann^e Psychologique for 
1905. This volume reached America early in 1906. The Vine- 
land Research Laboratory for the psychological study of feeble- 
mindedness was opened in September of the same year. My first 
work as director of this Laboratory was to search the literature 
for anything that bore upon the problem. The above article had 
attracted so little attention from the American psychologists 
that in spite of dilligent search in bibliographies, reviews, original 
sources and by appeals to personal friends, Binet's work in this 
line was never brought to my attention. It was not until 
the Spring of 1908 when I made a visit to Europe in the inter- 
ests of the work that I learned of the tests. On that trip a visit 
was made to Dr. Decroly in Brussels. Dr. Decroly and Mile. 
Degand had just completed a Izy-out of tests by Drs. Binet and 
Simon of Paris. Upon my return home I began at once to use 
the tests on the children of the Training School, employing 
Decroly 's article as the source of information. Later 1 obtained 
Binet^s article. These were the "1905" tests, not the scale. In 
December 1908 I published a six-page account of these tests. 

In 1909 appeared L'Ann^e Psychologique giving the "Scale," 
with the grading by years. Probably no critic of the scale dur- 
ing the past six years has reacted against it more positively than 
did I at that first reading. It seemed impossible to grade intel- 
ligence in that way. It was too easy, too simple. The article 
was laid aside for some weeks. One day while using the old 
tests, whose inadequacy was great, the new Scale came to mind 
and I decided to give it a fair trial. In January 1910 we pub- 
lished the first abstract of the scale— being a brief summary of 
the 1908 Binet-Simon article. 

Our use of the scale was a surprise and a gratification. It 
met our needs. A classification of our children based on the 
Scale agreed with the Institution experience. Soon others be- 
gan to use the scale. Then came the critics. Their criticisms 
showed such a thorough misunderstanding of the plan, purpose 


and spirit of the authors of the Scale that we reaHzed what an 
injustice had been done by pubhshing our condensed outhne — 
16 pages out of 90. We at once resolved to publish a complete 
translation. Permission was obtained from Dr. Simon and the 
work was begun. It had to be crowded in with other work of 
the Laboratory, and, hence, there have been many delays. At 
last, however, the book is presented to the pubHc. We regret 
the delay, but perhaps the present is the best time for presentation. 
Certainly it was never more needed than now. 

It will seem an exaggeration to some to say that the world 
is talking of the Binet-Simon Scale; but consider that the Vine- 
land Laboratory alone, has without effort or advertisement dis- 
tributed to date 22,000 copies of the pamphlet describing the 
tests, and 88,000 record blanks.* This in spite of the fact that 
the same matter has been freely published in numerous other 
places. The Scale is used in Canada, England, Australia, New 
Zealand, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, China, 
and has recently been translated into Japanese and Turkish. 

The literature on the Scale has increased enormously; in 1914 
there was already a bibliography of 254 titles; yet in all this 
time no complete translation of Binet's work on the Scale has 
appeared. A number of criticisms have appeared, many of 
which could not have been written if Binet's complete discussion 
of his Scale had been available to the critics. 

It is little less than marvelous that the tests have had such a 
remarkable acceptance even in the mutilated form of our con- 
densed abstract. That the Scale was so eminently useful in this 
abbreviated form shows the masterly work of the authors. 

By many persons the Measuring Scale of Intelhgence is sup- 
posed to be a mere incidental chapter in Binet's work. Scarcely 
anyone in America realizes to what an extent it was his magnum 
opus. That his writings on this subject fill a book of this size 
will be a great surprise. And yet this is only the half. Another 
volume the size of this (already translated and which we hope 
soon to publish) is devoted to the appUcation of the Scale. More- 
over, many other writings of Binet show how large a place it 
occupied in his thinking. 

* (Note: This pamphlet is a 16-page condensation of Chapter IV of this 
book, with such revisions as our experience with the tests on American 
children seemed to justify.) 


This book as a whole constitutes a complete history and ex- 
position of the Measuring Scale as Binet left it. 

In Chapter I the authors show the origin of the Scale and their 
first methods of attacking the problem. 

Chapter II describes the first results — a series of test questions 
arranged in order of difficulty but not yet assigned to definite 
years. An inamense amount of work had been done on this series, 
and the authors may have been justly proud of what they had 
accomplished, though it was soon to be largely discarded for a 
much more useful plan. This was the so called ''1905 Tests.'' 

Chapter III shows the laborious and painstaking methods of 
standardization. Nowhere does Binet more clearly show his 
genius. ' It is here that he has taught us the method which must 
be used in all extensions or revisions of the Scale, that lay any 
claim to scientific value. 

In Chapter IV he gives us the Measuring Scale for Intelli- 
gence — the so called 1908 Scale. It is the most complete state- 
ment of the Scale. 

Chapter V gives some of his later 1911 corrections and revisions 
— his last word on the subject.^ In making up this book we 
have attempted to include everything Binet and Simon wrote 
explanatory of the Scale. The reader will find many repetitions 
and some contradictions, and the date of each article should be 
taken into account in deciding which is the authoritative state- 
ment. It has been thought best to include all of these repetitions 
and contradictions, in order to show the development of Binet's 
own thought in regard to his Scale. Only in this way does the 
marvelous work that he did on this subject become fully 

The translation has given rise to the usual translator's difficul- 
ties. Binet at times uses not only highly technical terms but 
also terms of his own invention. The usual "untranslatable 
expressions" are found. Moreover, it is clear that typographical 
errors occasionally crept in. Where this was certain and it was 
clear what the correct form should have been, we have taken the 
liberty of making the correction. Where we have been unable 

1 In this year he also prepared a final statement of the Scale for the 
"Bulletin de la Soci^t^ libre pour I'fitude psychologique de I'Enfant." 
This has been translated by Dr. Clara Harrison Town, Lincoln, Illinois, 


to correct, we have kept the error, leaving the reader of this 
book the same problem that faces the reader of the original. Cases 
of this sort will be discovered in some of the tables that do not 
"total" as they should. 

In the question of free or literal translation, we have held 
more closely to the Uteral, especially with the test questions. 
This literalness seemed necessary in order to show as exactly 
as possible Binet's plan. But naturally it renders the questions, 
in many cases, inapplicable to American children. 

In regard to the translation, the editor feels that the skill 
and ability of Miss Kite have given a most readable book. Miss 
Kite is eminently fitted for the task. She holds a "Diplome 
d' Instruction Primaire Superieure, Paris le 23 juillet 1905." But 
more than that she is skilled in the use of the tests and is a close 
student of the writings of Binet and Simon. 

Many persons from this Laboratory have taken part in this 
work, in the way of reading and suggesting revisions; notably. 
Miss Eleanor A. Gray, and Miss Flora Otis, Librarian, also Mr. 
E. A. Doll, Assistant Psychologist, and Miss Florence Mateer. 
We are also indebted to Rev. Ernest Monge of Faribault, Minn., 
for the original translation of a part of the fourth chapter. 

Henry H. Goddard, 
Vineland, N. J., 1916. 




UAnnee Psychologique 1905 pp. 163-191 

We here present the first rough sketch of a work which was 
directly inspired by the desire to serve the interesting cause of 
the education of subnormals. 

In October, 1904, the Minister of Public Instruction named 
a commission which was charged with the study of measures 
to be taken for insuring the benefits of instruction to defective 
children. After a number of sittings, this commission regulated 
all that pertained to the type of establishment to be created, 
the conditions of admission into the school, the teaching force, 
and the pedagogical methods to be employed. They decided 

yy that no child suspected of retardation should be eliminated from 
( the ordinary school and admitted into a special class, without 
/ first being subjected to a pedagogical and medical examination 

I from which it could be certified that because of the state of his 

I intelhgence, he was unable to profit, in an average measure, from 
the instruction given in the ordinary schools. 

I But how the examination of each child should be made, what 
methods should be followed, what observations taken, what 

I questions asked, what tests devised, how the child should be 
compared with normal children, the commission felt under no 

{ obligation to decide. It was formed to do a work of administra- 

\ tion, not a work of science. 

'• — It has seemed to us extremely useful to furnish a guide for 
future Commissions' examination. Such Commissions should 
understand from the beginning how to get their bearings. It must 
be made impossible for those who belong to the Commission to 
fall into the habit of making haphazard decisions according to 
impressions which are subjective, and consequently uncontrolled. 
Such impressions are sometimes good, sometimes bad, and have 
at all times too much the nature of the arbitrary, of caprice, of 
indifference. Such a condition is quite unfortunate because the 





interests of the child demand a more careful method. To be 
a member of a special class can never be a mark of distinction, 
and such as do not merit it, must be spared the record. Some 
errors are excusable in the beginning, but if they become too 
frequent, they may ruin the reputation of these new institutions. 
Furthermore, in principle, we are convinced, and we shall not 
cease to repeat, that the precision and exactness of science should 
be introduced into our practice whenever possible, and in the 
great majority of cases it is possible. 

The problem which we have to solve presents many difficulties 
both theoretical and practical. It is a hackneyed remark that 
the definitions, thus far proposed, for the different states of 
subnormal intelUgence, lack precision. These inferior states 
are indefinite in number, being composed of a series of degrees 
which mount from the lowest depths of idiocy, to a condition 
easily confounded with normal intelligence. Alienists have 
frequently come to an agreement concerning the terminology 
to be employed for designating the difference of these degrees; 
at least, in spite of certain individual divergence of ideas to be 
found in all questions, there has been an agreement to accept 
idiot as applied to the lowest state, imhecile to the intermediate, 
and moron (d^bile)* to the state nearest normality. Still among 
the numerous aKenists, under this conmaon and apparently pre- 
cise terminology, different ideas are concealed, variable and at 
the same time confused. The distinction between idiot, imbecile, 
and moron is not understood in the same way by all practitioners. 
We have abundant proof of this in the strikingly divergent medi- 
cal diagnoses made only a few days apart by different alienists 
upon the same patient. 

Dr. Blin, physician of the Vaucluse Asylum, recently drew 
the attention of his fellow physicians to these regrettable con- 
tradictions. He states that the children who are sent to the 

♦The French word dSbile (weak) is used by Binet to designate the 
highest grade of mental defectives, called in England feeble-minded. In 
America the term feeble-minded has been used in the same sense, but 
unfortunately it is also applied generically to the entire group of mental 
defectives. To obviate this ambiguity, we coined the word MORON 
(Greek Moros, foolish) to designate the highest grade of mental defect. 
We have accordingly translated dibile by moron, except in a few instances 
where the context requires a different term, — Editor. 


colony come provided with several dissimilar certificates. "One 
child, called imbecile in the first certificate, is marked idiot in 
the second, feeble-minded (d^bile) in the third, and degenerate 
in the fourth."^ M. Damaye, former house surgeon of Dr. Blin, 
adds this observation: ''One would have only to look through 
several folders of records belonging to children of the colony, 
in order to collect almost the same number of different diagnoses. "^ 
Perhaps this last affirmation is a little exaggerated, but a statis- 
tical study would show the exact truth on this point. 

We cannot sufficiently deplore the consequence of this state 
of uncertainty recognized today by all alienists. The simple 
fact, that speciaHsts do not agree in the use of the technical terms ' 
of their science, throws suspicion upon their diagnoses, and 
prevents all work of comparison. We ourselves have made simi- 
lar observations. In synthesizing the diagnoses made by M. 
Bourneville upon patients leaving the Bic^tre, we found that in 
the space of four years only two feeble-minded individuals have 
left his institution although during that time the Bureau of Ad- 
mission has sent him more than thirty. Nothing could show 
more clearly than this change of label, the confusion of our nomen- 

What importance can be attached to public statistics of differ- 
ent countries concerning the percentage of backward children | 
if the definition for backward children is not the same in all coun- 
tries? How will it be possible to keep a record of the intelligence 
of pupils who are treated and instructed in a school, if the terms 
applied to them, feeble-minded, retarded, imbecile, idiot, vary 
in meaning according to the doctor who examines them? The 
absence of a common measure prevents comparison of statistics, 
and makes one lose all interest in investigations which may have 
been very laborious. But a still more serious fact is that, be- , 
cause of lack of methods, it is impossible to solve those essential 1 
questions concerning the afflicted, whose solution presents the 
greatest interest; for example, the real results gained by the 
treatment of inferior states of intelhgence by doctor and educa- 
tor; the educative value of one pedagogical method compared 
with another; the degree of curability of incomplete idiocy, etc. 

1 Blin, Les d^bilit^s mentales, Revue de psychiatrie. A6ut, 1902. 
* Damaye. Essai de diagnostic entre les itats de dibiliti mentale. Th^se 
de Paris, Steinheil, 1903. 



It is not by means of a priori reasonings, of vague considera- 
tions, of oratorical displays, that these questions can be solved; 
but by minute investigation, entering into the details of fact, 
and considering the effects of the treatment for each particular 
child. There is but one means of knowing if a child, who has 
passed six years in a hospital or in a special class, has profited 
from that stay, and to what degree he has profited; and that is 
to compare his certificate of entrance with his certificate of dis- 
missal, and by that means ascertain if he shows a special ameliora- 
tion of his condition beyond that which might be credited simply 
to the considerations of growth. But experience has shown how 
imprudent it would be to place confidence in this comparison, 
when the two certificates come from different doctors, who do 
not judge in exactly the same way, or who use different words 
to characterize the mental status of patients. 

It might happen that a child, who had really improved in 
school, had received in the beginning the diagnosis of moron 
(d^bile), and on leaving, the prejudicial diagnosis of imbecile, 
simply because the second doctor spoke a different language 
from the first. If one took these certificates Hterally, this case 
would be considered a failure. On the contrary, the appear- 
ance of ameHoration would be produced if the physician who 
delivered the certificate of dismissal had the habit of using higher 
terms than the one who furnished the certificate of entrance. 
One can even go further. The errors which we note, do not 
necessarily emanate from the disagreement of different physicians. 
It would suffice for the same physician to deliver the two certifi- 
cates, if he did not employ for each one the same criterion; and 
it would certainly be possible for him to vary unconsciously 
after an interval of several years if he had nothing to guide him 
but his own subjective impressions. Might not the same thing 
also happen if his good faith as a physician happened to be in 
, conflict with the interests of the institution which he directed? 
Might he not unconsciously as it were, have a tendency to lower 
the mental status of patients on entering and to raise it on 
dismissal, in order to emphasize the advantages of the methods 
1 which he had appUed? We are not incriminating anyone, but 
\ simply calling attention to methods actually in use which, by 
their lack of precision, favor the involuntary illusions of physicians 
and relatives, in a word, of all those who, having an interest in 




the amelioration of the condition of the defective child, would 
have a tendency to confound their desires with the reality. 

Perhaps someone will raise an objection and say this uncer- 
tainty, has no special apphcation to diagnosis of the degrees of 
mental debility; it is also to be found in mental pathology and, 
in a general way, in the diagnosis of all maladies; it is the result 
of the empirical nature which is characteristic of clinical studies. 
It might be added, that, if anyone took the trouble to make a 
statistical study of the divergence in the diagnosis of different 
physicians upon the same patient, it would probably be found 
that the percentage of disagreement is very great in all branches 
of medicine. 

We believe it worth while to examine their objection because 
it permits us to enter more deeply into the analysis of the question. 
The disagreements of practitioners might come from three very 
different classes of causes: 

1. Ignorance, that is, the lack of aptitude of certain physicians. 
This is an individual failure, for which abstract science is not 
responsible. It is certain that, even when the symptoms of a 
disease are absolutely clear, such a physician might fail to recog- 
nize them through incapacity. There are many accountants 
who make mistakes in calculation, but these errors do not dis- 
credit mathematics. A physician might not be able to recog- 
nize a *'p. g." if he is himself a *'p. g." 

2. The variable meaning of terms. Since the same expression 
has a different sense according to the person who uses it, it is 
possible that the disagreement of diagnosis may be simply a 
disagreement of words, due to the use of different nomenclature. 

3. Lack of precision in the description of the symptoms which 
reveal or which constitute a certain particular malady; different 
physicians do not examine the same patient in the same manner 
and do not give the S3n3iptoms the same importance; or, it may 
be they make no effort to find out the precise symptoms, and no 
effort to analyze carefully in order to distinguish and interpret 

Of these three kinds of error, which is the one that actually 
appears in the diagnosis of inferior states of intelligence? Let us 
set aside the first. There remain the faults of nomenclature, 
and the insufficiency of methods of examination. 

The general belief seems to be that the confusion arises wholly 


from an absence of a uniform nomenclature. There is some 
truth in this opinion. It can be proved by a comparison of 
terms used by authors belonging to the different countries. Even 
in France the terms differ somewhat according to the physician, 
the order of the admitted subdivisions not being rigorously fol- 
lowed. The classification of Magnan is not that of Voisin, and 
his, in turn, differs from that of Bourneville. Undoubtedly 
it would be a good work to bring about a unification of this nomen- 
clature as has been done for the standard of measurements and 
for electric units. But this reform in itself is not sufficient and 
we are very sure that they deceive themselves who think that 
at bottom this is only a question of terminology. It is very 
much more serious. We find physicians who, though using the 
same terminology, constantly disagree in their diagnosis of the 
same child. The examples cited from M. Blin prove this. There 
the doctors had recourse to the terminology of Morel, who classi- 
fies those of inferior intelligence as idiots, imbeciles and "debiles.'^ 
Notwithstanding this use of the same terms, they do not agree 
in the manner of applying them. Each one according to his 
own fancy, fixes the boundary line separating these states. It 
is in regard to the facts that the doctors disagree. 

In looking closely one can see that the confusion comes princi- 
pally from a fault in the method of examination. When an alienist 
finds himself in the presence of a child of inferior intelligence, 
he does not examine him by bringing out each one of the symp- 
toms which the child manifests and by interpreting all symptoms 
and classifjdng them; he contents himself with taking a subjective 
impression, an impression as a whole, of his subject, and of mak- 
ing his diagnosis by instinct. We do not think that we are going 
too far in sajdng that at the present time very few physicians 
would be able to cite with absolute precision the objective and 
invariable sign, or signs, by which they distinguish the degrees 
of inferior mentality. 

A study of the historical side of the question shows us very 
clearly that what is lacking is a precise basis for differential 


A Few Historical Notes 



It is perfectly useless to enumerate all the authors who have 
attempted to classify idiocy. In medicine as in other sciences 
there are a number of writers of secondary rank who repeat the 
work of those who have gone before, making but insignificant 
alterations. We shall note only those who have brought new 
ideas and changed the direction of study. 

Pinel devoted a chapter of his medico-philosophical treatise 
on Mental Derangement, to "Idiocy, or the Obliteration of the 
Intellectual and Affective Faculties." But he confounds the 
states of stupor and dementia with actual idiocy, "that which 
is so from the beginning," regarding which he makes one observa- 
tion; one paragraph is reserved for the "Cretins of Switzerland." 

Esquirol was the first to differentiate idiocy; he develops this 
fact in great detail and certainly understood its importance. 
Ordinarily when anyone cites the names of Esquirol in a history 
of idiocy it is to bring out the fact that we owe to him a classi- 
fication of idiocy founded upon the power of speech. It is true 
that Esquirol has made this classification. We give the passage 
in its entirety. 

Speech, that essential attribute of man, which has been given him that 
he may express his thought, speech, being the sign most constantly associa- 
ated in idiots with the intellectual capacity, gives the character to the prin- 
ciple varieties of idiocy. In the first degree of imbecility, speech is free and 
easy. In the second degrefe it is less easy, the vocabulary more limited. 
In the first degree of idiocy proper, the idiot uses only words, with short 
sentences. Idiots of the second degree articulate only monosyllables or 
some cries. Finally idiots of the third degree have neither speech, phrase, 
word, nor monosyllables. ^ 

That is all. Esquirol relates a number of interesting observa- 
tions regarding imbeciles and idiots, which form perhaps the 
most suggestive part of his study; but nowhere does he under- 
take to introduce his classification by speech; but, on the con- 
trary, by a total of the sjmiptoms. Moreover, if he had attempted 
an application, he would have seen that the condition of speech 

*Des Maladies mentales, II, p. 340. 


is not always sufficient to characterize the degree of mental in- 
feriority. We are therefore disposed to see in the so-called classi- 
fication only one of those accessory ideas which germinate in 
the mind of an author and to which he attaches only relative 
importance. The talent of Esquirol did not develop in this line. 
His real work consists in having definitely separated idiocy from 
other conditions which seem to resemble it, by a lack or by an 
equivalent diminution of exterior signs of intelligence. Condi- 
tions which simulate idiocy are stupor and different demential 
states. It is incontestable that Esquirol, by the insistence with 
which he developed these different points, shows the importance 
which they had for him. We purpose allowing the reader to 
be his own judge by making extensive extracts. 

Notice in the first place how Esquirol defines idiocy. It is 
he who first used the term idiocy as a substitute for idiotisnij 
the word employed before his time, which has since been reserved 
for grammatical use. He says 

Idiocy is not a malady, it is a state in which the faculties are never 
manifested, or have never developed sufl&ciently for the idiot to acquire 
the knowledge which other individuals of his age receive when placed 
in the same environment. Idiocy begins either with life, or during that 
period which precedes the complete development of the affective and in- 
tellectual faculties; idiots are what they must remain during the entire 
course of their lives. Everything in the idiot reveals an organism either 
of arrested or of imperfect development. It is not possible to conceive 
of changing this condition. Nothing can give to these unhappy beings, 
even for a moment, more reason or more intelligence. They do not attain 
to an advanced age, seldom living to be over thirty. When the brain 
is examined, defects of structure are nearly always found. 

Immediately following this is a passage in which Esquirol dis- 
tinguishes idiocy from insanity. This distinction is extremely 
important. It is worth while to quote his own words. 

Insanity and idiocy differ essentially, or else the principles of all classi- 
fication are illusions. Insanity, like mania or mono-mania does not com- 
mence before puberty; it has a period of growth more or less rapid. In- 
sanity, such as senile dementia, increases from year to year by the wear- 
ing away of the organs or by the successive loss of different faculties. All 
the symptoms show physical weakness; all the features are drawn, the 
eyes dull, depressed; and if the insane man wishes to act, he is moved by 
a fixed idea which has survived the general loss of intelligence. Insanity 
may be cured; one can conceive the possibility of suspending the symptoms ; 
there is a diminution, or privation of the forces necessary to exercise the 



faculties, but the faculties still exist. A shock of the moral nature, medi- 
cines, might awaken him or arouse sufl&cient force to produce the mani- 
festation of some ideas, of some affection; other means, too, might remove 
the obstacles which suspend 'their manifestation. 

If a man having become insane does not succumb rapidly, he may run 
through a long course and arrive at a very advanced age. 

When an autopsy is performed, one sometimes finds organic lesions 
but they are accidental, because the thickening of the bones of the skull, 
or the spreading of the cranial plates ("I'^cartement de leur tables,") coin- 
cident with senile dementia, do not in the least constitute defects of con- 
formation. It is the same with the alterations and changes in the sub- 
stance of the brain caused by the progress of age. 

The insane man is deprived of possessions which he formerly enjoyed; 
he is a rich man become poor; the idiot has always been in misery and 
want. The state of the insane may vary, that of the idiot remains always 
the same. The one conserves much of the appearance of the complete 
man, the other retains many traits of infancy. In one case as in the other, 
there are no sensations or practically none; but the insane man shows in 
his organization and also in his intelligence something of his past per- 
fection; the idot is such as he has always been, he is all that he can ever j 
be relative to his primitive organization. 

A few lines farther on, Esquirol makes another distinction be- 
tween idiocy and other mental states which resemble it only in 
appearance. It seems useful to reproduce this passage also. 

But there are individuals who seem to be void of sensibility and in- 
telligence, who are without ideas, without speech, without movement, 
and who remain where they are placed, who must be dressed and fed. 
Are they not idiots? No, surely not. These are not the diagnostic symp- 
toms. A single epoch in a malady cannot giye an abstract idea of it; on 
the contrary one must see and study this malady in all its states, each 
one of which should furnish some factor to the diagnosis. I have pre- 
viously given the history of a girl who offered all the symptoms which 
one takes ordinarily for the signs of idiocy. That girl was terrified, and 
it was fear that chained the exercise of all her faculties. I cared for a 
young man 27 years of age, who, deceived by a woman and failing to se- 
cure the place he wanted, after an attack of insanity, fell into a state of 
apparent idiocy. The face of the invalid was highly colored, his eyes 
fixed and uncertain, his countenance without expression; it was neces- 
sary to dress and undress him and to put him to bed; he did not eat unless 
the food was put into his mouth; his arms hung at his sides and his hands 
were swollen; he always stood but never walked unless someone forced 
him to do so; he seemed to have neither feeling nor thought. Leeches 
applied to the temples, tepid baths, cold douches on the head, and above 
all a general eruption of the skin cured him. This young man told me, 
after his restoration to health, that a voice within him kept repeating, 
''Don't move, or you are lost." Fear made him immovable. Intellit 



sensitiveness are ther efore_nQl.lost^ut the manifestation of these faculties 
is l^ndered by differentmotives ofwlnch the pattents are conscious when 
they are cured. During my clinical lessons of 1822, we had at the Sal- 
p^triere a young woman, B., who seemed to be in the most profound stu- 
por and in a state of absolute insensibility; she remained sitting by her 
bed and never spoke. Many times I pinched and struck her without her 
showing signs of pain. I had a seton placed on her neck and several blis- 
ters applied to different parts of the skin, always with the same apparent 
lack of sensation; the same obstinate silence, the same refusal to walk. 
One day this young woman did not appear at the clinic, and after that 
nothing could induce her to return. When she was cured, she told me that 
one of the pupils had pinched her. This impertinence angered her. What 
was permissable for me was not for the others and she resolved never 
again to appear. Certain monomaniacs, dominated by ideas of love or 
of religion, show the same symptoms. Certainly in all of these cases, the 
sensuous and intellectual faculties exercise themselves with energy; ap- 
pearances are deceptive; these are by no means cases of idiocy. 

Following Esquirol, there are a great number of authors who, 
one after the other, have attempted to define idiocy and other 
inferior states of intelligence, and who have presented a subdivi- 
sion and sometimes a classification of the different degrees of in- 
feriority of intelHgence. To make a complete history it would be 
necessary to study the attempts of Belhomme, Seguin, FeUx 
Voisin, Morel, Marce, Griesinger, Luys, Schule, Chambard, Ball, 
Dagonet, Ireland, Jules Voisin, Magnan, SoUier, Bourneville. 

Two principal types of classification have been given; the classi- 
fication according to symptoms and the anatomo-pathological 
or etiological classification. 

The latter are the less frequent, the less usual. We can cite 
two examples, one from Ireland, the other from Bourneville. 

Ireland,* while recognizing that it would be of great interest to 
take account of the exact intellectual symptoms of idiots, be- 
heves that from the point of view of the treatment, and especially 
for prognosis, the generating cause of idiocy must be taken into 
account. In his book, he makes a separate study of the follow- 
ing etiological classes: 

1. Genetous Idiocy. 

2. Microcephalic Idiocy. 

3. Hydrocephalic Idiocy. 

4. Eclampsic Idiocy. 

* W. W. Ireland, The mental affections of children, idocy, imbecility 
and insanity, London, 1900, p. 39. 


5. Epileptic Idiocy. 

6. Paralytic Idiocy. 

7. Traumatic Idiocy. 

8. Inflammatory Idiocy (the result of Encephalitis). 

9. Sclerotic Idiocy. 

10. Syphilitic Idiocy. 

11. Cretinism (including the Endemic and Sporadic or Myxoedematous 

12. Idiocy by Deprivation. 

In spite of the great interest of these distinctions, we cannot 
find any light for us in this classification, especially from a peda- 
gogic point of view, because the form of inferior mentality with 
which we most often have to do is what Ireland calls congenital 
idiocy; it is necessary to know the degrees of this, and Ireland 
does not furnish us the means of distinguishing them. 

We would make the same remark in regard to the pathological 
classification of Bourneville which differs but little from the pre- 
ceding. Here it is : 

1. Hydrocephalic Idiocy. 

2. Microcephalic Idiocy. 

3. Idiocy, symptomatic of arrest of development of the convolutions. 

4. Idiocy, symptomatic of a congenital malformation of the brain 
(porencephaly, absence of corpus callosum, etc.). 

5. Idiocy, symptomatic of atrophic sclerosis; sclerosis of one hemisphere, 
or of two hemispheres, sclerosis of one lobe of the brain, sclerosis of iso- 
lated convolutions, sclerosis of the brain. 

6. Idiocy, due to hypertrophic or tumorous sclerosis. 

7. Idiocy, symptomatic of meningitis or chronic meningo-encephalitis. 

8. Idiocy, with pachydermic cachexia, myxoedematous idiocy. 

Bourneville was the first to study several of the preceding forms, 
porencephalous and myxedematous idiocy. 

In spite of the interest of this classification, it cannot serve as a 
faithful guide for study during the fife of the patient, in whom the 
nature of the lesions is often very obscure. 

We shall therefore set aside the etiologic and anatomo-patho- 
logic, restricting ourselves to symptomatic classifications. 

After having carefully examined several of the latter we are now 
convinced that it will not be necessary to analyze all because all 
are conceived along the same lines. It is of Httle import to know 
that for a certain clinician, there are two orders of inferior intelli- 
gence, while for another there are three or four; that is, one uses 
the terms complete idiocy and incomplete idiocy; that a second 


proposes the new terms imbecile, feeble-minded, backward; that 
a third distinguishes the non-social from the non-teachable; or 
again that one has estabhshed the difference between the intel- 
lectual idiot and the moral idiot. All this is merely terminology. 
Questions of terminology are doubtless very important, but only 
on condition that there be imity of acceptance of the facts and the 
ideas which the terms indicate. But it seems to us that all the 
classifications of the authors cited above have the same lack of 
precision, a fault which consists essentially in this: the sjnnptoms 
characterizing the different degrees of mental inferiority are not 
described in such a way that they can be practically recognized 
and distinguished. In order to justify our remarks it will suffice 
to cite some of the best known of these classifications. 

Dr. Jules Voisin, in his Lessons on Idiocy, proposes a classifica- 
tion which places under the title of idiots all degrees of intellec- 
tual weakness; it is one of the simplest and best that has been 

I. Complete idiocy, absolute, congenital or acquired, composed of two 

(a) The anencephalics, and those who have not even the instinct of 

(6) These who have the instinct of self-preservation and certain char- 
acteristics. These two degrees are incurable. 

II. Incomplete idiocy, congenital or acquired, which also includes sev- 
eral degrees, according to the presence, the absence, and the development 
of certain intellectual faculties, sensory or motor. It is susceptible of 

III. Imbecility, congenital or acquired: the presence in rudimentary 
form of all the intellectual, instinctive and moral faculties; perversion 
or instability of these faculties. 

IV. Mental debility, characterized by the weakness or by the lack 
of balance of the faculties. It is now the motor centers, now the centers 
of sensation, now the emotional centers which have the supremacy in the 
excitation. When one of these centers predominates without being coun- 
terbalanced by the others, the result is either a ''moteur" or a "sensoriel," 
or a "sensitif." 

We also give the classification of Dr. Bourneville, one of the 
last that has been pubHshed. It appeared in the Treatise 6n 
Medicine by Brouardel and Gilbert. 

I. Idiocy, complete, absolute, or of the first degree: comprises purely vege- 
tative beings without control over excretory organs and without any in- 
tellectual manifestations. 


II. Profound idiocy, or idiocy of the second degree. Life here is essentially 
vegetative, and the ideas of relationships very limited. There is a gleam 
of intelligence, a fugitive attention. Motility, locomotion and prehen- 
sion exist to a limited extent. Appetite is exaggerated. Inability to 
retain secretions still absolute. 

III. Imbecility proper; the intellectual faculties are very incomplete. 
Attention fleeting ("fugace"). Perversion of instincts. Defective speech, 
limited language. Will without energy. These creatures are victims of 
every influence. 

IV. Slight imbecility or intellectual retardation. The intellectual facul- 
ties are retarded, and noticeably below the faculties of children of the 
same age. The attention may remain fixed, at least for a certain time. 
Movements, locomotion, prehension, and sensitiveness are generally in- 
tact. The stigmata of degeneracy are generally less numerous, and less 
pronounced than with imbeciles and especially with idiots. 

V. Mental instability. Sometimes simple, but more often approach- 
ing imbecility, intellectual backwardness. Exuberant physical mobility, 
and intellectual mobility. Sudden impulses. 

VI. Moral imbecility. Nightmares, tempers, instability and perver- 
sion of instincts. Excessive credulity toward those to whom these chil- 
dren abandon themselves, and who dominate them. Egotism. A sexual 
development beyond their age, or sexual impulses which render them 
dangerous. Their intellectual faculties may be absolutely intact; intel- 
lectual defect is only a secondary characteristic. Stigmata of physical 
degeneracy are sometimes quite absent. 

Let us see some of the principal observations that can be made 
relative to these classifications; they will bear upon the enumera- 
tion of the symptoms and their definition. 

Enumeration of symptoms. The authors incorporate into their 
definitions a great number of motor troubles and disorders of 
every sort, belonging to the digestive and secretive apparatus, 
growth, etc. This enumeration would be in place in a clinical 
record, where all the observable symptoms of a patient are col- 
lected; but it has this disadvantage that it misleads the mind, 
when one attempts a definition where only the essential should be 
noted. Thus we see the authors laying great stress upon motility, 
locomotion, prehension and speech in distinguishing the different 
degrees of idiocy. We admit, that one frequently observes motor 
troubles with idiots, and that in a general way, the intensity of 
these troubles is greater in the most profound cases of idiocy. 
This is not surprising. From the moment that idiocy is admitted 
to be the result of a number of very different diseases of the brain, 
it is logical to infer that the diseases which produce an arrested 



or perverted development in the intellectual functions should also 
provoke divers disorders in the sphere of motility; as for instance 
in the respiratory, circulatory, secretory functions, since all the 
functions of the living being are directly or indirectly under the 
influence of the nervous system. But it is no less necessary to 
establish in the definition of idiocy, a distinction between it and 
troubles of a different nature. Idiocy, as Esquirol was the first to 
recognize, consists in a weakness of the intelHgence. If the 
physician gives a child the diagnosis of profound idiocy or of im- 
becihty, it is not because the child does not walk, nor talk, has no 
control over secretions, is microcephalic, has the ears badly formed, 
or the palate keeled. The child is judged to be an idiot because 
he is affected in his intellectual development. This is so strikingly 
true that if we suppose a case presented to us where speech, loco- 
motion, prehension were all nil, but which gave evidence of an 
intact intelHgence, no one would consider that patient an idiot. 

It results from these observations that the directing principle of 
the preceding classifications does not seem to us correct. The 
view is lost that here it is a question of inferior states of intelli- 
gence, and that it is only by taking into account this inferiority 
that a classification can be estabhshed. In other words a classi- 
fication of idiocy is a clinical classification to he made hy means of 

Our conception would be badly understood if it were supposed 
that we intend to eliminate from the definition of idiocy all the 
purely somatic disorders so frequently observed in these unhappy 
cases. On the contrary it is very useful to take note of these 
symptoms, especially in cases where by their nature or their 
mechanism they reveal to us a mental weakness or insufficiency. 
They have less value in themselves than in what they imply. 
Hence the necessity for their analysis. Take for example a child 
of five years who does not walk. The retardation in locomotion 
is not in itself a sign of idiocy, since it might come from a great 
number of anatomical or pathological causes which are quite inde- 
pendent of the functioning of the intelligence, for example. Little's 
disease, or infantile paralysis. The motihty of the lower mem- 
bers must first be examined to see if it is normal and if the mem- 
bers are strong enough to bear the weight of the child and if that 
which is lacking is only the psychical factor of locomotion, that is to 
say the desire, the will to walk and the intelligent coordination of 


the movements of the two limbs. The same analysis must be made 
ih relation to the inability to retain secretions, and in a general 
manner to all troubles belonging to the sphere of motility, hold- 
ing firmly in mind the idea that the physical disorders of idiocy 
have no value except as signs which reveal the inteUigence. 

The second criticism to the preceding classifications, which is 
more serious than the first, has to do with the gradation of the 
symptoms. After one has perused the formulas which the aUen- 
ists employ, he perceives that very little has been learned, because 
of their extreme vagueness. They are merely differences of more 
or less which are pointed out, and these differences, which are de- 
clared sufficient to estabhsh the degrees, and consequently diag- 
nostic differences, are not defined at all. 

We are told for profound idiocy: '^ There is here a fugitive atten- 
tion.'' What is that — a fugitive attention? In what does it 
consist? '^Motility exists but a little." What does "httle" sig- 
nify? We are assured that imbecility differs from idiocy in this: 
in idiocy ^Hhere is a gleam of intelligence','' in imbeciUty ^Hhe in- 
tellectual faculties exist in a very incomplete degree." We should 
like to know what difference must be established between "a 
gleam" of intelligence and "very incomplete degree' ' of the intel- 
lectual faculties. We are again informed that in profound idiocy 
^Hhe attention is fugitive," while in imbecility, ^Hhe attention is 
fleeting." We are unable to grasp the distinctive shade of mean- 
ing. We are also ignorant of the value of the following symptoms 
which are noted in the definition of imbecility, ^^ defective speech," 
^^ limited language." We admit that we have no idea what pre- 
cise defect of articulation corresponds to *' defective speech." 
There are people who stanmier slightly, and others whose speech 
is scarcely intelUgible. All have defective speech. The same 
remark is true for ''limited language." Very many peasants have 
a limited language. What extent of vocabulary must one possess 
in order to have a ''limited language?" Again we are told for the 
diagnosis of imbecility " Will without energy." These are still the 
same kind of expressions so vague that they might be applied even 
to normals. What shall we say of the formula for "slight im- 
becility" — with which we shall close. ". . . . the intellectual 
faculties .... are noticeably heUm the faculties of children of 
the same age." ''Noticeably" is the word which forms the best 
resum^ of the essential character of these classifications. 


Even Esquirol himself merits the same criticism when he dis- 
tinguishes idiocy from imbecility, in writing extraordinary phrases 
like the following: "with imbeciles the organization is more or less 
perfect/' ''with idiots the senses are scarcely outlined — the organiza- 
tion is incomplete, etc.'' Evidently Esquirol has set a bad example 
and everyone has followed him. 

We were therefore right in saying as we did, that it is a fixed 
basis of differential diagnosis which is lacking with the aUenists. 
The vagueness of their formulas reveals the vagueness of their 
ideas. They cUng to characteristics which are by ''more or less," 
and they permit themselves to be guided by a subjective impres- 
sion which they do not seem to think necessary to analyze, and 
which therefore would be impossible to justify. We shall never 
be able to emphasize sufficiently how far removed from scientific 
methods are such empirical processes. Quantitative differences, 
such as we have noted, are of no value unless they are measured, even 
if measured hut crudely. 

In spite of these objections we wilHngly recognize that alienists, 
l3ecause of their practice and their medical insight, arrive very 
quickly at judging and classifying a child. But these judgments 
^nd these classifications are made by subjective processes, and no 
ahenist would be able to tell with precision, for example, how 
many years a certain backward child was behind a normal one of 
the same age. The distinction between slight mental defect and 
normality, which is so difiicult to trace and yet so interesting, re- 
mains therefore completely inaccessible. 

Following the symptomatic classifications, we find another type, 
that of psychological classifications. 

In these, less attention is paid to somatic symptoms, while the 
interest is concentrated on the degree of intelligence. The idea is 
quite recent. Nevertheless it would seem that it already existed 
in Seguin's book. In that singular work, so remarkable as a 
practitioner's, so weak as a theorist's, we find the extraordinary 
idea that idiocy depends on a weakness of the will. The idiot 
would not be an idiot, if he did not wish to be one. It is useless to 
stop to discuss this absurd statement, to which several authors — 
those at least who have had the patience to read the work of 
Seguin^ — have given due justice. We have pointed out this error, 

' E. Seguin, Traitement moral, hygikne et education des idiots et des autres 
enfants arrierSs, Paris, J.-B. Bailliire, 1846, p. 170. 


because Seguin seemed to grasp, very vaguely it is true, that it is 
by psychological study that idiots must be classified. We shall 
not lay stress upon this. 

P. Sollier^ was the first to propose a psychological classification, 
the first, in reality, who attempted to estabUsh a classification of 
the degrees of idiocy based on a single psychological characteristic. 
That characteristic is the state of the attention. The author, 
having formulated this principle, deduces schematically the fol- 
lowing division: 

Absolute idiocy, characterized by the absolute and complete absence of 

Simple idiocy, in which there is weakness or difficulty of attention. 
Imbecility, in which there is instability of attention. 

This curious attempt seems to us to be rightly directed because 
it is essentially psychological. It is by a mental quahty alone 
that SoUier attempts to distinguish idiots. Perhaps, however, he 
did not himself realize the value of the principle which directed 
him, because he continued to reproduce the definition of his prede- 
cessors according to whom idiocy is "an affection of the brain 
. . . . characterized by trouble with the intellectual, sen- 
sory and motor functions." The expression "motor" which he 
uses seems to prove that, in his thought, idiocy is not exclusively 
a mental infirmity. As to the intellectual faculty by which Solher 
chose to distinguish different kinds of idiots, he has made an un- 
happy selection. Why should he have chosen attention before 
memory, or imagination, or comprehension, or judgment? This 
has very truly the appearance of the a priori system. A distinc- 
tion of this nature ought to be made only from observations taken 
from life. The intellectual functions which are the first to de- 
velop should be sought out, how they arrange themselves, in what I 
order they appear, how they coordinate. This is the true, the 
only method. To be sure this is laborious enough; very many 
patients must be examined, and when one is willing to analyze 
concrete facts, he seldom arrives at conclusions that can be ele- 
gantly expressed in so brief a formula. These brief formulas be- 
long to hterature. The classification of Solher is more Uterary 
than cHnical. 

' Psychologic de Vidiot et de Vimbicile, Paris, Alcan, p. 36. 



We see very easily, nevertheless, how the idea came to him of 
making attention the key to idiocy. Ribot, who recently pub- 
lished an important monograph entitled, ''Psychology of Atten- 
tion," obeyed that quite natural tendency among authors of mon- 
ographs, to exaggerate the importance of his subject; he insisted 
especially on the comparison between spontaneous and voluntary 
attention, concluding that the spontaneous form, which is the 
primitive, is more important than the other. Solher, impressed 
with this argument, which is true only in general psychology, 
transported it to the clinic, that is to say, into individual psychol- 
ogy, where it is probably false, because individuals seem to differ, 
not so much by the degree of spontaneous attention, as by the 
degree of voluntary or deliberate attention. And SoUier has once 
more followed this preconceived idea, when he supposes that at- 
tention, because it is the most important of the faculties of mind 
(which, by the way, is subject to question), presents necessarily a 
development parallel to that of all the intellectual faculties, and 
that its measure will, therefore, serve as the measure of the intel- 
ligence. Different observers, Voisin^ for example, have cited 
interesting facts which go to prove the contrary. 
I And now a last objection, SolHer does not indicate by what signs 
one can recognize the weakness, the difficulty, the instability of 
the attention, nor how one can measure this so as to make a diag- 
nosis. He contents himself in his chapter on attention with a 
general and rather vague description in which he makes numerous 
, citations from Ribot, but in which one searches in vain for precise 
j observations upon idiots or imbeciles. The author remains in the 
\ realm of general ideas for which his mind has an evident predilec- 
I tion; he never touches ground, never cites a fact. A character- 
istic sign of this manner is to speak of ''the idiot" and "the im- 
becile," and to describe the states of attention of these abstract 
entities. We think it worth while to cite several passages which 
illustrate how the author has grasped his subject. 
Here is a passage in which he describes the attention of an idiot : 

With the absolute idiot the attention is reduced to its simplest mani- 
festation, one can almost say it does not exist. At times only the sight of 
nourishment can make him lose his indifference. Sometimes by surpris- 
ing him, one may catch a gleam of passing attention, which vanishes even 

' LeQons sur Vdiotis, p. 80. 



more quickly than it appeared.* On hearing a loud harsh noise for in- 
stance, the idiot turns about or simply turns his eyes, then falls into the 
habitual impassiveness from which nothing can arouse him. He has 
no ideas, no perception, scarcely any sensations. With the simple idiot 
it is often difficult to arouse the attention of which the subject is capable, 
and it is necessary to resort to every expedient which pedagogy can fur- 
nish — such as for instance, pictures and colors. Idiots seem to be especi- 
ally visualists. The attention of the imbecile is primarily, wandering. 
With the greatest facility, it passes from one subject to another, with no 
connection between the statements. While still young, when questioned, 
he will let his gaze wander, will handle objects about him, and make no 
reply until after you have repeated the same question many times. 
Scarcely has he replied by a few words uttered without thought, before 
he recommences his manoeuvres or sets to babbling or to singing. He* will 
keep repeating that which is said to him of serious matters which in pass- 
ing have caught his voluntary attention. 

These few instances show that the author has observed many 
idiots, and that he has famiharized himself with their physiognomy 
their gestures, their manners. There are very many interesting 
facts in these rather vague descriptions. But the practitioner 
who would take such descriptions as a final guide in classifying 
idiots, would be very much hampered. That which he would 
need and which SoUier does not give, is a technique capable of 
measuring the degrees of attention and of recording the quanti- 
tative variations. We cannot, however, reproach SolUer for 
having made this important omission in his book. Methods of 
measuring attention are still scarcely known; this is one of the least 
advanced branches of experimental psychology. 

It is unnecessary to add that in spite of these criticisms, the 
work of SolUer^ presents the greatest interest. 

We would note as very curious, the distinction which he makes 
between ''distraction dissipated" and "distraction absorbed." 
We shall return to this point at another time when we study the 
attention of the feeble-minded. 

In closing this history we wish to speak of a recent experiment, 
scarcely a year old, due to the efforts of Dr. Bhn and his pupil, 

* Let us emphasize in passing that interesting expression, whose end 
is only verbalism; verbalism is the peril of generalizers. 

" This author proposes another distinction, limited to idiocy and im- 
becility. Idiocy would be due to certain lesions, while in imbecility there 
would be no lesions. Although scarcely practical, this distinction would 
be very curious, if it could be demonstrated to be true. Unfortunately, 
the author does not insist upon the demonstration. 


Dr. Damaye. It has been explained by Dr. Blin, in a short article 
upon mental weaknesses. Dr. Damaye has shown in detail in a 
thesis how the method of examination, conceived by his master, 
can be apphed to patients; this thesis contains an account, un- 
fortunately rather brief, but very interesting, of the attempt to 
apply it to 250 idiots, imbeciles, and morons of the Vaucluse 
Colony. We have not therefore to judge of a purely theoretical 
idea, but of a method which has really been applied. 

Before entering on its exposition, let us say that in precision 
Dr. Bhn's study seems to us superior to anything previously ac- 
comphshed. The criticisms which we shall make will not cause us 
to forget that we have here a first attempt to apply a scientific 
method to the diagnosis of mental debility. 

The method consists of a pre-arranged list of questions which 
are given to all in such a way that, if repeated by different per- 
sons on the same individual, constantly identical results will be 
obtained. The examination is composed of a series of twenty 
topics. A certain number of questions, graded in several of the 
series according to their difficulty, are prepared upon each of these 

The enumeration of these topics will sufficiently indicate the 
variety that has been attempted in order to explore in a short time 
a field of knowledge as vast as possible. We reproduce here not 
only the fist of these twenty topics but also the different ques- 
tions which are asked apropos of each. 

I. Personal Habits 

Bearing. Appearance. Cleanliness of body and clothing. (Vest 
unbuttoned, cravat untied, etc.) 

II. Speech 

Possibility of emitting sounds. Articulation of sounds. Rudimentary 
language. Fluent language. As a standard one might cause to be pro- 
nounced the words, artillery, artilleryman, polytechnic, constitutional, 

III. Name 

What is your name? Where do you live? 

How old are you? Date of birth. 

What are your given names? Place of birth. 

In what year were you born? The department. 



IV. Parents 

Are your parents living? 

What do they do? 

Have you brothers? 

How many? 

Have you sisters? 

How many? 

What are your brothers' names? 

And your sisters'? 

Are your brothers older than you? 

Are your sisters older than you? 

How old are they? 

What is your father's first name? 

What is your mother's? 

Where does your father work? 

And your mother? 

Where was your father born? 

Where was your mother born? 

V. Ideas op Age 

Are you young or old? 
When will you be a man? 
At what age is one a man? 
At what age is one a soldier? 

Are your father and mother old or 

How old are they? 
How do you know when one is old? 

VI. Knowledge of the Body 

Show me your hands. 
Put out your tongue. 
What do you call the place that I 

am touching (cheek)? 
Where is your foot? 
Where is your leg? 
Your thigh? 
Your shoulder? 
Where are your lips? 

Close your eyes. 

Put your finger on your right ear. 

Your gums? 

Your eyelids? 

Your eyebrows? 

Your forearm? 

Where is your stomach? 

Where is your brain? 

Close your right eyelid. 

VII. Movements 

Sit down. 

Turn around. 

Go to the wall and return. 

Raise your arms. 

Put you finger on your right ear. 

Cross your arms. 

Turn up your pantaloons. 

Take off your jacket as quickly as 

possible and put it on as quickly 

as possible. 

Thread a needle with a woolen 

Try to make some little stitches. 

Sit on the floor, cross your arms, 
and rise with arms crossed. 

Turn down your pantaloons with- 
out sitting down. 



VIII. Ideas About Objects 
The child is shown different objects which he should name. 







Cross-ruled paper. 

Table cloth. 

IX. Internal 

Did you enjoy your breakfast this 

Did you sleep well? 

Are you thirsty? 

Is your appetite ordinarily good? 

What time of the day are you hun- 

Are you often thirsty? 


Of what use is a pin? 

Of what color is this pencil? 

Of what color is mine? 

Of what can a book cover be made? 

What is a photograph? 

What can it represent? 


Are you less thirsty in summer than 

in winter? 
Are you less thirsty when it is hot 

than when it is cold? 
You are never thirsty, are you? 
You are never hungry? 
What did you dream last night? 
What is a dream? 
Do you often dream? 

X. Ideas of Time 

Have you been here long? 
What time is it? 
Is a day longer than a week? 
Is a week longer than a month? 
How many hours are there in a day? 
How many days are there in a 

How many months are there in a 

Is a month longer than a year? 
When you get up tomorrow will it 

be morning or evening? 
What day is this? 
How many days ago did you come? 

How many days is it since you 

saw your parents? 
That makes how many days that 

you have been going to school? 
And day after tomorrow? 
And yesterday? 
At what hour do you rise in the 

How many days are there in a year? 
How many weeks are there in a 

What season is this? 
When is it winter? 
And summer? 

XI. Ideas 

Where are you now? 

Where were you before coming here? 

Are we far from Paris? 

Where in Paris do you live? 

Is it far from the Seine? (One 
might ask the child at this point 
if his house is far from such or 
such a street or monument in 

OF Place 

order thoroughly to explore his 

ideas of place.) 
In what ward of the city do your 

parents live? 
In what department are we? 
What is the principal city of this 




XII. Patriotic Ideas 

From what country are you? 

Are you French? 

Were your father and mother born 

in France? 
Are there other countries than 

What are they? 

Would you rather belong to another 
country than to France? 

Why do you prefer to be French? 

Do you know what it is that one 
calls his country? 

Why should one love his country? 

Is Brittany in France? 

And Normandy? 

XIII. Military Service 

Would you like to be a soldier? 

Was your father a soldier? 

Did he ride a horse? 

What do soldiers wear on their 

What do you call the soldiers who 

have the cannon? 

What soldiers ride horses? 

If you were a soldier would you 

like better to fight on foot or on 

What is an officer? 
What has the officer on his sleeves? 
What officer has the highest rank? 

XIV. Reading 

XV. Writing 

Mistakes in spelling of course make the score less according to their 
gravity and the age of the child. 

XVI. Calculation 
The child is questioned upon the four operations of arithmetic. 

XVII. Drawing 

We have adopted the following models — a square, and three varieties 
of rectangular parallelograms — ^which the child must reproduce with the 
pen, to which we have added three lines of varying lengths. 

XVIII. Trades 

What trade does your father follow? 
Is it a good trade? 
What is a trade? 
What does the baker do? 
Are there other religions than 

What are they? 

What is the difference between 
the Catholic religion and Prot- 
estant religion? 

Between the Catholic religion and 
Jewish religion? 

Here, as an example, is part of the examination of a child. 

I. The boy F of nine years, comes to us with his hands 

in his pockets, face and hands not very clean, nails bitten, countenance 
of little intelligence. = 2 


II. Language rudimentary and voice slightly nasal, sometimes unin- 
telligible. He pronounces the standard words badly. = 2 

III. What is your name? — Edmond. (Then after a pause he gives 
his family name.) 

How old are you? — Nine years. 

What are your given names? — Emile, Adolphe, Edmond. 

In what year were you born? — In 1802. 

What month? — In January or February. 

What date?— The 9th. 

You do not know if it was in January or February? — No. 

In what country were you born? — Paris. 

Where do your parents live? (He gave the name of the street.) 

What number? — No. 9. 

In which ward? — Ninth (correct). 

In which department of France is it? (Unintelligible reply). = 3 

IV. Your father and mother are living? — Yes. 

What does your father do? — He is employed in the gas company. (The 
child then begins to cry). 

What does your mother do? — She sews. 

At home? — Yes. 

Have you brothers? — Yes. I have four. 

What are their names? — Jacques, Yvonne, and Henriette. 

You have only three then? — Yes. 

Have you sisters? — Two; Marie, Am61ie and then my Aunt Petit. 

How old are your brothers? — Nine years. 

And your sisters, how old are they? — I never asked them; I was not 

What is your mother's name? — (He gives the family name of his mother.) 

But her given name. Is it Henrietta, Jane? — No. (He repeats the 
family name of his mother.) My father, his name is ... . (the 
child gives his name correctly). 

In what country was your father born? — At .... (unintelligible 

Where was your mother born? — In Paris. = 3 

V. Are you young or old? — Young. 
When is one old? — When one is old. 

At what age? — At nine years. My mother is old. My grandfather is 

At what age is one a man? — A man is always at least four years old. 

At what age does one become a soldier? — Papa, he was a soldier, he 
was a military man. 

Yes, but at what age? .... 

You do not know? — No. 

Is your father young or old? — Young. 

How old is he? — Five years old. 

And your mother? — She is nine years old. 


What is the color of old people's hair?— Red. 

How is the face of an old person? — Wrinkled. My mother always has 
pain in her hands. 

How does one walk when one is old? — Like everybody else. 
Can old people run? — No. 

VI, Put out your tongue. \ ^ 
Close your eyes. j 

Put your fingers on your right ear. (He puts his finger on his left ear.) 

What do you call the place (cheek) that I am touching?— Cheek. 

Where is your heart?! ^ , 

And your stomach? j 

And your brain? (He points to his neck.) 

Your head? \q a 

Your shoulder?/ 

Your forearm? (He points to his arm.) 

Your lips? 1 p , 

Your gums? j 

Your eyelids? (He points to his teeth.) 

Close your right eyelid. (He shuts his eyes.) 

Where is your foot? (He shows his leg.) 

Show me your leg?l p , 

Your thigh. / 

Take off your jacket as quickly as possible.! ^^ ^.^ 

T» 4. -x • 1 1 -ui r Passable. , 

Put it on as quickly as possible. J =3 

VII. Sit down here.l ^ , 
T, . } Good. 
Raise your arm. j 

Put your hands on your head. (He places but one.) 

Both of them. 

> Good. 

Cross your arms. 
Stand up. 

Sit down on the ground. 

Cross your arms and get up with your arms crossed. (He cannot do it.) 

He threads the needle and turns up the lower edge of his pantaloons 

satisfactorily. = 4 

VIII. The child recognizes the inkwell, the apron, the pencil, the sponge, 
the pin, and table cloth. 

What is the color of this pencil? — ^Yellow. (It is red.) 

What color does it write? — Black. (Correct.) 

What is this? (cross-ruled paper) — A page. 

What is the color of the table cloth? — White. 

What do you do with a key? — Open the door. 

What do you do with a pin? — Stick. 

What do you stick?— Straws to hold them together. 

Do you know what a compass is? — No. ^ 

You never saw one? — No. 

Do you know what a photograph is? — Yes. 


What is it? — It is a photograph that one puts little babies in. 
What is that a picture of? — That is a picture of a little baby. 
Can a photograph represent anything one wishes? — No. = 3 

IX. Did you breakfast well this morning? — ^Yes. 
Did you sleep well? — Yes sir. 
Is your appetite ordinarily good? — ^Yes. 

What time of the day are you the hungriest? — At 11 o'clock. 
At what hour are you the thirstiest? — At four o'clock. 
Are you often thirsty? — Yes. 

In summer, are you less thirsty than in winter? — Less thirsty. 
When it is hot you are not so thirsty as when it is cold? — Yes. 
Do you dream when you sleep? — No sir. 
Do you know what a dream is? — Yes. 
What is it? — It is to waken in the night. 

Of whom did you dream last night? — Of mamma (the child begins to 

Did you not have a good breakfast this morning? — Yes sir. 
You did not sleep well? — No sir. 

We shall not insist upon minute criticism of details. There are 
questions that seem superfluous, or of mere erudition (what is the 
chief town of such and such a department). In some the form is 
unfortunate; for example those which can be answered by yes or 
no, because such repUes do not sufficiently prove whether the 
question has been thoroughly understood. It would be better to 
turn the question so as to obhge the child to somewhat develop 
his thought if he has one. But these are trifles. That which ap- 
pears to us in most need of criticism is the method employed for 
grading the replies. The marking is from to 5. How is it 
given? It is given by the total of the rephes to a topic, that is to 
say according to the bearing of at least 4 rephes. There is no 
special mark for each question. The examiner judges and esti- 
mates as a whole: estimation is subjectively made. 

The first note is of the more or less intelligent appearance of the 
face.i^ It seems that for the others, what is considered especially 
is the more or less intelligent nature of the repUes. It is again a 
synthetic impression. It seems to us that such an estimate is 
rather too arbitrary. By this means, there enters into the exam- 
ination that variable element which one so justly wishes to elimi- 
nate. When a questioner marks 5 for the total of replies, he is 
not certain but that another examiner would mark 4. M. Blin 

*° The last, of the attitude during the entire examination. 


and M. Damaye could have made some control experiments by 
asking their colleagues to suggest markings according to the writ- 
ten replies submitted to them. 

This same arbitrary spirit is found also in the choice of topics. 
For each topic the same mark is given, thus making them all of 
equal rank. One assumes therefore that all the topics present the 
same amount of difficulty, and that there would be the same reward 
for a child to answer all the questions about names as to answer 
all those about religion. Again, in each topic the gradation of 
difficulty seems to have been made equally arbitrarily; that is to 
say, it would appear that the author has been guided by his own 
estimation. Moreover, one has the proof in the fact, that the 
three series of questions, graded according to their difficulty, (1) 
for children of 10 years, (2) from 10 to 13 years, and (3) for those 
above 13 years, are nevertheless answered with the maximum of 
points by children of from 7 to 8 years. It is the same error that 
we encounter throughout. Consequently, the whole system con- 
stitutes a scale established a priori. It is possibte7"^d we very 
wffliTigly--believe-^iiarnrattempting the application it has been 
found necessary to mend the system, to correct it in certain points, 
so that it may harmonize better with practice. But whatever 
may be the importance of these corrections of detail, they do not 
in the least take away the schematic character of the plan which 
seems to us to have sprung fully armed from the brain of a 

Here then is what seems to us the chief defect of this method of 
examination. Notwithstanding this defect, in practice it must 
necessarily render a real service, because it creates difficulties 
which all pupils cannot successfully master, and consequently 
permits us to make a selection among them. Therefore it is small 
matter that other tests of intelligence might bring about the same 
result. Small matter that the themes of others give a result on 
the whole nearly the same. When one has given examinations 
he sees that. And the method of M. Bhn, fundamentally, is 
only an examination for scholarship, a new bachelor's degree, 
or a new certificate of studies, with this advantage we admit, 
of being a test, whose questions, fixed in advance, do not suffer 
from the bad humor or the bad digestion of the examiner. 

Consequently there is no room for surprise, if we do not find in 
this collection of questions, any idea upon the gradation of intel- 


ligence. The child who has passed through this roUing mill comes 
before us with a certain total of marks, 36 for instance, or 70. We 
understand that 70 is nearer normal than 36 and that is all. We 
have no precise notioA of the mental level of these candidates, no 
notion of what they can or cannot do. Did the one who obtained 
36 have any comprehension of abstract ideas? We do not know, 
and cannot divine. How much is he behind normal children of 
the same age? We know this no better. 

This brings us very naturally to an exposition of the plan of our 
work. It will be seen that our directing idea is different from 
that of M. Blin although our system of measurement, like his, is 
essentially psychological. 

A. BiNET AND Th. Simon. 


UAnnee Psychologique, 1905, Vol. XII, pp. 191-244 

Before explaining these methods let us recall exactly the condi- 
tions of the problem which we are attempting to solve. Our pur-_ 
pose is to be able to measure the intellectual capacity of a child 
who is brought to us in order to know whether he is normal or 
retarded. We should therefore, study his condition at the time and 
that only. We have nothing to do either with his past history or 
with his future; consequently we shall neglect his etiology, and pJ |,X "p 
we shall make no attempt to distinguish between acquired and ^ 
congenital idiocy; for a stronger reason we shall set aside all consid- 
eration of pathological anatomy which might explain his intel- 
lectual deficiency. So much for his past. As to that which con- 
cerns his future, we shall exercise the same abstinence; we do not 
attempt to establish or prepare a prognosis and we leave unan- 
"swered the question of whether this retardation is curable, or even 
improvable. We shall limit ourselves to ascertaining the truth 
in regard to his present«ie»tal state. 

Furthermore, in the definition of this state, we should make 
some restrictions. Most subnormal children, especially those in 
the schools, are habitually grouped in two categories, those of 
backward intelligence, and those who are unstable. This latter 
class, which certain aUenists call moral imbeciles, do not neces- 
sarily manifest inferiority of intelligence; they are turbulent, 
vicious, rebellious to all discipHne; they lack sequence of ideas, 
and probably power of attention. It is a matter of great delicacy 
to make the distinction between children who are unstable, and 
those who have rebelUous dispositions. Elsewhere we have in- 
sisted upon the necessity of instructors not treating as unstable, 
that is as pathological cases, those children whose character is not 
sympathetic with their own. It would necessitate a long study, 
and probably a very difficult one, to establish the distinctive signs 
which separate the unstable from the undisciplined. For the 



present we shall not take up this study. We shall set the unstable 
aside, and shall consider only that which bears upon those who 
are backward in intelUgence. 

This is not, however, to be the only limitation of our subject 
because backward states of intelligence present several different 
types. There is the insane type — or the type of intellectual de- 
cay — which consists in a progressive loss of former acquired intel- 
hgence. Many epileptics, who suffer from frequent attacks, prog- 
ress toward insanity. It would be possible and probably very 
important, to be able to make the distinction between those with 
deca3dng intelligence on the one hand, and those of inferior intel- 
hgence on the other. But as we have determined to limit on this 
side also, the domain of our study, we shall rigorously exclude all 
forms of insanity and decay. Moreover we believe that these are 
rarely present in the schools, and need not be taken into considera- 
tion in the operation of new classes for subnormals. 

Another distinction is made between those of inferior intelli- 
gence and degenerates. The latter are subjects in whom occur 
clearly defined, episodical phenomena, such as impulsions, obses- 
sions, deUriums. We shall eliminate the degenerates as well as 
the insane. 

Lastly, we should say a word upon our maimer of studying 
those whom most alienists call idiots but whom we here call of 
inferior intelligence. The exact nature of this inferiority is not 
known; and today without other proof, one very prudently re- 
fuses to liken this state to that of an arrest of normal development. 
It certainly seems that the intelligence of these beings has under- 
gone a certain arrest; but it does not follow that the dispropor- 
tion between the degree of intelligence and the age is the only 
characteristic of their condition. There is also in many cases, 
most probably a deviation in the development, a perversion. 
The idiot of fifteen years, who, hke a baby of three, is making his 
first verbal attempts, can not be completely likened to a three- 
year old child, because the latter is normal, but the idiot is not. 
There exists therefore between them, necessarily, differences either 
apparent or hidden. The careful study of idiots shows, among 
some of them at least, that whereas certain faculties are almost 
wanting, others are better developed. They have therefore cer- 
tain aptitudes. Some have a good auditory or musical memory, 
and a whole repertoire of songs; others have mechanical ability. 


If all were carefully examined, many examples of these partial 
aptitudes would probably be found. 

Our purpose is in no wise to study, analyze, or set forth the 
aptitudes of those of inferior intelligence. That will be the object 
of a later work. Here we shall hmit ourselves to the measuring of 
their general intelHgence. We shall determine their intellectual ^ 
level, and, in order the better to appreciate this level, we shall 
compare it with that of normal children of the same age or of an 
analogous level. The reservations previously made as to the true 
conception of arrested development, will not prevent our finding 
great advantage in a methodical comparison between those of 
inferior and those of normal inteUigence. 

To what method should we have recourse in making our diag- 
nosis of the intellectual level? No one method exists, but there 
are a number of different ones which should be used cumulatively, 
because the question is a very difficult one to solve, and demands 
rather a collaboration of methods. It is important that the prac- 
titioner be equipped in such a manner that he shall use, only as 
accessory, the information given by the parents of the child, so 
that he may always be able to verify this information, or, when 
necessary, dispense with it. In actual practice quite the oppo- 
site occurs. When the child is taken to the clinic the physi- i 
cian hstens a great deal to the parents and questions the child j 
very little, in fact scarcely looks at him, allowing himself to be 
influenced by a very strong presumption that the child is intel- 
lectually inferior. If, by a chance not likely to occur, but which 
would be most interesting some time to bring about, the physician j 
were submitted to the test of selecting the subnormals from a 
mixed group of children, he would certainly find himself in the 
midst of grave difficulties, and would commit many errors espe- 
cially in cases of slight defect. 

The organization of methods is especially important because, 
as soon as the schools for subnormals are in operation, one must 
be on his guard against the attitude of the parents. Their sincer- 
ity will be worth very little when it is in conflict with their inter- 
ests. If the parents wish the child to remain in the regular school, / 
they will not be silent concerning his intelligence. "My child 
understands everything,'^ they will say, and they will be very 
careful not to give any significant information in regard to him. 
If, on the contrary, they wish him to be admitted into an institu- 


tion where gratuitous board and lodging are furnished, they will 
change completely. They will be capable even of teaching him 
how to simulate mental debility. One should, therefore, be on 
his guard against all possible frauds. 

In order to recognize the inferior states of inteUigence we be- 
lieve that three different methods should be employed. We have 
arrived at this synthetic view only after many years of research, 
but we are now certain that each of these methods renders some 
service. These methods are : 

1. The medical method, which aims to appreciate the anatomical, 
physiological, and pathological signs of inferior intelligence. 

2. The pedagogical method, which aims to judge of the intelli- 
gence according to the sum of acquired knowledge. 

3. The psychological method, which makes direct observations 
and measurements of the degree of intelligence. 

From what has gone before it is easy to see the value of each of 
these methods. The medical method is indirect because it con- 
jectures the mental from the physical. The pedagogical method 
is more direct; but the psychological is the most direct of all be- 
cause it aims to measure the state of the intelligence as it is at the 
present moment. It does this by- experiments which oblige the 
subject to make an effort which shows his capabihty in the way of 
comprehension, judgment, reasoning, and invention. 

I. The Psychological Method 

The fundamental idea of this method is the estabhshment of 
what we shall call a measuring sc^Jg^of intelligence. This scale is 
composed of a series of tests of increasing difficulty, starting from 
the lowest intellectual level that can be observed, and ending with 
that of average normal intelligence. Each group in the series 
corresponds to a different mental level. 

This scale properly speaking does not permit the measure of 
the intelligence,^ because intellectual qualities are not super- 
posable, and therefore cannot be measured as linear surfaces are 
measured, but are on the contrary, a classification, a hierarchy 
among diverse intelligences; and for the necessities of practice 

1 One of us (Binet) has elsewhere insisted that a distinction be made 
between the measure and the classification. See "Suggestibilite," p. 103, 
Vol. 11, UAnnee Psychologique. 



this classification is equivalent to a measure. We shall therefore 
be able to know, after studying two individuals, if one rises above 
the other and to how many degrees, if one rises above the average 
level of other individuals considered as normal, or if he remains be- 
low. Understanding the normal progress of intellectual develop- 
ment among normals, we shall be able to determine how many 
years such an individual is advanced or retarded. In a word we 
shall be able to determine to what degrees of the scale idiocy, im- 
becility, and moronity^ correspond. 

The scale that we shall describe is not a theoretical work; it is 
the result of long investigations, first at the Salpetriere, and after- 
wards in the primary schools of Paris, with both normal and sub- 
normal children. These short psychological questions have been 
given the name of tests. The use of tests is today very common, 
and there are even contemporary authors who have made a spe- 
cialty of organizing new tests according to theoretical views, but 
who have made no effort to patiently try them out in the schools. 
Theirs is an amusing occupation, comparable to a person's making 
a colonizing expedition into Algeria, advancing always only upon 
the map, without taking off his dressing gown. We place but 
sUght confidence in the tests invented by these authors and we 
have borrowed nothing from them. All the tests which we pro- 
pose have been repeatedly tried, and have been retained from 
among many, which after trial have been discarded. We can cer- 
tify that those which are here presented have proved themselves 

We have aimed to make all our tests simple, rapid, convenient, 
precise, heterogeneous, holding the subject in continued contact 
with the experimenter, and bearing principally upon the faculty 
of judgment. Rapidity is necessary for this sort of examination. , 
It is impossible to prolong it beyond twenty minutes without 
fatiguing the subject. During this maximum of twenty minutes, 
it must be turned and turned about in every sense, and at least 
ten tests must be executed, so that not more than about two 
minutes can be given to each. In spite of their interest, we were 
obliged to proscribe long exercises. For example, it would be 

2 Editor's note: Binet's classification of defectives is idiot, imbecile, 
and "d^bile." This seems to correspond closely to our American ter- 
minology of idiot, imbecile, and moron. We have accordingly translated 
"d^bile" as moron and *'d6bilite" as moronity. 






very instructive to know how a subject learns by heart a series of 
sentences. We have often tested the advantage of leaving a per- 
son by himself with a lesson of prose or verse after having said to 
him, "Try to learn as much as you can of this in five minutes." 
Five minutes is too long for our test, because during that time the 
subject escapes us; it may be that he becomes distracted or thinks 
of other things; the test loses its clinical character and becomes too 
scholastic. We have therefore reluctantly been obliged to re- 
nounce testing the rapidity and extent of the memory by this 
method. Several other equivalent examples of elimination could 
be cited. In order to cover rapidly a wide field of observation, it 
goes without saying that the tests should be heterogeneous. 

Another consideration. Our purpose is to evaluate a level of 
inteUigence. It is understood that we here separate natural intel- 
ligence and instruction. It is the inte lhgence alone, Ihal we seek 
to measure, by disregarding in so far as possible, the degree of 
instruction which the subject possesses. He should, indeed, be 
considered by the examiner as a complete ignoramus knowing 
neither how to read nor write. This necessity forces us to forego 
a great many exercises having a verbal, literary or scholastic char- 
acter. These belong to a pedagogical examination. We believe 
that we have succeeded in completely disregarding the acquired 
information of the subject. We give him nothing to read, noth- 
ing to write, and submit him to no test in which he might succeed 
by means of rote learning. In fact we do not even notice his in- 
ability to read if a case occurs. It is simply the level of his nat- 
ural intelligence that is taken into account. 

But here we must come to an understanding of what meaning 
to give to that word so vague and so comprehensive, ''the intelli- 
gence." ^ Nearly-all the phenomena with which psychology con- 
cerns itself are phenomena of intelligence; sensation, perception, 
are intellectual manifestations as much as reasoning. Should we 
therefore bring into our examination the measure of sensation 
after the manner of the psycho-physicists? Should we put to the 
test all of his psychological processes? A slight reflection has 
shown us that this would indeed be wasted time. 

It seems to us that in intelligence there is a fundamental faculty, 
the alteration or the lack of which, is of the utmost importance for 
practical life. This faculty is judgmejat, otherwise called good 
sense, practical sense, initiative, the faculty of adapting one's self 



to circumstances. To judge well, to comprehend well, to reason 
well, these are the essential activities of intelligence. A person 
may be a moron or an imbecile if he is lacking in judgment; but 
with good judgment he can never be either.^ Indeed the rest of 
the intellectual faculties seem of little importance in comparison 
with judgment. What does it matter, for example, whether the 
organs of sense function normally? Of what import that certain 
ones are hyperesthetic, or that others are anesthetic or are weak- 
ened? Laura Bridgman, Helen Keller and their fellow-unfortu- 
nates were blind as well as deaf, but this did not prevent them 
from being very intelligent. Certainly this is demonstrative proof 
that the total or even partial integrity of the senses does not form 
a mental factor equal to judgment. We may measure the acute- 
ness of the sensibiUty of subjects; nothing could be easier. But 
we should do this, not so much to find out the state of their sen- 
sibility as to learn the exactitude of their judgment. 
jf The same remark holds good for the study of the memo ry. At 
first glance, memory being a psychological phenomenon of capital 
importance, one would be tempted to give it a very conspicuous 
part in an examination of intelligence. But memory is distinct 
from and independent of judgment. One may have good sense 
and lack memory. The reverse is also common. Just at the 
present time we are observing a backward girl who is developing 
before our astonished eyes a memory very much greater than our 
own. We have measured that memory and we are not deceived 
regarding it. Nevertheless that girl presents a most beautifully 
classic type of imbecihty . / ' 

As a result of all this investigation, in the scale which we present 
we accord the first place to judgment; that which is of importance 
to us is not certain errors which the subject commits, but absurd 
errors, which prove that he lacks judgment. We have even made 
special provision to encourage people to make absurd replies. In 
spite of the accuracy of this directing idea, it will be easily under- 
stood that it has been impossible to permit of its regulating exclu- 
sively our examinations. For example, one can not make tests 
of judgment on children of less than two years when one begins to 
watch their first gleams of intelligence. Much is gained when one 
can discern in them traces of coordination, the first deUneation of 
attention and memory. We shall therefore bring out in our hsts 
some tests of memory; but so far as we are able, we shall give these 



tests such a turn as to invite the subject to make absurd repUes, 
and thus under cover of a test of memory, we shall have an appre- 
ciation of their judgment. 


General recommendations. The examination should take place 
in a quiet room, quite isolated, and the child should be called in 
alone without other children. It is important that when a child 
sees the experimenter for the first time, he should be reassured by 
the presence of someone he knows, a relative, an attendant, or a 
school superintendent. The witness should be instructed to re- 
main passive and mute, and not to intervene in the examination 
either by word or gesture. 

The experimenter should receive each child with a friendly 
familiarity to dispel the timidity of early years. Greet him the 
moment he enters, shake hands with him and seat him comfort- 
ably. If he is intelligent enough to understand certain words, 
awaken his curiosity, his pride. If he refuses to reply to a test, 
pass to the next one, or perhaps offer him a piece of candy; if his 
silence continues, send him away until another time. These are 
little incidents that frequently occur in an examination of the 
mental state, because in its last analysis, an examination of this 
kind is base^Jipon-the-geed-jadU,^ the_subject. V/ 

We here give the technique of each question. It will not suffice 
simply to read what we have written in order to be able to conduct 
examinations. A good experimenter can be produced only by 
example and imitation, and nothing equals the lesson gained from 
the thing itself. Every person who wishes to familiarize himself 
with our method of examination should come to our school. 
Theoretical instruction is valuable only when it merges into prac- 
tical experience. Having made these reservations, let us point 
out the principal errors likely to be committed by inexperienced 
persons. There are two: the first consists in recording the gross 
results without making psychological observations, without notic- 
ing such little facts as permit one to give to the g ross r esults their 
true, value. The second error, equally frequent, is that of making 
suggestions. An inexperienced examiner has no idea of the influ- 
ence of words; he talks too much, he aids his subject, he puts him 
on the track, unconscious of the help he is thus giving. He plays 

SERIES OF TESTS — 1905 45 

the part of pedagogue, when he should remain psychologist. ' 
Thus his examination is vitiated. It is a difficult art to be able 
to encourage a subject, to hold his attention, to make him do his j 
best without giving aid in any form by an unskillful suggestion.^ si/ 


1. "Le Regard"'' 

In this test the examiner seeks to discover if there exists that 
coordination in the movement of the head and the eyes which is 
associated with the act of vision. If such coordination does exist 
it proves that the subject not only sees but more than that he 
"regards" (that is he is able to follow with his eyes a moving 

Procedure. A lighted match is slowly moved before the eyes 
of the subject in such a way as to provoke a movement of the head 
or of the eyes to follow the flame. If a first attempt does not suc- 
ceed the experiment should be tried again after a Uttle while. It 
is preferable to operate in a quiet place where no kind of distrac- 
tion is likely to occur. It is not important that the subject follow 
the movements of the match constantly for any length of time or 
persistently. The least sign of coordination of the movements of 
vision is sufficient, if it leaves no doubt in the mind of the exam- 

Additional remarks. The observation of a few spontaneous 
phenomena may well be noted. Thus it is possible sometimes for 
the examiner, by fixing his gaze steadily upon the child, to satisfy 
himself that the child really coordinates for a moment. If the 
subject is afflicted with or suspected of blindness, the visual stim- 
ulus may be replaced by an auditory stimulus. For example, call 
him loudly, or better, ring a httle bell behind his head and notice 

3 One of us (Binet) has been for some years the president of "Soci6t6 , 
libre pour I'^tude de Tenfant," and he has striven to spread among his 
colleagues, mostly teachers, the taste for scientific research. He has 
found that the two errors mentioned in the text are those which appear 
most frequently among beginners. 

* Editor's note: We have here retained the word used by Binet, because 
in the English there is no one word exactly synonymous with it. The 
word literally translated means "the ability to follow with tlie eyes a 
moving object." <' 


if he turns his head toward the sound, or if he has any pecuUar 
facial expression which would indicate that he hears. The re- 
action of attention to sound seems to develop later than the re- 
action to light. We have observed children whp, when a bell was 
rung behind the head, would not make a single movement in order 
to hear better, and yet would follow with their eyes the lighted 
match. It is scarcely necessary to add that the child who hides 
his face behind his hand when questioned, or who rephes to your 
smile by a smile, or who walks about the room without knocking 
against obstacles, stove, chairs, wall, table, proves by his behavior 
that he coordinates the movements of vision, and thus he has 
passed the first test. 

2. Prehension Provoked by a Tactile Stimulus 

Here the purpose is to discover whether the coordination exists 
between a tactile stimulus of the hand, and the movement of 
seizing and carrjdng to the mouth. 

Procedure. A small object, easily handled, for example a piece 
of wood, is placed in contact with the hand of the child in order to 
determine if he succeeds in seizing the object, holding it in his 
hand without letting it fall, and carrying it to his mouth. It is 
well to stimulate the contact either on the back of the hand or on 
the palm, and note the results. It is possible that the subject, 
after having taken the little object, loosens his fingers and lets it 
fall. It is necessary in that case to try again with a little patience, 
in order to learn if the letting go came of a chance distraction, or 
if the subject is not capable of performing the muscular act which 
would consist in carrying it to his mouth. 

3. Prehension Provoked by a Visual Perception 

Here the purpose is to find whether coordination exists between 
the sight of an object and its prehension, when the object is not 
placed in contact with the hand of the subject. 

Procedure. The object is presented to his view and within reach 
of his hand, in a manner to provoke an intentional movement of 
his hand to take it. This third test is passed when the subject, 
following a visual perception of the object, makes a movement of 
the hand towards the object, reaches, seizes and carries it to his 
mouth. A small cube of white wood, easy to handle is used. In 

SEKIES OF TESTS — 1905 47 

these presentations it is not forbidden to speak and hence the ob- 
ject is offered to the child as follows: ''Here is a little object, take 
it, it is for you — Come now, pay attention, etc." If the subject 
understands, so much the better for him; if he does not under- 
stand the sound of these words has the advantage of attracting 
his attention. Moreover the examiner makes gestures and makes 
them more naturally if he talks at the same time. 

4. Recognition of Food 

Here the purpose is to discover whether the subject can make the 
distinction by sight between famihar food and what can not be 

Procedure. A piece of chocolate (half a bar) and a little cube 
of white wood of similar dimensions are successively presented. 
The test is to see if the subject, by sight alone, makes the distinc- 
tion between the two objects before carrying them to his mouth. 
Does he carry only the chocolate to his mouth and begin to eat it? 
Does he refuse to take the piece of wood, or having taken it does 
he push it away, or again does he hold it in his hand without put- 
ting it to his mouth? 

Tests 3 and 4 can be made rapidly as a single experiment. A 
piece of chocolate is first shown to the child and his attention is 
drawn to it. Note whether he tries to take it or not. If he makes 
no effort to attain it, and is not distracted by anything, place the 
chocolate in the palm of his hand, and note what happens. If on 
the contrary he takes the chocolate which is shown him and carries 
it to his mouth, the chocolate is taken from him, and the piece of 
wood put in its place, to see if he carries this new object also to 
his mouth. 

Although these tests succeed with very many children by ap- 
pealing to their greediness, it often happens that a willful child, or 
one frightened by the sight of the examiner whom he does not 
know, turns away from him and refuses to look at what is shown 
him. These movements of defense indicate already a mentality 
that corresponds most Ukely to the fourth degree. The experi- 
menter must be armed with patience and gentleness. He may have 
a relative, an attendant, or any other person who knows the child, 
present the chocolate, but he must carefully note the behavior of 
the child throughout the operation. If the attack of anger, or 


tears, or fear lasts too long, the examination is necessarily sus- 
pended to be taken up at a more favorable time. These are the 
disappointments to which alienists are accustomed. 

5. Quest of Food Complicated by a Slight Mechanical Difficulty 

This test is designed to bring into play a rudiment of memory, an 
effort of will, and a coordination of movements. 

Procedure. First be sure that the child recognizes the candy or 
bonbon to be used in this experiment. Then while he is watching 
you, wrap the bonbon in a piece of paper. Present it to him and 
carefully note his movements. Does he remember that the paper 
contains a bonbon? Does he reject it as a useless object, or does 
he try to pull it apart? Does he carry the covered morsel to his 
mouth? Does he eat the paper or does he make some effort to 
unfold it? Does he completely succeed in unfolding it, or does he 
seem satisfied with one attempt? Does he present the covered 
morsel to some one else as if to ask his aid? 

6. Execution of Simple Commands and Imitation of Simple Gestures 

This test involves various motor coordinations, and associa- 
tions between certain movements, and the understanding of the 
significance of certain gestures. In these tests the subject enters 
for the first time into social relations with the experimenter and 
it is therefore necessary that he understand the will and desires 
of the latter. It is the beginning of inter-psychology. 

Procedure. As soon as the subject enters the room say good 
morning to him with expression, give him your hand with accen- 
tuated gesture to see if he understands the salutation and if he 
knows how to shake hands. In cases where the subject walks in, 
ask him to be seated; this permits one to see whether he under- 
stands the meaning of the invitation and if he knows the use of a 
chair. Throw some object on the floor and request him by ges- 
tures as well as by speech to pick it up and give it back. Make 
him get up, shut the door, send him away, call him back. So 
much for commands. Imitation of simple gestures is accom- 
phshed by fixing his attention by repeating several times, ''Look 
at me carefully," and when his attention is gained, by saying 
''Do as I do." The examiner then claps his hands together, puts 
them in the air, on the shoulders, behind the back; he turns the 


thumbs one about the other, raises the foot, etc. All this mimi- 
cry must be conducted gaily with the air of play. It is sufficient 
if a single well marked imitation is provoked; the rest is unneces- 
sary. Do not confound the inaptitude for imitation, with bad 
humor, ill-will, or timidity. 

7. Verbal Knowledge of Objects 

The object of this test is to discover if associations exist be- 
tween things and their names. Comprehension and the first pos- 
sibilities of language are here studied. This test is a continuation 
of the previous one and represents the second degree of communi- 
cation between individuals; the first degree is made through imi- 
tation, the second through words. 

Procedure. This test is composed of two parts. In the first 
place the examiner names a part of the body and asks the child to 
point to it. The. questions may relate to the head, the hair, the 
eyes, the feet, the hands, the nose, the ears, the mouth. Ask the 
child with a smile ''Where is your head?" If he seems embar- 
rassed or timid, encourage him by aiding him a little. "There is 
your head," pointing it out and touching it if the child does not 
seem to understand what is wanted of him. On the other hand if 
he repUes by a correct designation to the first question go no 
further, because if he knows where his head is he should know 
equally well where are his ears and his mouth. Give him there- 
fore some more difficult questions, for example, his cheek, his eye- 
brow, his heart. 

The second part of the experiment consists in making him desig- 
nate familiar objects, a string, a cup, a key. Bring the child to 
the table and by means of gestures indicate the objects and turn 
his attention to them. When his attention is fixed upon the ob- 
jects tell him to give you the one you name. "Give me the cup. 
Give me the key, etc." The cup, the key, the string are the three 
objects asked for. It is of Httle importance that he shows awk- 
wardness in taking and presenting them. The essential is that by 
the play of the countenance and gestures, he indicates clearly that 
he distinguishes these objects by their names. It is preferable to 
keep these three objects, others less familiar should be rejected, as 
for instance a box of matches, a cork, etc. The test is made with 
three objects in order to avoid the right designation by simple 


chance. With backward children the following facts may present 
themselves. They do not know the name of the object presented 
to them, but having understood that they are to designate an 
object, they point to anything that is on the table. This is a man- 
ner of reacting very common among idiots and imbeciles. They 
make mistakes but they do not realize it, being in fact very well 
satisfied with their achievements. Here is another source of 
error to be avoided. In consequence of their extreme docility, 
many backward children may be bewildered by the least contra- 
diction. When they have handed you a cup, if you ask them 
*' Isn't this a key?" some might make a sign of acquiescence. 
This is a test of suggestibility of which more will be said further on. 
To a blind child, give objects to be recognized by the sense of 

8. Verbal Knowledge of Pictures 

This exercise is the same as the preceding one with this differ- 
ence only, that the objects are replaced by pictures which, in con- 
sequence of the diminished size and the reduction to a plane sur- 
face, are a httle more difficult to recognize than in nature, and 
more than this in a picture the objects must be sought for. 

Procedure. We make use of a print borrowed from the picture- 
book of Inspector Lacabe and Mile. Goergin. This print in 
colors represents a complex family scene. We show the print to 
the child and ask him to designate successively the following ob- 
jects: the window, mamma, big sister, little sister, little girl, cat, 
broom, basket, bouquet, duster, coffee-mill. The questions are 
asked in this way: ''Where is the window?" or ''Tell me where 
the window is." or "Show me the window," or "Put your finger 
on the window." 

The last suggestion is generally unnecessary because the child 
has a tendency to place his forefinger, generally a dirty one, upon 
the detail which is named for him. If he makes an error in designa- 
tion be careful not to correct it, but make a note of it. In a 
psychological examination of this kind, one must never point out 
to a child the errors which he makes. The examiner is not a 
pedagogue. It is rare that those who take an interest in the pic- 
ture can not designate the principal details named to them. The 
incapable ones give no attention to the picture and do not seem to 
comprehend what is wanted of them. It is interesting to study 

SERIES OF TESTS — 1905 61 

the attitude of a child during this test. There are two acts to be 
accompHshed, one a search for the object, the other the recogni- 
tion of the object. At once in the search the aptitudes or inapti- 
tudes betray themselves. Many defective persons show an ex- 
cess of eagerness to designate the object, which in itself is a sign of 
faulty attention. They point out at once without waiting to 
comprehend. They sometimes point out before one has finished 
the sentence. "Where is the — ," said with a suspension in the 
voice, and already their finger is placed haphazard upon the pic- 
ture. Such as these do not hunt with care and are incapable of 
suspending their judgment. This is, it seems to us, a striking 
characteristic of a weak mind. The child must be closely studied 
in order to find if, in spite of this special manner, he really knows 
the names of the objects. A reprimand gently given will some- 
times put him on his guard, "No, no, pay attention, you go too 
fast," and if the question is repeated he will often give a correct 

In other cases, errors are sometimes made through suggestibil- 
ity. The subject seems to imagine that he will commit a fault if 
he does not designate some object when the question is asked, 
and out of compliance or of timidity, he makes an erroneous desig- 
nation for an object whose name he does not know, or which he 
does not succeed in finding. Notice again, the more reasonable 
attitude of those who, not knowing the name of the object, re- 
frain from pointing it out but continue the search or reply dis- 
tinctly, "I do not know." It is rare that an imbecile uses that 
little phrase. The avowal of ignorance is a proof of judgment 
and is always a good indication. 

9, Naming of Designated Objects 

This test is the opposite of the preceding one. It shows the 
passing from the thing to the word. It also is executed by the 
use of pictures. 

Procedure. Here we make use of another colored print borrowed 
from the same collection as the preceding. We place it before 
the eyes of the child and designate with a pencil different objects 
while asking each time, " What is this?" The objects upon which 
we place the pencil are the little girl, the dog, the boy, the father, 
the lamp-Ughter, the sky, the advertisement. For the lamp- 


lighter we ask what he does. Here as elsewhere it is unnecessary 
to exhaust the complete series of questions unless the subject fails. 
One or two positive rephes are sufficient to satisfy the require- 
ments of the test. This test permits us to know the vocabulary 
and the pronunciation of the child. Defects of pronunciation, so 
frequent in the young, are a serious source of embarrassment. It 
often requires a very indulgent ear to recognize the right word in 
an indistinct and very brief murmur, and in a case of this sort the 
examiner will do well to use an interrogation point. Added to the 
difficulties which proceed from faulty pronunciation, are those 
brought about by a special vocabulary. Many little children 
though normal use a vocabulary invented or deformed by them, 
which is understood only by themselves and their parents. 

Additional remarks. Tests 7, 8, and 9 do not constitute dif- 
fering degrees in the rigorous sense of the word, that is to say they 
are not tests corresponding to different levels of intelhgence. 
We have ascertained that generally with subnormals those who 
can pass test 7, pass 8 and also 9. These would therefore be tests 
of equal rank. We have kept them, however, because these tests 
occupy an important place in our measuring scale of intelligence, 
as they constitute a borderline test between imbecility and idiocy. 
It is useful to have this borderline sohdly placed and all these tests 
will serve as buttresses. 

Observations, such as one may make every day on those afflicted 
with general paralysis, aphasia, or simply people very much 
fatigued, show that it is much more difficult to pass from the ob- 
ject to the word than it is to pass from the word to the object, or 
we may say, that one recognizes a word more easily than one finds 
it. It does not seem clear up to the present that this observation 
is also applicable to inferior states of intelligence. 

10. Immediate Comparison of Two Lines of Unequal Lengths^ 

As we enter the field of what may properly be called psychologi- 
cal experimentation, we shall find it difficult to define which men- 
tal functions are being exercised because they are very numerous. 
Here the child must understand that it is a question of compari- 
son, that the comparison is between two lines that are shown to 
him; he must understand the meaning of the words, ''Show me 

»Cf. p. 196. 

SERIES OF TESTS — 1905 53 

the longer." He must be capable of comparing, that is of bring- 
ing together a conception and an image, and of turning his mind 
in the direction of searching for a difference. We often have 
illusions as to the simpUcity of psychical processes, because we 
judge them in relation to others, still more complex. In fact here 
is a test which will seem to show but Uttle mentaUty in those who 
are able to execute it; nevertheless when analyzed it reveals a 
great complexity. 

Procedure. The subject is presented successively with three 
pieces of paper upon each of which two lines, drawn in ink, are to 
be compared. Each piece of paper measures 15 by 20 cm.; the 
lines are drawn lengthwise of the paper, on the same level, and 
separated by a space of 5 mm. The lines are respectively 4 and 
3 cm. in length and one-half of a millimeter in width. On the 
first sheet the longer line is at the right and on the other two at the 
left. Each sheet is shown to the subject while saying to him, 
"Which is the longer Hne?" Note if his reply is correct but do 
not tell him. In order to eliminate haphazard replies, it is well to 
repeat the whole series at least twice. The end is not to discover 
just how far the accuracy of the child's glance may go, but simply 
to find if he is capable of making a correct comparison between 
two lines. Many subnormals are incapable of this; but they act 
as though they were capable; they seem to understand what is 
said to them and each time put the finger upon one of the lines 
saying, "This one." It is necessary to recognize those sub- 
jects whose errors are not, strictly speaking, faults of comparison 
but absence of comparison. It often happens that the subject 
constantly chooses the line on the same side for the longer, for 
example always the one on the right side. This manner of react- 
ing would be a sign of defect were it not that one encounters the 
same thing with some normals. 

11. Repetition of Three Figures^ 

This is a test of immediate memory and voluntary attention. 

Procedure. Looking the subject squarely in the eye to be sure 
his attention is fixed, one pronounces three figures, after having 
told him to repeat them. Choose figures that do not follow each 
other, as for instance 3, 0, 8, or 5, 9, 7, Pronounce the three fig- 

6 Cf . p. 187. 


ures in the same voice without accentuating one more than the 
others and without rhythm, but with a certain energy. The 
rapidity to be observed is two figures per second. Listen carefully 
and record the repetition which is made. Often the first attempt 
is unsuccessful because the subject has not clearly understood and 
commences to repeat the first figure the moment he hears it; he 
must be made to be quiet, renew the explanation and commence 
the pronunciation of another series of figures. There are certain 
subjects who can not repeat a single figure; in general these are 
the ones whose mental condition is such that they have not under- 
stood anything at all of what is asked of them. Others repeat 
only a single figure, the first or the last; others pronounce more 
than three. Special attention must be given to those whose error 
consists in pronouncing a greater number of figures than that 
which is said, or in pronouncing a series of figures in their natural 
order. An individual who, when asked to repeat 3, 0, 8, replies 
2, 3, 4, 5, commits a serious error, which would cause one to sus- 
pect mental debility. But on the other hand it is true that all 
feeble-minded and all imbeciles do not commit this error, and that 
many young normals may commit it. Be careful to notice also if 
the subject seems satisfied with his reply when this is obviously 
and grossly false; this indicates an absence of judgment which 
constitutes an aggravated condition. 

Let us say, apropos of this test, that it is important to make a 
distinction between errors of attention and of adaptation on the one 
hand, and errors of judgment on the other. When a failure is 
produced by distraction it is not very important. Thus it may 
happen that a subject does not repeat the three figures the first 
time. Begin again and if he succeeds the second time in retain- 
ing them he should be considered as having passed the test. A little 
farther on we shall have to deal with tests of judgment properly 
so-called, and three or four difficulties will be presented for solu- 
tion. In this last case, failure will be much more serious, be- 
cause it can not be due to inattention and the test cannot be 
considered as passed unless the solutions are given complete. 


12. Comparison, of Two Weights' 

This is a test of attention, of comparison and of the muscular 

Procedure. Place side by side on the table before the subject 
two small cubical boxes having the same dimensions, (23 mm. on a 
side) and the same color, but of different weights. The boxes, 
weighted by grains of lead rolled in cotton and not perceptible by 
shaking, weigh 3 grams and 12 grams respectively. The subject 
is asked to find out which is the heavier. The operation termi- 
nated, two other cubes of 6 and 15 grams respectively are given 
him to compare, and again 3 grams and 15 grams. If the subject 
hesitates or seems to be going haphazard, start over again mixing 
the cubes in order to be sure that he really compares the weights. 

At the injunction, **See the two boxes, now tell me which is the 
heavier," many young subjects designate haphazard one of the 
two boxes without testing the weights. This error, all the more 
naive since the two are exactly alike in appearance, does not prove 
that the subject is incapable of weighing them in his hand and of 
judging of the weights while exercising muscular sense. One must 
then order him to take the boxes in his hand and weigh them. 
Some are very awkward, and put the two boxes into one hand at 
the same time to weigh them. One must again interfere and teach 
him how to put a box in each hand and weigh the two simultan- 

Additional remarks. Following this weighing of two boxes of 
different weight and equal volume, one can propose to weigh two 
boxes of equal weight but different volume. The illusion which is 
produced under these circumstances is well known. With the 
weights equal, the larger box will appear hghter; and the apparent 
difference of weight increases with the difference of volume. 
Investigations have been made to determine whether this illusion 
takes place with backward children, and it has been observed by 
Demoor that there are certain ones who are not affected by it, 
something which we ourselves have recently verified. We put 
before the defective children long boxes of white wood, of the same 
weight, the largest one 24 x 4 x 4 cm., the smallest 12 x 2 x 2 cm., 
the medium one 18 x 3 x 3 cm. Like many normal children our 
subnormals, when given two for comparison and asked "Which 

-> Cf. p. 186. 


is the heavier," pointed out the larger. The first naive response 
has but Httle significance. If one insists, if one tells the subject 
to weigh them in his hand, it sometimes happens that subnormals 
either cling to their first designation, or abandon it altogether and 
find the smaller one the heavier; in the latter case they are sensi- 
tive to the illusion. It seems to us that before declaring that a 
subnormal is not sensitive, one must first find if he can compare 
two weights, and whether he is able to judge which is the heavier 
of two weights having the same volume. Having made this pre- 
liminary test, one will perceive that very many subnormals are 
insensible to the illusion because they are incapable of comparing 
weights. What they lack therefore is a more elementary aptitude. 

IS. Suggestibility 

Suggestibility is by no means a test of intelligence, because very 
many persons of superior intelUgence are susceptible to suggestion, 
through distraction, timidity, fear of doing wrong, or some pre- 
conceived idea. Suggestion produces effects which from certain 
points of view closely resemble the natural manifestations of 
feeble-mindedness; in fact suggestion disturbs the judgment, 
paralyzes the critical sense, and forces us to attempt unreason- 
able or unfitting acts worthy of a defective. It is therefore neces- 
sary, when examining a child suspected of retardation, not to 
give a suggestion unconsciously, for thus artificial debility is 
produced which might make the diagnosis deceptive. If a per- 
son is forced to give an absurd reply by making use of an alter- 
native pronounced in an authoritative voice, it does not in the 
least prove that he is lacking in judgment. But this source of error 
being once recognized and set aside, it is none the less inter- 
esting to bring into the examination a precise attempt at sugges- 
tion, and note what happens. It is a means of testing the force 
of judgment of a subject and his power of resistance.^ 

Procedure. The proof of suggestibility which we have devised 
does not give rise to a special experiment: it complicates by a 
sUght addition other exercises which we have already described. 

(a) Designation of objects named by the experimenter. When we 
ask the child (test 7) to show us the thread, the cup, the thimble, 

8 In a book specially devoted to Suggestibility (Paris, Schleicher, 1900) 
one of us (Binet) has described several methods of testing for suggesti- 
bility which are valuable for application in the schools. 


we add, "Show me the button." On the empty table there is no 
button, there are only the three preceding objects and yet by 
gesture and look we invite the subject to search for the button on 
the table. It is a suggestion by personal action, developing obedi- 
ence. Certain ones obey quickly and easily, presenting to us again 
the cup or no matter what other objects. Their suggestibility is 
complete. Others resist a httle, pout, while feigning to hunt for 
it on the table, or in the cup; they 'do not reply, but cover their 
embarrassment by a search which they continue indefinitely if not 
interrupted. One should consider this attitude as a sufficient 
expression of resistance, and go no further. It would be unneces- 
sary as we are not seeking a victory over them. Lastly, those least 
affected by suggestion, reply clearly, '*I do not know," or "There 
is no button." Some laugh. 

(6) Designation of parts of a picture named by the experimenter. 
When the child has looked at the picture and we have asked him 
to point out the window, etc., at the very last say, "Where is the 
patapoum?" and then "Where is the nitchevo?" words that have 
no sense for him. These demands are made in the same manner 
as the preceding ones. Here again we find the three types, chil- 
dren who docilely designate any object whatever, others who 
search indefinitely without finding anything, and again others 
who declare, "There is none." 

(c) Snare of lines. Following the three pairs of unequal fines, 
which serve to show the correctness of comparison, we place be- 
fore the subject three other similar sheets each containing two 
equal fines. We present them saying, "And here?" Led on by 
the former replies he has a tendency, an acquired force, for again 
finding one line longer than the other. Some succumb to the 
snare completely. Others stop at the first pair and declare, "They 
are equal," but at the second and third they say one of the fines 
is longer than the other. Others find them all equal but hesitate. 
Others again fall into the snare without a shadow of hesitation. 

14. Verbal Definition of Known Objects 

Vocabulary, some general notions, ability to put a simple idea 
into words, are all brought to light by means of this test. 

Procedure. Ask the child what is a house, a horse, a fork, a 
mamma. This is the conversation that takes place: "Do you 


know what a is?" If the child answers yes then ask him: 

"Very well, then tell me what it is." Try to overcome his silence 
a little and his timidity. Aid him, only when necessary, by giv- 
ing him an example: "A dog, it barks," and then see if the child 
understands and approves that definition. 

Very young normal children of two or three years, reply to 
questions of this kind with enthusiasm. They ordinarily reply in 
terms of use, ''A fork is to eat with." This is typical. Record 
the answer verbatim. Some will keep silent, some give absurd, 
incomprehensible replies, or again will repeat the word, '* A house, 
it is a house." 

15. Repetition of Sentences of Fifteen Words^ 

This is a test of immediate memory, so far as it concerns the 
recollection of words; a proof of voluntary attention, naturally 
because voluntary attention must accompany all psychological 
experiments; lastly it is a test of language. 

Procedure. First be sure that the child is listening carefully, 
then, after having warned him that he will have to repeat what is 
said to him, pronounce slowly, intelligibly, the following sentence: 
I get up in the morning, I dine at noon, I go to bed at night. Then 
make a sign for him to repeat. Often the child, still not very well 
adapted, has not fully understood. Never repeat a sentence but 
go on to another. When the subject repeats it write down ver- 
batim what he says. Many even among normals make absurd 
repetitions, for example: "I go to bed at noon." Often the child 
replaces the cultured expression "I dine" for a more famihar 
form, "I eat." The fact of being able to repeat the sentence cor- 
rectly after the first hearing is a good sign. The second sentence 
is easier than the first, In the summer the weather is beautiful; in 
winter snow falls. Here is the third, Germaine has been bad, she 
has not worked, she will be scolded. Now we give five sentences 
quite difficult to understand: 

The horse-chestnut tree in the garden throws upon the ground the 
faint shade of its new young leaves. 

' Editor^ s note: Binet's sentences vary in length from thirteen to eighteen 
words. He has corrected this discrepancy in the 1908 edition by counting 
the number of syllables given in this and kindred tests. A literal trans- 
lation of his sentences obviously may not contain the same number of 
words in English as in French. 

SERIES OF TESTS — 1905 59 

The horse draws the carriage, the road is steep and the carriage 
is heavy. 

It is one o'clock in the afternoon, the house is silent, the cat sleeps 
in the shade. 

One should not say all that he thinks, hut he must think all that he 

The spirit of criticism must not be confounded with the spirit of 

16. Comparison of Known Objects from Memory 

This is an exercise in ideation, in the notion of dijBferences, and 
somewhat in powers of observation. 

Procedure. One asks what difference there is between paper 
and cardboard, between a fly and a butterfly, between a piece of 
wood and a piece of glass. First be sure that the subject knows 
these objects. Ask him, *' Have you seen paper?" '' Do you know 
what cardboard is?" Thus ask him about all the objects be- 
fore drawing his attention to the difference between them. It 
may happen that little Parisians, even though normal, and eight 
or nine years old, have never seen a butterfly. These are exam- 
ples of astounding ignorance, but we have found, what is still 
more extraordinary, Parisians of ten years who have never seen 
the Seine. 

After being assured that the two objects to be compared are 
known, demand their difference. If the word is not understood, 
take notice and afterward choose more famihar language. ''In 
what are they not alike? How are they not alike?" Three 
classes of repUes may be expected. First, that of the children who 
have no comprehension of what is desired of them. When asked 
the difference between cardboard and paper, they reply, "The 
cardboard." When one has provoked repUes of this kind, the 
explanation must be renewed with patience to see if there is not 
some means of making oneself understood. Second, the absurd 
replies, such as, ' 'The fly is larger than the butterfly." "The wood 
is thicker than the glass," or "The butterfly flies and so does the 
fly." Third, the correct reply. 


17. Exercise of Memory on Pictures 

This is a test of attention and visual memory. 

Procedure. The subject is told that several pictures will be 
shown to him, which he will be allowed to look at for thirty seconds, 
and that he must then repeat the names of the objects seen, from 
memory. There are thirteen pictures, each 6 by 6 centimeters, rep- 
presenting the following objects: clock, key, nail, omnibus, barrel, 
bed, cherry, rose, mouth of a beast, nose, head of a child, eggs, 
landscape. These pictures are pasted on two cardboards and are 
shown simultaneously. Measure the time of exposure with the 
second hand of the watch. In order that the subject shall not 
become absorbed in one picture, say to him, "Make haste. Look 
at all." The thirty seconds passed, the examiner writes from dic- 
tation the names of the pictures the subject recalls. 

This test does indeed give an idea of the memory of a person, 
but two subjects may have very unequal memories of the same 
picture; one of them may recall only one detail while another re- 
calls the whole. Moreover there is a weak point in this test in 
that it may be affected by failure of attention. It is sufficient 
that a fly should alight, a door should open, a cock should crow, or 
for the subject to have a desire to use his handkerchief during 
the thirty seconds, to disturb the work of memorizing. If the 
result is altogether lacking, the test should be repeated with an- 
other collection of pictures to find whether the first error was the 
result of distraction. 

18. Drawing a Design from Memory 

This is a test of attention, visual memory, and a Httle analysis. 

Procedure. The subject is told that two designs will be shown 

to him, which he will be allowed to look at for ten seconds, and which 



he must then draw from memory. Excite his emulation. The 
two designs which we reproduce here, are shown to him and left 


exposed for ten seconds. (Regulate the time by the second hand 
of a watch; the time must be exact within one or two seconds.) 
Then see that the subject commences the reproduction of the de- 
sign without loss of time. 

Marking the results of this test, that is the errors committed, 
is a delicate operation. Simply note if the reproduction is abso- 
lutely correct; or if without being correct it resembles the model; 
or if, on the contrary, it bears no resemblance whatever to it. 

19. Immediate Repetition of Figures 

This is a test of immediate memory and immediate attenti on 
Procedure. This is the same as for the three figures, see abo ve 
Here the errors noted for the three figures take on greater propor- 
tions. One must be on the watch for errors of judgment. A 
normal may fail but the manner is different. 

20. Resemblances 0} Several Known Objects Given from Memory 

This is a test of memory, conscious recognition of resemblances, 
power of observation. 

Procedure. This test closely resembles test 16, except that here 
resemblances are to be indicated instead of differences. It may 
be surprising to learn that children have a good deal of trouble 
noting resemblances; they much more wilUngly find differences in 
the objects given them to compare. One must insist a good deal 
and show them that although unhke two objects may be somewhat 
similar. Here are the questions to be asked : 

In what are a poppy and blood alike? 

How are a fly, an ant, a butterfly, a flea alike? 

In what way are a newspaper, a label, a picture alike? 

Under test 16 we have indicated the precautions that must be 
taken, notably that of assuring oneself that the child knows the 
objects to be compared. There are little Parisians who have 
never seen poppies or ants. 

21. Comparison of Lengths 

This is a test in exactness of glance in rapid comparison. 

Procedure. In this test one presents a series of pairs of lines. 
One line of each pair is 30 mm. long and the other varies from 31 
to 35 mm. These lines are drawn on the pages of a blank book, 


15 by 30 cm. ; there are only two lines on a page. They extend in 
the same direction, end to end, separated by 5 mm. The longer 
occupies first the right then the left of the page. There are fif- 
teen pairs. After placing them in order one begins by showing 
the pair where the difference is greatest. The subject is asked to 
point out the longer of the two lines. 

We then present, in another blank book, a series of pairs of 
lines very much more difficult to estimate. The pages of this 
book are 20 by 30 cm. ; the constant fine is 100 mm. long, the vari- 
able ranging from 101 to 103 mm. The exact comparison of such 
long lines is beyond the abihty of many adults. The number of 
pairs is twelve. 

22. Five Weights to he Placed in Order^^ 

This test requires a direct concentration of attention, an appre- 
ciation of weight, and the memory of judgment. 

Procedure. Five little boxes of the same color and volume are 
placed in a group on the table. They weigh respectively 3, 6, 
9, 12, and 15 grams. They are shown to the subject while 
saying to him: "Look at these little boxes, they have not the 
same weight; you are going to arrange them here in their right 
order. Here to the left first the heaviest weight; next, the one 
a little less heavy; here one a little less heavy; here one a little less 
heavy, and here the lightest one." This explanation is difficult 
to give in childish terms. It must be attempted, however, and 
repeated if one perceives that it is not understood. 

The explanation terminated, one must observe with attention 
the attitude of the child. One child does not understand, puts 
nothing in order; another arranges the weights very well but does 
not compare them; he takes one at random and puts it at the left 
as the heaviest, without comparing it with the others, and places 
those remaining without weighing them. A third tries them a 
Httle, but noticeably goes at it blindly. The reading of the 
weights which is inscribed on each, shows us the errors. 

There are three classes to distinguish. First, the subject who 
goes at random without comparing, often committing a serious 
error, four degrees for example. Second, the subject who com- 
pares, but makes a slight error of one or two degrees. Third, the 

1° Cf . p. 220. 

SERIES OF TESTS — 1905 63 

one who has the order exact. We propose to estimate the 
errors in this test by taking account of the displacement that must 
be made to re-estabUsh the correct order. Thus in the following 
example: 12, 9, 6, 3, 15, — 15 is not in its place, and the error is 
of four degrees because it must make four moves to find the place 
where it belongs. All the others must be changed one degree. 
The sum of the changes indicates the total error which is of eight 
degrees. It is necessary to make a distinction between those who 
commit sUght errors of inattention, and those who by the enor- 
mity of an error of 6 or 8 prove that they act at random. 

23, Gap in Weights 

As soon as the subject has correctly arranged the weights and 
only then, tell him that one of the weights is to be taken away 
while he closes his eyes, and that he is to discover which has been 
taken away by weighing them in his hand. The operation de- 
manded of him is delicate. One must note that he does not cheat 
by reading the marking on the box. If there is any fear of this, 
wrap the boxes in paper. 

24' Exercise upon Rhymes^^ 

This exercise requires an ample vocabulary, suppleness of mind, 
spontaneity, intellectual activity. 

Procedure. Begin by asking the subject if he knows what a 
rhyme is. Then explain by means of examples: "Rhymes are 
words that end in the same way. Thus 'grenouille' rhymes with 
'citrouille,' because it is the same sound 'ouille.' 'Compote' 
rhymes with 'carotte,' they both end with 'ote.' 'Baton' 
rhymes with 'macaron,' and with 'citron.' Here the rhyme is 
on 'on.'i2 j)q you j^q^ understand what a rhyme is? Very 
well, you must find all the rhymes you can. The word with which 
you must find rhymes is 'ob^issance.'^^' Come, begin, find 

" Cf. p. 232. 

" Editor's note: We have here retained the French words because it 
is obvious that the English equivalents would not rhyme. In using the 
test one must of course use suitable English rhymes. 

13 Editor's note: There are many words in the French which rhyme with 
"obeissance" and which are perfectly familiar to a French child. This is 
not true of its English equivalent. One would not think of asking a child 
to make rhymes with "obedience." 


some." In order to accomplish this test, the subject must not 
only find rhymes, which is partly a matter of imagination, but he 
must understand the preceding explanation, which is a matter of 
judgment. There are subjects who remain silent who either have 
not understood or are unable to find rhymes. Others are more 
loquacious but the false rhymes they cite prove that they have 
not comprehended. The minute having elapsed, renew the ex- 
planation and try the test again. 

25. Verbal Gaps to he Filled 

This test thought out and proposed by Professor Ebbinghaus 
of Berlin, varies in significance according to its mode of use. It 
consists essentially in this: a word of a text is omitted and the 
subject is asked to replace it. The nature of the intellectual work 
by which the gap is filled, varies according to the case. This may 
be a test of memory, a test of style, or a test of judgment. In the 
sentence: "Louis IX was born in " the gap is filled by mem- 
ory. "The crow his feathers with his beak;" in this the 

idea of the suppressed word is not at all obscure, and the task con- 
sists in finding the proper word. We may say in passing, that 
according to the opinion of several teachers before whom we have 
tried it, this kind of exercise furnishes excellent scholastic train- 
ing. Lastly, in sentences of the nature of those we have chosen, 
the filling of the gaps requires an attentive examination and an 
appreciation of the facts set forth by the sentence. It is there- 
fore an exercise of judgment. 

Procedure. We have simpUfied it by suppressing all explana- 
tions. The words forming the gap are intentionally placed at 
the end of the sentence. It is sufficient to read the text with 
expression, then suspend the voice with the tone of interrogation 
when one arrives at the gap. The subject naturally fills in the gap. 
If he does not do so spontaneously, urge him a little by saying, 
"Finish. What must one say?" Once the operation is set going 
it continues easily. 

The operator knows the true words of the text which have been 
suppressed. He should not yield to the temptation of consider- 
ing those the only correct ones. He must examine and weigh 
with care all the words that are given him. Some are good, others 
altogether bad, nonsensical or absurd. There will be all degrees. 


SERIES OF TESTS — 1905 65 

Here is the text with the gaps. The words to be suppressed 
are in itaUcs. 

The weather is clear, the sky is (1) hlue. The sun has quickly dried 
the linen which the women have spread on the line. The cloth, white 
as snow, dazzles the (2) eyes. The women gather up the large sheets which 
are as stiff as though they had been (3) starched. They shake them and hold 
them by the four (4) corners. Then they snap the sheets with a (5) noise. 
Meanwhile the housewife irons the fine linen. She takes the irons one 
after the other and places them on the (6) stove. Little Mary who is 
dressing her doll would like to do some (7) ironing, but she has not had 
permission to touch the (8) irons. 

26. Synthesis of Three Words in One Sentence^^ 

This exercise is a test in spontaneity, faciUty of invention and 
combination, aptitude to construct sentences. 

Procedure. Three words are proposed: Paris, river, fortune. 
Ask that a sentence be made using those three words. It is neces- 
sary to be very clear, and to explain to those who may not chance 
to know what a sentence is. Many subjects remain powerless be- 
fore this difficulty, which is beyond their capacity. Others can 
make a sentence with a given word but they can not attain to the 
putting of three words in a single sentence. 

27. Reply to an Abstract Question^^ 

This test is one of the most important of all, for the diagnosis of 
mental debility. It is rapid, easily given, sufficiently precise. It 
consists in placing the subject in a situation presenting a difficulty 
of an abstract nature. Any mind which is not apt in abstraction 
succumbs here. 

Procedure. This consists in reading the beginning of a sentence 
and suspending the voice when one arrives at the point, and re- 
peating, ''What ought one to do?" The sentences are constructed 
in such a manner that the shght difficulty of comprehension which 
they present, comes from the ideas rather than from the words. 
The child who does not understand, is hindered less by his ignor- 
ance of the language than by his lack of ability to seize an ab- 
stract idea. There are twenty-five questions. The first are very 
easy and tend to put the subject at his ease. We do not repro- 
duce them here as they will be found farther on with the results. 

1* Cf . p. 222. 
« Cf . p. 224. 



Here are only four of the sentences. They are among those of 
medium difficulty. 

1. When one has need of good advice — what must one do? 

2. Before making a decision about a very important affair — 
what must one do? 

3. When anyone has offended you and asks you to excuse him — 
what ought you to do? 

4. When one asks your opinion of someone whom you know 
only a little — what ought you to say? 

It is often a dehcate matter to estimate the value of a reply. 
Sometimes the subject does not gather all the shades of the ques- 
tion and the reply is too simple, not absolutely adequate to the 
demand. Nevertheless one must be satisfied if it expresses sense, 
if it proves that the general bearing of the question has been 

In other cases the reply is equivocal; it would be excellent if it 
came from a dilletante, or a decadent, because of the double 
meaning which is ironically evoked. It is of no value in the mouth 
of a school child. Thus to the first question, ''When one has need 
of good advice — " a child replied, ''one says nothing." We sup- 
pose he has not understood but if this had been an ironical reply, 
one might have found in it a curious meaning. As a matter of 
fact, these uncertainties, which are truly matters of conscience 
with the examiner, present themselves but rarely. Ordinarily 
the interpretation is easy because one knows already about what 
to expect from his subject. 

28. Reversal of the Hands of a Clock 

This is a test of reasoning, attention, visual imagery. 

Procedure. First ask the subject if he knows how to tell time. 
In case his answer is in the affirmative, put him to the test because 
it is not best to trust his word. There are imbeciles who say they 
know how to tell time and give extravagant answers when a watch 
is given them to read. It is important to note this error in judg- 
ment. Having found that the subject knows how to tell time, 
remind him that the long hand indicates the minutes and the 
short hand the hours. Then say to him, "Suppose that it is a 
quarter of three, do you clearly see where the long hand is, and 
the short hand? Very well, now suppose the long hand is changed 

SERIES OF TESTS — 1905 67 

to the place where the short hand is, and the short hand to the 
place of the long, what time is it?" Reverse the hands for the 
following hours: twenty minutes past six; four minutes of three. 
The correct solutions are, half past four, and a quarter past eleven. 

The subject must not see the face of a watch, nor make the 
design upon paper, or his cuff or his nail to aid his imagination. 
As the experiment is made individually, supervision is easy. 

When the subject gives the two solutions correctly, one can 
push him a little further, imposing a question much more difficult. 
Say to him, 'Tor each of the hours that you have indicated, the 
reversal of the hands brings about the result that you have found; 
nevertheless this result is not altogether correct. The transposi- 
tion indicated is not altogether possible. By analyzing the case 
with care, tell me why." 

This test permits of varying degrees of accuracy in the repUes. 
First, certain ones are not able to make any transposition; they 
give no solution, or else it is absolutely incorrect. Others who 
come nearer the truth give a solution which is partially correct; 
for example, only one of the hands is rightly placed, or perhaps 
an error of synometry has been committed, one has put to the 
right what ought to have been at the left or inversely. The third 
category is that of subjects who give correct solutions. Finally 
the fourth is composed of those who give a correct solution and 
are capable of criticizing the slight inaccuracies. 

29. Paper Cutting^^ 

This exercise calls for voluntary attention, reasoning, visual 
imagery, but not for vocabulary. 

Procedure. Take two sheets of white paper of the same dimen- 
sions. Call the attention of the subject to their equality. "You 
see they are alike." Lay the first one on the table, fold the other 
into two equal parts slowly before the subject, then fold again 
into two equal parts at right angles to the first fold. The sheet is 
now folded in four equal divisions. On the edge that presents a 
single fold, cut out with the scissors, a triangle. Take away the 
triangular piece of paper without allowing the subject to study it, 
but show him the folded paper, and say to him: ''The sheet of 

i»^Cf. p. 234. 


paper is now cut. If I were to open it, it would no longer resem- 
ble the first sheet of paper here on the table; there will be a hole in 
it. Draw on this first sheet of paper what I shall see when I un- 
fold this one." It is important that the experimenter say neither 
more nor less than our text, and that he compel himself to employ 
the words chosen by us although scarcely exact and accurate. 
The subject now draws upon the first sheet the result of the cut- 
ting which he has just witnessed. He should not be allowed to 
handle the perforated sheet. Some subjects look a Httle at the 
perforation, others rely upon their imagination and begin at once 
to draw. The less intelligent simply draw an angle placed no 
matter where on the white page, or perhaps a triangle whose form 
and dimensions are not those of the cut. A little closer observa- 
tion causes some to consider the form and dimensions. Some- 
what better is the triangle replaced by a diamond drawn in the 
center of the page. Although better, it is still not the correct 
result, for to be correct two diamonds must be drawn, one in the 
center of each half of the paper. This test interests everybody. 
It requires no development of style. It has nothing literary, and 
rests upon entirely different faculties than those required by pre- 
ceding tests. Moreover the correctness of the result is easy to 

30. Definitions of Abstract Terms^"^ 

This test resembles closely those which consist in replying to an 
abstract question. It differs especially in that it requires a knowl- 
edge of vocabulary. 

Procedure. Without preliminaries, one asks of the subject, 
"What difference is there between esteem and affection? What 
difference is there between weariness and sadness?'' Often the 
subject does not reply. He sometimes gives an absurd or non- 
sensical answer. 

We conclude here the list of tests we have used. It would have 
been easy to continue them by rendering them more complicated, 
if one had wished to form a hierarchy amo:|fig normal children. One 
could even extend the scale up to the aHult normal, the average 
intelUgent, the very intelUgent, the hyper-inteUigent and measure, 
or try to measure, talent and genius. We shall postpone for 
another time this difficult study. \ 

17 Cf . p. 230. 


When a subnormal, or a child suspected of being such, is ques- 
tioned, it is not necessary to follow the exact order of tests. A 
Uttle practice enables one to cut short, and put the finger upon 
the decisive test. 

The solutions given by the subjects can be put into four 
categories : 

1. Absence of solution. This is either a case of mutism, or re- 
fraining from making an attempt, or an error so great that there 
is nothing satisfactory in the result. We indicate the absence of 
result by the algebraic sign minus ( — ). 

2. Partial solutions. A part of the truth has been discovered. 
The reply is passable. This is indicated by a fraction; the frac- 
tion in use is §. When the test permits several degrees one can 
have i, or f , etc. 

3. Complete solution. This does not admit of definition. It is 
indicated by the algebraic sign plus (+)• 

4. Absurdities. We have cited a great number of examples 
and insist upon their importance; they are indicated by the ex- 
clamation sign (!). 

The cause for certain defective repHes can sometimes be grasped 
with sufficient clearness to admit of classification. 

Besides the failure to comprehend the tests as a whole, we 

1. Ignorance; the subject does not know the sense of a word or 
has never seen the object of which one speaks. Thus a child does 
not know a poppy. We write an I. 

2. Resistance to the examination because of bad humor, un- 
wilHngness, state of nerves, etc. We write an R. 

3. Accentuated timidity. We write a T. 

4. The failure of attention, distraction. We write a D. The 
distraction may be of different kinds. There is an accidental dis- 
traction, produced by an exterior excitant or an occasional cause. 
For example, the case of a normal who spoils a memory test be- 
cause he must use his handkerchief. There is constitutional dis- 
traction frequent among subnormals. We have ascertained 
among them the following types: Distraction from scattered per- 
ceptions. Distraction from preoccupation. Distraction from 
inability to fix the attention. 


II. Pedagogical Method 

The pedagogical method consists in making an inventory of the 
total knowledge of a subject, in comparing this total with 
that of a normal subject, in measuring the difference, and in find- 
ing if the difference in the knowledge of a subject is explained by 
the insufficiency of scholastic training. 

The first idea of this method was suggested to us by reading the 
pamphlets in which Dr. Demoor and his colleagues explain the 
function of the special school at Brussels. To this school are ad- 
mitted all children ''pedagogically retarded.'' The pedagogically 
retarded are those whose instruction puts them two years behind 
normal children of the same age. 

In France, our ministerial commission estimated that these 
pedagogically retarded, or to speak more accurately, these chil- 
dren lacking education, do not need to be sent to a special class; 
being normal they ought to remain in the ordinary schools, there 
to make up their instruction. We have thought that since it is 
of practical value to make a distinction between the normal who 
is lacking in school training and the subnormals, this distinction 
could be made in the type of scholastic knowledge beneficial to 
each of these classes. 

The normal retarded child is one who is not at the level of his 
comrades of the same age, for causes that have no relation to his 
intelligence; he has missed school, or he has not attended regularly, 
or he has had mediocre teachers, who have made him lose time, 
etc. The subnormal ignoramus is one whose ignorance comes 
from a personal cause; he does not learn as quickly as his comrades, 
he comprehends less clearly, in a word, he is more or less imper- 
vious to the usual methods of instruction. We now have a 
method of recognizing subnormal ignoramuses; this consists in 
estimating at the same time their degree of instruction and their 
knowledge. Thus the idea of the pedagogical method originated. 

Having acknowledged what we owe to Dr. Demoor and to his 
colleagues, we must nevertheless add that these authors do not 
seem to appreciate the need of precise methods of evaluating even 
among normals the amount of retardation in instruction. It is 
probable that in their practice the amount of this retardation is 
taken into account. Teachers do not hesitate, however, to make 
estimates of this nature. They will say without hesitation that 


such a child is two years or three years retarded. The value of 
these estimates is as yet undetermined. 

We have found the following direction of great value to teachers 
who are attempting to designate the subnormals in their school. 
*'Any child is subnormal who, in spite of regular or sufficient 
schooHng, is two years behind children of the same age." This 
criterion fixes the ideas and evades some uncertainties. But even 
though it constitutes a great improvement over subjective appre- 
ciation, which has no guide, it has still the fault of lacking pre- 
cision. It remains to be seen what is acquired from school in- 
struction by normal children of different ages; one must to some 
extent make a barometer of instruction. On the other hand there 
remains to be organized rapid methods which permit one to tell 
with precision the degree of instruction which a candidate has at- 
tained. These two lines of research can scarcely be followed out 
except by persons belonging to the teaching profession. We have 
succeeded in interesting different distinguished persons. M. 
Lacabe, primary inspector in Paris, has consented to confide to the 
instructors of his staff the preparation of a work designed to 
measure the knowledge of his pupils in grammar. M. Behr, pri- 
mary inspector of Fontainebleau, has undertaken to determine 
the scholastic attainments of the average child, ideally average, 
of neither over nor under intelhgence, of average health, and who 
has had professors of average merit. The idea is original, the at- 
tempt promises to be interesting; it will be laborious. Another 
work,^^ entirely different in idea, is due to M. Vaney, school 
director of Paris. It is devoted to the measuring of proficiency 
acquired in mathematics. 

In considering the question as a whole, it is clear that the peda- 
gogical or instruction method, divides into two very distinct 
categories : 

1. The methods permitting one to evaluate scholastic knowl- 
edge including arithmetic, grammar, history, geography — in a 
word, all that figures in the curriculums and can be easily 

2. The investigation of knowledge acquired outside the schools. 
It is upon this last point that we invite the attention of our 

colleagues, the teachers. There is a mass of information that a 
child acquires outside of school, which figures on no program. It 

18 See UAnnSe Psychologique, Vol. II, p. 146-162. 


is acquired by conversation, reading the paper, observation of all 
that goes on in the street, in the house, everywhere. It is pre-emi- 
nently practical knowledge, part of it is useless, much is very im- 
portant, quite as important surely as that which has a scholastic 

We have ourselves recently begun a quest upon this side of the 
question. We have made collective tests in the school, asking 
the children to reply in writing to certain questions concerning 
practical life. More than this, we have asked teachers to put 
questions individually to the children upon points that we have 
designated to them. Here is a little sample of the nature of the 
information which every child is to furnish of himself without the 
aid of anyone. 

1. What is your name? What is your first name? 

2. What is your age? 

3. What is the exact date of your birth? 

4. How long have you attended school? 

5. What day is today? 

6. What month is it? 

7. What year is it? 

8. What day of the month is it? 

9. What hour is it? 

10. Is it morning or afternoon? 

11. What is the address of your parents (street, number, apart- 

12. What is your father's trade, your mother's trade? 

13. What are the names of your mother, brothers and sisters 
if you have any? 

14. Which are younger, which are older than you? 

15. Count this money. How much is it? (Show 12 sous in 
2-sou pieces — 1 fr. 80 centimes, one piece of 1 franc; 1 piece of 50 
centimes, and the remainder four single sous and a 2-sou piece). 

16. Name the colors. (Squares of colored paper, vivid red, 
pink, light yellow, deep yellow, orange, green, light blue, deep 
blue, violet, white, grey, black.) 

17. Do you read the paper? Which one? 

18. Have you learned to ride a bicycle? 

19. What is a " correspondance d'omnibus" and what is its use?^^ 

^^ Editor's note: "Correspendance d'omnibus" cannot be translated 
into English because the system has no counterpart in this country. But 
experience would soon teach a resident of Paris the use of this term. 


20. What stamps must one put on a letter sent from Paris to 

21. How much does a loaf of bread cost? 

22. Describe how to fry an egg. 

23. How much does a sack of charcoal cost? 

24. What do you think is the age of your principal? 

25. Did you ever see a cow milked? 

26. How much does a street car conductor get a day? 

27. Have you ever seen a goat? a frog? a rat? an elephant? 

28. Did you ever light a fire? 

29. Do you ever do several errands at a time? 

30. What is a janitor? 

31. What is meant by "le term?" (Obscure for an American 
but not so for a French child.) 

Sommer, the German alienist, well known for his work of path- 
ological psychology, has indicated in a special book the utility of 
these investigations in determining what he calls orientation in 
time and space. We do not know what advantages he has been 
able to draw from them; we are also ignorant of whether or not he 
has taken the elementary precaution, nearly always neglected, of 
first estabUshing how a normal child rephes. Here are several 
examples of the information which we have gathered in the pri- 
mary schools, upon the extra-scholastic knowledge of normals. 

*' Correspondance d'Omnihus.'^ In the first class (from 11 to 15 
years) there were 16 boys who replied correctly — 11 did not know, 
and 2 repHed ambiguously. In the third class (from 9 to 14 
years) 4 boys knew, 28 did not know. In the fifth class (from 7 
to 12 years) 1 boy knew, 41 did not know. In the sixth class (6 to 
9 years) 42 boys did not know. Here is a test that is good for the 
higher grade because the number of correct rephes is proportional 
to the age. 

Frying an egg. In the first class, 15 children described very 
well the manner, and 15 did not know. In the sixth class 10 de- 
scribed it well, 28 did not know, and 4 had doubtful rephes. 

Price of a sack of charcoal. In the first class 22 gave a reason- 
able price (2 fr. 50 to 5 fr.) ; 3 gave unreasonable prices (25 fr., 50 
fr., etc.) ; 4 did not know. In the sixth class, 7 gave a reasonable 
price (2 fr., to 5 fr.); 5 gave prices too high (10 fr., 50 fr., 70 fr., 
etc.) ; 11 gave too low a price (10 centimes, 1 fr. 80) and 18 did not 


Know how to ride a bicycle. In the first class 15 knew and 15 
did not know. In the sixth class 13 knew, and 29 did not know. 

Have you ever seen a goat? a frogf a rat? an elephant? In the 
first class, all had seen the animals. In the sixth class of 42 pupils, 
2 had not seen a goat, 9 had never seen a frog, 8 had never seen 
a rat and 3 had never seen an elephant. It is curious that the 
frog should be less known than the elephant. 

What is meant by "Ze termef^ In the first class, 14 knew, and 16 
gave ambiguous rephes. In the sixth class 3 knew, 3 gave doubt- 
ful answers, and 36 did not know. 

We hope soon to be able to make out a complete fist of items of 
extra-scholastic knowledge. This is only a sample. It will be 
necessary to give by ages the percentage of correct replies. 

The question is still open as to what extent extra-scholastic 
knowledge is foreign to subnormals. We can at present only make 
conjectures on this point. It is probable that the slightly sub- 
normal possess many of these notions of practical life; perhaps their 
defect manifests itself especially in an inabiUty to assimilate that 
which is properly scholastic, and on the other hand these may be 
quite apt in the more concrete facts of every-day life. The ab- 
sence of this knowledge characterizes especially true imbeciles, 
those who are more seriously affected. Not to know either the 
number or names of one's brother or sisters, to be unable to dis- 
tinguish one's given name and one's family name, ignorance of 
the address of one's parents, would constitute then a sufficiently 
serious sign of intellectual inferiority, if this manner of looking at 
the matter is right, and if there are not extenuating circumstances 
connected with this ignorance. 

To sum up, the pedagogical method is two fold. It consists in 
establishing as it were the balance sheet of the scholastic knowl- 
edge acquired by the child; on the other hand it consists in estab- 
lishing the balance sheet of extra-scholastic knowledge. The 
general result will be found, not by a complete inventory — that 
would take too long — but by tests bearing upon a small number 
of questions judged to be representative of the whole. 

The pedagogical method is somewhat indirect in its manner of 
arriving at the state and degree of the intelligence; it grasps the 
intelligence through the memory only. One who is rich in memory 
may be poor in judgment. One even finds imbeciles who have 
an amazing memory. It is right to add that in spite of this, these 


imbeciles are but little instructed, which proves to us that in- 
struction, although it depends principally upon memory, demands 
also other intellectual faculties^ especiaUy Judgement. One must 
not therefore exaggerate the bearing of this theoretic criticism 
which we here make upon the pedagogical method. 

The disadvantages which our use of the method permits us 
already to suspect, are the following : in the first place it cannot be 
appUed to very young children, of from 3 to 6 years, and it is 
especially important to point out mental debiUty at that age; in 
the second place it requires that one should know the scholastic 
attainments of each child. It is not always easy to see clearly into 
the past life of a child. Did he miss his class three years ago? 
If he followed the class, had he in his temperament, his state of 
health, his habits, special reasons for relaxation? Was his master 
a poor one, did he fail to understand the child? The quest may 
find itself face to face with facts, which from their remoteness and 
their nature, are very difiicult to evaluate. These doubtful cases 
will not be in the majority, let us hope; but they will present them- 
selves in abundance. M. Vaney has noted several in a statistical 
study, which is restricted, however. Dr. Demoor^^ finds 50 
doubtful in a total of 246 retarded and subnormal children; that 
is approximately one-fifth doubtful. These facts show that the 
pedagogical method has its imperfections. It should not be em- 
ployed exclusively. 

III. Medical Method 

We speak here of the medical method considered in its narrow- 
est sense; we make the improbable hypothesis of a physician who 
would judge an idiot simply from medical signs, and without 
attempting, even in the most empirical form, a psychological appre- 
ciation of the intelligence of the patient. We make the suppo- 
sition in order to better understand the proper field for each 

What are then the somatic symptoms which the physician can 
utilize for making a diagnosis of inferior mentality? 

There is, we beheve, a distinction to be made between two 
studies, that of the causes and that of the actual condition. When 
the actual state has been determined, after one has estabhshed in 

20 "Les enfants anormaux h Bruxelles," L' Annie Psychologique, VII, 
p. 305. 


a summary manner or by a searching method that a subject has 
an inferior degree of inteUigence, the physician plays an important 
role, owing to his special knowledge; it is he, who above everyone 
else can throw light upon the etiology of each case, can determine, 
for example, that the child suffers from mal comitial or is afflicted 
with myxoedema or that his respiration is disturbed by adenoids, 
that his nutrition is weakened, etc., and that a relation of cause 
and effect exists between these diverse maladies and his inferior 
intelligence. The etiology, once determined, serves to guide the 
prognosis and the treatment. It is not a matter of indifference 
to know the ill from which the child suffers ; if his imbecility is due 
to epileptic causes, or rather consists in a state of decadence 
brought about by frequent attacks, the prognosis is less hopeful 
than if his intellectual weakness is the result of traumatism; in the 
latter case, one can hope that the lesion is made once for all and 
has not a progressive tendency. But these considerations upon 
the etiology, the prognosis and the treatment, remain subordinate 
to the study of the actual state of the intelhgence; and as it is the 
actual state that we wish to study here we shall set aside ^very 
other question no matter how interesting it may be. 

It is very evident that for a diagnosis of the actual state of the 
intelligence the physician who would rigorously ignore all psychol- 
ogy, would very much diminish his resources. Nevertheless he 
would still have some resources left. There are many somatic 
symptoms that can be considered as indirect and possible signs of 
inferior intelligence. 

What are these signs? Here, we must first of all dissipate many 
illusions. The subnormal does not of necessity constantly an- 
nounce itself by evident anatomical defects. The physical de- 
scriptions of the idiot and the imbecile that one finds in classic 
treatises are not always correct; and even if they were, they would 
not apply in the least to morons. But the morons constitute the 
majority. It is the morons that must be recognized in the schools, 
where they are confounded with normals; it is they who offer the 
greatest obstacle to the work of education. The diagnosis of 
moronity is at the same time the most important and the most 
difficult of all. Let us look therefore into the methods to be em- 
ployed, to facilitate this diagnosis, from the simple examination of 
the body. 

Medical literature contains actually a great number of observa- 


tions which may be helpful if they are first submitted to organiza- 
tion. A great many anomalies of different orders have been 
noted among the subnormals; anatomical anomaUes, physiological 
anomalies and the anomalies of heredity and of growth. In a 
recent book, Dr. Ley^^ has made an excellent r^sum^ of what is 
known of the diagnostic signs of abnormahty, to which he has 
added personal observations of his own. We shall present to 
the reader in a rapid survey all that scientists have ever thought 
to look for, to examine, to analyze and to weigh among subnormals. 

We shall take account only of clinical signs, that is to say of 
verifiable symptoms upon the living individual; and as we have 
already stated, we shall occupy ourselves mainly with the recog- 
nition of moronity. 

A complete examination should cover the following points. 

Hereditary antecedents. 


Anatomical examination. 

Psychological examination. 


1. Age of parents at the birth of the child. Nothing special for 
the backward. (Ley.) 

2. Alcoholism of the parents. 42 per cent of the fathers have 
manifested in different ways symptoms of drunkenness and 5.2 
per cent of the mothers (Ley), The proportion is strong, but 
it is not known what is the proportion for the parents of normals. 

S. Tuberculosis. 13.3 per cent of the fathers; 8.1 per cent of 
the mothers; 19.7 per cent among the grandparents; 18 per cent 
among collaterals (Ley). The proportion is unknown among 
normals of analogous social condition. 

4. Neuropathic affections. (Especially nervousness, tics, trem- 
blings, peculiarities of character, epilepsy, hysteria, migraine, 
and accentuated neuralgia). 18 per cent of the fathers; 25 per 
cent of the mothers; 11 per cent of the grandparents; 4.5 per cent 
of the collaterals (Ley). Nothing is known of the proportion 
among normals of the same social conditions. The heredity of 
normals is so little known ! 

5. Consanguinity of the parents. Nothing has been observed. 

21 UarrUration intellectuelle, Bruxelles, 1904. 



6. ThS order of the child in the family. Of only children, 8.1 
per cent; first born, 15.6 per cent; last born of large families of five 
children or more, 7.5 per cent; among the last three of famihes of 
six and more, 15.6 per cent (Ley). Comparison among normals 
is also here lacking. 

The director of a primary school in Paris, M. Guilbert, at our 
request consented to measure the height of the children in his 
school while keeping count of the order of the child in the family. 
Here is the table: 

Height in Meters for Children Classed by Order of Birth in a Family 











































































There are many irregularities in the figures of this table, which 
come from the fact that the averages are based upon a rather small 
number of children. For children higher than the third of the 
family, the averages bear upon less than ten children. In spite 
of the resulting incoherencies, one sees vaguely that an only child 
and those of the third order of birth are the largest children. 

We have had the same calculation made for the intelligence, 
taking for a standard the class to which the pupil belongs, and 
from this standpoint comparing the pupils of the same age but 
belonging to a different order in the family. It appears there- 
from, clearly enough, that the oldest are the most precocious. To 
comprehend the following tables, we must understand that the 
figures express the average of the classes. Thus a child belong- 
ing to the first class, a second to the second class, the average of 
the class for the two is 1.50. The smaller the figure the more pre- 
cocious the child. 


Precocity of Children Relative to their Order in the Family 














































































It can be seen that the precocity of the child, (used as the sign 
of his intelHgence) diminishes very shghtly as his order rises. It 
remains to be found if the inferiority of inteUigence of the later 
born does not come partly from social influences such as the pov- 
erty and misery of too numerous famiUes; poverty produces poor 
nourishment, lack of supervision, etc. However that may be, if 
one does not enter into secondary causes, it seems probable, that, 
among normal children, being the last of birth is in itself an un- 
favorable factor. 

7. Mortality of brothers and sisters. 33.4 per cent among sub- 
normals (Ley). The proportion is unknown among normals. 

8. Unnatural labor. 14.5 among subnormals (Ley). Nothing 
known among normals. 


1. Pathological history. Convulsions among 28.4 per cent of 
defectives. Infectious diseases having had an influence over the 
intelligence, 9.8 per cent of defectives (Ley). The proportion 
is not known among normals. 

2. Retardation of dentition. First tooth appearing after one 
year, 23.2 per cent (Ley). 

3. Retardation of walking. After fifteen months, 50.5 per cent 

4. Retardation of speech. After fifteen months, 66.4 per cent 

6. Urinary inferiority. Child wetting the bed at four years and 
after, 22.6 per cent (Ley). 


For all this the proportion is unknown among normal children. 
The proportion of 50 per cent and of 67 per cent is so strong among 
defectives, that we ask ourselves whether the speech and the walk 
not appearing until fifteen months, does not constitute a veritable 
retardation. The study of normals, unfortunately neglected, 
would suffice to dissipate all doubt. 


This examination comprises two parts. First, that which can be 
measured, as the weight, the height, dimensions of the head, the 
spread of the arms, the biacromial diameter, circumference of 
the thorax, the vital capacity. Second, that which can be appre- 
ciated without measurement: pathological blemishes that are 
more often called stigmata of degeneracy. 

A few words only upon the height, the measure of the head and 
the stigmata. 

Height. Innumerable works have been published upon the 
height of normal subjects, of all countries, of both sexes, and of all 
ages;22 certain measurements have been made upon the height of 
school children of lesser intelligence and these compared with the 
measurements of the more intelligent children (Porter-Gilbert); 
some studies have also been made upon the height of subnormal 
children. 23 

22 For a view of the whole consult the article "Croissance," of Varigny 
in the Dictionnaire de physiologie of Richet, Several important articles 
upon normals will be found there. Quetelet, Anthropometrie, Brussels, 
1871. See also MSmoires de V Acad, de Belgique, Vol. VII. Burk, ^'Growth 
of Children in Height and Weight," Amer. Journ. of Psychol., August, 
1898. Vitale Vitali, Studi anthropologici in servizio della pedagogia, Turin. 
Gilbert, Researches upon School Children, Iowa University, 1897. Porter, 
The Growth of St. Louis School Children, Academy of St. Louis, 1894, VI, 
p. 325. 

23 Quetelet, op.cit., Mesures Jaite dans la maison penitentiaire de 
Ruysselede. Berthold, in Year Book, New York State Reformatory at 
Elmira, 1898. Etudes dans une ecole de reforme. Tarbell, On the Height 
and Weight and Relative Rate of Growth of Normal and Feeble-Minded 
Children, Proc. of the Assoc, of Medic. Off. of Amer. Inst, for Idiot and 
Feeble-Minded Persons, Frankfort, 1881. Simon, Recherches Anthropolo- 
gique sur 223 gargons anormaux, Annee Psychologique, 1900, Vol. VI. 

(See also Goddard, Height and Weight of Feeble-Minded Children in 
American Institutions, Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, April, 1912. 
— Editor.) 



All these documents go to show that less intelligent children do 
not differ constantly from the most intelligent in their height and 
bodily development. Gilbert, among others, presents statistics, 
which prove that there is very little difference between the two 
categories of children. On the other hand, it has been established 
in^the clearest manner by t he mvestigaiions ot Uii ietel ^t^ Ta.rhp. 11^ 
Berthold and one of us (tSimon), th at there exis ts a considerabl e 
ili feriority in hei g ht among subnormals when compared with no r- 
mals of the same age. The average difference of height shown by 
the figures published by Simon, is sometimes more than three 
centimeters. It is well understood that one must take the ele- 
mentary precaution of comparing only children of the same age, 
of the same race, and of the same social condition. 

It remains to be shown how one can utilize these differences for 
an individual diagnosis. They are average differences, obtained 
from calculations upon a great number of measures; they are there- 
fore necessary in order to know what modifications must be ap- 
plied to render them true for the individual. One of us (Binet) 
has presented an idea in regard to this subject ,2^ which it seems 
ought to take an important place in our medical method; it is the 
idea of limits. An analysis of the measures shows that there exists 
a limit of height below which normals are less numerous than sub- 
normals, and above which normals are more numerous than sub- 
normals. This consideration of limits gives place to conclusions 
more precise than the consideration of the average. Let us cite 
an example, taking for a standard, the measures which M. Boyer 
at our request was kind enough to make at the Bicetre upon the 
idiots, imbeciles and morons under Dr. Bourneville. For school 
children of 14 years, the normal height is 1.5 meters; the height of 
idiots of the same age is found to be 1.37 meters. This is the 
average obtained. But if one runs over the individual values, he 
sees that only 5 per cent of normals are to be found below the 
height of 1.40 meters, while on the contrary, there are 60 per 
cent of idiots, imbeciles and morons. This is the limit, not impass- 
able but rarely passed, and which in an individual examination, 
as we shall explain further on, gives a prejudicial presumption. 
But we can treat this subject at the same time with that of the 
measurement of the head. It is much more simple. 

24 Bulletin de la Soci6t6 libre pour I'fltude de TEnfant, p. 430. 


Head measurements. During recent years, a great number of 
measurements have been undertaken, upon the dimensions and 
form of the head among normal children of diverse intelligence 
and among subnormals. Our UAnnee Psychologique has already- 
published many documents upon this interesting question. A his- 
tory will there be found (Vol. V, p. 245), a sketch of the technique 
(Binet, VII, p. 314) and comparative measures upon children of 
unequal intelligence, (Binet, VII, pp. 369, 375, 403, 412) and upon 
subnormals (Simon, VII, p. 430), children of different ages, 
(Binet, VIII, p. 345), upon deaf-mutes (Binet, VIII, p. 385), and 
the blind (Binet, 368). The learned annual reviews of anthro- 
pology of Deniker (UAnnee Psych., X, p. 296 and IX) contain the 
review of several recent articles. From all these investigations it 
is seen that the dimensions of the head are on an average, a very 
little greater among the intelligent than among the less intelU- 
gent in the schools, and that the more intelligent are grouped more 
closely around this average than the less intelligent. Among sub- 
normals, the preceding facts are again found with a shght accen- 
tuation; the average values of their cephaUc development are a 
little less than among normals; and besides, they do not hold so 
closely to the average. Certain ones, the microcephalic, separate 
themselves far below, while others, the macrocephaUc are above 
the average. 

In presence of these results, one finds the same difl&culty in 
utiUzing them for an individual diagnosis, as in the figures con- 
cerning height. The method which we advise is the same: that is 
to establish a limit. To be below the limit becomes a prejudicial 
characteristic, or more exactly, an anatomical stigma. 

Here are the provisional limits which we propose for subnormals 
(boys). We have fixed them for the height, the anterior-pos- 
terior and the transverse diameters of the head, and the sum of 
these two diameters. It can be seen that more must be done to 
make the work complete. One must fix the limit for the other 
cephahc measurements, their totals, their differences, and repeat 
this for both sexes. 

Here is the method of utihzing this table: of 120 primary school 
children one finds 3.2 per cent whose height is below the limit; 
there are 16.3 per cent whose anterior-posterior diameter is below, 
and 7.5 per cent whose transverse diameter is below; this makes a 
total of 27 per cent but it must be noted that not one is inferior 
for two measures at a time. 



For a group of 100 subnormals (idiots, imbeciles and morons, 
children at the Bicetre, all low types) 34 per cent were found be- 
low for height, 40 per cent for anterior-posterior diameter, 27 per 
cent for transverse diameter; 22 per cent are below for one meas- 
ure and 33 per cent for more than one measure. It would seem, 
therefore, that it would be this inferiority considered in relation 
to two limits, which constitutes the characteristic of subnormals. 

We have had the curiosity to apply the same method to the 
measurement of defectives (probably only morons, and a few 
ignoramuses) published by Ley. There are 51 out of 187 who are 

Limits for Subnormals (Boys) 







































































inferior to our limit for anterior-posterior, and 46 for transverse 
diameter; out of these numbers there are 20 who combine the 
two stigmata. These results would be significant if M. Ley meas- 
ures the heads in the way that we do. It would be interesting to 
know the height of these subjects but it was not given. It has 
been for other subnormals. The difference is not great ; there are 
20 per cent of subnormals below the limit for height, and only 17 
per cent of normals. The limit is therefore, it would seem, an 
anatomic stigma less important for morons than for idiots. Finally, 
among backward children of the primary schools of Paris (mostly 
morons), measured at our request by Mile. Sirugue,^^ who used our 

2^ We desire here to tender to Mile. Sirugue our sincere thanks for the 
zeal and intelligence which she showed in the execution of this work. 


technique, we find 11 boys out of 38 who are below the limit for 
the anterior-posterior diameter, only 4 for the transverse diameter, 
and among these children, 4 combine the two stigmata. The 
7 normal cases are all above the limit. As for the morons of Ley, 
we find that very few are below the limit for height, only 4 boys 
out of 38. 

We emphasize these last results because of their exceptional 
importance. It is here a question of subnormals actually found in 
the schools of Paris. They constitute exactly the category of 
children that the Commission, charged with the recruiting of the 
schools for backward children, will have to examine. Therefore 
by this topical illustration, it may be seen what help may be 
derived from investigating the height and the cephalic dimensions 
of these children. 


Great account is made of these stigmata, when anthropometry 
is practiced in the same office with medicine. If one takes the 
pains to search systematically for stigmata among defectives, one 
does not find many more than among normals. Here is a list of 
those which are most frequently observed : 

Adenoidal condition. 15 per cent of subnormals (Ley). 

Tubercular. Thorax paralytic among 60 per cent (Ley). 

Rachitis. 6.5 per cent (Ley). 

Syphilis. 3 per cent (Ley). 

Defective nutrition. 60 per cent (Ley). This high figure needs 

Malformations of the cranium. 5 per cent (Ley) . One sees that 
they are rare. 

High narrow palate. 60 per cent. Reservation should be made 
upon such a high figure; it would be necessary to examine the 
condition of normals in this regard, and above all, to measure the 

Teeth. Absence of incisors, 10 per cent (Ley). Hutchinson 
teeth 2 per cent. 

Ears. The auricle like a handle, 12 per cent. Tubercle of 
Darwin, 5 per cent. Adherent lobe, 11 per cent. Great simphcity 
in the folds of the auricle, 18 per cent. Observations lacking 
among normals. 

Hair. Abnormal masses, 1 per cent (Ley). 



For the study of these different pathological blemishes, one 
should : first, measure them, which is possible for at least certain 
ones; second, find out the frequency of their occurrence among 
normals, without knowing whether the subjects are normal or not, 
in order to be free from auto-suggestion. Until these two points 
are elucidated, nothing can be drawn from observation of the 
stigmata; exact measurement is the only check against the arbi- 
trary, the fantastic and the a priori methods of experimenters. 
One could never have advanced the theory regarding the physical 
type of criminals, if one had measured the stigmata. 


It must bear upon the following points: 



Other senses. 

Sensitivity to pain. 

Respiration and 

Quickness of the pulse. 
Blood analysis. 
Coloration of the skin. 

Motor functions 

General gait. 

Walking forward and backward, etc. 

Expression of the physiognomy. 


Motor ability. 


Quickness of movements. 

Speech. Defective articulation. 
We shall simply say a few words about temperature, the analy- 
sis of the blood, and the expression of the physiognomy, regretting 
that space is lacking to speak of strength and the quickness of 



It is known that subnormals have a slackening of the circulation, 
a less rapid pulse, hands cold and often blue. That would be an 
interesting sign for the diagnosis, because the taking of the axil- 
lary temperature, in tenths of a degree, among normals and sub- 
normals, the same day, at the same hour, and in the same local- 
ity, proves that with the slightly subnormals, morons, the ther- 
mometric inferiority is about 0.4 of a degree. (Ley, op. cit., p. 
77.) There would be opportunity here to establish, just as for 
height, a limit — the thermometric Hmit. Care must be taken to 
avoid causes of error which are numerous, because the circulation 
is influenced by many sUght causes; the hour of the day, the 
temperature of the place, the state of physical exercise, etc. 


This test so often made, should probably be rejected. Recent 
investigation has shown that the number of corpuscles contained 
in a drop of blood varies with the action of the superficial vaso- 
motor system, with the constriction or the relaxation of the capil- 
laries affected by pricking; therefore a slight local condition causes 
variation in the number of corpuscles and from what can be found 
in a small drop of blood, it is not possible to draw a general conclu- 
sion as to the richness in corpuscles for the blood altogether. Let 
us make a comparison. A permission, a discharge, a hohday, 
any sort of an order, will cause a variable number of soldiers to 
leave the barracks; a statistician would commit a great error, 
if he counted, on any day whatever, or at any hour whatever, the 
soldiers who passed through the streets, and from that estimated 
the military force of the country. It is an analogous error which 
is committed by the counters of corpuscles. In order to render 
the examination of real value it would seemingly be necessary 
to provoke a well defined condition of peripheral circulation. 


Few experimenters can boast of being able to escape the purely 
instinctive judgment which a physiognomy provokes; we are 
deeply impressed by fine traits, mobile expressions and intelH- 
gent appearances; a vacant look, an open mouth, an immovable 


countenance, give us an unfavorable impression. It remains 
to be discovered what is the real value of the expression of the 
physiognomy, if it is possible to properly estimate it, and in case 
this is so, if it would be possible to apply it to individual diagnosis. 
What do authors think of it? AHenists, who have had to do 
with the gravest forms of mental deficiency, do not hesitate to 
affirm that the expression of the countenance is deceiving. Here 
is what Shuttleworth says:^^ 

The diagnosis and the prognosis of the different cases of mental defect 
are so intimately united that they should be examined together. If we 
consider the great division of congenital and non-congenital cases, we 
shall be able to note that contrary to the current idea, the prognosis for 
the former, as a general rule is better than that for the latter. In reality, 
with the one there is a simple defect of development ; with the other, there 
are lesions more or less irremediable. The superficial appearances are 
in favor of the non-congenital cases, while the others are judged from their 
deformed and often repugnant countenances; nevertheless our experience 
is altogether in accord with that of Dr. Langdon Down {Obstet. Trans., 
Vol, XVIII) who says that the prognosis — contrary to what one often 
thinks — is unfavorable if the child is pretty, beautiful to look at, and of 
seductive aspect. 

M. Voisin is of the same opinion. He observes that the con- 
genitally affected are uglier, more deformed than the acquired, 
and he repeats several times that the latter may have expressions 
of physiognomy indicating a character of intelligence which is 
deceptive, because they are the relics of a former period — when 
the subject had not yet lost his intelUgence.^^ M. Boumeville 
makes the same remark in regard to epileptics, whose numerous 
attacks put them on the road to decay. Truly, in generalizing 
this opinion, one would almost say that the more intelligent idiot 
children appear, the less they are so. 

The question would therefore seem to be settled if other scien- 
tists had not voiced an opinion diametrically opposite. Dr. De- 
moor attaches great importance to the study of the play of the 
countenance in defectives; he believes the expression is very 
significant and he does not hesitate to say that the diagnosis will 
have there a much surer support, than in cephalometry. We 
shall not discuss his opinion regarding cephalometry, since the 
facts that we have above presented are of a nature to show 

2« Les enfants anormaux au point de vue mental, p. 78, Brussels, 1904. 
27 Legons sur Vidiotie, pp. 82 and 83. 


whether he was self-deoeived. But we believe it is interesting to 
retain what he has said upon the countenance. Does it seem to 
disagree with Shuttleworth, Voisin, and Bourneville? In the 
letter, yes; as to fundamentals, no. It seems possible for us to 
reconcile all these views as follows. These observers were famil- 
iar with different types of subjects. As regards the idiot un- 
doubtedly it is Voisin who is right; the countenance is deceptive. 
As regards the moron, who forms the majority of the children 
in the school of Brussels, to which Demoor is attached, it is very 
probable that the contrary is true; the physiognomy reveals the 
degree of intelligence. 

We do not propose this concihatory solution, in consequence of 
a priori reasoning. It has been inspired in us by the results of 
an investigation which we have recently confided to Mme. Rous- 
son, pubHc school teacher in Paris. At our request, M. Bertillon 
has been good enough to photograph for us some hundred sub- 
normals, of the primary school taken at random, along with some 
fifty normals. 2^ It was with this collection that Mme. Rousson 
experimented; she had some seventy persons make the diagnosis, 
as to whether judged by his photograph the child was normal or 
subnormal. T he teachers gave 80 per cent of correct replies, 
thus showing in the clearest manner, that the countenance is 
scarcely deceptive for those who are used to reading it; 2 per 
cent of errors is a very insignificant proportion, being about the 
same that Crepieux-Jamin obtains when he searches for intelli- 
gence by means of th e hand-writingT" TEese results which we 
give here en gros, and which confirm the opinion of Demoor, show 
of how great utility would be the precise analysis of physiognomy. 
There is here a tecMfque^o be created. We hope sincerely 
that we shall be able to bring the question to a conclusion with 
the collaboration of Mme. Rousson, who is deeply interested in 
these studies. 

In terminating this brief sketch of the medical examination, 
let us insist upon the method to be followed in such an exami- 
nation. We have not yet sufiiciently developed our ideas on the 
subject. It is understood that one must force oneself to support 

28 This was a great undertaking, full of all sorts of difficulties; it was 
successful, thanks to the energy and tact of Inspector Belot, and to the 
zeal of a great number of instructors. 


one's reasoning by objective facts, that can be verified by all 
and are often measurable. One must guard carefully against 
intuition, subjectivism, gross empiricism, decorated by the name 
of medical tact, and behind which ignorance, carelessness, and 
presumption, hide themselves. Every medical diagnosis which 
cannot be proved as one proves a sum in addition, is to be rejected. 

The diagnosis must rest upon the utilization of different signs, 
several types of which we have enumerated in the preceding 
pages. We must in the first place come to an agreement upon 
the value of these signs; which must be fixed, without any pre- 
conceived idea; and the only means of fixing this value is to make 
a comparative study of the normal state. It is a guiding princi- 
ple which is too often forgotten in medicine. It is nevertheless 
so important, so fertile in consequences, that an aUenist would 
certainly distinguish himself, if he did no more than force into 
the minds of his contemporaries, the idea that the study of the 
subnormal is not possible except by a comparison with the normal. 
Here, in our studies upon children, it is not simply a comparison 
that is necessary, it is a physiological, anatomical and anthro- 
pological barometer to which one must return every time with 
each new subject to find out in what measure this subject is in- 
ferior to the normal. 

In the second place, there must be established in the series of 
measurable signs, certain limits, which will demarcate the stig- 
mata. We have already described the stigmata of height, of 
the head, of the temperature, etc. We shall not repeat our- 

In the third place, judging from the comparative frequency of 
the stigmata among normals and subnormals, a calculation 
must be devised which will express the presumable amount of 
retardation which each stigma contains. In other words, we 
must be able to attach a coefficient of importance to each one of 
these stigmata. What is the meaning of a height below the 
limit? What must be inferred from an arched palate? What 
count must be made of an axillary temperature 0.8 of a degree 
below normal? What importance is to be given to an alcoholic [-asi^«'*-*'*^ 
father and a tuberculous mother? ' ^'^^^'^'T^ 

This is the principle of calculation which we propose. 

Suppose that a certain stigma, is to be found always with the 
subnormal, never with the normal. It would have the value of 


100 per cent. Suppose that a second stigma is to be found with 
all subnormals and with 50 per cent of normals, it will be twice 
as common with the first, and it would have then the value of 
60 per cent. Suppose a third is to be found with 12 subnormals 
and 6 normals, it will again have the value of 50 per cent although 
its absolute frequency should be much less. If 100 convention- 
ally represents the certainty, the smaller numbers measure 
inferior degrees of certainty, down to which represents the 
complete absence of the indication, and to the negative quantities 
;svhich represent the indication of the opposite sense. 

To sum up, we can utiUze three methods for the diagnosis of 
the intellectual level among subnormals. 

1. The psychological method which is almost always applicable 
and which is almost certain to reveal the signs of defect; the diffi- 
culty being in the execution of the tests which demand in the 
experimenter a great facihty in experimental psychology. 

2. The pedagogical method which is very frequently applicable, 
and which reveals probable signs of defect. 

3. The medical method which is appKcable only in a restricted 
number of cases, and which reveals possible signs of defect. 

A. BiNET AND Th. Simon. 


The preceding article contains a strictly theoretical exposition 
of the methods of diagnosis which we have devised for recognizing 
and measuring intellectual inferiority. It remains to complete 
the preliminary work, to standardize it, to show how far these 
methods work out when appHed to real facts. After the theory 
must come the proof. 

It will not be a question here of anything but the psychological 
method. It is the only one which is ripe for complete practical 
purposes. Other methods can only give accessory indications; 
but these already permit determinations of intellectual inferior- 
ity. This is our conviction; we are now going to give the pal- 
pable demonstration. 

The psychological examination of a subject lasts on an average 
40 minutes. We made in the beginning many useless tests with 
each child, because we were doing a work of investigation; we 
were groping; now that one knows what to look for, one can pro- 
ceed more rapidly, and we believe that a half-hour will suffice \ 
to fix the state of the intellectual development of each child. I 

We shall study successively with our measuring scale of intelli- 
gence : 

1. Normals. 

2. Subnormals in institutions. 

3. Subnormals in primary schools. 

I. Normal Development of the Intelligence with Children 
FROM Three to Twelve Years Old 

Normals figure here as terms of comparison. We have been 
obliged to make these lengthy studies, because, up to the present, 
nothing of the kind existed. So far as we know, there is no work 
that contains the precise and detailed history of the development 
of the intelligence of a child. The most complete monographs 



like those of Allen Gilbert^ present a series of practical tests, 
especially upon sensation and the organs of sense, but they almost 
always leave the intelligence out of the question; there are, never- 
theless, very suggestive observations which have been published 
here and there, ^ but we have not been able to utilize them, pre- 
ferring to erect a new structure borrowing material from no one. 

When the work, which is here only begun, shall have taken 
its definite character, it will doubtless permit the solution of 
many pending questions, since we are aiming at nothing less than 
the measure of the intelUgence; one will thus know how to com- 
pare the different intellectual levels not only according to age, 
but according to sex, the social condition, and to race; applications 
of our method will be found useful to normal anthropology, and 
also to criminal anthropology, which touches closely upon the 
study of the subnormal, and will receive the principal conclusion 
of our study. 

These investigations have been made by ourselves personally; 
in spite of their statistical appearance, they are the results of 
experiments pursued during long periods upon isolated children. 
We felt that we could not trust this matter to anyone; and we 
vouch for all that we report, having been ourselves the constant 

We did not know a single child; they appeared to us for the 
first when they came to the examination. We knew, however, 
that all were normal. /(The masters were asked to designate only ^ 
children of average intelligence, who were neither in advance \\ 
of nor behind children of their own age, and who attended the 
grade correct for their years],' This prescription was carefully 
followed in the Primary school; evidently it was less easy to con- 
form to this rule in the Maternal school, because of the tender 
age of the children; finally, we required that the subjects chosen 
should have an exact number of years in order that the develop- 
ment should be typical of each age. 

^ Allen Gilbert, Researches upon School Children and College Students, 
University of Iowa, studies in Psychology, edited by G. T. W. Patrick, pp. 

2 We know of nothing general, outside the books often cited, of Preyer, 
Perex, Sully, Shinn, etc., which are either monographs, or collections of 
anecdotes; there are also scattered notes in special collections like the 
Pedagogical Seminary of Stanley Hall. 



The tests took place in the office of the Director or Directress 
of the school, and in their presence. We have chosen those 
schools where the office was sufficiently removed from the classes, 
to enjoy a silence u ndistu rbed by thprngl^^^^^^^ f*har>ts of t.hfi 
children learning to spell. Let us aJdthat we have chosen our 
Directors and Directresses from among those who best understood 
that it was a question of making scientific observations, and that 
it was not wise to intervene during a test to whisper a reply to 
the pupil. 

In our first attempt we were satisfied to make observations upon 
ten children of the Maternal school, and fifteen of the Primary 
school, in order to fix the mental capacity of each age. These 
restricted numbers gave a first estimate. Later we made more 
numerous observations, which are still being continued. To 
illustrate our method, we shall simply describe the results ob- 
tained from some fifty children. But it must be understood 
that these results have their special significance which we shall 
justify in a later publication. 


The questionings and the presentation of the tests offered 
many difficulties. We seated the children beside us at a table. 
We said good morning to them, making them welcome. Many 
children of this age remain silent and will not reply, even to a 
question which they understand. This mutism is partly caused 
by timidity, the proof of which is that certain children during the 
examination pull their fingers and roll up their aprons with a 
rapid motion; the silence of others is partly caused by ill-will, 
stubbornness or malice. One of this latter class persisted for 
several minutes in incorrect rephes; we showed him a string and 
asked "Is this string?" He shook his head in sign of negation; 
and when we asked him regarding other objects, a cup, a button, 
a thimble, "Is that string?" he nodded affirmation. In spite 
of these difficulties of psychological examination, it is still possible 
to accomplish it on condition that one does not offend the chil- 
dren and is willing to wait a little. If the child does not wish to 
reply to one test we present another; we have always succeeded 
finally in loosening their tongues. When necessary, if the timid- 
ity or bad humor of the child continues, one could put off the 


examination to another time; we have not, however, as yet had 
to resort to this extreme measure. Our subjects have never been 
loquacious, they showed no spontaneity. We felt they could have 
done better than they did. The examination makes them in a 
certain way seem less intelHgent than they are; and this is cer- 
tainly a general rule. The simple fact of being put upon the 
witness stand, so to speak, in school, by a gentleman who has the 
age and appearance of a professor, would naturally inspire an 
attitude of reserve, and change very much the apparent attitude 
of a child; a fine little fellow of twelve, who sits decently upon 
his stool, with tranquil countenance, brows knit, and exchanges 
politely his smile with ours, will become, an hour later, a street 
urchin making sport of the passers by. Each one takes, during 
the examination, a scholastic attitude, which is slightly artificial; 
the moral character, the sentiments of the child are very much 
changed, his intellectual capacity is probably less affected except 
that he loses much of his spontaneity. 

We omit the first tests for normal children of three years. 
Since they bring their lunch to the Maternal school, and do not 
have to be fed, it is needless to investigate their knowledge of food. 
They also understand gestures, simple sentences, since they 
reply to our greeting, enter and seat themselves in order. Let us 
mention at once a characteristic of the intellectual development 
of a child of three years: it is that he has a verbal knowledge of 
things. First, of the body; all show, when asked, nose, eye, 
mouth, ear, foot, forehead. There is a slight hesitation, at times, 
for the eyebrow; and sometimes an abdominal localization for the 
heart is given. Naturally the three objects: cup, string, and 
thimble are correctly designated when we call them by their 
name. The test of pictures is the one which interests the children 
most; this works equally well, when we name the object and the 
child must find it, or when, on the contrary, we point out the 
object and the child gives the name. In the latter case there is 
a slight difficulty of interpretation, because one cannot always 
understand the word which the child pronounces, either because 
it is badly pronounced, or because he uses a special pronunciation 
of which we have no key. Setting this slight difficulty aside, 
the test shows clearly that a child of three years passes without 
difficulty from the perception of the picture to the name; or from 
the name to the picture. 



The objects found in the picture, when we name them to the 
child, are the window, the mother, the httle girl, the broom, the 
feather duster, the pot of flowers, the basket, the coffee pot. 
When the child names by himself, he designates the httle girl, 
the dog, the boy, the man, the other man; he sometimes names 
them in his own way; the little girl is called a baby; one child said 
"Lucy" — the dog is called a "toutou;" the man an "old fellow;" 
the street lamplighter is recognized as a "gas lighter;" sometimes 
through error of perspective he is called "a baby" because he is 
very small. The sky is called "house," and the advertisement a 
box or a thing "machin.'' 

It is worth remarking that children of this age are often eager 
to name or designate something, no matter what. These errors 
of designation which are frequent enough, because no one child 
correctly names or designates all of the series of objects, are due 
partly to the fact that he is ignorant of the names of certain things, 
like the coffee pot, for instance, but still more frequently they are 
due to a lack of attention. 

Children of this age show a tendency to point at random. One 
must at times chide them a little to bring out a correct desig- 
nation, which proves that they know very well, but are careless. 

It will not therefore be surprising to find that they are very 
susceptible to suggestion. If one asks for the button (which is 
not on the table) they will indicate another object, book, box, 
or a distant object which they vaguely point out with the finger. 
If one asks, when they are looking at the picture, for the "pata- 
poum" or the "nitchevo," none of them say distinctly "I don't 
know." They always point out something, preferably a small 
object, like a cup, a candle, a coffee mill, but never a person. 

To summarize : the equipment of a child of three years is verbal 
knowledge of objects, and particularly parts of the body, familiar 
objects, and objects represented in pictures; correct designation 
and naming of the majority of objects in a series, but never all; 
frequent errors through distraction, and a tendency to point at 
random; finally extreme suggestibility, which manifests itself 
in the act of pointing out something when one names an object 
known but absent, or when one pronounces a strange word. 

For the other tests, the results are not so good; in exceptional 
cases certain precocious children succeed but the majority fail. 
At three years, they do not repeat three figures. We never 


obtain but one or two figures correctly repeated — occasionally 
three, but so badly pronounced, so muttered that it requires a 
very indulgent ear to recognize anything. In no case do they 
invent a series of figures. The comparison of two unequal lines 
presents the same difficulty. With the exception of an occasional 
child, the others do not understand the sense of the experiment, 
and perhaps not of the words; what they understand is that 
they must point out a line, and bravely they put their index 
finger upon one of them; generally they put their finger always 
to the same side. The comparison of two weights succeeds no 
better. To the question, "Which is the heavier weight?" they 
comprehend vaguely, as for the lines, that they must designate 
something; but they cannot weigh them in their hand, even when 
shown how. We are no more successful for the definition of 
common objects, as horse, fork, etc. Without doubt, these 
children know the objects, but they are prevented by the difficulty 
of expressing their thought in a sentence. With the exception of 
a precocious child, — who cannot represent the normal level — 
they are silent, or else repeat the question, "What is a fork?" 
"It is a fork." 

These first gropings, these mistakes, these infantile forms of 
reaction, present for psychology the interest of curiosity; all 
this is similar to what is given by defectives who are older. But 
so far as our measuring scale is concerned, it is a negligible quantity. 
All that should be kept in mind is this : 

The child of three years, although inattentive and very suggestible, 
names, or recognizes from the name, the majority of the things that 
figure in our series of objects and pictures. 

At three years a child has then the faculty of naming objects. 


These children presented fewer difficulties in examination than 
those of three years. There was one, however, the young R., 
who began to pout in the midst of the examination and was un- 
willing to reply to a series of questions. The reflections which 
we made upon the difficulty of questioning children of three years, 
can be repeated here, with slight modification. Between three 
and five years an enormous distance has been traversed. Need- 
less to say that at five years the objects and pictures of the series 


are correctly named. Nevertheless several errors remain possible. 
The child may take the street lighter for a small boy, through 
error of perspective; several cannot name the advertisement. 
Suggestibility is still great, so that when we name the "patapoum'' 
and the ''nitchevo," they are shown to us; on the other hand 
when we ask for the button, no other object is pointed out, ^hey 
satisfy themselves with hunting, without designating the object. 

The characteristic of a child of five years is that it executes 
the four following experiments: repeats three figures, compares 
two unequal lines, compares two weights, defines ordinary ob- 
jects. These are the four characteristic tests of a child of five 
years because all succeed. From the first attempt they repeat 
three figures. For the comparison of fines, their attention must 
be somewhat stimulated by repeating at each new presentation, 
*' Which is the longer?" a useless precaution for children of seven. 
For the comparison of weights there is a little awkwardness at 
first. Naively, the children reply to the question, "Which is 
the heavier?" by showing a box without weighing it in the hand. 
It is necessary to tell them that they must weigh the boxes by 
taking one in each hand; certain ones weigh only one of them, 
and others take both in the same hand. We therefore say that 
in order that the comparison may be correct this lesson must be 
given; but this done, five year old children make no more mistakes 
but give correct repHes. The fourth test which they success- 
fully pass is that of the definition of objects. They reply to the 
questions, mostly in terms of use; a fork, it is to eat with; a 
handkerchief, it is to blow one's nose; occasionally they reply 
by the composition of things; a house, it is of stone, a horse, 
it is meat. One child of five years, evidently precocious, gave us 
the following series, worthy of a child of nine years: "A horse is 
an animal; a house is of wood; a fork is of iron; a handkerchief is 
of linen." 

This then is the equipment of a child of five. They almost all 
fail when given higher tests. None repeat exactly the three simple 
sentences of fifteen words each, and certain ones make, doubtless 
through inattention, absurd transformations, as: ''In summer 
snow falls." They frequently shorten a sentence or repeat the 
beginning of it, or remain silent. What they give is generally 
grammatically correct. Example: One says ''I get up in the 
morning, I go to bed at noon," another says, "Germaine has 


been bad, she will be scolded." We have never found that 
sentences are given devoid of all grammatical construction, 
neither do they give words void of sense. In the test of reasoned 
comparisons, they make complete failure. These children cannot 
understand in what way different things are unUke. We give 
below a bit of dialogue which we exchanged : 

Q. You know what paper is? A. Yes. 
Q. You know what cardboard is? A. Yes. 
Q. Are they alike? A. No, they are not aUke. 
Q. In what are they not alike? Silence. 
Q. Why isn't paper like cardboard? Silence. 

Q. Then how do you know that a thing is paper or that it is cardboard? 

Q. Do you know a fly? A. Yes. 

Q. And a butterfly. Do you know that? A, Yes. 

Q. Are they alike? A. No, they are not alike. 

Q. Well then in what way are they not alike? A. It is paper. 

The final answer clearly shows that the child does not under- 
stand what is asked of him. Another child repKes, ''The card- 
board is not hke paper because it is something else." For the 
butterfly he gave a curious reply, ''Because the butterfly has 
two wings and no head, and because flies have heads and besides a 

This verbiage is the only verbal manifestation in any sense 
spontaneous that we have been able to collect from children of 
five years. Putting aside the tests which are beyond their 
capabiHties, we have the following conclusion : 

At five years, a normal child repeats three figures, compares two 
lines; after being shown how, he compares two weights; he can also 
define ordinary objects. 


We now leave the Maternal school, and enter the Primary 
grades. We examined individually 45 children. For the ages 
of seven, nine and eleven years, we shall not note here all the 
results, of which several have been obtained by groupings; we 
shall simply show what we obtained from 10 children at each age, 
chosen not for the quality of their results, but in consequence of 
an absolute adjustment of the tests. 


We must first trace the boundary line which separates children 
of five years from those of seven. It is furnished by the series 
of reasoned comparisons. Because of its importance, let us de- 
vote some space to it. 

The comparison of two lines, from the point of view of length, 
is very much easier than the comparison of two objects made from 
memory. In the first place, the two lines are there under their 
eyes, while the others must be called to mind; besides when one 
compares the lines one knows from what point of view to compare 
them; while in the other test, one does not know and must there- 
fore search for some difference to note. It is a httle work of 
invention, which presents a certain difficulty. 

We shall indicate numerically the results of this test, in the 
table which follows; to render the question clearer we give the 
results obtained with children of nine years. 

Here is the manner of procedure for this test. We first ask 
concerning each object to be compared, if the child has seen and 
knows it. All, so far as that goes, know the six objects (fly, 
butterfly, wood, glass, cardboard, paper), with the exception of 
one who had never seen a butterfly. Poor child! 

The first step taken, the question is put: What is the difference 
between paper and cardboard? This question is not always 
imderstood; one can even say that the majority of children do 
not reply, do not understand, remain silent, or make absurd 
statements through a desire to please; for example by repeating 
*'the cardboard. '^ This is what we call the ''first time" in our 
table. We must therefore insist by changing our words and say: 
"Cardboard and paper are not ahke, in what are they not alike?" 
In this way of asking, the majority of children of seven years, 
almost all (8 out of 9), could give at least one correct comparison. 
This test is therefore truly a boundary which they pass, and is an 
excellent means of distinguishing them, in regard to intellectual 
level, from the children of five years. Still they do not all al- 
ways make the three comparisons, and out of 9 children examined, 
we counted 7 silences out of 27 attempts, therefore about one- 
fourth. The analysis of the details would show very clearly 
the infantile character of the repHes, and, for instance, the great 
monotony of repetitions. The child having found a certain 
difference in the first comparison, reproduces it for the others 
■ even when it ceases to be correct by the transfer thus, having 


found that cardboard is thicker than paper, and that the butter- 
fly is larger^ than the fly, they tell us that wood is thicker than 
glass. Besides these there are absurd comparisons, as for in- 
stance, to say that the paper is whiter than the cardboard or 
smaller than cardboard, or that glass is less hard than wood, or 
that paper is white and cardboard white also. 

The points of view of comparison are also rudimentary: it is 
the hardness, size (large or small, this is very frequent), strength, 
solidity, fineness, property of being able to be broken or cut, and 
finally, less often, the color. 

Here are several fragments of rephes: 

The most awkward of all, Larche does not reply at all. 

He agrees with us that paper and cardboard are not alike, but 
he can indicate no difference. He remains equally helpless with 
the other two comparisons. 

Let us note in this connection an important point. Children 
who cannot succeed in this test of comparison do not for that 
reason alone prove themselves ignorant of the difference of the 
two objects. Most frequently they do know the difference, but 
they cannot find or formulate it; one must show it to them. 
If we ask them, "Which is larger, the butterfly or the fly?" these 
ignoramuses, these apparent mutes, reply in chorus, "the butter- 
fly." But this is no longer the test, it is something much 

A degree higher than Larche is that of Bari . When 

asked the difference between paper and cardboard he rephes, 
"The cardboard." It is then explained to him that they are 
not alike, and he replies, "Because one is paper, and the other is 
cardboard." For the second comparison, he says, "The fly 
is not hke the butterfly." Q. In what? A. Because the fly is 
not made like the butterfly. Here is a child who appreciates 
the difference but cannot formulate it. He, however, finds the 
formula for the last comparison, "Because glass breaks but wood 
if it falls does not break." He crosses the boundary, but with 

Pist succeeds with the comparison. He does not under- 
stand in the beginning and it must be explained to him the fact 

3 Thick and large are the same word in French — gros. 



that they are not alike. His first reply is "the paper." Then 
when it is explained to him, he says, ** Because it is white. Q. 
Which is white? A. The paper. Q. And the cardboard? A. 
There is cardboard which is white." It is evident that this 

cannot be counted as a correct reply. Pist succeeds better 

with the other comparisons, "The fly is smaller and the butterfly 
is larger" — ''Because the glass breaks and wood does not break. " 
Let us cite the reply by Vagni he does not reply to the ques- 
tions of difference and when it is explained to him he says: "The 
cardboard is harder than the paper. " He finds nothing for the 
comparison of the fly and the butterfly. For the third compari- 
son he says: "The wood is harder and the glass is not hard." 
We do not know the basis of his thought but his sentence is un- 

We have dwelt upon the less clever answers because they are 
the most interesting. Here is one of the best repUes; it is that 

of Giraud "Because paper is finer and much whiter." 

"Because the butterfly is much larger than the fly." "Because 
with a piece of glass you can cut yourself, and with a piece of wood 
you can^t cut yourself." 

One could make diffuse accessory remarks which are not with- 
out interest for pedagogy. Thus a certain child says that a fly 
has two wings less than a butterfly. This is admirable as erudi- 
tion; nevertheless this learned child could not tell the difference 
between wood and glass. Her memory had been stored, but she 
had not been given the spirit of observation. 

We give below the repHes arranged in a series. We shall 
distinguish between responses according to whether the subject 
repKes to the question: "What difference is there?" or to the 
supplementary question: "Why are they not aUke?" We 
note the number of successful comparisons, the number of rep- 
etitions of the same type of reply, and lastly, the number of 
absurdities. It will be seen that at 7 years a single child Larche 
did not pass the test. 

By this method it can be seen how easy it will be to classify 
any child whatever. 



Experiment of Reasoned Comparisons 
Boys of Nine Years 

Valent . . 



Dumo. . . 

Larche. . 









Dugues. . 

CU iJ P 

H d. or 


« « 

2 ^ 

? •< a 



b- 2 H 

P S « 


Boys of Seven Years 








































Although the test of reasoned comparisons is truly the boundary 
of seven years, we have tried it with eight subjects nine years 
old. Even with them, half do not yet understand what is meant 
by searching for a diifference, and their grasp of the situation 
must be emphasized by asking, ''In what are the two objects 
not alike?" Out of 24 comparisons (8 subjects made 3 each) 
there were only two who failed, and the number of repetitions of 
the same type of reply is not more than 3, while with children 
of seven years there were 8 repetitions, which shows a noticeable 
improvement. From all this it results that: At seven years 
children make the proposed comparison sometimes in response to 
the first question, oftener to the supplementary question. Mostly 
they succeed twice out of three times, and often they repeat the 
same type of reply. The progress between seven and nine years 



exists but seems too subtle to serve as a line of demarcation; it 
might be made more apparent by an increase of the difficulty. 
But our aim is not to employ this test for that distinction. It 
simply constitutes a boundary between five and seven years; 
an important boundary, because it is, as we shall see later, the 
boundary of imbecihty and moronity, for those subjects who are 
twelve years of age. 

Before leaving this question of reasoned comparisons, we shall 
note a curious fact. To some fifteen children of seven, nine and 
eleven years, we have proposed comparisons, having for their 
purpose the perception not of the differences of many objects, 
but of their resemblances, for instance, the resemblance of blood 
and the poppy, a fly and an ant, a flea and a butterfly, and lastly 
between a newspaper, a label and a picture. We have been 
amazed at the difficulty which the child finds in seeing a similarity 
in two objects which they know to be different. ^'In what are 
they alike!" we ask, and the almost constant reply is, "They are 
not ahke?" The child is dominated by a spirit of differentiation. 
Perhaps the needs of practical hfe turn their attention more 
towards the perception of differences than of resemblances, which 
only become apparent in scientific studies. It would be worth 
while to investigate in this direction.* 

After having thus marked the limits between five and seven 
years, that is to say between the Maternal and Primary schools, 
we shall show the tests which mark the Hmits between the ages 
above seven years, and which will consequently permit us to 
distinguish between the different children of the Primary schools. 
The tests upon which we shall depend seem to fall into three 
distinct categories. 

1. Tests of memory. 

2. Tests of intelligence which are partly made by the help of 

3. Tests of sensorial intelligence. 

Although there is no clear demarcation between the three 
categories of tests and though all require the intervention of the 
senses, of memory and of language, it is by the proportion and the 
importance of these elements that we characterize them. 

* Since these lines have been written we have methodically made use of 
the comparison of similar objects as a test of mental debility. 



We shall study three forms of memory: verbal memory of 
sentences, memory of pictures, memory of figures. 

Verbal memory of sentences. Between twelve and seven years 
there is not only a difference of four years, but there is an acquisi- 
tion of scholastic culture which may be considered enormous. 
Still, in spite of this increase of instruction, in spite of the develop- 
ment of the faculty of acquiring knowledge which this presupposes, 
children of nine years and even those of eleven years have not a 
power of memory very much greater than their younger com- 
panions of seven. We had 15 children of seven years repeat 
individually the 8 sentences which we indicated in a preceding 
chapter, and which we reproduce here to save the trouble of look- 
ing back. 

First sentence. I get up in the morning, I dine at noon, and I go to bed 
at night. 

Second sentence. In summer the weather is beautiful. In winter it 

Third sentence. Germaine was naughty, she would not work; she will 
be scolded. 

Fourth sentence. The chestnut tree in the garden, throws upon the 
ground the shadow still faint, of its new leaves. 

Fifth sentence. One must not say all that one thinks, but one must think 
all that one says. 

Sixth sentence. It is one o'clock in the afternoon, the house is silent, 
the cat sleeps in the shade. 

Seventh sentence. One must not confound the critical spirit with the 
spirit of contradiction. 

Eighth sentence. The horse draws the carriage, the road ascends, and 
the carriage is heavy. 

Each sentence is slowly and energetically pronounced with the 
required intonation, in the silence of the examination room. 
Nothing distracts the child; and when he repeats we note all the 
words he pronounces, his time of hesitation, his self corrections, 
his remarks, and the play of his countenance which sometimes 
shows that he is not satisfied with his effort; this last is what we 
call the mimique de jugement. Besides when we ask him if he 
is satisfied with his repetition, he should say, ''Yes," if the repeti- 
tion seems to him correct, "No," if it seems to him incorrect.^ 

5 We now keep a systematic count of the grading which the child makes 
by his answer. This aids us to classify him. 



If he repeats nothing, or if he only repeats the first words of the 

sentence, we say "Well now? "but without urging. We 

avoid too great a suggestion which would force the memory of the 
child and lead him to reply by an absurdity. This example 
shows, let it be said in passing, how dehcate a psychological 
experiment is. We should never finish if we enumerated all the 
precautions that should be taken. 

Averages Obtained in an Experiment of Verbal Memory of Immediate Repeti- 
tion with Ten Children Each, of Seven, Nine and Eleven Years 




More than 

Less than 


















"I eet UD 
























"In summer 

' 'Germaine 

"The horse 

"It is one 

"The chestnut tree 


"One must not say 


"One must not confound 















In the above table, we write the results in figures which we 
analyze in the following manner: first, in the columns 1, 2, 3, we 
note how many children at the different ages made an exact 
repetition. It is a gross result, but one of the most important; 
the six following columns contain details upon the quantity of 
incorrect repetitions; they are noted under three heads according 
as the child had repeated less than half or the half and more, of 
the original sentence. Finally the last three columns show in 
detail the quality of the incorrect replies. These may contain 
either another sense, though reasonable, or an absurd sense, or 
finally verbal obscurities, that is to say, sounds that are not 
known words. 

It seems to us interesting to make this distinction, because 
the first nine columns, on the one hand, and the last three on the 
other, express results which correspond to different faculties; 


not to repeat the whole is a lack of memory; to make absurd 
changes is an error of judgment. 

Out of 8 sentences which were given them, the children of seven 
years made a total of 31 correct replies, that is about three for 
each child. In examining the number of errors according to the 
nature of the sentences, one sees that these errors are readily 
explained. They are least for the first three sentences, whose 
sense and vocabulary are within reach of the children of seven years; 

in the two sentences "One must not say" ''The horse 

draws" the sense still is clear, so that nearly half of the chil- 
dren succeed. On the contrary, the 3 other sentences, ''The 

chestnut tree ", "It is one o'clock " and, "One must 

not confound " offer by their style and subtle meaning a 

difficulty which these young intelligences have not been able to 
master; to the task of memory is added the task of comprehension. 

We evaluate in the same way the results for the nine year old 
children. Obviously, it is a little better; their exact reproductions 
are 46 instead of 31, but the progress has been in the more difficult 
sentences, as "The horse" and "One must not confound." If 
one notes that these children of nine years certainly add to the 
advantage of better comprehension that of greater control over 
their voluntary attention, one recognizes that the slight superiority 
of the results which they here furnish can scarcely be imputed to 
the growth of memory. 

For children of eleven years, there is again a slight improvement; 
the exact reproduction of the children of this age is 50; but there 
again the study of detail shows that the gain operates almost 
exclusively upon the more difficult sentences, "One must not 
confound, etc. " The three simple sentences, given first, have the 
same number of errors as at nine years. 

We do not wish to force the significance of these results, which 
do not astonish us especially, because we had foreseen them 
elsewhere;® nor shall we go so far as to say that verbal memory 
does not increase with age, from seven to nine years. We main- 
tain simply that this growth seems slight when completely iso- 
lated from certain factors which complicate it, such as control of 
voluntary attention, power of comprehension, the force of habit, 

* Experimental Study of the Intelligence, Paris, 1903, p. 260. 


If now we examine the data in the last three columns of our 
table, that which is due to errors of judgment, we find a consider- 
able difference between children of the three different ages indi- 
cated. The number of absurd errors (such as, "I go to bed at 
noon," ''In summer snow falls," "One must think all that one 
thinks," etc.) is considerable among the youngest children; there 
being 14. The number of times they mutilated a word or uttered 
unintelligible sounds was 10, which makes a total of 24 errors of 
judgment; there are only 11 at nine years and only 5 at eleven 
years. One can thus clearly see that this test classifies the chil- 
dren as to age, better by the absurdities of their replies than by 
what they forget, properly speaking, which proves once more 
that if the memory increases little from seven to eleven years, the 
judgment on the contrary increases greatly. One gets an im- 
pression of this fact without the aid of any calculation, when one 
has examined the attitude of the children during tests of memory. 
The child of seven years seems to give himself little trouble. He 
is less attentive, because he regards the experimenter less when he 
pronounces the sentence; he makes visibly less effort to repeat, 
renounces more easily the pursuit of a fleeting memory; and above 
all when he makes a mistake in repeating he has less often that 
semblance of judgment which signifies '' I realize that I am wrong." 

For the individual diagnosis the following conclusions should 
be borne in mind : 

At seven years, a child repeats an average of 3 sentences out of 
8 given him, and he commits an average of 3 errors through 
absurdities and obscurities. 

At nine years, a child repeats an average of 4 sentences, and 
commits only 1 error through absurdities or obscurities. 

At eleven years, a child repeats an average of 5 sentences and 
commits but a half error through absurdities or obscurities. 

To utilize these solutions in an individual diagnosis we must 
use a seriation. Here is the one that these results give us. 



Seriation of Results Obtained by the Immediate Repetition of Sentences of 
14 to 15 Words Each 

Children of Seven Years 















1, 2, 3, 

1, 2, 3 



1, 2, 3, 5 

1, 2, 3, 5, 8 

1, 2, 3, 5, 8 

1, 5, 7 


2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 
1, 7,8 



5, 6 









Girau . . . 

6, 7 



Children of Nine Years 




Valent . . . 


Lamar. . . 



2, 3 

1, 2, 3, 8 

1, 2, 3, 8 

1, 2, 3, 8 

1, 2, 3, 8 

1, 2, 3, 6, 7 

1, 2, 3, 5, 7 

1, 2, 3, 7, 8 

1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8 

1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 

1, 5, 7 
5, 7 



Children of Eleven Years 

Co^. . 
Lecle. . 


Gorgi . 
Barr. . 
Vign. . 





1, 2, 5 



2, 3, 5, 7 



1, 2, 3, 5 


1, 2, 3, 5, 8 


1, 2, 5, 6, 7 


1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 



1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 



1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 




1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 





Memory for pictures. This is a test which we describe while 
giving the technique. Let us see in a very brief way the number of 
pictures which a child of seven can retain, compared to a child 
of nine or eleven years. 

Apparently the memory for pictures grows rapidly with years. 
We admit that it grows, but it must be less rapid than the pre- 
ceding numbers would lead us to believe; because the child has 
need of a certain power to direct his attention, to distribute it 
equally among the pictures, and it is this which naturally gives 
a great superiority to the older ones, who know better how to 
look than the younger ones. 

Seriation of the results obtained by the Memory for IS Pictures 




Number of 

Number of 

Number of 


Dugues . 
Larch.. . 
Barri . . . 



Gira .... 



, age, 


Bergue . . 
Altma.. . 
Bonfi. . . . 
Lamar. . . 
Dumo . . . 









Taudi . . . 


Bertra. . . 













We remark in relation to this last seriation that which would be 
applicable to every series which we publish; it is that the very 
great difference, which is noticeable between the first and last 
terms of each series, comes from the fact that the series is the 
result of a first test. If one repeated it two or three times, it 
would disclose the following fact which we have often observed 
in psychology; each pupil would present a slight gain as a result 
of practice from the re-examination, with an equal improvement 
for all, but proportionately larger for those whose results were 
poorest in the first trial ; it would result from this that the seriation 
at each repetition would condense itself; there would be less indi- 
vidual difference, and the change would be especially marked 
among the weakest terms. It is therefore the lowest which gain 


most by the repetition; this seems paradoxical, because one 
thinks of the ability to adapt oneself as a sign of intelligence; and 
here it would rather be a sign of mediocrity. But it is easy to 
understand the reason; the intelligent adapt themselves quickly 
from the start, and they are thus almost immediately at their 
limit of adaptibility; on the contrary the mediocre children adapt 
themselves less quickly, and consequently their progress is more 

Memory for figures. This is an exercise which tests a partic- 
ular sort of memory, the immediate auditive memory for figures, 
and at the same time the force of voluntary attention. 

Every subject was asked to repeat a series of figures of increas- 
ing lengths, commencing with three figures. Three attempts 
were made for the series of 3 figures, then three for the series of 
4 figures and so on, until one arrived at a series, for which after 
three attempts, he obtained no correct reproduction. The figures 
were written beforehand, and read by the experimenter without 
the subject seeing them. We make the seriation by making use 
of the highest series which had been well retained. In spite of the 
brevity of this indication, it merits complete confidence, having 
been obtained as the result of many attempts. Experience has 
shown that in connection with the maximum series, one must 
note the number of times that the subject invents figures which 
have not been pronounced, as well as the giving of figures in their 
natural order (as 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), and finally by the false appreci- 
ation of the subject as indicated by his manner of repl3dng. 
Certain ones believe that they have replied correctly, when they 
have really committed errors; if one overlooks a slight inversion, 
let it pass, but if one slips 2 or 3 new figures into a series without 
perceiving it, that is a much graver fault. It is therefore impor- 
tant to ask each time for the judgment of the subject upon his 
repetition. A slight difficulty arises in asking him for a judgment 
of himself; the least imprudent word forms a suggestion. If one 
asks: ''Have you repeated that correctly?" the subjects often 
reply ''yes" or "no" according to the very slight intonation or 
scepticism which one puts into the voice. The best procedure 
is to make in advance this arrangement; as soon as a series has 
been repeated, the subject shall say, according to the case: "It 
is correct" or "It is not correct" — or more simply "That^s right" 
or "That's not right." We regret not to have thought in time 



to have made this arrangement with all our pupils; it is an omis- 
sion to be corrected another time. 

Seriation obtained from the memory for figures 





Maximum series 


Maximum series 


Maximum series 


Leho — 
Dugues . 
Girau. . . 
Larch. . . 
Vagni . . . 














Dumo . . . 
Bonfi. . . . 
Altma. . . 
Valen . . . 
Berque . . 


Lamar. . . 
Gross — 









Vign .... 



Taudi . . . 


• Average, 

These three series seem to us good because the weakest subjects 
have not had very different results from those of the average. 

There is scarcely an exception, save only Pist seven years, 

and Dumo in the nine year group. 

This group of tests upon memory was rapidly made; it took 
scarcely more than 4 or 5 minutes. In general we interrupted 
it by other tests of a slightly different character, in order to 
rest the child. Our tests of memory, notwithstanding their 
number, must not be considered as covering all the forms of 
memory; they concern more particularly the memory for im- 
mediate repetition which is essentially a sensorial memory. 
The memory for ideas is ignored almost entirely. This is an 
omission which we note is passing, and which it would be easy 
to fill. 

One of us indicated long ago^ the best means of studying the 
memory for ideas; it does not consist in the repetition of sentences 
difficult of comprehension, because those who have a good memory 
can repeat quickly and exactly that which they have not even 
imderstood; it consists in causing a delay between the hearing 
and the repetition, and obliging the subject to think of other 
things din-ing that interval; then all that is sensorial, the echo 

^ Binet and Henri, Treatise upon Sensation and Memory of Ideas, Annie 
Psychologique, I, 1894, p. L 


of auditive memory, disappears and scarcely anything but the 
idea remains. We therefore propose to make again the immediate 
repetition of the 8 sentences, by a general repetition. It is 
probable that the work which we announce will be completed by 
the time ^he present article is printed. 


These are made independently of the development of language, 
of the abstract idea, and have an extra-scholastic character. 
They are important from many points of view. The manifes- 
tations of sensorial intelligence are frequent among defectives, 
who cannot adapt themselves to the teaching in the schools, 
and these facts are interesting for the pedagogy of subnormals; 
they prove that one would succeed better in their education if, 
instead of obstinately imposing upon them scholastic knowl- 
edge, which is not made for them, one taught them other things. 

We divide our tests of sensorial intelligence into 2 groups. 

1. Those which appeal almost wholly to the elementary proc- 
esses of sensation, perception, and sensorial attention. These 
are the comparison of lines. 

2. Those which require a particular intervention of judgment 
and reflection ; these are putting weights in order, and paper cut- 

Comparison of Lines. It will be recalled that the booklet of 
short lines to be compared, contains lines one of which measures 
constantly 30 mm. and the other varies between 31 and 35 mm. 
There are 15 comparisons. Children, even when very young, 
have shown the accuracy of their glance. The number of tests 
was 15, chance might have produced rather more than 7 errors. 
No subject gave replies due to chance, that is to inattention pure 
and simple, because the incorrect replies are, without a single 
exception, comprised between the numbers 9 and 15; that is to 
say, it is for the lines where the difficulty of perception of differ- 
ence is the greatest, that the mistakes are made. Where the 
pupils failed therefore was before the difficulty of comparison. 

They are generally very rapid in their designations; and the 
test lasts scarcely a minute for the designation of the 15 lines. 
We did not find among them that automatic tendency toes dig- 
nate constantly the same side. The automatism could easily 



be seen from the figures which we give. Thus the longest line 
in the series which we give is constantly to the right for the 
numbers 1, 3, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15 and to the left for the other 
numbers, 2,5,7,8,12,14. Consequently a person, who by autom- 
atism would always designate the right side, would make errors 
exclusively of the second series, and on the contrary, a person 
who designated always the left side, would make exclusively 
errors of the first series. There is to be noted in the case of Larch 

the rudiment of automatism, starting with the 11th line, 

and in the case of Barri starting with the 12th, but this is not 

very significant. 

Test of the Short Lines. Seriation of the Number of Errors 





Number of 

the line where 

the error is 



6 o 

of the line 

the error 
is made 



Number of 

the Une where 

the error is 


Barri. . . 


Pist .... 


10, 13, 14, 15 
9, 13, 15 

11, 13, 15 

12, 14 


Berqu . . 
GuilL. . 
Dumo . . 
Lamar. . 
Altma. . 
Bonfi. . . 
Brie. . . . 


12, 14 

11, 15 


Taudi . . 
Lecle. . . 
Ganon. . 
Bertra. . 


9, 12 

The booklet of the long lines offers sufficiently great difficulties 
which are apparently of a different order; the lines are long and 
it is not easy to include both at a single glance; one must pass 
from one to the other, consequently the attention is directed from 
one to the other in succession; perhaps even memory must inter- 
vene. It is an operation which requires a little art. It will be 
useful to us if it enables us to select the children according to age; 
but in interpreting it, one must remember that it does not measure 
simply the sensorial faculty of perception, but something more 

There are a dozen pairs of lines to compare. The series of 
comparison is rapidly made; it takes little more than a minute. 



Comparison of Long Ldnes. Seriation of Number of Errors 
Children of Seven Years 

Barri. . . 
Leho — 


Larch. . 



Vagn. . . 




3,5,7,8,9,10, 11 


3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 


2, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 


2, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 



1, 4, 5, 9, 12 
3, 4, 7, 8, 11 


6, 8, 9, 12 


3, 6, 10, 11 


1, 5, 9, 12 


6, 7, 10 

Children of Nine Years 

Valent. . . 


Altma. . . 


Berqu . . . 
Bonfi. . . . 
Lamar. . . 





1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10 


4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 


2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11 


3, 6, 8, 10, 11 


2, 3, 6, 9, 12 



7, 8, 12 


5, 8, 12 






5, 12 



Children of Eleven Years 

L4vy. . 
Vign. . . 
Barri. . 
Lecle. . 
Gano. . 


7, 8,9, 



4, 6, 7, 

8, 10 


6, 7, 8, 



6, 8, 12 


6, 10 


10, 11 








If one examines what underlies these figures, it will be found 
very interesting. These children of eleven years have a remark- 
ably accurate glance; certain ones who make only 2 or 3 errors 


are more clever than some intelligent adults. It is rare to find 
a test which will show the superiority of a child of eleven over an 
adult. ^ This comes from the fact that the glance is a natural 
quality which cannot be cultivated at school; probably it is one 
of those aptitudes which makes part of the psychology of the 
savage, and it would be interesting to know how much it is worth 
with the defective. 

The consideration of the nature of the errors permits us to elimi- 
nate the element of chance. To judge hastily, one might say that 
if chance gives 6 correct replies out of 12, every child whose cor- 
rect replies number 6 has a glance no more accurate than blind 
chance. But in reality, the systematic distribution of the errors 
in the second part, from 7 to 12, shows that they are due to the 
difficulty of comparison. The errors from 1 to 6 are those which 
should be ascribed to inattention, especially in the case of chil- 
dren, who like Debra and Gano have committed no 

error with the pairs of lines from 7 to 12. 

A word, in passing, upon automatism. The longest line is to 
the right, for the numbers 1, 4, 5, 9, 12 and to the left for the 
numbers 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11. This points out Dast immedi- 
ately as an automaton to the left, and also Vagni; the automatisms 
to the right are more numerous, which is quite natural as one 
employs the right hand for making the designation; it is to be 

foimd in the case of Vala , Bertra, Leho , Abt , 

Dumo , Altma , Gross , Levy , Vign , etc. 

For ahnost all there is a slight inclination to point to the right; 
that is easily understood; when there is a doubt, automatism 
triumphs. By actual count there are foimd among the youngest 
children 33 errors to the right and 16 to the left, that is to say, 
less than half. Those of nine years commit 27 errors by desig- 
nating to the right and 14 errors by designating to the left; lastly, 
at eleven years there are 31 errors of the first class and 4 of the 
second; it seems in the last case that the right-handedness which 
develops with age, influences the automatism to the right. There 
would be reason then to think that if the automatism is a sign 
of the lack of intelligence, the right-handed form of automatism 
is a sign of the development of voluntary motor power. 

* We give some examples of results obtained with adults. A school 
director commits two errors with the long lines; a lady, two errors, also. 
An adult (Binet), 3 errors. A teacher, 5 errors. Young ladies of twenty, 
4, 5 and 6 errors. 



Seriaiion of the Results Furnished hy the Arrangement of Weights 
Children of Seven Years 








[15, 6, 3, 9, 12 
] 15, 9, 6, 3, 12 
[15, 3, 6, 9, 12 

6[ 22 




[15, 3, 12, 9, 6 

12, 15, 6, 3, 9 

[ 3, 15, 9, 6, 12 

6[ 20 




[15, 3, 6, 9, 12 
] 15, 6, 12, 9, 3 
[15, 3, 6, 9, 12 

4[ 20 




[15, 12, 9, 3, 6 
] 15, 9, 3, 6, 12 
[l5, 6, 12, 3, 9 


ey 14 




[15, 9, 12, 6, 3 

12, 15, 9, 3, 6 

[9, 12, 6, 15, 3 

a\ 13 

i _ 



[15, 9, 12, 3, 6 
\ 15, 6, 12, 9, 3 
[15, 12, 9, 3, 6 

4[ 10 




[15, 9, 12, 6, 3 
] 15, 9, 12, 6, 3 
[l5, 12, 6, 9, 3 


2) 6 




[12, 15, 9, 6, 3 

12, 15, 9, 6, 3 

[l5, 9, 12, 6, 3 


2^ 6 




[15, 12, 9, 3, 6 

15, 12, 9, 6, 3 

[l5, 12, 9, 6, 3 

Of 2 



[15, 12, 9, 6, 3 
\ 15, 12, 9, 6, 3 
[15, 12, 9, 6, 3 





Children of Nine Years 





[15, 12, 6, 9, 3 




1 15, 3, 9, 6, 12 
[15, 9, 6, 12, 3 

6[ 12 


ri5, 12, 9, 6, 3 



15, 12, 3, 6, 9 
[15, 9, 6, 3, 12 

4[ 10 


ri5, 12, 9, 3, 6 




12, 15, 6, 9, 3 

[l5, 12, 9, 6, 3 

4> 6 

ri2, 15, 9, 6, 3 




1 15, 9, 12, 6, 3 
[l5, 12, 9, 6, 3 

2[ 4 


ri5, 12, 9, 6, 3 



15, 12, 9, 6, 3 
[l5, 12, 6, 9, 3 

0[ 2 


ri5, 12, 9, 6, 3 



15, 12, 6, 9, 3 

[l5, 12, 9, 6, 3 

2\ 2 


ri5, 12, 9, 3, 6 




15, 12, 9, 6, 3 

[l5, 12, 9, 6, 3 

0[ 2 


ri5, 12, 9, 6, 3 



1 15, 12, 9, 6, 3 

0[ 2 


fl5, 12, 9, 6, 3 


1 15, 12, 9, 6, 3 

[l5, 12, 9, 6, 3 


[15, 12, 9, 6, 3 


15, 12, 9, 6, 3 
[l5, 12, 9, 6, 3 



[15, 12, 9, 6, 3 


15, 12, 9, 6, 3 
[15, 12, 9, 6, 3 




Children of Eleven Years 








[9, 6, 12, 15, 3 
] 12, 15, 9, 6, 3 
[l5, 12, 9, 6, 3 

2 I 10 




[12, 15, 9, 6, 3 
|l5, 12, 9, 3, 6 
[15, 12, 9, 6, 3 


2} 4 




[15, 12, 9, 3, 6 
\ 15, 12, 9, 3, 6 
[15, 12, 9, 6, 3 


2} 4 




[15, 12, 9, 6, 3 
] 15, 12, 9, 6, 3 
[l2, 15, 9, 6, 3 

o\ 2 




[15, 9, 12, 6, 3 
\ 15, 12, 9, 6, 3 
[15, 12, 9, 6, 3 

0^ 2 




[15, 12, 9, 6, 3 
\ 15, 12, 9, 6, 3 
[12, 15, 9, 6, 3 


\ 2 



[15, 12, 9, 6, 3 

] 15, 12, 9, 6, 3 

15, 12, 9, 6, 3 

> n 



15, 12, 9, 6, 3 
• 15, 12, 9, 6, 3 
.15, 12, 9, 6, 3 




15, 12, 9, 6, 3 
15, 12, 9, 6, 3 
.15, 12, 9, 6, 3 




15, 12, 9, 6, 3 

■ 15, 12, 9, 6, 3 

15, 12, 9, 6, 3 




Arrangement of 5 weights. This test may be analyzed in two 
ways, in watching the child do the test, and in noting the order 
in which he places the weights. These are two phases of the 
experiment which have about the same results, and have the 
advantage of the one confirming the other; they must therefore 
be separately analyzed to see if they conflict. 

An observation of the reaction of the child often shows whether 
he arranges the weights haphazard, or whether he compares 
them. When a child puts aside the first weight which comes to 
his hand without comparing it with the others, one is immedi- 
ately warned; one should note also those who use only one hand, 
and those who use two, weighing the different weights at the same 
time with both hands. 

It will be noticed that the yoimgest children committed very 
serious mistakes, so serious that one questions if they have under- 
stood very much; the maximum error would have been 30 and the 
mean error near 20. There are 3 that are no better than mere 
chance. The children rarely corrected themselves; the third 
attempt is no better as an average than the second; (36 errors 
for all in the first, 34 in the second and 43 in the third), experi- 
ence taught them nothing. Children of nine commit infinitely 
fewer mistakes; all make an arrangement that is better than by 
chance, but they do not correct themselves any better than the 
seven year old children (8 mistakes in the first, 18 in the second and 
14 in the third) . Children of eleven years — ^leaving out the first, 

Debra , who must have had a curious lack of attention — 

made fewer mistakes by far (6 for the first, 4 for the second and 
4 for the third). We note again that it is the heaviest weight 
which is the most frequently put in its place. The children of 
seven years put it 24 times in its place; children of nine 30 times, 
and of eleven 25 times. It can be seen by the following statistical 
study how the different children distributed their attention. Here 
are the details of the exactness of position. 

Number of Times Each Weight Was Put in Correct Position 

For 10 children of 11 years 
For 11 children of 9 years 
For 10 children of 7 years 




















While the children of nine and eleven years busy themselves 
with all the weights, those of seven years fix their attention 
principally upon the heaviest. The rest are neglected. They 
therefore do only a part of their work, that which especially 
appeals to them. Is it because in the explanation which is given 
them they are told to put the heaviest aside first? It is possible 
if they were told to put the lightest aside first, that they would 
make the opposite error. It would be worth investigating. In 
any case the interesting thing is that their attention remains 
local, partial, it does not sjrnthesize the whole; and this is a proof 
of the weakness of attention, or of the weakness of comprehension. 

Omission of weights. This test is made immediately following 
the preceding. Here are the results: 

At seven years, the mistakes on the average are so many as to 
be incalculable. 

At nine years, there is an average of 2 errors with a maximum 
of 5. 

At eleven years, there is an average of 2 errors with a maximum 
of 5. 

Paper cutting. This is a very difiicult exercise. We have not 
had time to try it at length. We have ascertained only that at 
twelve years, few normal children draw a central diamond. 

These tests of sensorial intelligence require further development, 
for they will certainly be a very useful aid in analysing the apti- 
tudes of defectives. It will be advantageous to maintain the 
distinction which we have proposed between the faculties of 
■•sensation and of sensorial perception (comparison of lines), and 
that of judgment and sensorial reasoning (the arranging of weights 
and paper cutting). 


We do not believe that the study of the manifestations of sug- 
gestibility will permit the evaluation of the intellectual level. 
Without doubt we may lay down the principle that suggestibility 
in its extreme form requires a suspension of critical sense. But 
daily observation shows us persons of very keen intelligence who 
are however not lacking in credulity. On the other hand, when 
attempting to bring out the suggestibility of a school child, one 
does not have to take into account simply his judgment; different 
feelings of reserve, discretion, or propriety enter into the experi- 



ment which would make an intelligent adult simulate suggesti- 
bility, in order not to offend the experimenter, or even to become 
really suggestible through a feeling of timidity, which has a 
certain social value. One of us has shown that defectives are 
rendered less suggestible, simply through an absence of the feeling 
of timidity, and this absence is in them a lack of social sense. 

These reservations once made, we give the results obtained 
from the Suggestion Test. We designate with the absence of 
resistance; H indicates hesitation before the suggestion, and 1-h, 
2-h, 3-h, so many hesitations; av. indicates that the suggestion 
has been avoided and 1 av., 2 av., 3 av., that a corresponding 
number of the suggestions have been avoided. (See p. 57, for 
the explanation). 







Bertra. . . . 

1 h 




1 h 


Valent 1 h 




Dumo 1 h 



Abl Ih 

Gross 1 h 



Dugues 1 h 

Lamar 2 h 



Girau 2h 

Grap 2h 


2 av 

Vala 3h 

Altma 2 h 


2 av 

Vagna 3 h. . 

Bazi 3 av 


3 av 

Pist 3 av 

Berquin 3 av 


The study of the aptitudes is most important, because it is by 
their lack, as we shall see later, that mental defect betrays itself 
the most strikingly; it is the difficulty of comprehending an ab- 
stract question, or of replying in such a way as to give proof of 
judgment, of spontaneity, and of invention. We have used many 
experiments; there is one that is of chief importance, that of 
abstract questions; others, of secondary importance, are those of 
incomplete sentences, concrete and abstract definitions, rhymes, 
sjrnthesis of three words in a sentence. 

Abstract questions. We have already given several examples 
of abstract questions. 

We shall give later (p. 124) a complete list in the form of a table 
with the results obtained. 


Our series of questions presents an order of increasing difficulty. 

When the child is brought in to be examined, it is useless to 
waste time in preliminary explanations; the first question is so 
easy that it is sufficient to pronounce it in a tone of interrogation, 
for the child even the one of seven years to understand what is 
wished of him and to reply. The bait is taken and the sequence 
of questions elicits naturally the replies. These are written 
down exactly as given without correction. The hesitancy of the 
child is noted, his embarrassment, his slowness to speak. If one 
encounters mutism, one excites the emulation of the child persuad- 
ing him that he can reply, repeating the question with proper tone 
and inflection. One should avoid such insinuation as, "You 
do not know?" or "You do not understand?" Because this 
encourages indolence and carelessness, and there are very few 
embarrassed children who would not quickly seize such a subter- 
fuge. The best way is always to encourage in order that every 
one may do his best. We have here an examination approaching 
a clinical examination, and one must show much patience and 
gentleness. There are two errors to be avoided, one of procedure 
at the moment of the test; the other of interpretation, when 
later one studies the replies. The error of procedure consists in 
going too rapidly and not being sufficiently patient in awaiting 
the reply. Mutism evidently has an enigmatical character; it 
may signify, "I understand nothing" or else it may come from 
the fact that the child has a slow mind and does not at once find 
a suitable answer; or again the child has considerable reflection 
and judgment, and cannot content himself with the flrst answer 
that comes into his mind, but is searching for a better; it is evi- 
dent that those who reply haphazard are the more alert but not 
necessarily the more intelligent. One of us has elsewhere^ in- 
sisted upon the necessity of choosing between several interpre- 
tations of the slowness of intellect. 

In questioning school children, one arrives at a true interpre- 
tation by taking into accoimt all of the replies; one can soon de- 
termine whether, it is a question of the slowness of a judicial mind 
or of one that does not comprehend; but this work of interpretation 
upon the sum total of the replies cannot conveniently be made 

' Stude exp^imentale de l' intelligence, Paris, Schleicher, 1902, p. 45 
and ff. 



except when all of them are brought together. During the exami- 
nation one does not yet know. One must therefore be prudent 
in selecting the right moment when it is safe to pass to another 
question. The matter is a very delicate one. It is far better 
to waste a little time than to throw a slow subject into confusion. 
We formally call the attention of the experimenter to this source 
of error. With a little experience one soon sees whether or not 
the child is hunting for a reply or if he has given up; the expression 
of his countenance may be a valuable indication. 

It remains to interpret the data. We should have wished to 
eliminate from this interpretation all that is arbitrary, and certainly 
we are not entirely satisfied with our results. Nevertheless one 
principle has guided us; we are not forced to search for absolute 
accuracy in the replies; we take the sentences of the children of 
11 as forming the standard by which we compare those of younger 
children. There is therefore a personal part in our selection; 
but this personal part consists in selecting from replies which 
have been really thought out and given, in estimating these 
replies, and not in making out of whole cloth an ideal form for 
the correct reply. We have, moreover, attempted to take into 
consideration the mentality of children. Certain replies might be 
considered appropriate in a dilettante, and with a grain of irony 
they might even seem to be witty retorts. To how many diffi- 
culties could not one reply, as did a certain child; "One should 
go to bed," or ''One must consult the doctor." Frequently we 
have encountered these unexpected ideas, which amused us great- 
ly. Certain expressions, by the way, such as, *'Ah! Madame!" 
of Shakespeare, would be appropriate for every possible situation. 
We have nevertheless concluded that what would be wit in a 
skeptic of thirty, would be incoherence of thought in a child of 
7. Here again, if one is in doubt, a glance at the sum total 
of the replies of a subject enlightens us. Notwithstanding this 
there remain replies which are frankly enigmatical, as for example 
the affirmation ''Nothing" which in extreme cases might have a 
meaning but which again might only be a verbal reflex. We 
regret having sometimes accepted their replies without explan- 
ation. One is always learning. When the reply is ambiguous, 
one should insist and almost force the child to develop differently 
his idea. This is not always easy; it should at least be tried. 

We give below the series of questions, and the replies with our 




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markings^, which are quite conventional and provisional. They 
may be divided into 3 groups: 1st, the replies having a meaning 
bearing upon the questions; 2nd, absurd, unintelligible, ambiguous 
replies, those having a wrong meaning; 3rd, silence. It is chiefly 
into the first group that we have attempted to introduce degrees. 
Those which we propose, after having discussed these things at 
length with all possible care (it requires judgment to appreciate 
tests of judgment, and we hope not to have been entirely lacking) 
have the advantage of establishing a uniform system of marking, 
applicable to all, which, if in certain details it might seem arbitrary, 
cannot however be accused of favoritism. Furthermore, not- 
withstanding the interest and even the pleasure, which we have 
found in making these distinctions, they are not of very great 
importance in making a diagnosis; because we must above all 
take into account the silences and the absurd, ambiguous, non- 
sensical replies.^^ 


First question. When one is sleepy what must one dof A question 
so simple that any one might reply, and the reply is nearly always 
satisfactory. In the answers marked 2 it is simply the expression 
of the thought that is defective. 

Second question. When it is cold what must one dof A very easy 
question. One can scarcely find shades of difference in the value 
of the answers. Replies marked 2 and 3 indicate a poorer means 
of protection against the cold, as it is not so general as that indi- 
cated by replies marked 1. 

Third question. When one is in danger of being late for school 
what must one dof In order to reply one must comprehend the 
precise meaning of the demand; many children answered badly 
because they did not understand. It is easy to see that the re- 
plies marked 2 contain a wrong comprehension. We ask what 
must be done to avoid the menace of actual tardiness. One child 
understood that it was a question of preventing one's tardiness 
next day; another described the consequences of actually being 
late, for example, the punishment inflicted upon the tardy ones, 
or the necessity for ringing the bell, since the door of the school 
would be closed. 

^^ Editor's Note: We have translated these questions and replies liter- 
ally. But for use with American children we employ a more colloquial 
form. _ 


Fourth question. When one sees that it is raining when one is 
going out, what must one do? Very easy question, as easy as 2. 
In the replies marked 2 the subject indicates an inappropriate 
solution, too special to respond to the general character of the 
demand; but it is not serious. 

Fifth question. When one is tired and has not enough money to 
take the omnibus, what must one dof This little problem brings 
out the differences of comprehension and of judgment. The solu- 
tion, to be satisfactory, must contain two ideas, that of rest to be 
taken, and that of the walk to be taken afterwards. The replies 
marked 2 do not take into consideration the necessity of the walk. 

The replies marked 3 do not take into account the fatigue. 
The replies marked 4 are contradictory to the sense of the ques- 
tion, or are ambiguous expressions. 

Sixth question. When one has missed the train what must one dof 
This question is so simple that it calls up a reply almost automati- 
cally. The youngest have nevertheless committed errors of 

In the replies marked 1 the form is of little account. The idea 
is there and it is correct. 

In the replies marked 2 the idea is vague. 

The replies marked 3 are badly adapted to the question; take 
the omnibus or the trolley we are told; but do we know there is 
one? As to going home, is that natural if one is prepared to take 
the train? And try not to miss it again is a beautiful suggestion 
when it is already gone ! 

Seventh question. When one breaks something belonging to an- 
other, what must one dof The idea of paying or replacing the ob- 
ject, and of excusing one^s self must be indicated for the reply to 
be satisfactory. 

Eighth question. When one finds that one's copy book has been 
stolen what must one dof The correct solution is to carry the 
complaint to one in authority. Then a reply much less appro- 
priate is to reply without giving the authority to which one com- 
plains. Then — ^to hunt for the object; to replace it; are replies 
still less suitable since they apply to a case where an object has 
been lost. 

The replies marked 4 take it for granted that the thief is known. 

Ninth question. When the house is on fire what must one dof 
Evidently one must call the firemen; several had the idea simply 
of saving themselves. 


Tenth question. When one has been struck by a playmate who did 
not mean to do it, what must one do? First comes the idea of par- 
don; then absence of denunciation. Next come the replies 
where the absence of vengeance is noted. 

Eleventh question. When one has need of good advice what must 
one do? Evidently one must ask it of a person who has had expe- 
rience; this is the first idea. To say that one must listen to it, is 
to indicate an idea less important, less adapted to the question. 

Several replies are unintelligible, probably because the children 
have not understood the meaning of the word ''advice." Here a 
lack of vocabulary is responsible. 

Twelfth question. When one is lazy and does not wish to work, 
what happens? The replies are somewhat difiicult to classify but 
they are interesting to analyze. Nearly all the children under- 
stood the sense of the question; but they took different points of 
view. The smallest, in general, thought only of the immediate re- 
sults; that is, being kept in, bad marks, dunce cap, foot of the 
class and (we regret to have to register this naive confession) the 
blows given by the teacher. The horizon of ideas of the older ones 
is more extended; they have foreseen the more distant but more 
important consequences of laziness, that is to say ignorance, the 
difficulty of earning a living, etc. 

Thirteenth question. Why should one not spend all his money, but 
put some aside? Saving is necessary in view of sickness, age, lack 
of work. This is what the children explain more or less complete- 
ly. Others affirm especially the advantage of useful expenditure, 
like buying necessities, or paying the rent. Others indicate simply 
the need in which one may later find one's self. In general they 
have replied well. 

Fourteenth question. When one has received a punishment wfuch 
one has not deserved, what must one do? The best conduct under 
such circumstances must contain the association of two things: the 
protest and the execution of the punishment. Furthermore, one 
might discuss the second point, whether it is a duty to submit to 
an immerited punishment. There is more elegance perhaps in 
submitting first and protesting afterwards; but that is an affair of 
appreciation. We place lower the refusal to execute the pimish- 
ment. The child revolts against the unmerited character of the 
punishment, but he does not comprehend the line of conduct to 


Fifteenth question. Before deciding an important matter {prendre 
parti) what must one do? The little word "think" is the best reply. 
There were many absurd answers. The children have not under- 
stood or thought it was a question of a pleasure party (partie) . 

Sixteenth question. What must one do to earn 10 sous which one 
needs? The older children especially replied by the commonplace 
remark: one must work, which they remember from a lesson. We 
prefer two typical replies, both given by the younger children of 
seven years whom school had not caused to forget life: "One must 
sell" says one; "One must sing" says another. This is a curious 
bit of naive misery. These are childish words that are truly 

Seventeenth question. When a person has offended you and comes 
to ask your pardon, what must one do? It is the pardon that 
comes at once into the mind. Those who have comprehended 
have had this feeling, but often the word has suggested their 
thought. With intelligences less developed, the altruistic idea 
effaces itself more and more; there remains only a neutral or nega- 
tive state. 

Eighteenth question. If some one asks your opinion of a person 
whom you know hut little, what must one do? Several succeeded in 
expressing more or less well that ignorance imposes discretion; 
others have indicated silence as necessary without giving the 

Nineteenth question. When two persons discuss a question before 
coming to an understanding about the words, what happens? The 
idea is subtle and the words are not in the vocabulary of a child. 
The question was poorly understood. The child vaguely divined 
that there had been a conflict, and it was upon this point that he 
concentrated his attention. Several replies were marked 1, but 
with reservation. 

Twentieth question. When a person always contradicts you, no 
matter what you say, what must one do? The replies are very 

Twenty-first question. Why must we judge a person by his acts 
rather than by his words? The reply should contain an indication 
of the comparative value of words and acts. Rarely understood. 
In the best cases there is an attempt at a parallel. Lower down 
merely words are given. 

Twenty-second question. Why does one forgive a wrong action 



committed in anger, more easily than a wrong action committed 
without anger? Good replies are rare. In general the children 
have seen in anger an aggravating circumstance, or the only thing 
to qualify. 

Twenty-third question. Why is it better to persevere in what has 
been commenced, than to abandon it to commence something else? 
Good rephes are rare. Most often (second reply) the thing is 
affirmed without the motive being given. Several give scholastic 
motives, indicating that their outlook is limited. There are finally 
several unintelligible rephes. 

Twenty-fourth question. Why should we not remind a person of 
the service which we have rendered him? Badly understood. Chil- 
dren here show their utilitarian tendencies; they say we must not 
allow the person to do us a service. This is a wrong meaning. 
These questions invite absurd rephes, which is their principal 
reason for being. 

Twenty-fifth question. What should one do when one has committed 
a wrong act which is irreparable? Like the preceding this question 
invites absurdities. Defectives often accept the invitation. 

The order followed in the preceding list has not been that of the 
difficulty of the questions. We have made the calculation of 
all the solutions given for the first 20 questions only, and we 
have been able to establish the order of difficulty which will be 
found in the following table. The most difficult question is the 
20th; then comes the 7th, 14th, 18th, etc. This order has been 
established in making a synthesis of the replies given by the three 
different ages, of seven, nine and eleven years; if one had taken into 
account only one of these age groups a rather different order 
would have been given. In this table we have therefore sub- 
divided the questions into three groups, the easiest from 1 to 12, 
those of medium difficulty from 13 to 19, finally the most difficult 
from 15 to 20. In the vertical colunms is shown the number of 
the replies, marked 1 or 2, or 3, etc., the silences (S), and the ab- 
surdities, ambiguities or nonsense (A). It will be noted that for 
the easiest questions, children of seven reply as well as those of 
nine years, but children of eleven distinguish themselves by a 
larger proportion of excellent replies, marked 1. For the ques- 
tions of medium difficulty, the three groups are well differen- 
tiated; the youngest have 26 silences, and 7 absurdities; the chil- 
dren of nine have 8 silences and only one absurdity; those of 11 



years have only 1 silence and no absurdities. That shows us, lei 
it be said in passing, that prolonged silence is not an indication 
of reflection, but of ignorance, an incapacity of replying. We had 

Tables of Replies to Abstract Questions 



Children of 
7 years 

Children of 
9 years 

Children of 
11 years 








































































































































felt a theoretical doubt in regard to this, which the reading of the 
table on page 124 dissipates. 

The table also shows that absurdities are frequent with children 
of seven years (there were 19), rare with children of nine years (there 


were 6), and exceptional with children of eleven years (2). We 
have already noted this fact in connection with the repetition of 
sentences. It now remains to arrange these data for the individual 
diagnosis. Space is lacking for making all the necessary calcula- 
tions, and we shall reduce our indications to the minimum. It is 
sufficient to reproduce here for each age, two samples of their re- 
plies; one given by a normal child who represents the average 
accuracy; the other given by a normal child whose reply was the 
poorest. These series will serve as terms of provisional compari- 
son when we shall have appreciated the type of reply of the sub- 
normal; we shall see if it is above the average or below, or at least 
below the least intelligent of the normals, for the given age. 

Le , eleven years, normal, gave the poorest replies. 3 

absurdities, 5 silences, 4 repUes marked 3 and 4. 

1. One must sleep, 1. 

2. One must get warm, 1. 

3. One must hurry, 2. 

5. One must rest, 1. 

6. One must take the other, 1. 

7. One must replace it, 2. 

8. One must replace it, 4. 

9. One must escape, 2. 

10. One must pardon him, 1. 

11. One must listen to it, 3. 

12. One must work, 3. 

13. For later, 2. 

14. (Silence). 

15. (Silence.) 

16. One must work, 2. 

17. (Silence.) 

18. One must ask for it. A. 

19. It happens that one knows nothing, 2. 

20. (Silence.) 

21. (Silence.) 

22. Because an action without anger, one can forgive it, while an action 
with anger one can forgive it, A. 

23. Because when one commences it is not so hard as at the end, 3. 

24. Because of the service which one has given is better one must keep 
it, A. 

25. One ought to try to make it all right, 3. 

Debra , eleven years, normal, gave rephes of average value. 

absurdities, silence, 5 replies marked 3 and 4. 


1. One must go to bed, 1. 

2. One must cover one's self well so as to avoid taking cold, 1 

3. One must hurry more than usual so as to arrive in time, 1, 

4. One must take an umbrella, 1. 

5. One must go on foot, 3. 

6. One must wait for another train, 1. 

7. One must pay for it, 2. 

8. One must tell the teacher, 1. 

9. One must try to get away, 2. 

10. One must not denounce him, 3. 

11. One must ask one's parents, 1. 

12. One does nothing, and one cannot earn a living, 1. 

13. With economy one has something to fall back on when one is old, 1. 

14. One must consider it, 1. 

15. One must not disobey; one must do it, 3. 

16. One must work, 1. 

17. One must not fight, 3. 

18. One should say: I do not know that person well enough to give you 
any opinion about him, 1. 

19. It happens that they fight, 3. 

20. One must let him talk, 2. 

21. Because one cannot believe what is said, but when one sees, one be- 
lieves always, 1. 

22. One pardons a bad act committed in anger, because right away he 
remembers he ought not to have done it, while a wrong act done without 
anger remains a long time in the hearts, 1. 

23. It is better to continue a task begun because in another it will be 
more difficult to do it, 3. 

24. Because one ought not to have done it. That is unkind, 1. 

25. One must go into another country, 2. 

Altm , child of nine years, gave very bad replies. ab- 
surdities, 13 silences, 1 reply marked 3. 

1. One must go to bed, 1. 

2. One must cover up, 1. 

3. One must hurry, 1. 

4. One must shelter oneself, 2. 

5. One must sit down, 2. 

6. (Silence). 

7. One must buy another, 2. 

8. (Silence). 

9. Go for the firemen, 1. 

10. (Silence). 

11. (Silence). 

12. One knows nothing, 1. 

13. Without that one could not live, 2. 

14. (Silence). 



15. (Silence). 

16. One must work, 1. 

17. (Silence). 

18. (Silence). 

19. They fight, 3. 

20. (Silence). 

21. (Silence). 

22. (Silence). 

23. (Silence). 

24. (Silence). 

25. One should ask pardon, 1. 

Barr , nine years, gave replies of average value. absurd- 
ities, 7 silences, 5 replies marked 3 and 4. 

1. One undresses and goes to bed, 1. 

2. One must dress up warm, 1. 

3. One must hurry all the way, 1. 

4. One must find shelter, one must stay at the school so as not to get 
wet, 2. 

5. One must rest on a bench, 2. 

6. One must wait and take another train, 1. 

7. One must replace it, 2. 

8. One must tell the teacher, 1. 

9. One must get away so as not to get burned, 2. 

10. One must not give him back what he did to us so as not to do evil, 4. 

11. One must listen to it, 3. 

12. One soon becomes the last of one's class, 3. 

13. Because when one is older one cannot work, and will have nothing 
to live on, 1. 

14. (Silence). 

15. One must say it, 2. 

16. One must work, 1. 

17. One must be reconciled with them, 1. 

18. They both get angry, 3. 

19. (Silence). 

20. (Silence). 

21. (Silence). 

22. (Silence). 

23. (Silence). 

24. (Silence). 

25. One must correct it, 3. 

Another indication may be helpful. The average number of 
absurdities among children of 11 years (for the above 25 ques- 
tions) is 0.5; the maximum number is 2. 

For children of nine years, the average number is 1 and the 
maximum number is 3. 



For children of seven years, the average number needs correc- 
tion; it would be 20, if one admitted in the calculation two chil- 
dren, rather extraordinary, who committed a great many absurdi- 
ties. If they are eliminated, there are only 6, which makes a 
trifle less than one absurdity for each pupil, with a maximum of 2. 
The number of silences varies equally. It is 2 on an average at 
eleven years with a maximum of 5. It is 5 on an average at nine 
years, with a maximum of 12. It is 6.5 on an average at seven 
years, with a maximum of 11. 

Tables of Replies 

to Abstract Questions 







Seven years 







Nine years 


Eleven years 


* This is a corrected average be it remembered. 

Search for rhymes. A few words only upon this test, which we 
tried with only five children of seven years, five of nine and five of 
eleven years. At seven years, no one can find a word to rhyme 
''ob^issance" and the words they find after much pains have no 
bearing upon the questions. At nine years they understand bet- 
ter, and after a minute's search, they can find at least one rhyme, 
sometimes two, three or four. At eleven years, a rather larger 
number is found. 

Abstract definitions. Still another incomplete attempt upon five 
children of each age. At least we have been able to prove that 
even at twelve years, a normal cannot express the difference be- 
tween certain abstract terms. In his desire to give some sort of a 
reply he says absurdities. Here are some examples, which will 
suffice to enlighten us, mixed with certain attempts which contain 

a glimpse of a correct idea. Deron , Esteem and affection. 

Esteem when one speaks well of someone who is not there, and 

affection, is to love some one. Fleur , Weariness and sadness. 

In sadness, one despairs, but in weariness, one wishes amusement. 
That distinction is not at all bad. Esteem someone, one almost 
loves them, and in affection one loves them. HalH , Whe 



one esteems someone, one loves them. When one has affection, 

one loves also. Bari , Esteem is love; affection one says one 


Combination of three words in the same sentence. Still another 
test which lack of time has not permitted us to perfect. It is 
only at twelve years that we note the first attempts, and they are 
very imperfect. Out of five children there were only three who 
were able in two minutes of work to bring out the following sen- 
tences. Halli , Paris is a large city where there are gutters; 

and where the people have little fortune. 

Fleur , In Paris, by jumping a gutter, 1 found a little fortune. 

Bari , In the city of Paris, there are gutters, where one can 

find his fortune. 

Remember that no one told them how to go to work. If a 
model sentence had been given, doubtless they could have passed 
the test. 

Verbal blanks to be filled. Last test which was tried on only five 
children of seven, five of nine, and five of twelve years. The re- 
sults were analogous to those which were obtained with abstract 
questions. It is therefore useless to describe them here, as that 
would be mere repetition. But for the examination of a particular 
child, these repetitions are very useful; that which is wearisome 
in a description renders great service in practice. 

We have now established certain demarcations which permit us 
to recognize the normal development of inteUigence among chil- 
dren, and above all to know when a child who is suspected of re- 
tardation, appears really backward as compared with children of 
his own age. 

We shall not here describe the process to follow for each compari- 
son; we can do it more successfully in the next section, where we 
speak of backward children. 

Enough of theory, let it give place now to the demonstration." 

II. Institution Cases 

Before showing how the psychological method permits us to 
recognize and in a certain way to classify backward children in the 
.schools, we wish to show what help it offers to doctors in an insti- 
tution. The diagnosis of intellectual inferiority is made in sub- 

^^ See page 64. 


stantially the same manner in the school as in the institution; only 
the children in institutions are in general more seriously affected 
than those in schools; the true idiots are reserved for the institu- 
tions as we believe that they will rarely be admitted into a school. 
Therefore the tests to be submitted to children in an institution 
are slightly different from those to be used in schools. 

In the institution as in the school, two questions are to be 
solved; first, is the child inferior ii intelligence? Second, to what 
degree is he inferior to the normal? 

The first of these questions is most important for the teacher, 
who must above everything else become expert in making the 
distinction between normal and subnormal, an extremely delicate 
task, because many of the morons whom it will be interesting to 
recognize, closely approach normality. This distinction once 
made, the operation is almost finished, because the school serves 
only to conceal the morons. The attention of the clinician is 
differently directed. The important question for him is not so 
much whether the child presented to him is normal or subnormal; 
ordinarily this question is, as it were, settled in advance because 
of the gravity of the mental defect of the subject. Even parents, 
or an attendant, would be capable of recognizing that an idiot or 
an imbecile is not normal; at least this is true in most cases.^^ 

What the physician seeks with the greatest care is the differ- 
ential diagnosis of idiot, imbecile and moron. 

Consequently in the following pages we shall specially occupy 
ourselves in classifying the children in one of these three sub- 
divisions; we shall hope to demonstrate that the application of the 
psychological method to subnormals in an institution, gives re- 
sults both rapid and exact. 
J The children of whom we are about to speak were all examined 
in the Salpetriere under the direction of Dr. Voisin, during the 
months of February and March, 1905. Dr. Voisin was good 
enough to open his establishment to us, with a liberality and dis- 
interestedness which could only be equalled by his attachment for 
the inmates of the Salpetriere, whom he calls with an eloquent 

^2 There are some exceptions to this rule. It is easy to imagine that 
some parents, wishing to rid themselves of the care and expense of the edu- 
cation of the child, should seek to have him admitted although normal to 
the special care for backward children. It is the business of the doctor 
to know whether or not the child presented to him is normal. 


simplicity, "his children." We found the same welcome from 
Madame Meusy, who directs the school connected with the estab- 
lishment; she was present at all of our experiments, aiding us by 
her knowledge of the children, showing always toward them that 
sweetness, that sensibility without sentimentality which makes 
her such a sympathetic teacher. \/ 

Nearly all of the children were examined in her office. Several, 
however, belonging to the lowest grades, were seen in the halls 
where they habitually stay. All the others came to us one by one. 
Doubtless this is not a faultless clinical method. It would often 
be interesting to observe the child in the very center where he 
lives; and in modifjdng his external surroundings as little as pos- 
sible, his spontaneity would best display itself. But after all, it 
is not this that we are looking for; the individual method, freed 
from all accidental outside distraction, is practically indispensable 
for a minutely accurate mental analysis. The child when isolated 
has more timidity and reserve. But on the other hand one obtains 
a more sustained attention. The office of Madame Meusy was 
for all these children a familiar place, which they seldom left 
without a bonbon. Each child was brought by a teacher, or by 
an attendant with whom the child was familiar. Since Madame 
Meusy was always present the child remained in familiar territory. 
Let us note, by the way, that the silence was only relative, be- 
cause of the proximity of the class room. For certain tests re- 
quiring concentrated attention, like that of the repetition of six 
figures, this might sometimes be a cause of trouble, but in other 
cases our tests leave the child so little to himself that this fact did 
not prove a serious inconvenience. 

One of us questioned and the other wrote the replies, or noted 
the attitude, the play of the countenance of the child who was be- 
ing questioned. The examination took on, by the way, more the 
air of a game conducted without dry formulas, and the child was 
always encourr^ged. It goes without saying that his replies were 
never ridiculed no matter how incorrect they were; he was given 
the credit of his willingness to try. For any one who knows these 
poor beings and realizes to what degree they open out when praised 

Land on the contrary, how quickly they withdraw within them- 
selves at the least reproof, there is no doubt that this indulgent 
attitude is indispensable to obtain on their part even a small output 
of effort. With a few exceptions, of which we shall speak as we 




go along, all have lent themselves with docility, some even with 
good grace to our investigations. Among some fifty children ex- 
amined, only one or two offered any obstacle which came from the 
disposition, that is to say, from ill-will and not from the lack of 
intelligence; this small number is an important fact; it proves 
without question that our methods of examination, even though 
they require the active cooperation of the subject, are nevertheless 
practically possible. What examination, by the way, would be 
able to dispense with the cooperation of the one who is its subject? 
Even a physical examination is rendered impracticable by cries and 
incessant movements. A priori it was to be expected that even 
more difficulties would present themselves in psychological inves- 
tigations. Such has not been the case. Subnormal children have 
submitted themselves willingly to these investigations and those 
cases of opposition which we did encounter were not significant for 
we have met and noted similar ones among normal school children. 
Naturally when such difficulties present themselves, one cannot 
draw conclusions from a single sitting; one should return at a 
more favorable moment. But the rarity of these occurrences 
leaves no doubt that they can be overcome. 

In examining the replies of subnormal children of the Salpe- 
tri^re, it will be seen that they permit us to separate our subjects 
into distinct groups and subgroups.^^ But what significance shall 
we attribute to these? They are only schematic divisions and 
probably susceptible to further rearrangement. It must not be 
considered that as they stand we feel they completely delimit 
moronity, imbecility, and idiocy. Even while taking account 
only of the development of the intellectual faculties properly so- 
called and limiting ourselves to a study of the degree of intelli- 
gence, from the very first one meets many difficulties, among the 
principal of which is the following. Here is a child of twelve years, 
who does not know how to apply to the objects which he sees the 
words which he hears and which he pronounces; the majority of 
children of two and three years can already do this; he presents 
therefore a retardation of ten years. Then here is another child 

" In spite of the number of children examined our work takes into ac- 
count only about thirty, as we have been able to use only those upon whom 
we have made a sufficient number of tests and we did not know this until 
the work was finished. The grades of others are somewhat uncertain and 
it will be necessary to test them again. 


of the same degree of intelligence who is four years old ; he is only- 
two years behind children of his own age. Are we not justified 
in taking into account this enormous difference of age? Would it 
be right to say that these two children, because they have the same 
intellectual level, both belong to the same category, and that the 
yoimger is an idiot in the same way as the older? Are we not going 
to see on the contrary, that the child of four years will later make 
progress, and soon no longer merit to be classed with the other, 
change his group, and rise to imbecility? 

It will therefore be necessary to introduce two factors: the intel- 
lectual level and the age of the subject. Only, to do this, many 
questions must be settled whose solution is today completely in 
suspense. The psychological development of the normal child 
had hardly been touched upon; the present work contains the first 
attempt in this regard. We have at least seen which tests were 
possible at the different ages, and which on the contrary could not 
be determined upon. Nothing as yet has been attempted for the 
subnormal states and the difficulty is very great. As to what con- 
cerns school children it is possible to determine this development , 
of the intellectual faculties according to age, by the average re- \ 
suits obtained with different groups, chosen from the same social 
condition, the same educational environment. One of the factors, 
that of mental capacity — is quite constant. For subnormals sim- 
ilar to those of the Salptoiere similar averages would be of no 
value, because subnormals differ too much among themselves to 
permit of substituting one for the other in taking averages. It 
would be necessary to follow individually very many subjects in 
their development, to see if the states of intellectual inferiority 
are caused by arrested development, or by very slow evolution 
continued irregularly or intermittently, or to see if some essential 
faculties could increase while others remained stationary or un- 
awakened. It would be impossible, before these facts are ascer- 
tained, to compare these subjects with normal children age for age, 
year for year, detail for detail. No doubt it is possible — perhaps 
even probable — that a child who at five years has scarcely the 
intellectual level of a child of two, will be the same at ten or fifteen 
years. Without doubt one can suppose that the cerebral defects 
which have thus far prevented the acquisition of ordinary ideas, 
would remain a definite obstacle. But we have no right, without 
the facts, to affirm this. And no actual test can tell us, moreover, 


whether an idiot is or is not capable of improvement and to just 
what point.i^ 

It is a pity that the fundamental questions of psycholgeny, so 
easy to elucidate in institutions where the same defective children 
are retained ten an4 twenty years, have never yet been studied 
except in vague statistics! 

All these children have been classified entirely without regard 
I to age. We have supposed, whatever their age, that they have 
attained their entire development; we have taken into considera- 
tion only their actual state, the day on which we saw them, as 
though it were a fixed thing, and as though we had to take no ac- 
count of the age they have attained, nor if later they might de- 
velop further. But under all these reservations, and although in a 
manner somewhat arbitrary, relative and partial, it still seems 
that, the intellectual development being supposed finished, one can 
propose from this unique point of view to establish categories 
among them. 

How many principal categories must be formulated? A priori 

^* A single indication quite confusing seems to come out of a work which 
we have just finished upon the pedagogical results of the work of M. Bourne- 
ville at the Bic^tre. Our learned colleague put at our disposal the records 
of the years, 1900, '02, '03, '04, containing notes on the dismissals that oc- 
curred in his service. In working up these results into tables we arrived at a 
few interesting points. There is no doubt some optimism in the statements 
published by M. Bourneville. He does not consider that any boy under his 
care shows deterioration and the lowest mark that he gives a boy is that of 
"m^me 6tat" (no change). He records nothing but conditions of "mfime 
6tat" and conditions of improvement which surprises those a little who 
know that epilepsy with repeated attacks almost surely brings mental 
deterioration and there is a great deal of epilepsy at the Bicdtre. This 
medical optimism appears also in a large number of cases of improvement 
which are noted among subjects who become adults or are transferred to 
other institutions. These cannot, however, be more than slight improve- 
ments and without social significance since most of the subjects in ques- 
tion are bound to remain confined. Granted that leniency was exercised 
in counting up the cases, it is of greater significance to acknowledge that 
the number of socalled improved idiots who are pointed out to us is ex- 
tremely small; most of them remain unimproved. Here are the propor- 
tions. Improved idiots 24; unimproved 52. But on the other hand, not- 
withstanding the length of time and the evident leniency of the doctor in 
charge, we are compelled to acknowledge a total absence of improvement 
among two-thirds of the idiots. It is fair to conclude that the intellectual 
condition of the idiot does not tend to improve. But we repeat — data of 
this kind are too vague to become authoritative in science. 


it would seem that there is no good reason to form one number of 
categories any more than another, and the determination of these 
numbers, whatever they be, is open to criticism in about the same 
manner and for the same reason that one can criticize the physicist, 
who has fixed the number of the colors of the spectrum at seven, 
when one could describe ten colors or twenty. In the same way 
one could describe five or ten different degrees or more, of intel- 
lectual inferiority. Every continued series permits an infinite 
number of divisions. But for practical use it becomes necessary 
to restrict the number; moreover in medical language the three 
terms, idiot, imbecile, and moron, are already in use (refer to 
footnote on moron, p. 41); it would be very difficult not only 
to reject this classification, but even to simplify it by the suppres- 
sion of one of the terms, or to complicate it by the introduction of 
a new term. It is therefore simply for reasons of convenience 
that we accept a triplicate division of inferior intelligence. It 
remains to be determined where we shall place our limits separat- 
ing idiot from imbecile, imbecile from moron, and lastly moron 
from normal. We reserve the term idiot for subjects without a 
vocabulary. We do not wish to say by that, that fchey do not 
pronounce certain words, but they are incapable of passing from 
the object to the word, or even from the word to the object. One 
of the best tests upon which to form a judgment, is to ask them to 
designate in a picture the objects which one names for them. The 
test is so much the more to be recommended because it has for the 
normal child the great attraction of curiosity. There is also a 
great advantage in asking him to point out the objects corre- 
sponding to the words which are said to him, rather than to make 
him name the objects which he himself sees, because of the defects 
of pronunciation which often prevent him from being understood. 
This is a test that normal children pass between two and three 
years. Before that, the child has no relations, by language, with 
those who surround him. To reserve the name of idiocy to those 
who persist in that state of social isolation is in reahty to cHng to 
the strict etymological sense of the word, for the word idiot, 
properly speaking means alone, isolated. 

We regret that there is no distinction equally precise between 
imbecile and moron. Nevertheless it has seemed to us that, to be 
able to appreciate and express a difference existing between two 
familiar objects, to compare weights, to find rhymes, and when 


asked to repeat six figures, not to repeat a series at random or to 
say an absurdity — that is to say, anything which requires of the 
subject, a precise comprehension of what is asked of him and a Ht- 
tle judgment — would never accord itself with a state of imbecihty. 
It is therefore these tests which will serve as limits. 

Lastly we have noticed that children of twelve years can mostly 
reply to abstract questions. We limit provisionally mental de- 
fect at this point. A moron shows himself by his inability to 
handle verbal abstractions; he does not understand them suffi- 
ciently to reply satisfactorily. 

These three groups are not of homogeneous composition and 
one has often experienced the necessity of subdividing them. We 
shall therefore push the analysis that far but without inventing 
new terms. It would seem proper, in order to distinguish each 
group, to precede the generic name by an adjective designating 
the subdivision, that is to say, the species. Unfortunately those 
proposed up to the present time are not suitable. The terms 
complete idiocy and profound idiocy have been used; but this 
distinction is lacking in immediate clarity, because one cannot 
see which is more serious for an idiot to be complete or to be pro- 
found. Somewhat clearer terms, complete and incomplete, de- 
veloped by negation give the insufficient number of two degrees. 
We prefer to risk some more expressive terms, examples of which 
will be found farther on. 

We shall now pass in review successively, these three different 
groups of children. We shall sometimes precede the record of the 
tests given to each child by certain clinical notes. But the reader 
will be so good as to remember, that we are not giving here com- 
plete, or even psychological observations, but simply fragments 
chosen with the view of illustrating a method. We present noth- 
ing but incomplete groups. 


Without Use of Language 

In the first group, we must note that the absence of language 
on the part of the child places the experimenter in a rather diffi- 
cult situation. The means of producing psychological reaction 
is necessarily more vague, more undetermined. The technique 
of each test is less precise; above all else the replies, consisting in 


gestures, in attitudes, and in acts, require more interpretation. 
Here especially can be seen how necessary is the word in order to 
bring out the thought. 

We call to mind that the tests which constitute this group are 
the following: reaction to light and to sound; prehension after 
tactile excitation; prehension after visual perception; distinction 
between what is food and what is not; imitations of movements 
and execution of simple orders through word and mimicry. 

All these tests are accompHshed by children of two or three 
years. The average chronological age of the subnormals studied 
by us and which we place in this group, is about ten years with a 
variation of seven to twelve. The least retardation is therefore 
of five years, and consequently enormous. 

According to the tests accomplished, it is possible to distinguish 
among these children four subgroups which seem to correspond 
equally to the degrees of intelligence. 

To find analogies among normals for the several extreme cases 
which we are going to present, it would be necessary to visit infant 
hospitals or even to study the child when only a few days old. 
There are indeed among subnormals whom we have studied, 
beings eight or ten years old, whose intelligence does not exceed 
that of a child of eight days. 

We shall therefore indicate our degrees, with the qualifications 
which we consider the most appropriate. 

1. Vegetative idiot. We thus name those who show no mani- 
festation of ideas of relationships. We have so far observed none 
of this type. 

2. Idiot with visual coordination. This is the one that looks at 
an object, follows it with his eyes. One could also have the idiot 
who hears, smells, etc. We therefore use here the reaction to 
light and sound. 

We have found only one subject whose intellectual manifesta- 
tions sought for in this manner, are limited to habitual reaction to 
light and sound. 

Gro. is a child of twelve. She has two club feet and cannot move her 
lower Umbs, she holds one hand in the other, the fingers scratching the 
palms without ceasing, and at the same time she gnaws continuously the 
back of her right hand. 

Let us now see what strictly has to bear upon our examination. 
When the bell is rung behind her head, no reaction can be noted. 


If one passes the hand rapidly before her eyes, she bHnks with her 
eyehds; one can even notice at intervals a short, spontaneous look. 
She sees the lighted match before her and turns her eyes to follow 
it; but still it is only for a short time and her attention has little 
persistence. There is no attempt at prehension either when an 
object is presented to her or when it is placed in her hand. 

Thus there is in this case a single intellectual manifestation, a 
fugitive attention fco something which glitters; without doubt this 
expression, fugitive attention, remains vague, but its application 
to a precise fact does not permit us, so it seems, to deceive our- 
selves upon the conditions under which its use could be authorized. 

Finally let us notice the fact that Gro reacts only to light 

and not to sound. Perhaps it would be wise under these circum- 
stances, to still subdivide this first degree, but we have not enough 
facts to estabhsh this. 

3. Idiot with prehension. This is the one who can perform an 
act of prehension. There are here two degrees. The first is pre- 
hension after tactile excitation. 

This group is characterized by an acquisition beyond that of 
the preceding group — namely, the power to seize an object when 
it comes in contact with the hand. We have found only one 
child whose ability was limited to this additional test. 

Rich is a child of seven years. She sucks her thumb, shakes her 

head, grasps her arm and carries it to her mouth; all these movements indi- 
cate that she is not, properly speaking, paralyzed; nevertheless she does 
not walk. 

Let us see how she conducts herself with our tests. 

She starts and laughs when we ring a bell behind her ear, but 
does not turn her head to look. 

She follows a lighted match with her eyes. 

If an object is presented to her, she does not seem to know how 
to direct her arms to take it so long as she is guided by sight only; 
she may strike it accidently; more frequently she seizes it, as it were 
by reflex only, when the thing is placed in her hands. 

She carries a piece of wood to her mouth just as naturally as a 

These are the only tests that can be given her. Her rank is 
clearly indicated to us as in the third group. Prehension which 
does not exist in the preceding case is here clearly realized. There 
is here an act which constitutes a sharp distinction between the 


two subjects, and whose realization constitutes a progress. We 
may call Rich an idiot with incomplete prehension. 

Then comes a more intelligent prehension, more spontaneous, 
which is provoked by visual perception of an object. Two chil- 
dren were found belonging to this degree, and are consequently 
idiots with complete prehension. 

Notice first the tests made with Meuh , a child of nine 

years, microcephalic, cross-eyed, with no control over the 

She turns her head when a bell is rung behind her; her eyes fol- 
low a lighted match; she stretches out her hand to take an object of- 
fered her, but these movements are not natural. Her hand seems 
to grope towards the object, the other does not aid it, prehension 
is defective; the hand does not know how to let go. 

She gluttonously puts the whole piece of chocolate into her 
mouth at once and adds the wood as though there were no dif- 
ference between the two. 

And that is all — no response to our greeting, etc. 

Now see the other idiot. 

Lafre is eight or nine years old, and seems more active than the 

preceding children; she walks, laughs, kisses, and knows the persons whom 
she sees, but she is constantly in motion, and her attention is difl&cult to 

Here is the result of our examination. 

She turns her head to try to see the bell that has been rung. She 
takes or rejects or throws, carries to her mouth or not, whatever 
is presented to her without examination, even without looking at 
it, and consequently not because it is wood, cork, sugar or choco- 
late but simply as the notion takes her. Her attendant says she 
will eat indiscriminately pebbles or rags. She has, while being 
examined, curious gestures in this respect; she often asks with her 
mouth open as another child would hold out her hand. She takes 
nothing, however, when numerous objects are presented to her in 
a box. 

Lafre is one of the children who showed some ill-will in 

submitting to the examination. 

We do not know whether or not we should classify her in this 
inferior degree of intelligence. Her indifference to food might 
come from a defect of the sense of taste, as well as from a lack of 


the small amount of intelligence necessary to make this distinc- 
tion. Her gustatory sensibility needs to be investigated. 

4. Idiot with recognition of food. We have examined three sub- 
jects whom we place in this group. 

Pich will be ten in July. She has an almost incessant twitching of 

the eyelids, and rhythmic movements of the arms as for beating the tam- 
bourine, which movements are momentarily suspended when her atten- 
tion is fixed. 

She turns her head when keys are shaken behind her. 

She looks at a handkerchief when shaken before her eyes. 

If a bonbon is handed to her she eats it; a piece of money she 
puts in her mouth; but paper she shakes, unfolds it a little and 
leaves it on the table. Does she begin or not to see what is food? 
If a piece of chocolate is given her wrapped in paper, she makes an 
attempt to unfold it. She will not, however, take anything unless 
it is given her, not even if it is laid on the table. She also obeys 
the order to come, given by gesture, and when a metal box con- 
taining a penny is shaken before her, she seems at first a little 
frightened, then takes the box and shakes it herself after repeated 
example, but it amuses her little and she quickly leaves it. She 
will not pick up an object nor close her eyes when ordered. 

This is an instructive observation as is every fault committed. 
The child has not been studied sufliciently. The test which will 
indicate her place exactly has not been the object of sufiicient in- 
vestigation. It would be necessary to go over and over until 
there was no longer any doubt as to the reply. The child profits 
in consequence from a little indulgence. It is, however, not at 
all doubtful that she shows a certain progress over the preceding 

Marc will be nine in August. She has the habit of frequently rais- 
ing with her index finger the lobules of her ears. She walks, runs, descends 
stairs easily, mounts them less easily; she caresses, rubs her head against 
the person who notices her for a moment, or else bites her own hand or 
her apron without its being possible to recognize a motive for these mani- 
festations of affection or anger. 

She often smells what is handed to her before carrying it to her 
mouth (this is an illustration of the control of one sense by an- 
other), and permits less easily the object to be withdrawn if it is 



She takes spontaneously from the table some cakes which she 
sees there. This new extension of prehension seems to be asso- 
ciated with a knowledge of the value of things, since we here meet 
it for the first time. She obeys gestures, but imitates little and 
seems indolent; if chocolate is given her wrapped in paper she 
smells it and lets it fall; the paper is then removed and she is made 
to taste the chocolate, after which it is again wrapped before her 
eyes and given her. She does not take off the paper but gives it 
back, as if to ask that it be given her and hunts in the hands; she 
seems interested and after several demonstrations, ends by open- 
ing the paper. 

Neither of these children indicates any part of the body or 
clothing, or any object named to them, and does not even look at 
a picture. 

These two children have therefore knowledge of food. With- 
out doubt the difference between that which can be eaten and 
that which cannot be eaten is still obscure. It seems, neverthe- 
less, very certain that they make the distinction. It can be seen 
by what slight stages one advances little by little. We shall soon 
see, on the contrary, the range of knowledge suddenly enlarge, the 
moment language appears. 

6. An idiot with the power of imitation of gestures. We call by 
this name the idiot who can say, "good day," who understands 
gestures, imitates them, can reply to a smile, makes simple imi- 

Schematic Table of the Intellectual Development of i 

z Group of Idiot Children 









7. Indicating and naming of certain objects or 

pictures. Definition of obj ects by use 

Q Indicating parts of the body 








5. Distinction between that which is and is not 

food. Examination, refusal to give it back. 

Imitation of movements, and execution of 

simple orders by word or mimicry 


4 Prehension after visual perception 

3. Prehension by tactile excitation 

2. Reaction to light and sound 

1. Nothine 






tations, and executes elementary orders, such as to come, to sit, 

It is still a question whether this degree of idiocy is distinct 
from that of the knowledge of food. Constantly we have found 
the two aptitudes united; there is here a point to be decided and 
new observations to be made. 

Therefore up to this point, there is no manifestation of language. 
All these children of whom we have spoken are indeed idiots. 

We summarize in the foregoing table what we have already ex- 
plained. It will again be seen how each child has his place marked 
in a given group by the fact that he passes the test of the preced- 
ing group — while he fails in those which follow. 


From the moment language appears, the aid which it brings to 
the child is enormous. One is now at the level of children of two 
or three years, perhaps even younger, aged only twelve or fifteen 
months. We will give later more precise information. We dis- 
tinguish among imbeciles the following degrees. 

Imbecile with faculty of naming. 

Imbecile with faculty of comparison. 

Imbecile with faculty of repeating a sentence. 

It is evident that these terms are brief and need explanation. 

1. Imbecile with faculty of naming 

This is one who can reply to the question: ''What is the name of 
such and such a thing?" 

Here is an example of transition which seems to belong rather 
to idiocy. 

Debr epileptic, ten years old, can imitate. Quickly takes what 

is handed her, examines the object and as soon as she finds it is chocolate, 
kisses whoever gave it to her, and tries to run away. She unwraps the choc- 
olate quite cleverly from the paper. 

When commanded she picks up, starts to hunt, but only with a 
relative docility; she does not imitate all the simple movements 
that one tries to get her to reproduce by executing them before 
her; simply claps her hands but does not close her eyes when 


She does not show any part of her body nor of her garments 
when told to do so, takes haphazard any object from among dif- 
ferent ones on the table when asked to find a certain one, gives, 
for example, a cup when asked to do so, but gives it again when 
asked for a thimble, even though this is also on the table at her 
disposal, etc. Lastly, she does not look at the pictures in an album 
when shown, simply moistens her fingers and tries to turn the 
page. Her attention seems constantly distracted, she does not 
remain in one place, occupies herself with everything she sees 
about her. In any case she does not seem to succeed in establish- 
ing the relation between objects and their names. She does not 
therefore pass the fourth degree although her response to the 
test is better than the preceding. 

Now we come to true imbeciles with the faculty of naming. We 
do not think it worth while to make distinctions, as to whether 
they name and designate real objects and the parts of their bodies, 
or, going further, name and designate objects in a picture. 

Gava sixteen years old, microcephaUc, cannot blow her nose, 

drivels and has no control of the excretions. She pronounces only inar- 
ticulate cries except the words "mamma" and "bonbon" which can be 
understood, but she knows her caretaker, a comrade whom she seems to 
prefer, and is mostly affectionate and smiling. 

She successfully passes the first degree, executes conamands 
that refer to simple acts; throws a kiss, comes when she is called, 
picks up and gives, catches a ball which is thrown to her, takes an 
object to another person. She imitates a little, claps her hands, 
crosses her arms, puts them to her head; does not, however, close 
her eyes when commanded. She shows, however, when asked, 
her head, her ears, her nose, her apron, her shoes (only however, 
by lifting her feet), her tongue, her eyes. But she does not pay 
attention, does not even look at the group of objects from among 
which she is asked to choose one, nor the pictures in which she is 
asked to designate such or such a part; she seems timid and with- 
draws her hand. 

She is characterized by the development of her powers of imi- 
tation, simple orders accomplished, and above all the designation 
of certain parts of her body, that is to say, the exact application 
of a certain number of words heard to definite things. 

Forest is also of the same degree. She is a child very slow, 

who seemingly has great trouble in performing any movement 


whatever. She only recognizes the thimble among the objects 
shown but she designates exactly different parts of her body and 
clothing. She therefore belongs with the preceding. 

With Pige , Amy , Trompe , another round of the 

ladder is mounted. Pige is nearly twelve. She is strabismic 

and has no control of the excretions. She articulates badly but 
has, nevertheless, several words at her command. She unwraps 
very well a paper in which some one has enveloped before her 
eyes a bonbon. She imitates well, shakes the box with a penny 
in it and carries it to her ear to hear better, saying '' joujou." She 
claps her hands, puts her hands upon her hips, turns her arms, 
dances and even with a certain development when once set go- 
ing; she picks up objects, etc. She will hold her eyes shut for 
quite a long time but on condition however that the order is 
frequently repeated. 

Trompe born in November, 1895, microcephalic and 

strabismic, gives her name ''Byseter." She recognizes at sight 
a piece of wood offered her and only hesitates when a brown piece 
the color of chocolate is proffered, smiles when she sees it, takes it 
and prepares to eat it, but smells it and declares it is a ''plumeau;'' 
when chocolate is given her she takes it and runs off crying 
" thanks." She resists and grows angry if one tries to take it from 
her, and will even steal it from the table laughing, blushing and 
triumphant if she has been able to seize it. She picks up, imi- 
tates movements, closes her eyes when ordered, but does not keep 
them closed. 

Amy was born in October, 1890. She is therefore nearly 

fifteen years old. She runs but does not close her eyes at com- 
mand, puts her finger on one of them, and spontaneously says 
while pointing to it, "The clock," which indicates at once her 
lack of attention. The other tests which these children can ac- 
complish are the following: 

1 . Indication of the parts of the body. Pige shows her nose, 

her ear, her forehead, her hair, Trompe the same, and in 

addition her hands, her feet, her eyes, her thumb. Amy 

shows her hands, ears, etc., but her little finger instead of her 

As to the distinction between the right and left side, the difficulty 

seems to surpass by far that of the preceding tests. Trompe 

replies just as it happens, sometimes one, sometimes the other. 
Amy is equally unreliable. 


2. Indication and naming of objects, Pige shows without 

error cup, button, cork, candle and ribbon. Names a watch 

**tic-tac," a chapeau, ^'po," ruler, *'ru." Thompe names 

the same objects by other inventions of his own. 

Amy often designates haphazard, she gives for example no 

matter what when one asks for a cup, a little flask for a box of 
matches, a nail for a crayon, nevertheless she knows this, also the 
bell, the thimble, the ribbon. Notice also that she often points 
out an object — ' 'there !" before anyone has asked her anything; so 
if anyone asks her to show the "nitchevo" she will point out with- 
out hesitation, a bottle, and for the *'patapoum," the cup. 

She names the thimble, button, thread, does not name a piece 
of chalk and finally names a feather ^'plumier'^ (duster), a neck- 
lace ''a pearl" and gives ''machin" for a whistle and a nail. 

3. Indicating parts of a picture which are named. Pige 

points out certain things, the *'dada," ''mama," the doll, but she 
goes fast, often points out haphazard, the duster for the broom, 
the coffee-pot for the plates, etc. Finally when we say to her, 
"show the mama" she designates another object; and the table, 
she touches the table where we are working. 

Trompe points out the table, the mama, the cat, the big 

sister, the doll, the football, etc. Her manner of proceeding is 
singular enough. She sticks the finger rapidly upon an object 
before the question has been entirely formulated. Sometimes 
however she hunts, for example, the boquet, and ends by discov- 
ering it or else she makes a mistake. She may show the duster 
for the broom, the soup bowl for the coffee-mill. "Where is the 
patapoum?" she laughs and shows the broom; the "nitchevo?" 
she points out anything no matter what, but always points out 

Amy shows the table, the big sister, after having first 

designated her for the mama, the bouquet after a like error but 
she knows the window, and shows the stool for the broom, etc., 
then she tries to turn the page; she has but little power of 

4' Naming of objects in a picture. Pige names in a picture, 

a horse, bird, dog, girl (names are all more or less deformed). 
She imitates more or less well, the cries of a cat, dog, little bird, 
but not of a sheep. But when asked what the gentleman, hold- 
ing a cane, has in his hand she replies ''he holds a cake." Amy 


names the '4ady/' etc. She knows the use of objects a Uttle. A 
pencil, for example is 'Ho write." 

However primitive may be these tests which we have just passed 
in review, they are nevertheless the first experiments properly so 
. called. This is an important fact. It even shows, on the part of 
i the subject who submits to them, a faculty of adaptation already 
quite developed. In the previous cases where it was a question 
only of prehension and imitation, we have scarcely been able to 
do more than choose from among the habitual conditions of their 
ordinary life those conditions from which we could draw the con- 
clusions which we sought, and to which we were reduced from 
lack of method. Now, on the contrary, we begin to obtain from 
the child a certain sort of response made with the direct inten- 
tion of replying. 

The examples which we have given permit other remarks. We 
sometimes ask the child where in the picture such and such imagi- 
nary objects are to be found. And always something was shown 
us. This is the result of an extreme suggestibility. But why? 
The explanation is to be found in the habit so common among them 
of replying at random, and also in their evident satisfaction in any 
kind of a reply. It is as though the quality of fitness escapes them. 
Without doubt they learn from experience but without grasping 
its whole significance. Therefore they are always proud of the 
result whatever it be. We have not found a single one who re- 
pHes, ''I do not know." 

We may also note that if several objects are recognized and 
named, nevertheless the language is often defective; the word em- 
ployed is a childish one and not the proper term; moreover there 
is scarcely an unfamiliar object which does not represent an 
insurmountable difiiculty. The vocabulary thus shows itself to 
be extremely limited. 

2. Imbecile with faculty of comparison}^ This is one who can 
compare two lines or two weights; who can also repeat three fig- 
ures, but can go no further. 

We found five children belonging to this class: Ruz , 

Temple , Bouth , Bona , Delai. 

Ruz — said "Good day." Her replies are lively. She can give some 
information about her family but very childish. Her sister is named Nini. 

^^ We believe, -without being certain, that there exists an intermediate 
degree, that of imbeciles with faculty of comprehension. 


What does your father do? "He works — At what? "He sews." And 

your mother? "She walks." Temple born in 1894 has been in the 

institution since 1897. She says "Good day," gives her name and can also 
give the name and address of her parents. She is serious, attentive and 
docile; for example, she held her eyes closed for If minutes even though 

without warning a bell was rung behind her ear. Bouth born the 14th 

of September, 1897, says "Good day," gives her name, but says indiffer- 
ently she is twenty or twelve years old, but her replies are slow and her 

language indistinct. Bona is a child of twelve, somewhat sleepy 

and slow; she is beginning to read. Delai is ten years old. 

We shall pass rapidly over the tests, already accomplished by 
the preceding children and consequently easy for these. Tem- 
ple , Ruz , Bouth , show correctly the different parts 

of the body, but Temple alone seems to distinguish her right from 
her left hand; the others do not seem to attribute any sense to 
these words, because they sometimes show both sides at once 
when asked for one or the other. 

Naming of objects seems equally easy with the eyes closed, the 
objects consequently being identified only by feeling. Without 

doubt Bouth knows neither a cork nor a candle, Ruz by 

feeling mistook a paint brush for a pencil. Temple however 
gave proof of more knowledge, and knows "safety-pin", ''two 
sous." If one objects to this last reply by saying that only one 
is there, she persists in her opinion saying, "that makes two 
sous — one big one." It is not difficult however, to bring out a 

certain curious confusion of words " code" for " cord" — (Ruz ) 

"soufflet" (box on the ear) for "sifflet" (whistle). Le Temple in 
pointing out the freckles on her cheeks, called them "taches de 
doucer" (sweetness) for "taches de rousseur'' (brown, the French 
expression for freckles) . 

Definitions by use are here still very poor, matches are to "light 
the candle"; a cork, "to place near a bottle" — a nail, "to hang 
things on." 

In the picture, the advertisement, the sky and the lamp- 
lighter, puzzle her still; the advertisement is "a book, a copy book;" 
the sky is "water" and as for the lamp-lighter "he goes up the 
ladder" or "makes smoke," or finally "lights a candle." 

The mental inferiority revealed by the replies to "patapoum" 
and " nitchevo " is a little less. Ruz does not hesitate to indi- 
cate at random. Bouth shows something for the first, but 

hunts vainly for the second with her finger. Temple says at first, 
"I do not know" but shows a stool, an4 repHes for the other — 


"Le Nit — I do not see it. " In spite of all defects, one feels 
at every step an advance over the children of preceding groups. 

There are two tests, characteristic of the group, which show 
the difference more clearly. One of them consists in indicating 
the longer of two unequal lines, the other the immediate repeti- 
tion of three figures that have been repeated to the child. 

The children of the preceding group could not pass the test 

of comparison of lines. Pige always showed both lines 

when it was necessary to point out the longer, the one on the 

left. Trompe pointed to the one on the right and with the 

remainder of the lines was often wrong. Amy showed them 

both. On the contrary Temple generally replied without 

hesitation, with an approving nod of her head after each designa- 
tion, and made no mistake even when asked several times. Bona 

, Delai recognized at once the longer lines, Ruz , 

Bouth the same. When there was a catch, none of the 

children noticed it. Bouth the first, had nevertheless quite 

a long period of hesitation. But there is in the question such a 
strong suggestion that it dominated all appreciation. 

The differences of length between the lines varied greatly, 
sometimes being strikingly apparent and again scarcely per- 
ceptible. We had thought a priori that that which seemed diffi- 
cult to us would be impossible for these children. The result 
obtained was contrary to all expectation. From the moment 
they could do the test, they did it perfectly, showing a correctness 
of glance that was surprising. To speak correctly, their inferi- 
ority was not due to less sensorial acuteness but to less intellectual 
acuteness; without doubt it is the act of comparing, a very special 
function of the mind, which differentiates the preceding group 
from this special group of children. 

Amy could scarcely repeat two figures. Ruz gets 

three, but with difficulty. 





3, 6, 5 


1, 2, 9 






4, 0, 2, 8 


6, 1, 4, 7 

no reply 



Here is the test of Bouth , showing that she succeeded 

four times. 













































5 ... 8 







Bounam always succeeded, and Le Temple can re- 
peat as many as four figures: 



4, 5, 9 
f 6, 2, 1, 8 
1, 0, 9, 7 

2, 3, 4, 5, 8 
1, 0, 9, 7 

Several inversions were noted besides a tendency to give the 
numbers in their natural order 1, 2, 4, 5 (Bouth), 2, 3, 4, 5, (Le 
Temple). This characteristic tendency of intellectual weakness, 
is better brought out when six figures are to be repeated. Thus it 
often happens that a subject gives the whole series of figures 
from one to ten. This is very rare among young normals, al- 
though examples can be found. 

Let us examine Delai born February 28, 1895. 

Asked to pick a particular one from a group of objects, she 
takes one at random. She indicates exactly the longer of two 
lines of unequal length. She succeeds at the second trial in 
repeating three figures: 

O, Zf o, o, o 

5, 1, 4, 5, 1, 4 

She cannot repeat a single sentence nor indicate the difference 
between two objects. One sees at once her place. Her intel- 
lectual level is the same as the preceding. The simple enumer- 
ation of her replies suffices to satisfy us as to this. 


3. Imbeciles with ability to repeat sentences. The repetition 
of simple sentences was not possible among the children of the 
preceding group. This test was a barrier for them; it presented 
a difficulty which they could not overcome. This incapacity 

presents all degrees. Ruz could not repeat even a part of 

any sentence that was given her. Bouth , Delai re- 
peated only isolated words. Bouth asked to repeat, "I 

get up in the morning, I dine at noon and I go to bed at night," 
said, ''I bed and bed breakfast, etc." 

Q. In the summer the weather is fine, in the winter snow falls. 
A. Summer .... and .... winter. 

Delaigne. Q. I get up, etc. A. I get up at night and I go 
to bed. 

Q. In summer, etc. A. Summer .... it falls. 

Q. Germaine, etc. A. Germaine has been ba . . . . 

Among four sentences given to her, Bonamy only once for- 
mulated a sentence more or less correct: ''I get up in the morning 
I go to bed at night .... and at noon, one eats. " 

Le Temple Among six sentences given there were two 

very much abbreviated to be sure but which nevertheless made 
sense. In summer it is fine. In winter it rains. Germaine has 
been bad — scolded. Twice on the contrary she only muttered 
words almost without connection. Once she avowed her in- 
ability ''I don't know how to say that." 

Thus none of them was successful. On the contrary, here are 
new subjects who succeeded: Vaubr twelve years, micro- 
cephalic with slight goitre, who knows her age but not her date 

of birth. Tilma thirteen years. Vasie a victim of 

myxoedemia, twenty years, always smiling, executed very well 
the repetition of simple sentences. 

Here are the individual replies to this test. Vaubr "I 

get up, etc. . . ." no reply, even partial. — ''In summer, 
etc " Repetition entirely correct. 

Tilma " I get up, etc., no reply, even partial. " In summer, 

etc." Repetition entirely correct. 

Vasie , "I get up . . . . etc.", "I dine at noon, 

I go to bed at night, I breakfast in the morning," "In sunomer, 
etc. " Repetition correct. 

It can thus be seen that among the children who cannot suc- 
ceed in this test, several of them pronounce only incoherent, 



words. It would not do to attribute to this incoherence alone 
a prejudicial value because it is sometimes found among normals 
— although much younger it is true. 

There remain the children who repeat correctly the sentences 
and who therefore belong to the group we are studying at this 
time. It is interesting to observe that this test which marks 
the culmination of their faculties, is readily passed by normal 
children of five years. But the youngest of this group is twelve, 
and the oldest twenty years of age. 

Schematic Table of the Intellectual Development of a Group of Imbecile 


14. Answers to abstract sen- 

13. Rhymes 

12. Placing 5 weights in order . . 

11. Concrete differences 

10. Repetition of simple sen- 

9. Comparison of lines 

8. Repetition of 3 figures 

7. Indicating and naming of 
certain objects or pictures 
6. Indicating parts of the 


5. Distinction between what 
is food and what is not. . . 
Imitation and execution of 
simple orders 




Our third group is composed of children who succeed with 
tests more difficult than the preceding. 

A differentiating sign is lacking for this group. Language 
distinguishes the idiot from the imbecile; it seems that our next 


tests should require more intellectual initiative than the pre- 
ceding ones, should presuppose more invention, or a judgment 
in which ideas play a preponderant role. But in reality we do 
not know whether it is a question of a complication of elementary 
processes, or whether new faculties are required. Five tests, as 
for the preceding groups, will suffice to establish subdivisions 
which though of less importance at least will facilitate the ex- 
position. We shall pass them successively in review. 

Morons with faculty of reasoned comparison. The first advance 
seems to be realized by the possibility of recognizing and stating 

the difference between two given things. Etel , eighteen 

years old, is the representative type of the group. Her rephes 
were correct for the lines; she had no difficulty in repeating 
three figures; the repetition of simple sentences produced indeed 
one error, but she was correct in her other attempt. Finally this 
child distinguished herself clearly over the preceding when she 
was asked to indicate the difference between two things. 

Bon , Van ,Till , Vas , children of the pre- 
ceding groups, either did not reply or simply repeated the words 
of the question, "cardboard," "paper," ''fly/' etc. or defined 
more or less one of two things, "A fly can fly — the cardboard — 
one cuts things," etc., but did not indicate a single difference. 
These are similar to the repHes of normal children who do not 
comprehend, but who nevertheless wish to satisfy the questioner, 
but they are the replies of very much younger normal children. 
In contrast to these are the replies of Etel . 

Q. What difference is there between paper and cardboard? 

A. The paper is finer and the cardboard harder. 

Q. The difference between a butterfly and fly? 

A. A butterfly is much larger than a fly. 

Q. The difference between glass and wood? 

A. Glass is thicker. 

Certainly the last reply is not brilHant, but the whole forces 
us to recognize that the consciousness of difference is not foreign 
to this child, since she makes several correct appHcations. 

Morons with the faculty of seriation. The arranging in order of 
five weights of the same volume, requires a prolonged effort, a 
series of operations performed in a determined direction, the 
conception of an end to be attained, and the means of arriving 
there. The child is given over to his own powers; he must hold 



in his mind what is to be done, and this directing idea which has 
been given him must serve to coordinate his different acts. Three 
children examined, succeeded. But here it is interesting first to 

see how those of the imbecile group fail. Til for instance 

when asked to arrange the five weights in order beginning with the 
hghtest, contents herself by placing them side by side; when urged 
to weigh them, she takes three in one hand, two in the other, 
balances them a little as if to judge better, then places them at 

random. Etel whom we have placed among the morons, 

already seemed to handle them more skillfully, but the idea of a 
serial order escaped her. Notice on the contrary the following: 

Liss is full of life, her acts seem more intelligent, she makes 

only one mistake. Here is the order which she found 15, 12, 9, 3, 
6. She is a child of seventeen. 

Lebos (sixteen years) exclaims on seeing them, "Oh yes, 

they are all the same," but having weighed them in her hand, 
arranges them correctly. 

Janss (sixteen years) does the same in spite of her timidity. 

The same children were able to give reasoned comparisons, and 
do successfully all that precedes. The test of weights then seems 
indeed a new degree. 

Other tests. To comprehend what a rhyme is seems more sub- 
tle than arranging weights. Lebos , Janss , after the 

explanation thought that bouton and mouton did not rhyme, and 

Lisse , who seemed to understand better, could only find 

"ob^issant" and "ob^ir" to rhyme with " ob^issance. " On the 

other hand Gouven (fourteen years) gave in one minute the 

following rhymes; "souciance" "negligence" "intelligence," 
"elegance," But we add that this child had obtained her certi- 
ficate (certificat d'^tudes). We are approaching more and more 
the normal. What is the degree which separates us from the 
normal? Principally abstract questions. 

No child of the preceding group to whom we gave the abstract 
questions was able to reply correctly if the sentence was a little 
comphcated. Etel finished haphazard. 

Q. When one has need of good advice? 
A, You must take care of yourself. 

Lisse is scarcely more capable. 

Q. If one has offended you and comes to beg your pardon? 
A. "One listens." She answers simply. 


Jansee , before giving your opinion, etc. A. One must 

hunt for it. 

Lebos at least says squarely; "I do not know/' but with 

a tone of bad humor, as though vexed to be foimd in complete 

Without doubt the foregoing answers are not wholly devoid 
of sense, one could even find a certain cleverness about some of 
them. But then almost any reply might be forced to make 
sense — it is a matter of interpretation. But it is evident that the 
child is incapable of the subtlety which one would suspect if his 
words came from someone else. 

Gouv sometimes succeeds. 

Q. When one has need of good advice? 

A. One must ask one's superiors. 

Q. Instead of crying over an accident that has happened? 

A. One must try to avoid it. 

She too has misunderstood the situation. 

We have, however, two children who surpass this . Romer 

and Ferrous . Here are the replies of Romer: 

Q. Before giving advice, etc.? 

A. One must reflect. 

Q. When someone has offended you and comes to ask your pardon? 

A. One must forgive him. 

This child has already passed the other test, having found 
rhymes. The reply to this abstract question places her at once 
in a higher group. 

The ideas of Ferrous are still more active, as is shown 

by her replies to abstract questions: 

Q. When anyone asks your opinion of a person of whom you know little? 
A. Faith, I hardly know what I would say. I would say that I did not 
know his character. 

Q. Instead of crying, etc.? 
A. One repairs it if possible. 

In conclusion she was the only child who put three words in a 
sentence: '1 was in Faris and I saw a gutter; I gained a fortune.'' 

Here are two children who may rank with normal children of 
twelve years. They themselves are seventeen. It would be 
necessary to give other tests in order to compare them with nor- 



mal children of their own age. They are therefore above the 

Table of the Intellectual Development of a Group of Morons 


17. Abstract differences 

16. Cutting out 

15. Sentence with three words. . . . 

14. Answering abstract questions. 

13. Rhymes 

12. Arranging five weights 

11. Concrete differences 

10. Repetition of simple sentences 

9. Repetition of three figures 

8. Comparison of lines 

In order to characterize the morons they must be separated 
both from imbeciles and normals. The boundary on the side of 
imbecihty, we have already indicated. That on the side of 
normaUty, seems to us to consist especially in the ability to 
answer abstract questions; but it must be understood that that 
limit is especially devised for children of school age, not over 
fourteen for instance; this test would be insufficient to distinguish 
morons of twenty years and over from normals. 

In concluding with these children of Dr. Voisin's institution, 
we note that it would almost always be possible to compare 
them with normal children very much younger. We have often 
been struck with the resemblance which exists, and which can 
be called out in the reactions of normals and subnormals of a 
different age. It is possible that certain differences are hidden 
under these resemblances, and that some day we shall succeed 
in differentiating them so clearly that we shall be able to find 
signs of psychological retardation, altogether independent of age. 
Evidently it would be of great value to know these signs. But 
for the moment, that which especially strikes us is the resemblance 
between young normals, and subnormals very much older. These 
resemblances are so numerous, and so striking that truly, one 
could not tell by reading the reactions of a child whose age is 



not given, whether he were normal or subnormal. Furthermore 
it is easy to point out that certain clever remarks of precocious 
children, if they came from adults would stamp the latter as 

In conclusion, it seems to us that if our divisions and tests are 
adopted, the rank and intellectual development of each subject 
can be fixed with great precision. 

Here is one, for example, whom according to our classification 
we consider an idiot. It would be impossible for him to be 
designated by M. Magnan a moron and by M. Bourneville an 
imbecile, if they took our divisions for a guide, because we dis- 
cover that the subject does not recognize nor name the different 
parts of his body. If one adds *' idiot with prehension," one 
distinguishes him at the same time from the idiot who has only 
visual coordination and the one that knows food, which gives a 
distinct idea of his aptitudes. There would be no uncertainties 
or contradictions of nomenclature. 

Let us again recall our classification: 

(Incapacity for naming, or 
recognizing familiar ob- 
jects when named, or 
parts of the body, or ob- 
jects in a picture. Apti- 
tudes of normal children 
from to 2 years.) 

Vegetative idiot. No trace of ideas of rela- 

Idiot with visual coordination. Follows with 
his eyes a moving object (lighted match). 

Idiot with 

{Takes an object that touches 
his hand. 
Takes an object that he sees. 
Idiot who knows food. Can distinguish be- 
tween what is and what is not food. 
Idiot who can imitate simple gestures. Un- 
derstands gestures, mimics, imitates and 

(Capability for verbal nam- 
ing. Incapacity of finding 
the difference between 
known objects. Aptitude 
of normal children from 
2 to 5 years). 

Imbeciles with faculty of naming. Names 
and recognizes the principal parts of his 
body, familiar objects, pictures. 

Imbeciles with faculty of comparison. Com- 
pares two weights of 3 and 15 grams, two 
lines of 5 and 8 centimeters. 

Imbeciles with faculty of repetition. Repeats 
an easy sentence of 15 words. 

The study of moronity will be better made in the schools. 


III. Subnormals of the Primary Schools 

In the institution we have studied the idiot and the imbecile; 
the subnormals that we shall study in the primary schools are 
the morons. 

Let it be well understood in the beginning that we do not pro- 
pose a general method of diagnosis for all morons, whatever their 
age. This would be beyond our pretensions. We have studied 
only the morons of from eight to thirteen years, such as one finds 
in the schools. It is to these alone that our process appUes. 

At the time when we write these lines, every primary school 
in France has replied to a questionnaire sent out by the Minis- 
terial Commission on subnormals in which each school was asked 
to give the number of deaf mutes, bhnd, of medically subnormals, 
of the backward and the unstable.^® These lists, filled out by the 
teachers, were collected at the Bureau of Public Instruction in 
Paris, and were placed at the disposal of the ministerial commis- 
sion, of which one of us (Binet) was a member. It would there- 
fore be easy for us to know exactly how many subnormals could 
be found in the schools of Paris, and thanks to the kindly authori- 
zation of M. Bedorez, and his predecessor M. Carriot, who opened 
wide for us all the schools of the city of Paris, we could apply 
our method to the diagnosis of many hundreds of subjects. 

We are still ignorant whether the Ministerial Commission 
intends to proceed to a scientific examination in the primary 
schools — of course by the delegation of its power to certain of 

^' These distinctions have an administrative value, but very little if 
any, scientific value. We do not know what the medical subnormal means, 
which is here distinguished from the backward and the "unstable." It is 
probable that by medical subnormal we must understand idiot, and by the 
others we must understand imbeciles and morons. One of us (Binet) was 
able to take note, with the Minister of Public Instruction, of the an- 
swers made by the provinces to the ministerial questionnaire. The fig- 
ures shown are lower than it was supposed; sometimes, indeed too low to 
be exact. Certain Departments indicate as unstable only two or three 
subjects. The average figures for 21 Departments, would be 64 backward 
boys, and 38 girls; 78.3 unstables for boys, and 45.2 for girls, or a total of 
123.5 for each Department, and a total a little over 10,000 for all France,, 
exclusive of Paris. Very likely the figures for Paris will be higher than 
these, which show but 2 backward for 1000, a proportion that pleases us 
but leaves us skeptical. The total number of subnormals who are at pres- 
ent in the primary public schools of Paris would be about 3000. 


its members — in order to discover the truly subnormal children, 
and submit them to tests that would indicate their subnormal 
character. They would have very many motives for making 
this investigation: (1). The motive of control over the statistics 
which they are going to arrange. It would be well to know ex- 
actly in a certain proportion of the schools, how far the scientific 
diagnosis would accord with the judgment of the teachers; (2) 
An educational motive for the teachers; to show them in this way 
if they deceive themselves, where they have committed errors, 
and what are the criteria which they should henceforth employ 
in order to be more exact; (3) An educational motive for future 
inspectors who will be charged with the examination of subnormals, 
and who will have to decide upon their admission to the special 

An examination of the subnormal children in the schools, should 
on general principles be made without the aid of the teachers. 
These might take during the examination different attitudes 
that would be somewhat disconcerting. Without doubt the 
majority of them are too enlightened to misunderstand not 
only the scientific but the social interest of these questions, and 
one has the right to expect from them much zeal and readiness 
to give to the investigators all useful information at their dis- 
posal. But certain ones of them will commit — and have already 
committed as we have proved — errors of many kinds. 

Certain ones are absolutely hostile to an investigation of sub- 
normals. These are the timid ones who fear to have trouble with 
the parents, behind whose discontent they always fear to see the 
shadow of a municipal officer or a newspaper reporter. There 
are also the proud who feel that to admit having a subnormal 
would prove their pedagogical incompetence. There are also 
those gentle philosophers who imagine that the ideal school is 
the one where one never raises the voice, and which functions in 
the perfect stillness of routine. There are also the skeptics who 
are tired of waiting for a reform in the matter of subnormals and 
who no longer believe reform possible. Such minds will reply 
to the investigators what they have already replied to the ques- 
tionnaire: ''We have no subnormals!" or again, ''We do not 
3mow how to recognize them; that belongs to the doctors.'^ 

Others would be lead by an exaggerated zeal to make errors in 
the opposite direction. Some have already stated that they have 


50 subnormals in a school of 300. They seem to reason in the 
following way: ''Here is an excellent opportunity for getting rid 
of all the children who trouble us," and without the true critical 
spirit, they designate all wha are unruly, or disinterested in the 
scho ol. ~ ^~^ — 

For these and many other reasons, it is better that the investi- 
gator prepare himself to dispense with the help of the director, 
or at least that he be sufficiently sure of his method of procedure, 
to control and, when necessary to put to the test the information 
received from the director. The practical question which presents 
itself does not lack elegance in its simplicity; here it is: being 
given any school, whose population numbers from 100 to 800 
pupils, visit the classes and discover the subnormals scattered 
among them. Must we examine one by one all the pupils in a 
school? No, certainly not! That would be altogether useless. 
One should consider as suspicious only those children, who are 
the oldest in their class, but whose marks are almost constantly 
the lowest. One should ask the ages of the children by a col- 
lective appeal; then one should look at their reports. We our- 
selves have not had the opportunity of making this summary 
selection; but it certainly would be easy and rapid. Suppose that 
it is made. It remains to proceed to an individual examination 
of only a small number of children. 

It is this individual examination which we are now preparmg 
and hope to make easy by setting forth the investigations that 
we have already undertaken. We write the following lines with 
the conscious intention of rendering a service to future examining 
commissions who will have to pronounce upon the scholastic 
fate of subnormals. 

We voluntarily forego the help which the pedagogical and 
medical method may furnish, when those methods are completely 
organized. We shall content ourselves with employing exclus- 
ively the psychological method. We have used it ourselves in 
several schools of Paris to recognize subnormals, and it seems 
to have given us the beginnings of vital results. We first went 
to those schools whose directors are among the most intelligent 
and the most competent. Among these we note M. Vaney, the 
author of a work published in this volume, upon the measure of 
the instruction in arithmetic. M. Vaney is particularly interested 
in the question of subnormals and we had every reason to believe 
a priori that the selection of subnormals which he made in his 




school would be excellent. We, however, were eager to examine 
those whom he had chosen. We did examine them, begging him 
at the same time to mingle them with normals so that their 
identity would not be known to us. This ignorance is the indis- 
pensable condition of any just examination. It is really too easy 
to discover signs of backwardness in an individual when one is 

forewarned. This would be to operate as the graphologists did 
who, when Dreyfus was beUeved to be guilty, discovered in his 
handwriting signs of a traitor or a spy. Saganarelle also, in 
le Medecin malgre lui found the pulse of the man bad whom he 
thought to be sick. The doctor in an institution to whom the 
parents bring a supposedly defective child, does not need to show 
very much critical sense, because as a matter of fact under such 
conditions he never sends any child back, nor declares it to be 
normal. A little irony is the most salutary thing in the world 
in a case like this, and we disdain the opinion of those whom it 
could hurt. 

We have pursued our inquiries in other schools where there was 
a difference of opinion between the director and the teacher who 
had the child in her class; the director judged the child normal, 
the teacher judged it subnormal; sometimes there was a difference 
of opinion between the actual teacher and the teacher of the 
previous year. Such cases generally are difficult to decide upon, 
because the defect is slight and the retardation is not very evident; 
or it may be that it is a question of a child whose disposition is 
difficult; that is to say an unstable rather than a retarded child. 
The process which we recommend consists in applying to the 
child, without any preconceived idea, all of the tests and com- 
paring the results with those obtained from normals, without 
regard to his age. Since we possess a nearly complete series of the 
results of the tests for each age of normal children, it is easy to 
find the place of the candidate in such a series. The subsequent 
consideration of his age permits us then to know if he is backward, 
and how much below the average; and one establishes also, at 
the same time, in what faculties the retardation is most marked. 
This is the complete method; it is minute and naturally takes 
some time, possibly a half hour. Under other circumstances 
one can resort to a more rapid method, which consists in starting 
the child on the tests appropriate for his age; if he fails, his re- 
tardation is, in a way, instantly manifest. This investigation 
takes only five minutes. 



We indicate this to show how rapid the psychological method 
may be; but we disapprove of this rapidity. The matter is too 
serious to the child for us to wish to economize a few minutes of 
his time. On the contrary if the examination should last an 
hour, for instance, but given at different times, we should not 
think it too long — quite the contrary. 

When our series, a portion of which we have given in this 
article, is completed, when instead of resting upon the exami- 
nation of only 10 or 15 subjects, it rests upon 100, we shall proceed 
by comparing the supposed subnormal with the average normal 
of each age, and we shall thus see to what average age he cor- 
responds for each kind of test. This method is certainly the best 
and the most sure, because the average value represents the most 
fixed value, the ideal value. Unfortunately our data are still 
far from numerous, and we do not possess averages for each age, 
but only meager averages distributed over two years. Thus, 
provisionally, we shall make use of the results given, not only 
by the average normal, but by the most mediocre normal child. 
The latter, for different reasons, is often an exceptional type. 
It must be understood that if we use this as a standard, it is in a 
wholly provisional manner, in order to offset the insufficiency of 
our data. 


Here is a child of twelve years, Martin, who presents himself 
to us without our knowing to what class he belongs. He is sent 
to us without other information than his age. During our ex- 
amination we willingly deprive ourselves of all the indications, 
often very valuable, which the pedagogical method could furnish. 
We do not ask him to read or write and when he leaves us we do 
not even know if he can do so. In the same way we systematically 
neglect the information, always somewhat indirect but sometimes 
significant, of the medical method. Martin has a small head, 
narrow brow, and ears hke handles. It is probable that the 
careful measurements of his cephalic development would indicate 
some stigmata." Since he is past twelve years old it would be 

1^ Let us note here a few interesting results which we gathered when the 
psychological test was finished. By the development of his head, and by 
his height, Martin is subnormal; his height is 1.27 m., and the volume of 
his head is that of a 2 year old child. 


proper to commence his examination, if one wished to be rapid, 
by the series of abstract questions. But we prefer to take the 
longer route and to study the child in a more complete fashion. 

Let us begin by reasoned comparisons. Here are Martin's 

Differences: (1) The wood is larger and the glass is thinner. 

(2) The butterfly is larger and the fly is smaller. 

(3) The cardboard is thicker and the paper is thinner. 
Strictly speaking, with a good deal of indulgence one could 

allow these replies to pass, although we must note two defects; 
first the repetition of the same point of view, that of size, which 
by indolence or mental limitation is applied to three comparisons; 
and lastly an absurdity committed in comparison of wood and 
glass. We have observed a normal child of nine years, who 
twice repeated the same point of view, but committed no ab- 
surdity. Nevertheless Martin is twelve years old. He is there- 
fore by that simple experiment placed below children of nine 

Although we have not published at any length comparisons of 
resemblances, we give those of Martin. They are very poor. 

(1) The poppy is smaller than blood. 

(2) The label is smaller, the picture is square, the newspaper 
is long. 

Q. But no. You must tell me how these things are alike! 
A. They are not alike. 

(3) Fly, flea, butterfly. They are alike in the head. The 
flea, it has the head of a fly. 

All these remarks of our subject give a first impression. Martin 
shows himself at least capable of making reasoned comparisons; 
he makes them more or less well, but he does make them; there- 
fore he is superior to children of five years; and further if the 
criterion is adopted which we have already indicated, and which 
consists in distinguishing imbecility from moronity by the test 
of reasoned comparisons, he is not an imbecile. But is he a 
moron? A methodical examination will answer for us. Let us 
study separately his memory, his sensorial intelligence, and his 
abstract intelligence. 

Memory. Martin is a child who has a sufficiently good memory 
to be normal. Twice at ten days interval, he repeated for us 8 
sentences. Each time he repeated exactly and rapidly the first 



three, the easiest. At the first exammation he repeated very- 
well the 8th sentence, failed in the others and committed an 
absurdity for the 5th. ''One must not say all that one thinks, 
but one must .... (hesitation) say all that one thinks." 

At the second examination the 5th sentence is repeated ex- 
actly but trouble occurs in the 8th sentence. ''The horse draws 
the carriage, the wheel is heavy and the carriage is low." This 
is not very intelligible. 

To simmaarize, at each one of the examinations Martin succeeds 
in repeating four sentences and he commits an absurdity. Cer- 
tain normals of eleven years have done no better. So it is not 
through lack of memory that he is subnormal. There exists, 
however, a distinctive characteristic in the manner of his repeti- 
tion, speed. If anything stops him, and prevents him from re- 
peating immediately, he is lost, and can no longer give a word 
of what has been said to him. This proves that he uses only the 
memory of sound in repeating sentences, not the memory of 
ideas. This latter would be more lasting. 

The memory of pictures is more than good, it is really excellent. 
He succeeds in retaining 8 out of 13 pictures; he belongs to the 
average level of children of eleven years, is even a little in advance 
of them. This is worthy of note because we shall see that on the 
whole Martin is certainly a moron. It is therefore important to 
remark that for one psychological test a moron may make fewer 
mistakes than certain normals. We believe that this fact is of 
great pedagogical importance.^^ 

His memory for figures has two characteristics: in appearance 
it is normal, because he succeeds in repeating exactly, a series of 
5 figures, as do certain children of eleven years; he is therefore 
from this point of view almost normal, slightly inferior, however, 
because the normal repeats 6. But it is characteristic of him 
that he judges very poorly the corrections of his reproductions. 
We require him to say, "That is right" when the repetition 
has been correct, and "That is not right" when it has been in- 
correct. In the first place — a fact that is important — he does 
not submit to this convention, and he must be reminded of it 
about 8 times before he begins to give the signal spontaneously- 

** Let us say right here that Martin is not an exception to the rule con 
cerning the morons ; all the morons have a visual memory as good as the 
normals of their age. 


and again he often fails. These lapses prove to us the difficulty 
he has in learning. In the second place we learn that he is truly 
an optimist. He believes that he has correctly replied in many 
cases where he has deceived himself. Six times he declares 
"That is right," when he was wrong and only 4 times did he 
admit he was wrong, and in 3 of these he had said nothing at all. 
These are indeed characteristic errors, where the absence of 
attention borders closely on absence of judgment. Such curious 
cases require careful study. We suppose that by a strong appeal 
to the attention, by long training one might succeed in arousing 
this lagging judgment. But that would no longer be an exami- 
nation, it would be education. 

Let us note again with Martin, many inventions of figures and 
sometimes, though rarely, a tendency to follow the natural order 
in the invention. Thus one gives him the series 5, 1, 4, 8, 2, 7, 
and he announces the series 5, 1, 2, 3, 7. 

It can thus be seen that in this test so far as it goes the 
memory is sufficient. It is not through absence of memory but 
through weakness of judgment that Martin fails. These exam- 
ples show how necessary it is to carefully analyse results. A 
hasty examination would have recognized in Martin a reasonable 
memory, nothing more. 

Sensorial intelligence. Martin conducts himself here in a very 
interesting manner, which needs close examination. Let us 
begin by the comparison of lines. This test is of the desired 
simplicity. We have the intention of grasping, if possible, an 
elementary fact of sensation; but from the moment of making 
this experiment we demand also something of the judgment. 
An attentive study of Martin will show the part intelligence 
plays in the affair. Although that part is hidden, Martin reveals 
it to us; because the little slips which he makes are errors of 
judgment and all the more curious since his sensorial faculties 
seem good and, to be just, normal. 

Bending over the little lines he makes but a single error. That 
is excellent, and that error is without doubt due to a moment of 
distraction. He is therefore at the level of children of eleven 
years, only a little trait in his manner of proceeding is worth 
notice. He shows himself eager to designate something and 
begins by pointing out haphazard any one at all. Then he cor- 
rects himself quickly, spontaneously, in a way to show that his 
glance is true, in a word, normal. 


For the long lines he shows the same surety of glance. He 
makes only four errors, for the lines 6, 8, 10, 11. Children of 
eleven years make on an average from 3 to 5 mistakes, and some 
make 6 and even 7. He is therefore normal. More than this, 
starting with the 6th line, when he begins to make mistakes, he 
is seized by automatism and indicates five times in succession the 
line to the right. We rarely find with children eleven years old 
an equally prolonged automatism. And even, on taking up the 
test at another time, we obtain from Martin a complete series of 
twelve automatic replies, that is to say twelve times in succession 
he indicates the line on the right. This is truly a sign of weak- 
ness of intellect. No normal child of eleven years so far as we 
know has conducted himself in this way. 

Putting in order five weights — another test of sensorial intelli- 
gence — contains also some perceptions, but it implies that the 
weights are arranged, and that consequently the perceptions 
are directed and grouped imder the influence of a judgment 
of the whole. Here again, and perhaps in a still more characteris- 
tic manner, Martin furnishes for us a distinction between senso- 
rial perception and judgment. Considering only the errors which 
he commits, this test definitely shows his mental inferiority. See 
his manner of arranging: 

9 3 6 12 15] 
15 9 3 6 12 [ 24 errors 
15 9 3 6 I2J 

This total of 24 errors is not made by any child of eleven years, 
nor of nine years nor of seven although certain ones of the latter 
group approach this. Martin would therefore be below a child 
of seven years. And interpreting his error it is certain that it 
is not through inattention, or through fault of our explanation, 
for at different times we went over our explanation of what was 
necessary. Furthermore, Martin is satisfied with his results, 
he thinks them correct, and manifests his satisfaction with that 
naivete of amour propre which characterizes morons. 

We considered it wise to have him continue his arrangements, 
in order to see if through repetition he would manifest any prog- 
ress. There has been none. Here are his successive arrange- 












14 errors 
















14 errors 






Martin uses only one hand, the right. He scarcely compares 
the two weights. He seems only to hunt for one, the heaviest. 
In fact, the box of 15 grams is now always correctly placed. 
This is curious enough. The errors with the other boxes are 
erratic enough, but an error with 15 is never committed. It is 
even with great cleverness that Martin discovers this box of 
15 grams. He goes at it with the surety of instinct. In order to 
prevent him from recognizing the boxes by sight we have envel- 
oped all in paper which makes then! exactly similar. With the 
boxes wrapped in paper, Martin has made the following arrange- 
ments : 

15 9 6 12 3] 

15 12 6 9 3 [ 12 errors 

15 6 9 3 I2J 

12 6 15 3 9] 

15 6 12 9 3 [ 18 errors 

15 9 3 6 I2J 

No progress has been made and the box numbered 15 remains 
in correct position. There is nevertheless with Martin a very 
good sensorial function, since he succeeds in recognizing the 
heaviest of 5 weights but this judgment does not permit him to 
understand the order of the other four. This is precisely the 
type of error made by children seven years old, and it is interesting 
to see that mental state retained by a child of eleven years. It is a 
striking proof of the fact that the sensorial faculty may be good 
but the judgment poor. Let us finish by the test of paper cutting, 
the last of those upon sensorial intelligence. He draws an angle, 
not closed, small and not in the center of the paper; he is there- 
fore very inferior to children of eleven years. 

Abstract intelligence and language. His inferiority to children 
of his own age is pronounced in these respects. He fails in the 
rhymes; he gives the following words as rhyming with ob^issance; 
ob^i, obeissante, sage, dissip^. After a minute we renew the 
explanation which has no other result than to make him pro- 


nounce the word, ''ob^i." Scarcely any child of nine years 
would commit a similar absurdity. 

But it is chiefly in the series of abstract questions that his 
deficiency shows itself. This series alone would be sufficient to 
characterize him, and so definitely that other tests seem super- 
fluous. We shall now give the exact replies, generally very 
brief, and we shall follow them with our marks as for normal 

There are no less than 8 absurdities, 3 silences and 4 replies 
marked 3 or 4. 

By the number of these absurdities he is very much inferior to 
the worst children of nine and eleven years. There were only 
two children of seven years who committed a number of absurdi- 
ties approaching his, that is to say seven. 

1. Go to bed, 1. 

2. Cover up well, 1. 

3. One must hurry, 1. 

4. Put on a raincoat, 1. 

5. Go on foot, 3. 

6. One must wait, 2. 

7. One must pay, 2. 

8. One must tell the teacher, 1. 

9. Get the firemen, 1. 

10. Silence. 

11. Listen, 3. 

12. One does not know, 2. 

13. To pay the rent, 1. 

14. Silence. 

15. Must not go, 4. 

16. One must work, 2. 

17. One must not listen, A. 

18. One must do nothing, A. 

19. A fight, 3. 

20. Nothing, A. 

21. Because he has done harm, A. 

22. Because he is worse and then he is not so bad, A. 

23. Because he wishes to quit, A. 

24. Because it was a good thing, A. 

25. One does not do it, A. 

To recapitulate, Martin is a child whose sensorial faculties and 
memory for immediate repetition are normal; but even in the most 
elementary experiments slight details already betray his lack 
of judgment. He lacks judgment first in certain tests of sensorial 


intelligence (like arranging weights) and especially in verbal 
tests implying abstract ideas. For all these points he has scarcely 
the level of children of seven years so that he is retarded five 
years, since he is twelve years old. This case is interesting be- 
cause of the evidence of mental inferiority. In the school, one 
meets with morons, but they are seldom of as profound a charac- 
ter as Martin. He represents one of the lowest grades above im- 

We shall now study more rapidly a second type of mental 
inferiority much more frequent than the preceding. 


Raynaud is a young boy of eleven years with fine regular fea- 
tures. He has nothing subnormal in his physique nor in his 
manners. The impression which he makes is much more favor- 
able than that of Martin. Nevertheless when examined closely, 
one finds he has a rather weak cephalic development. His head 
is the size of that of a child of 5 years, a retardation of six years, 
which without being unknown among normals, is nevertheless rare. 
We did not take the measurement, be it well understood, until 
after the psychological examination was ended. His height is 
normal, 1.4 meters. 

During the examination there is a marked contrast of manner 
with that of Martin. In proportion as Martin is quick, Raynaud 
is slow. He can scarcely make up his mind to reply; he is un- 
decided, pained almost, and contracts his brows as if in distress. 

The test of reasoned comparisons is favorable. 

He gives concrete differences. 

The paper is light, and the cardboard is heavy. 

The fly is smaller. 

Wood is less heavy than lead. 

He is therefore not an imbecile. 

We shall not give in detail all the tests — that would be tedious 
and useless. We give a summary. 

Memory. Raynaud is weak, weaker than Martin, although 
superior in judgment, as will hereafter appear. He correctly 
repeats only three out of 8 sentences, which is few. His memory 
is therefore defective, although not below some normals of eleven 

^' According to M. Vaney, this subject is 4 grades backward in figures. 
It is only in the last year that he has been able to read well. 


years. Moreover his trouble comes from his slowness in replying. 
So also for numbers, he does not exceed four; on the whole he does 
not go so far as Martin, nor as normals of his age; on the other 
hand he never deceives himself, or very seldom, and at once 
corrects the error that he commits. Thus he has a poor memory, 
this is one of his weak points. This is probably a particular 
form of memory, the slow form as though beniunbed. 

Sensorial intelligence. He succeeds very well in all the tests 
and commits only one error with the short lines and only two for 
the long. He is therefore in this respect superior to normals of 
his age. 

For the arrangement of weights, he makes no mistake, uses 
both hands, weighs with care, five times in succession he makes 
not a single error. 

For the paper cutting he draws a central diamond. 

Here is a child who in spite of his moronity, as we shall observe 
in an instant, has a good, an excellent sensorial intelligence. With- 
out doubt it is this which should be cultivated in him rather than 
yoking him to abstract notions. 

Abstract intelligence. Several preliminary tests show his 
weakness; he cannot find a single rhyme, and he cannot make a 
synthesis of three words in a sentence. But it is chiefly in his 
manner of replying to abstract sentences that he reveals himself. 
He has 6 absurd replies, 5 silences and only 4 replies marked 3 
or better. This places him on a level with children of seven years 
and he is but slightly superior to Martin. 

Here then is the opinion which one must form of this pupil. 
He is a moron; and represents a type which we believe quite 
common, the moron with sensorial intelligence. One frequently 
encounters this combination. The sensorial intelligence of Ray- 
naud is better than that of Martin, and the proof is the skill 
with which he arranges the weights, and draws the cut in the 
paper. If Martin is low grade moron type, Raynaud represents 
a type of intellect a little higher. 

Let us recall as a particular trait of Raynaud, his indolence of 

It seems to us that intelligent pedagogy could gain much from 
these facts.2° 

20 M. Vaney says that Raynaud is retarded. This child has been in 
school for 5 years; he is only in the second grade in arithmetic. He was 
not able to read until 9^ years old. 



A few words will suffice to characterize young Ernest. The 
director of the school and the child's teacher do not agree in re- 
gard to him. The teacher thinks he understands, and believes 
him to be normal. The director insists that he has only attained 
the third grade in arithmetic in spite of his 5 years in school, and 
that he had difficulty in learning to read; therefore he is disposed 
to consider him retarded. Who is right? 

Assuredly the director. It is not out of respect for those in 
authority that we agree with him, it is because the psychological 
method proves it. 

The error of the teacher comes no doubt from the fact that he 
compares him with very much younger pupils, aged from seven 
to nine years, who are in the same class, and does not take into 
account the difference in age; this is one of the reasons why 
teachers so often give defective reports of their pupils. 

One might also make allowance for this child because he suffers 
from a malady which occasions absence from school, but the 
psychological examination removes all doubt. Ernest is mediocre 
but not below normal for the memory of sentences (3 sentences 
repeated, and 2 absurdities) and for the memory of figures (4 
figures only; here is evident retardation, but not lack of judgment). 
His memory is weak. 

Sensorial intelligence is normal; 6 errors for the long lines, 2, 7, 8, 
10, 11, and none for the short; he arranges the weights 3 times 
without error and completes the gaps with one error in three 
attempts. He draws a central diamond. 

So far Ernest would be normal but abstract intelligence is 
deficient in him as in Raynaud and most other defectives. He 
is in the same class as Raynaud only slightly less marked. For 
abstract questions he has 5 absurdities, 1 silence, and 10 replies 
marked 3 or better. This is a little better than Raynaud gave 
us. But one sees at the same time that this is the level of children 
of seven years; and moreover normal children of seven years are 
more prudent; when they do not understand, they keep silence 
and here is truly a condition where silence is golden. 

These three little psychological biographies show clearly what 
is most lacking in morons. It is abstract intelligence. In a 
rapid examination one might be satisfied to give them 7 or 8 of 




these abstract questions. They would serve immediately to 
classify them. 

We may be excused from developing here a long conclusion. 
One word will suffice. We have only wished to prove that it is 
possible to find in a precise and truly scientific way, the level of 
intelligence, to compare that level with a normal level, and con- 
sequently to conclude how many years a child is retarded. In 
spite of the inevitable errors of an initial work, which is mere 
groping, we believe we have made our demonstration. 

A. BiNET AND Th. Simon. 


UAnnee Psychologique 1908 

"The Measurement of Intelligence" is, perhaps, the most oft 
repeated expression in psychology during these last few years. 
Some psychologists affirm that intelligence can be measured; 
others declare that it is impossible to measure intelligence. But 
there are still others,^ better informed, who ignore these theoretical 
discussions and apply themselves to the actual solving of the 
problem. The readers of UAnnee^ know that for some time we 
have been trying approximations, but they were not so well thought 
out as are those which we now present. 

We have constantly kept in mind the point of view of pedagogy, 
normal as well as pathological. For several years we have tried 
to gather all the data and material capable of shedding light upon 
the intellectual and moral character of children. This is by no 
means the minor part of pedagogy, the least important, nor the 
least difficult. We set for ourselves'^the following program: first, 
to determine the law of the intellectu^ development of children 
and to devise a method of measuring their intelligence; and, 
second, to study the diversity of their intellectual aptitudes. 

We hope that we shall be able to keep faithfully to this rather 
extensive program, and especially that we shall have the time and 
the strength to realize it, but already we see that the subject is 
far richer than we at first imagined. Our minds always tend to 
simplify nature. It had seemed to us sufficient to learn how to 

* We have sometimes been accused of being opposed with blind infatua- 
tion, to all theory and to the a priori method. It is an unjust reproach. 
We admit the use of theory before the experimental researches, in order 
to prepare them and afterwards to interpret them; what we strongly re- 
ject, are theoretical discussions which are either intended to take the place 
of an exploration of facts or which are established upon obscure, equivocal 
and legendary facts, such as are gathered from books, for this is what cer- 
tain people call observing; it is reading. In our opinions, the ideal of the 
scientific method must be a combination of theory and of experimenta- 
tion. Such a combination is well defined in the following formula: pro- 
longed meditation upon facts gathered at first hand. 

« See Ann^e, XI, p. 163 and ff. 




measure the child's intelligence. This method of measurement 
we now set forth, which if not complete is at least established 
upon correct lines, and already usable. But our experience has 
taught us that there are other problems equally important con- 
nected with this. The child differs from the adult not only in 
the degree and quantity of his intelligence, but also in its form. 
What this childish form of intelligence is, we do not yet know. In 
our actual experiments we have only caught glimpses of it. It 
certainly demands careful study. Moreover, in trying to trace 
the lines of development of the child's intelligence, we naturally 
were led to cast a glance at the program of studies, and we have 
found that certain of these studies are premature, that is to say 
poorly adapted to the mental receptivity of young children. In 
other words, the relation between the child's intellectual develop- 
ment and the course of study constitutes a new problem, engrafted 
upon the first, the practical interest of which is very great. There- 
fore, before studying the intellectual aptitudes of children we 
shall be obliged to stop a while at these two stages : (1) special 
characteristics of the child mind, and (2) the relation between the 
intellectual development of children and the instruction which 
they receive. In the present article will be found some attempts 
to solve these interesting questions. 

For the moment we must content ourselves with studying what 
pertains to intellectual development and the processes to be used 
in measuring it. It will be seen that these researches will inter- 
est not only the dilettanti in psychology but certainly will render 
great service to psychiatry and to medico-legal surveys. 

Let us limit our subject still further. In previous publications 
we have shown that it is possible to divide the methods of measur- 
ing intelligence into three groups: (1) the anatomical method, 
(measurement of the cranium, of the face, of corporeal develop- 
ment; observation and interpretation of stigmata of degeneracy, 
etc.); (2) the pedagogical method (measurement of knowledge 
acquired at school, principally in spelling and arithmetic); (3) 
the psychological method (measurement of the uncultured in- 
telligence) . All these phases of the same study are rapidly being 
developed thanks to the collaboration of a few persons whom we 
have succeeded in interesting in them, but we shall present else- 
where the anatomical and pedagogical study. Here we shall 
consider only the psychological measurement of intelligence. 


This measurement is taken by means of a series of tests, the 
gradation of which constitutes what we call a ''Measuring Scale 
of Intelligence." It is important, above all, to set forth these 
tests with sufficient precision to enable any one to repeat them 
correctly who will take the trouble to assimilate them.^ 

To avoid making our description a monotonous methodology, 
we shall describe and discuss many of the replies obtained from 
children by these tests, and we shall try through all our experi- 
ments to let the reader form a picture of the child in the course of 
its development. 

Children of Three Years of Age 

Pointing to nose, eyes, and mouth. One of the clearest signs of 
awakening intelligence among young children is their under- 
standing of spoken language. For a long time the young child 
understands only gestures, and our speech has affected him only 
by the intonation of the voice. Idiots are beings who remain 
all their lives in this elementary stage unable to communicate 
with their fellows through language. The first step toward 
acquiring a language is its comprehension. We understand the 
thoughts of others expressed in speech before we are able to ex- 
press our own. Consequently, the first test is given to show that 
the child understands the meaning of ordinary words ; the simplest 
way that he can prove this without speech is to execute a spoken 
command in the fashion of the mute; our test consists therefore 
in ordering him to touch the parts of his face which he knows 
best, the nose, the mouth, the eyes. One could equally well show 
him a picture containing familiar objects, and when his atten- 
tion became fixed upon the picture one could ask him some verj^ 

' The work that we here publish is so long and minute that to shorten it 
we omit an historical sketch ; it will be found however in a previous vol- 
ume, of VAnnee psychologique (Vol. XI, p. 163). Let us recall also that 
M. Decroly and Mile. Degand have been kind enough to take up and verify 
our first investigations with a care for which we congratulate them, and that 
the Societe de pedologie de Bruxelles has put these investigations in their 
schedule of work. All our successive experiments and certain new ones 
have been made either at I'Asile Sainte-Anne, or at la Salpetri6re, or in 
the primary and maternal schools of Paris. They bear therefore always 
upon children of the so-called working class. This is a fact to be 


simple questions invitiDg an analysis. One might ask, for example, 
"Where is the chair?'' ''Show me the baby," "Show me the 
window," etc. A priori y it might be thought that the child 
would have more trouble in recognizing an object in a picture, 
than a real object. Our drawings and pictures are on flat sur- 
faces, and by the artifice of perspective represent the three di- 
mensions of real things. They are, moreover, very much reduced 
in size. One might conclude that for these reasons it is more 
difficult to recognize a pictured object than a real object which is 
before one and which has color, relief, and its actual size, but this 
is only an a priori objection. 

In fact, every child who finds his mouth and nose, when they 
are named to him, finds equally well the objects which he is asked 
to look for in a picture, on condition of course that these objects 
are familiar to him and are drawn with sufficient correctness. 

To conduct this test, one must look closely at the child, at- 
tract his attention, and repeat several times, "Show me your 
nose," or, "Put your finger on your nose," and repeat the same 
order for the eyes and the mouth. Sometimes the child does not 
execute the movement because he is distracted or because he is 
bashful and is ashamed of what is requested of him. But, as a rule, 
with a little insistence he is readily made to obey. Sometimes a 
child shows his nose by thrusting his face forward, without mak- 
ing any movement with his hand, or indicates his mouth by 
opening it, as an animal would do. There is, indeed, an animal 
period when the hand is still a paw and not an organ serving to 
make signs and expressive gestures. Since this test and those 
following are intended especially for the children of the Maternal 
School it is necessary that whoever makes the experiment know 
beforehand that many among the very young children, especially 
those three or four years old, remain silent and motionless when 
they are asked questions. Some decide to perform little acts 
such as pointing to the nose but do not want to speak; speech 
seems to be harder to them than gestures. The directresses of 
the Maternal School can always point out children who in the 
classroom never answer the teacher, sometimes even after two 
years of acquaintance. The greater number of these silent chil- 
dren speak and prattle with their companions, and are mute 
only in the class-room. Others, indeed, speak to no one — neither 
teacher nor school companions, but do speak in their homes, at 


least so their parents assure us. The teachers have great trouble 
in training them. We recall a charming directress of the Mater- 
nal School at Fontainebleau who told us that for two years she 
could not succeed in making a little four-year-old boy talk, but 
finally succeeded with the help of a cat. One day she left the 
child in a room with the animal, and, little by little, the child 
spoke to the cat and said '^Good morning, pussy." From that 
moment the miracle had taken place, his tongue had been loosened. 
One may easily imagine the difficulty attending such an experi- 
ment when such cases of silence are met with. What is to be done? 
It is often useful to ask the teacher to interfere. If she is intelli- 
gent enough, she will know how to talk to the little folk, to re- 
assure them and make them respond. A little caress to one, a 
little chiding to another, and all goes well. Sometimes we have 
seen children declare they could not perform what was requested of 
them, and remain obstinate in their refusal. For instance, upon 
being asked to make a bow with some ribbons, they not only would 
not do it, but even refused to touch the ribbons; yet after having 
been rather severely reprimanded they would consent and would 
then make an attractive bow. 
^. Repetition of sentences.^ After the comprehension of words, 
the most simple manifestation of language consists not, as might 
be believed, in expressing a thought, in giving the name of an 
object, but in the repetition of a word spoken before him. We 
have discovered that it is easier to repeat a word than to take the 
initiative in speaking, that is to say to pass from the idea to the 
word. We have found proof of this among imbeciles, and it 
helps us in the study of the normal child. The repetition of a 
word or a sentence is rather easily obtained from young children, 
say three years of age, if the child is willing to try. But it is 
sometimes difficult to know if the repetition is correct, for the 
young child has a natural defect in pronunciation, which we call 
^^hafouillage" and which consists in mutilating the words or in 
articulating them indistinctly. These mumblings are not due to 
a definite defect of pronunciation which might be caused by an 
anatomical defect nor to an imperfect functioning of the phonetic 
organs. It is due simply and wholly to awkwardness and not 
only affects the articulation of the words, but also modifies their 

* See also p. 58, 1905 scale. 


intellectual value; thus, instead of saying, ^^Tai donne deux sous au 
mendianV (I gave two sous to the beggar), he will say, ''dla 
mendiant;" and instead of saying "II nefaut pas fair e de mal aux 
oiseaux, " (You must not hurt the birds) he will say "a les oiseaux.'* 
Moreover other errors, very much like these, consist in replacing 
the language of adults by childish language. Instead of saying, 
"Nous irons a la campagne^' (We are going to the country) they 
say, "On ira a la campagne" (One will go to the country). 

For this test the following sentences are to be used which have 
been purposely composed of words easily understood. 

"It rains. I am hungry. " (6 syllables.) 

" They call me Gaston. Oh! the naughty dog. " (10 syllables.) 

"We are going for a walk. Mary, let me see your pretty hat.'^ 
(16 syllables.) 

These sentences are to be said with expression by the experi- 
menter. Do not tolerate any kind of error in the repetition. 
If the child remains silent, intimidated, set him going by having 
him repeat shorter sentences; here we give our whole game: 

"Papa.'' (2 syllables.) 

"My hat. Her shoe." (4 syllables.) 

"It rains. I am hungry.'' (6 syllables.) 

"I have a handkerchief. I have clean hands." (8 syllables.) 

"They call me Gaston. Oh! the naughty dog." (10 syllables.) 

"It rains in the garden. Joseph does his lessons. We are hav- 
ing a pleasant time. I caught a little mouse. " (14 syllables) . 

"We are going for a walk. Mary, let me see your pretty hat." 
"Charlotte has just torn her pretty dress. I gave two sous to a poor 
beggar." (18 syllables.) 

"My child, it is not right to hurt the birds. It is dark, everyone 
should be in bed. " (20 syllables.) 

A three-year-old child repeats a sentence of 6 syllables. He 
can not repeat one of 10. 

Repetition of figures.^ The repetition of figures requires about 
the same kind of effort as that of sentences, except that the sense 
of figures is less obvious than that of words; in this case no help 
is gained from the comprehension of what is said; greater atten- 
tion is required and the task is more difficult. It is a natm-al 
conclusion, therefore, that a child three years old who can repeat 

^ See p. 53, 1905 scale. 


a sentence of six words cannot repeat more than 2 figures, which 
shows that, owing to the suggestion of ideas the power of memory 
is as it were trebled. 

The method of performing this experiment is as follows : 

One warns the child that he must listen and then repeat what 
is said to him. Begin by pronouncing a single figure. The child 
repeats it. Next pronounce two figures which are not consecutive, 
for example, 3-7, or 6-4, etc. Pronounce these slowly, at an 
interval of half a second. If there is any error in the repetition, 
or if the child has defective speech which prevents the exact un- 
derstanding of what he has said, begin again. It suffices for the 
test to be passed if the exact repetition is correct once out of three 
trials. If the child can repeat two figures, try three, at the same 
rate of two a second always avoiding intonation. Here again 
one success out of three trials suffices for the test to be passed. 
Many young children three years old, who easily repeat two figures, 
are incapable of repeating three. The addition of one more figure 
enormously increases the difficulty. If three figures can be re- 
peated, try five, always imder the same conditions of speed and 
pronunciation, accepting one success out of three trials. 

Note also how much more difficult it is to repeat five figures 
than three. The errors made by children in these various repe- 
titions are of several kinds; first, complete silence; second, de- 
fective pronunciation, a sort of vagueness or haziness in the pro- 
nunciation; third, partial repetition with a tendency to give only 
the last figures heard, sometimes only the last one; and fourth, 
a tendency to invent figures which have not been given. This 
is no haphazard invention. It is an application of the natural 
order of the figures. For instance, a subject who has been given 
the series 5, 8, 2, 7, 4 readily says, 5, 8, 2, 3, 4, because the "2*' 
naturally calls up the "3." Sometimes this phenomenon is still 
more marked, and is so striking that it indicates great weakness of 
the critical sense. A young child, who has completely forgotten 
the figures 0, 8, 2, 7, 9, will say 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. 

Presentation of a picture. With children pictures render in- 
valuable service. The eyes of even the most inattentive child 
shine when he is shown a picture. It is an almost certain means 
of captivating him. Pictures may serve many ends; as we have 
already said they may be used for the designation of objects. 
We shall now show how they may be used to make a child talk. 



A preceding test has shown us that the child passes from the word 
to the designation of the object. Now let us try to make him do 
the reverse, which is infinitely more difficult for him, making him 
pass from the object to the word. Here the object is a picture, 
a scene full of meaning, containing a multitude of objects which 
he knows and at which he likes to look. Let us ask him to tell 
us what he sees. Not only will he talk and bring all of his vocab- 
ulary to bear upon the expression of his ideas, but he is free to 
look at and to choose what he pleases in the picture; he will, 
therefore, show us what to him is most striking, and, at the same 
time, what idea directs him, what is his mentality , how he perceives, 
how he interprets, how he reasons. 

This test has the remarkable advantage of serving in the diag- J 
nosis of three different intellectual levels. The replies indicate v 
whether the subject is at the intellectual level of three, seven or 
twelve years. Very few tests yield so much information as this 
one. If we add that this test is one which pleases young children 
the most, and succeeds in overcoming the obstinate silence of the 
very smallest ones we are justified in concluding that we have 
found here, by chance, a test of exceptional value. We place it 
above all the others, and if we were obliged to retain only one, 
we should not hesitate to select this one. 

We used the three pictures which are reproduced in the text. 
We could, if necessary, substitute other similar pictures, but these 
are of known difficulty which has been measured, and, therefore 
should be preferred to others. All of them contain persons and a 
theme. This is the essential requisite. They are mounted on 
cardboard. We present them one after the other to the child, 
asking him, ''What is this?" Sometimes if the child is very 
young, he answers naively, "It is a picture," or, *'It is a post 
card." We then ask the question in another form. ''Tell me 
what you see there." It is very rare, altogether exceptional, 
that the child remains silent. Even a three-year-old child casts 
a glance of curiosity at the picture, which lends itself to the most 
childish, as well as to the most learned reflections. The replies \J 
obtained are of three distinct types, each of which characterizes 
a different intellectual level. / 

1. Replies by enumeration. These are the most elementary. \/ 
The young child simply names the people and the objects which 
he recognizes in the picture. He enumerates them without 



establishing any connection between them. He simply pro- 
nounces common nouns. In its most elementary form, this 
amounts to saying, "a man, a woman, a papa, a carriage, a little 
child." Or, again, some very young children use the definite 
article, as 'Hhe child," 'Hhe man," 'Hhe lady." Sometimes 
instead of indicating people, objects are singled out, "a, bed," 
or perhaps, '' a table. " Notice that it is the object which is named 
and not the action. A child three years old will say, "a. man;" 
we never have found one who said, looking at the second picture, 


"he is sleeping;" not one who paid attention to the action, or to 
the characteristics of the persons. At least a child three years 
old who would make such a remark would be far superior to his 
\^ age. At three years, therefore, the child is at the stage of recog- 
nition and identification of objects. This is the important, funda- 
mental work of sensory perception, the one in relation to which all 
the other processes of perception are complementary and acces- 



One would suppose the development of this fundamental proc- 
ess of identification might take place in many different ways. 
In reality it takes place by simple addition, i.e., the number of 
objects identified increases. For each picture, two, three or four 
objects are designated instead of one. When there are several^ 
identifications, another question arises, that of order. Accord- 
ing to our observations a child looking at our three pictures singles 
out people first, but there are exceptions to this rule, for sometimes 
an inanimate object is named first. Thus, for the third picture: 

FIG. 2 

"Two tables, a chair, a bed, a man." For the second picture: 
"a, man, a woman, a bench." For the first: ''a cart, a man, a 
pail, a basket." At times, through suggestion, a curious mistake 
arises in the examination of the first picture. Looking at the 
cart the child says, "a cart, a horse." 

There is a third stage rather superior to the preceding: the 
names are no longer given separately, but are connected in a very 
elementary manner with the conjunctions and, with, and then, 
e.g., "a man and a woman^' "a cart and then a man'^ ''a man with 


a woman," etc. Occasionally with rather old but backward 
children, we meet with a type of answer by enumeration, which 
presents very special characteristics. The enumeration persists 
but a great number of objects are designated, whereas, on the 
contrary, the enumeration of a very young normal child is very 
brief. This difference is easily explained. A backward child, 11 

FIG. 3 

years old, who has only the intellectual level of a child of 6 or 7 
years, has, nevertheless, the advantage over the latter of a larger 
experience; having lived longer, he has at his command a more 

extensive vocabulary. For example: Mad , a boy ten and a 

half years, who has the intellectual level of a child of seven years 
(we shall explain later how we are able to determine the intellectual 


level so accurately) gives us the following detailed enumeration 
when looking at the first picture. "7 see an old man, and also a 
child, there is a flood, there is water, a carriage, a basket, a brush, 
a pail, two wheels, a carpet. '^ Another still more characteristic 

example of enumeration full of details is afforded by Lau , a 

child 13 years old, who intellectually is four years retarded. He 
said, "A man, a cart, a child, a pail, a basket; back there a piece of 
wood, back there rocks. " In all these instances we record the type 
of answer which is given most frequently. 

^. Replies by description. This belongs to the level of seven years . 
whereas the answers by enumeration are of the level of three years. 
One sees that the difference is great. The characteristics of the / 
people and the nature of the things are now pointed out. More- 
over, attention is paid to the relation of objects, with the result 
that instead of simple words, sentences are used. For example: 
. First picture. There is a man and a little boy pulling a cart. 

Second picture. A man and a woman are sleeping on a bench. 

Third picture. There is a man standing on his bed to look through 
the window. A man looking in a mirror. 

S. Replies by interpretation. The subject of the scene, or the V 
nature of the people is simply indicated either by a suggesting 
word, or by comments, and often there is an element of emotion, 
of sadness or of sympathy. This emotion may have been present 
in children who gave simpler answers, but they did not know how 
to express it. 

The answers which follow we call answers by interpretation, 
because the comments go beyond what is visible in the picture; 
there is a real search for causes, a conjecture. First picture. A 
rag picker. There is a poor man moving his household goods. They 
are people who are moving away without having paid the rent. There 
is a working man. Second picture. It is poverty. An unfortu- 
nate. They are unfortunates sitting on a bench who have no home 
where they can go to sleep. It is night, there are unfortunates. 
Third picture. A prisoner. This shows a prisoner, a man who is 
in prison, who is standing on his bed to look through the window of 
his prison, which is barred. The words unfortunate, moving 
away, and prisoner used in the answer warrant us in concluding 
that the theme of the picture has been interpreted. 

We cannot resist making a philosophical remark upon the 
hierarchy which we have made of these replies. An onlooker who 



is opposed to this theory, might object that the answers by descrip- 
tioD are superior to those by interpretation, because they are less 
liable to error, they state only known facts, adding nothing to 
them, whereas the interpretation is conjectural and may be sim- 
ply fancy. "Hypotheses non jingo, ^^ this critic observes. We 
know that this has occasioned many discussions in science. The 
fact which we have just gleaned from our studies with children, 
well deserves to be considered as an argument in the debate. 
^Since only older children attempt interpretation we are obliged 
to conclude that interpretation belongs to an intellectual level 
.superior to that of description. But the question is complicated, 
for not only must attention be paid to the intellectual level but 
also to the deviations and errors which may occur in this same 
level. We recall having shown our pictures to an adult of whose 
stupidity we were well aware. His interpretations were many and 
of a peculiar order. For example, the first picture inspired the 
following reply: "It is a scene ivhich is taking place in the month of 
February.^' Let us analyze this conjecture. It is evidently an 
interpretation, but without apparent foundation, and one that is 
impossible to confirm or to refute. The scene could have taken 
place equally well in October, November, December, January or 
even March. Why then this precision which is so useless and un- 
warranted? The reply of this, individual must be ranked among 
interpretations, and in our classification it is superior to the de- 
scriptive reply of a seven year old child; but, besides this, it dis- 
plays a lack of judgment, and this lack of judgment is independent 
of the hierarchy of the replies. 

Family name. We conclude this brief study of the three year 
old child by asking him for a bit of information which he should 
possess — his family name. All children of this age, of course, 
know their first name, or the diminutive by which they are 
usually called. But the family name is less familiar to them. 
Nevertheless, they are asked for it in the school; at the Maternal 
School they are usually addressed by their family name. 

We ask a child therefore, ''What is your name?" If he replies 
only by his first name we insist on knowing his family name 
" Roger? And then? And what else? etc." 

It happens sometimes that the child gives another name than 
the one by which he is enrolled. To explain these errors one must 
remember that there are many illegitimate children, and, what is 

1908 SCALE — FOUR YEARS 195 

more pitiable, the child's mother has had different husbands, and 
the name which the child bears in succeeding years is not always 
the same. 

When a child is not able to give his family name one must not 
ask him for that of his mother, for this question is too difficult for 
a three year old child, and the reply ''She's called Mama" cannot 
be taken as a bad answer for this age. 

Children Four Years of Age 

Sex of the child. ''Are you a little boy or a little girl?" Such 
is the very simple question which we ask. Not all three year old 
children answer this question. The correct reply is, "A little 
girl," or "A little boy." Sometimes the child simply says," Yes,'^ 
or, "No." Under these circumstances ask two separate questions, 
"Are you a little boy?" "Are you a little girl?" At this age the \^ 
least thing distracts a child. 

Three year old children may make a mistake, but a normal 
four year old child will always answer correctly when asked its sex. 
Besides, it is reasonable to suppose that between the third and '■■■ 
fourth years a marked change takes place in the mental state of 
the child. 

Naming familiar objects. This is another exercise of spoken 
language, but is not at all like the language suggested by the pic- 
tures, being much more difficult. In a picture the child named 
what interested him, or what he could name, whereas in this test 
the object is shown him and he must tell the name of that object 
and not of some other. Perhaps at first sight this is a distinction 
which seems trivial, but in reality it is very significant, the proof 
of which is that the majority of three year old children succeed in 
the test with the pictures, but fail at giving the names of objects. 
Moreover, objects are a little less familiar than men and women, 
which the child names by preference in the picture. 

Show the child three familiar objects one after the other, a key, 
a closed pen-knife, and a sou, and ask him, "What is this?" 
"What is it called?" The key is named readily though sometimes 
with defective enunciation. The pen-knife is usually called a 
knife, and the sou, sous. We excuse these trifling errors, but the 
names of the three objects must be correct. 

We chose these three objects because any experimenter ordi- 


narily has them in his pocket, and in order to avoid as much as 
possible the trouble of preparing special materials. 

Repeating three figures. This test is given as the test with the 
two figures. We need not repeat.* 

Comparing two lines. Here is another test, whose difficulty 
could not be foreseen. An imbecile who understands when told, 
*'Go shut the door," and who executes the verbal order given 
without gesture or glance, can not compare the length of two 
lines placed before him. Does he see that the two lines are of un- 
equal length? It is possible. If he were offered two crackers 
would he take the longer one to eat? That is yet to be investi- 
gated. But he does not understand the words, "the longer;" he 
does not comprehend that he is required to make a comparison, 
and so he stupidly puts his finger in the space between the two lines. 
A three year old child does the same. It is only at four years 
that they perform the operation correctly. 

The test is conducted as follows. On a sheet of white paper draw 
with ink two straight horizontal lines, one 5 cm. long, the other 6 
cm., parallel and 3 cm. apart. Show the lines to the child and say, 
**You see these lines, tell me which is the longer?" No hesita- 
tion is tolerated. Sometimes the child puts his finger between 
the two lines. If he does not correct himself immediately, this 
constitutes failure. This test is rapid, easy to execute and easy 
to interpret. 

Children Five Years of Age 

Comparison of two weights. "^ This comparison is the same as that 
of the lines, except that the lines are compared by a glance, where- 
as the boxes must be taken in the hand and weighed, often several 
times in succession. Hardly any children below five years suc- 
ceed in this test, while a child of four years succeeds in comparing 

For this test, use four boxes, all of the same volume, and which 
weigh respectively, 3 grams and 12 grams, 6 grams and 15 grams. 
The 3 and 12 gram boxes are shown first. They are placed on a 
table before the child about 5 or 6 cm. apart. Say to the child, 
"You see these boxes; tell me which is heavier?" 

The most satisfactory reply consists in taking the boxes, weigh- 

« See p. 53, 1905 scale. 7 ggg p. 55, 1905 scale. 


ing them one after the other in the same hand, or at the same time 
in both hands, and then indicating the 12 gram box. To be sure 
that the choice is not the result of chance, the 6 and 15 gram boxes 
are then shown, and then the first two boxes are again given the 
child, and he is requested to compare them once more. If there 
is the slightest doubt the test should be repeated. 

A very young child proceeds differently. When he is asked to 
tell which box is heavier he replies at once by pointing to one of 
the boxes by chance without weighing them. We are indulgent 
and readily pass over this naive blunder, which is explained some- 
times by the thoughtlessness of the child, or by suggestibility, or 
by a desire to please us, and we say to him, *'No, that is not right. 
You must take the two boxes in your hand and weigh them.'^ 
This supplementary instruction suffices for orienting many sub- 
jects; as for the others they are not considered except that we 
have observed with interest the mistakes they have made. Here 
are some of them; weighing only one of the boxes and declaring 
that it is the heavier; putting the two boxes side by side in the 
same hand and saying that one of them is heavier than the other 
(in this case the weighing, although much more difficult, is not 
impossible) ; finally, placing the two boxes on top of each other and 
in the same hand; this again is more imperfect as a means of weigh- 
ing but it is nevertheless possible to make an accurate judgment. 

Let us note that this test includes two very distinct operations, 
one of which consists in understanding that the weights of the 
two boxes must be compared, and in acting accordingly; another 
which consists in appreciating the difference between the two 
weights. The first operation is much more difficult than the sec- 
ond ; we may say that it depends on the general intelligence of the 
child, and presupposes a rather high intellectual level, while the 
second rests on the much more simple faculty of sensing a differ- 
ence, which requires a miich lower intellectual level, perhaps only 
of two years. This is proved by the fact that, in spite of all ex- 
planation given him, if the child does not succeed by himself in tak- 
ing the boxes and weighing them, it generally suffices to place the 
boxes one in each of his hands and to ask him which is the heavier, 
in order to obtain a correct answer. It is amusing to observe the 
contrast between the awkwardness with which a little child takes 
the boxes, weighs them and compares them, and the assurance 
which he exhibits in sensing the difference in their weight. 



\y Copying a square. This is the first time that we place a pen in 
the hand of a child. 

With ink draw a square, 3 or 4 cm. on a side, and ask the child 
to copy it using a pen. The use of the pen increases the difficulty 
and it should not be replaced by a pencil. Young children make 
the figure smaller, but that does not matter, so long as one can 
recognize it. 

FIG. 4 

We give here some reproductions of drawings which we consider 
satisfactory (1, 2, 3), and others which we consider so imperfect 
that they constitute failures (4, 5, 6). 

''Game of patience J' This is a game which amuses children; at 
the school, children amuse themselves by building things with 
blocks. It is a game, but at the same time a work of the intelli- 
gence, involving materials, sensations and movements. When one 
analyzes the operation it is found to be composed of the following 
elements: (1) Consciousness of the end to be attained, that is to 
say, a figure to be produced; this end must be understood, and 
kept in mind; (2) the trying of various combinations imder the 
influence of this directing idea, which often unconsciously deter- 
mines the kind of attempt which should be made; (3) judging the 
combination formed, comparing it with the model, and deciding 
if it resembles the other. 

This little puzzle at first sight presents the advantage that its 

1908 SCALE — FIVE YEAES 199 

difficulty may be increased at will. There are some games easily 
solved by a five year old child and others so complicated that they 
severely try the skill of an adult. We began by choosing a very 
difficult game of patience, and our reason for abandoning it is 
worth explaining. It was because chance played too great a part 
in its success. The game consisted in rearranging a card cut into 
ten pieces; if by good fortune one combined correctly the first two 
or three pieces, the rest was easy to guess. On the contrary, if 
chance were not favorable the problem became much more diffi- 
cult and the best intelligence might fail. It was proved that in 
certain cases success was quite independent of age. This objec- 
tion, suggested by experience, decided us to abandon this type of 

The one which we have now definitely adopted is so simple that 
it leaves no room for chance. It is adapted to five year old chil- 
dren and contains only two pieces. 

Cut in halves along the diagonal, a card which had the form of 
an elongated rectangle, thus obtaining two triangles. Place on 
the table a similar card which is uncut, and put the two triangular 
pieces in front of the child in such a way that the two hypothe- 
nuses are not adjacent and tell the child, ''Put these two pieces 
together; reunite these two fragments so as to make a figure like 
this one," indicating the uncut card. 

Only a third of the four year old children can reconstruct the 
rectangle. The others do not understand what is wanted; they 
move the pieces of cardboard about at random, or they refrain 
from touching them; or, they put them together incorrectly; they 
place them side by side without connecting them; or they cover 
one piece with the other; or, finally, they form a figure which has 
no resemblance to the model. At five years there has been definite 
progress, hardly one child in twelve fails. 

Some precautions must be observed in this test. We wish to 
emphasize these three: 

1. Some little children do not want to take the trouble to move 
the pieces of cardboard, or even touch them. In this case, with- 
out giving them any precise suggestion, it is necessary to chide 
them a little to arouse them from their indifference. We consider 
as having failed those who persist in uniting the pieces at random^ 
or who cover one with the other. 

2. In this test, care must be taken not to let the child overturn 


one of the pieces of cardboard, for in that case it would be impos- 
sible to make a figure like the model. If he overturns the card- 
board accidentally and does not notice the difference, the test 
should be repeated, or else consider the test passed if the two 
pieces are put together with their longest sides adjacent. 

3. During the test the child often stops and looks at us as if to 
get our opinion. According to what he may read on our faces, he 
may feel satisfied with his work or he may try something else. 
One must express nothing, must know how to wait, and must wait 
in silence. 

Counting four single sous. Counting is the last test we make for 
five year old children. The objection may be raised that this is a 
test of scholastic training which indicates the instruction rather 
than the intelligence of the child. This is true; but what being is 
there so deprived of training that he has not been taught to count? 
We have studied many imbeciles in institutions and all of those 
who have intelligence sufficient for counting have learned to count. 
In spite of the laws for compulsory education there are many illit- 
erates; among soldiers, they say, these amount to more than 5 per 
cent; but has anyone ever encountered any individual who has 
never learned to count, if his intelligence permitted it? They 
must, indeed, be rare. 

The study of the act of counting is extremely complicated, and 
it will be seen from what follows that we have many times in our 
measuring scale made use of this simple operation realizing that 
it has great social significance. To be able to count, one must 
know many things; first one must be able to recite the list of fig- 
ures correctly, then be able to apply each number to a different 
object. We have not taken as a test the simple recitation of the 
figures, because that is merely a matter of memory; we prefer the 
act of coimting which presupposes some judgment. We ask the 
child to count four sous. 

Place side by side four single sous on a table, but not covering 
one another. Say to the child: ''You see these sous, count them; 
tell me how many there are." Some children, without counting, 
answer immediately any number whatever; whether this answer 
is right or wrong, it is not taken into consideration, as the right 
answer might be given by chance. We insist that the child ac- 
tually count the sous with his finger. The slightest error sufl&ces 
for considering that the test is not passed. 


A three year old child cannot count four sous; at four years, half 
of the children succeed; at five years only retarded children fail. 
This is then a test for five years. 

Six Year Old Children 

Right hand, left ear. Here is another idea that has been learned, 
one so easy to acquire that when it is lacking this lack is charac- 
teristic. Ask the child, "Show me your right hand," and then 
"Show me your left ear.'^ This is almost a 'catch' question, for 
by asking the child to show his right hand, he has a tendency to 
show his right ear. 

Sometimes the child shows both hands, or, perhaps with one 
hand he indicates the other, but the action is so obscure that one 
does not know which is the hand that points out and which the 
hand that is shown. To escape this diflSiculty tell him to hold up 
his right hand. 

According to the manner of replying children may be divided 
into three classes: (1) There are those who do not know at all 
which is the right and which the left hand. They may offer the 
right one, because it is the one they naturally tend to show first; 
then they will touch the right ear. We entirely disregard those 
of still less comprehension who do not know at all where the ear is. 
(2) There are those who have some idea of right and left, but who 
are not quite sure of it. They present the right hand and touch the 
right ear, but correct themselves and touch the left ear. (3) 
Finally, there is a third group of children who without hesitation 
or error raise the right hand and touch the left ear. 

We consider children of the last two groups as having passed 
the test ; those who hesitate and correct themselves as well as those 
who do not hesitate. But the experimenter must be careful not 
to give the least suggestion; that would be too naive. It is evi- 
dent that if one says to the child, when he touches his right ear, 
"Are you sure?" or, if one merely seems to disapprove his ges- 
ture, the child may be led to touch his left ear; for, if it is not the 
right it must be the left. 

At four years no child shows his left ear; they all show the right 
ear. At five years half of the children commit errors. At six 
years there are no mistakes. It is, therefore, a test which is of 
great value for classification. 


Repeating a sentence of sixteen syllables. We have already ex- 
plained how to conduct this experiment. Half of the five year 
old, and all of the six year old children succeed in this test. 
/ Esthetic comparison. It cannot be denied that all young chil- 
^ dren have a sense of the beautiful, and that this sense may be 
made evident, if a problem is presented in a simple way, for ex- 
ample, by asking the children to compare and make a choice be- 
tween two figures, one of which is pretty, and the other ugly; but 
the contrast between the two figures must be very great. This 
question is very interesting from a philosophic point of view and 
one can easily demonstrate that there is no faculty found in the 
adult which does not already exist to some degree in the child. 

This is our procedure. We use six drawings (fig. 5) representing 
heads of women ; some are pretty, the others ugly, even deformed : 
we make the comparison by presenting the faces two at a time, 
and say to the child each time, " Which is the prettier of these two 
faces?" It is necessary that the child should reply correctly three 
times. Care has been taken to place the pretty head sometimes 
at the right, sometimes at the left, to prevent the subject happening 
to be right simply because he has acquired the habit of always 
designating the figure on a given side. One must always be on 
guard against this automatic tendency to always follow the same 
direction; it is extremely frequent among children. 

At six years children compare correctly the three pairs of 
faces; at five years they succeed very poorly, only half giving the 
correct reply. 

Definition of familiar objects. Thus far, the verbal replies which 
we have required of our little ones have been very short; a word or 
two was sufficient. Now we are going to ask them to make a 
sentence, because one can not define an object without using a 
^^ sentence. Definition is not only an exercise and a test of language, 
it serves also to show us what idea the child has of an object, the 
manner in which he conceives it, and the point of view which is 
most important for him. 

Ask the subject successively, "What is (1) a fork? (2) A 
table? (3) A chair? (4) A horse? (5) A mama?" These ob- 
jects have been chosen from among many because we have dis- 
covered that they lend themselves to a useful classification of the 

It is not so easy to use this test with very young children. They 


FIG. 6 


often reply with an obstinate silence. One may say over and 
over ''You know a table very well, a chair; you have often used a 
fork/' and then conclude a little rashly that, since they know 
these objects, they must be able to define them. But one does not 
always succeed in breaking their silence. Some, indicating the 
table near which they are seated, answer ''This.'' 

The replies of the subjects could be classified in a great many 
ways, if one were making a study of general psychology. For our 
diagnosis, we establish only three distinctions. 

1. Silence, simple repetition, or designation by gesture. We 
have just given an example of the latter. Repetition is easily 
understood; it consists in repeating the same word; "What is a 
fork?" "It is a fork." From the moment that the child has hit 
upon this manner of avoiding the whole difficulty, one may be 
sure that he will employ it for the entire series of definitions. He 
has found the line of least resistance, and he remains faithful to it. 
This is no spirit of malice. The young child believes that he is 
answering seriously and honestly what is asked of him and is even 
greatly satisfied with himself. Do not undeceive him. With a 
perfect optimism, say to him, "Very good," and mark the result 
as a complete absence of reply. This result is not extraordinary; 
it is met with in other psychological experiments, for example, in 
the association of ideas, some young children and some feeble- 
minded ones are satisfied to repeat the stimulus word. 

2. Definition hy use only. Example : Horse, it is to draw wagons, 
— it is to run; — it is to sit on. The frequent recourse of the work- 
ing class and small tradespeople to the horsemeat market ex- 
plains why a child gave us the following reply: ''A horse is to eat." 
We ask him if he eats horseflesh, and he repHes, "Yes." 

Fork. It is to eat with; one eats with it. 

Table. It is to eat on; a table is for eating, or, a table is where 
one puts the dishes; it is there where one eats. 

Chair. It is for us to sit on; it is to sit on; it is a place to sit. 

Mama. She cares for little children; she is to kiss; she is to go on 
errands; she gets the dinner. 

^All these repHes are evidently childish, not only for their incor- 
rect form, for the characteristic "it is to," but still more for 
their conciseness, and finally for the state of mind which they re- 
veal; there is nothing so exclusively utilitarian as a child of seven 

1908 SCALE — SIX YEAES 205 

3. Definitions superior to use. These are so varied in form that 
we could not cite all the varieties encountered. But this is un- 
necessary, for the essential point is not to characterize these defini- 
tions but only to distinguish such as are definitions by use. This 
distinction is particularly difficult in certain replies where the sub- 
ject is concerned with the use of the object, but describes it in 
terms less childish than the preceding. For example. Table; is an 
object which is used to eat on; or, it is an instrument for eating; it is 
a utensil to eat upon; it is a piece of furniture to eat upon. Horse: 
it is an animal which draws carriages. Mama: it is a lady who 
takes care of the house; it is a lady who takes care of the children. 

The use of the expressions: "it is an object, it is an animal, it is / 
an instrument, it is a thing," indicates that the definition is less 
childish than the preceding. We have also found definitions 
learned at school which are interesting for their brevity; a table, 
it is a thing; a horse, it is an animal; it is a domestic animal; a 
mama, it is a person, it is a lady. In other cases the children at- 
tempt a description of the object; a fork, it is a little fork with four- 
points; a table, a table is a board with four feet; a horse has four legs; 
a horse runs, it bites, etc. The following series was given by a nine 
year old child : A fork has four feet; a table has four feet; a chair has 
four feet; a horse has four paws; a mama has two hands and two feet. 
Older children think of the nature and the composition of the ob- 
ject: a fork is copper, a fork is made of white metal, a table is of 
wood, a chair is pieces of wood with straw, it is varnished wood, a 
horse is meat, etc. Another point of view is the grammatical: 
Table is feminine gender, chair also, horse is masculine gender. It 
is unnecessary to give examples of more learned replies, for this 
test belongs in our measuring scale to the ages of seven and nine 
years. The intellectual development of these two ages is deter- 
mined according to the type of definition given by the child. 

To evaluate these definitions one must take account of the char- 
acter presented by the majority of them. We ask five of each 
child; note the type which is found in three of them. 

As early as four years half of the children define by use only. ' 
The number increases a little at five years, and at six we may say 
that practically all children give definitions of this type. It is not 
until nine years as we shall see, that the majority of definitions 
given are superior to use. 

Execution of three simultaneous commissions. Among the work- 


ing classes children are very early in life sent on errands to the 
shops to buy milk, bread, meat, and to bring back a bottle of 
wine. Physicians who practice at the clinic for backward chil- 
dren know that these children are characterized, not by the lack 
of abiUty to perform a single commission, but by inability to per- 
form several commissions at one time. The mothers themselves 
often give information to the physicians upon this interesting 
pecuharity. Below is the series of commissions we give with the 
accompanying instructions. ''Do you see this key? You are to 
put it on the chair over there (pointing to the chair) afterwards 
shut the door; afterwards you will see near the door a box which 
is on a chair. You will take that box and bring it to me. Now, 
first the key on the chair; then shut the door, and then bring me 
the box. Do you understand? Now go." Very often children do 
only two out of the three commissions; or, arriving at the door they 
go out, and close the door behind them. Some are wholly satis- 
fied; others see they have forgotten something and seem to be 
trying to recall. To pass this test the three commissions must be 
carried out spontaneously, without the necessity of telling the child, 
"Well, what next? You have forgotten something," etc. It is 
evident that one might vary the nature of these commissions ac- 
cording to the surroundings. But one must always take care 
that they are very simple and easy to execute. The smallest 
difficulty may intimidate the child. If, for example, we leave our 
silk hat upon a chair we do not use it as an object to be moved; 
many a child would not dare to touch it. 

At four years scarcely any child can perform 3 commissions; 
at five years one half do them; at six years all or nearly all do them. 

Age. Ask the child ''How old are you?" Some remain silent; 
others give exaggerated ages, which are in general much below the 
reality; a child of six years will say for example that he is two years 
old. We have not encountered any who give an age greater than 
their own ; those who are mistaken make themselves younger than 
they are. It is only at six years that the majority of children 
know their ages. It is not a question here of the date of birth, of 

Distinction between morning and afternoon. The perception of 
time develops late in children; for a long period they confuse yes- 
terday and tomorrow. The distinction in this test is brought out 
by the following question : " Is this morning or afternoon?" Some 


children reply at random; others simply say, *'Yes;" it is not 
until the sixth year that children know certainly whether it is 
morning or afternoon. But it is long before six that the child 
knows whether or not he has already taken his midday meal. 

Apropos of this statement our readers no doubt will remark, as 
they will more than once in going over the tests that follow, that 
children are far less advanced, far less intelligent than would have 
been supposed. To which we reply that a rapid examination such 
as ours, which puzzles them a little and obliges them to make an 
immediate display of their knowledge, tends to diminish it. 
Nevertheless, granting this objection, the previous statement 
still holds. One would expect and we ourselves were expecting 
more brilliant results. We should have supposed that much be- 
fore the age of six, children could distinguish between morning 
and afternoon. The distinction seems so easy! Recall that chil- 
dren of six are the oldest pupils of the " Maternal School." Recall 
that the program of the ''Maternal School" prescribes the teach- 
ing of history and geography, ''the principal divisions of the earth, 
biographies drawn from national history." Such are the regula- 
tions for the Maternal Schools in the department of the Seine. 
Is it not somewhat ridiculous to speak of national history to chil- 
dren who are not yet wise enough to distinguish morning from 

Seven Year Old Children 

Unfinished pictures. Show successively four figures (fig. 6) in 
which there is lacking the eye, the nose, the mouth, the arms. 
With each picture ask the child, "What is lacking in this picture?" 
Often the child does not respond, or makes an incorrect reply. 
For the first picture, which represents a head, he will say, for ex- 
ample, it is the neck which is lacking, or the body, or the ear, or 
perhaps the legs, or the feet; and once having made this answer 
he will not fail to repeat it for all the other pictures (automatic 
repetition) . Strictly speaking this is correct, but it is not what we 
ask. We desire that he notice the lack which makes the figure 
incomplete. We consider the test passed when three answers out 
of four are correct. At five years, the answers are inadequate; 
at six, two-thirds are incorrect; and at seven, the great majority 
are correct. 

FIG. 6 



Number of fingers. '^How many fingers have you on your right 
hand?" "How many on your left hand?" "How many fingers 
does that make on both hands?" It is necessary that the child 
reply correctly to all three questions without hesitation. He 
must reply at once without stopping to think, without counting 
his fingers, and if he wishes to do so we prevent him. We elimi- 
nate therefore those who answer: 4 fingers for the right hand, 5 
fingers for the left hand, and 6 fingers for the two hands; 5 fingers 
for the right, 5 for the left, and 6 in all. Or again those who say 
5 fingers for the right, 5 for the left, but for all, "I have not had 
time to count them." A child knows how to count at an age when 
he is still ignorant of the number of his fingers. 

A priori, we should have thought that a child of six years would 
have been certain of the number of fingers. This is an error. 
Half of them do not know it. They do not know it imtil seven 

Copy of a written model. The written model is composed of 
three words, "The little Paul," with capital letters for the first 
and third words. The copy must be made with pen and ink 
which increases the difiiculty. The model is put before the child. 
Here again, it may be said, is a test of instruction. Certainly, but 
on the other hand there may be a degree of defect in the copy 
which indicates a weakness of intelligence. Thus, some children 
make only zig-zags, moreover they do not notice that their at- 
tempts are unsatisfactory. Others imitate certain letters, which 
are recognizable in their copy. To pass the test ifc is necessary 
that the words, "The little Paul," can be read by a person who is 
ignorant of the model. 

Copying a diamond. We devised this test in an institution .v 
We were surprised to encounter imbeciles who could copy a 
square, but who could not succeed in copying a diamond. These v 
figures are not very different as to form but the direction of the 
lines in the diamond is much more difficult to trace. We encoim- 
tered the same fact among our school children (fig. 7). At five 
years a child can draw a square, but it is not until seven years 
that he can draw a diamond; and even at seven years a fifth of 
them fail. At six years half of the children fail. We give exam- 
ples of good copies (1, 2, 3) and bad copies (4, 5, 6) so that every 
one may adopt the same standard as we. 



Repetition of five figures. The method has been indicated above. 
A child four years old repeats three figures; to repeat five figures 
he must be seven years old; even then only three-fourths of the 
children succeed. 

Description of a picture. At three, four or five years of age, as 
we have seen, one obtains only enumerations; descriptions are quite 
imusual. At six years a small number of children, scarcely a sixth, 
attempt a description. At seven years they have made such 
progress in language that description has become quite general. 
There are very few exceptions, and this test shows the enormous 



FIG. 7 

advance that has been made in regard to language between the 
sixth and seventh year. 

Counting thirteen single sous. The number of objects to be 
counted increases the difliculty of counting to such a degree, that 
we must wait until the seventh year to find children able to count 
thirteen sous. 

The thirteen sous are placed near together without covering one 
another. We insist that the subject count them with his finger and 
aloud. He must give the right number, thirteen. Sometimes 
even this is not sufficient, when one is convinced that this answer 
has been given as the result of chance, or following several errors. 
^ There are three essentials to a successful performance: (1) That 


the subject knows how to count to thirteen, and cannot be de- 
ceived in the enumeration; for in this counting every kind of mis- 
take is possible. (2) It is necessary that the subject touch a coin 
at the same time that he says the number; for this correspondence 
of the hand and the speech is often what is at fault. There are, 
for example, children who will repeat one number and touch by 
two movements two different pieces; as a general rule the hand is 
swifter than the speech. (3) It is necessary that no piece be 
skipped and that none be counted twice. This last error, which 
can be avoided only by using some definite method, is sometimes 
committed even by adults. We have seen six year old children 
who take pains to separate each piece from the others as they 
count. This is the perfection of method — ^this is a sign of good 
business heads. 

At seven years no one makes a mistake. At six years two-thirds 
of the children fail. 

Giving the name of four common coins. There are nine coins. 
They may be used in two different tests; the only test with which 
we are here concerned, consists in determining if the child knows 
the four following: the 5, 10, and 50 centime pieces and the 5 franc 
piece. Many young children know only the five centime piece; 
they call the rest a big sou, a piece, a big piece, or similar expres- 
sions. We admit of no error in this test. Hardly any child of 
six years knows these^four coins. At seven years, a large ma- 
jority know them. It is the most difficult of the tests for seven 

Eight Year Old Children 

Reading with two memories. This test has for us a very special 
meaning. It serves as the border line between imbecility and 
moronity. Those defectives who are able to participate in ordi- 
nary social life by communicating with their fellows through writ- 
ten language are termed morons. Therefore, it is by a test of 
reading that we determine whether a defective child is an imbecile 
or a moron. 

Among normal children, this test is of much less importance, 
for it is the result of school training. When an adult of thirty 
years does not know how to read, one may, without much fear of 
being mistaken, question his intelligence. When a child of 8, 9, 
10 years does not know how to read, one must suspend judgment, 


for it may be some prolonged sickness or other cause has prevented 
him from going to school. Therefore, this test is retained here 
only under certain conditions. If we use it, and if the child reads 
fluently, it is a sign of intelligence; if he is unable to read, one must 
investigate this lack of instruction. 
This is what we have the child read : 

Three Houses Burn 

Chalons-sur-Mame, September 5th. Last night a very large fire in 
Chalons destroyed three buildings in the center of the city. Seventeen 
families are without homes. The loss will exceed 150,000 francs. While 
saving a child in its cradle, a barber's boy had his hands seriously injured. 

The test has a three-fold purpose: To make sure that the child 
knows how to read, to measure his speed in reading, and to ascer- 
tain that he understands and remembers something of what he 
reads. It may be that the subject cannot spell, or cannot read 
the more difiicult words of the text; in this case interrupt the exer- 
cise and consider the test as not passed. The speed of the reading 
may serve as a useful criterion. Let us cite a few figures. To 
read the above mentioned paragraph, which consists of 53 words 
[in the French], children of eight years take 45 seconds; at nine 
years the average time is about 40 seconds; at ten years, 29 sec- 
onds; and at eleven years, 25 seconds. There is, therefore, a 
gain in rapidity up to eleven years; let it be said in passing that 
these figures permit us to estimate the child's knowledge of read- 
ing. We might have included a test of this kind in our measuring 
scale of intelligence, had we not resolved to measure the intelli- 
gence independently of scholastic knowledge. In any case, when 
we desire to measure the scholastic knowledge of the child, we can 
employ the following scale : 

Average rapidity 
for reading a selec- 
tion of 53 words... 

At 8 years; 45 seconds — or about one word 

a second 
At 9 years; 40 seconds 
At 10 years; 30 seconds 
At 11 years; 25 seconds — or about two words 

a second. 

Several observations are to be made regarding the ability in 
,^/reading. First, the following distinctions are to be made: spell- 
ing out, syllabic reading, hesitating reading, fluent reading, ex- 
pressive reading. This classification has already been proposed 



by M. Vaney.^ Thus, to read the following sentence: '' I ate some 
chocolate this morning," if the child says "I a-t-e, ate, s-o-m-e, 
some, etc.," it is reading by spelhng out. If he says *'I (a pause) 
ate (a pause) some (a pause) cho (a pause) co (a pause) late, etc., 
it is syllabic reading. If he says ''I ate (a pause) some chocolate 
(a pause) this morning," it is hesitating reading. To be called 
fluent reading, the reader must stop only at the signs of punctua- 
tion ; while in expressive reading, one adds the desired tone of the 
voice to bring out the sense of the selection. 

Besides these degrees, notice must be taken of the mispro- 
nunciation of words which is frequent among backward and re- 
tarded children and may even be encountered in fluent reading. 

When the subject has read the selection, allow two or three sec- 
onds to elapse, withdraw the paper, and ask the following question, 
"Tell me what you have just read." Sometimes one must urge 
the child a little; we urge for ten seconds — not any longer — and 
then write word for word what the subject says; then count the 
nmnber of memories which have been expressed, using the follow- 
ing arrangement. 

Each word or expression, separated by dashes, constitutes a 

Three — houses — burned — Chalons-sur-Marne — September 5th. — A 
very large fire — destroyed — last night — {Three buildings at Chalons) ^ 
situated in the center of the city — seventeen families — are without 
shelter — The loss will exceed 150,000 francs — While saving — a child 
— in it's cradle — a barber's boy — seriously — injured — his hands. 

The maximum number of memories, which however is seldom 
attained, is nineteen. We have put into parenthesis a portion 
of the test which is simply repetition. 

Lret us now apply this calculation. 

A child, after the reading, retains the following memories: 
''A — house — burned — A Httle boy — burned — his hands." We 
count this as three correct memories; but '' burned" his hands is 
an error. We count only correct memories. 

Another example: ''Three houses burned — Seventeen famiUes 
without homes — A barber had his hands seriously injured — He 
has saved a baby." Eleven correct memories. 

As might be supposed there is some relation between the time 

' We refer the reader to our book on Enfants Anormaux, p. 80 and flf., 
where these definitions of the degree of reading have been developed. 


consumed in the reading and the number of memories retained after 
the reading; that is easily understood. The more difficulty one 
has in reading, the less attention can be given to the meaning of 
the words; and consequently those who read slowly, because it is 
difficult for them, can remember very little of what they have read. 
Here are the results of our observation. The general rule is that 
anyone who succeeds in reading the text, however slowly he reads, 
will retain at least two memories; but in order to be able to retain 
six memories, he must be able to read it in less than one minute. 

Certain errors must be noted, which are quite important for a 
diagnosis of intelHgence. A subject who thinks he can read and 
who pronounces meaningless words for the space of a minute, 
while following the lines, gives a poor impression of his inteUi- 
gence. Such cases are met with. They must be evaluated. 
Possibly this is to be attributed to the dociUty of some timid one, 
who, thinking that he must read for us, reads as well as he can. 
Moreover, we have met a large number of children, who read 
rapidly, even fluently, but who mutilate the words. Here then Ues 
an interesting pedagogical question. Those children have not 
learned well in the beginning; their reading is not inadequate, but 

In conclusion, let us note that certain children, when asked to 
recount what they have read, give entirely false memories. One 
such for instance tells us that the firemen were called; another 
gave us the following: " There was a house on fire, and also a child in 
his cradle, the house was all burnt, the baby has his hands burnt, and 
his father and mother were dead^ 

Reading with two memories, is rarely accomplished by children 
of seven years; children of eight years nearly always succeed. 

Counting nine sous. (Three single and three double. y On a 
table prepare in advance a little pile of money, three single and 
three double sous, side by side, without covering each other. 
Show them to the subject and say to him *' Count this money, and 
tell me how much there is." Some children do not touch the 
money. It is then necessary to tell them to handle and count it. 

^ Editor's Note: The sou or 5-ceiitime piece is in value the same as our 
cent and is the same familiar coin. Were the old 2-cent piece still in cir- 
culation, we could exactly duplicate the test. Since this is not the case, 
the best than can be done is to use postage stamps. They are stuck to a 
small card, in a row as follows, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 


The slight difficulty of the test consists in mixing the double and 
single sous. No error is tolerated. The sUghtest error renders 
the test a failure, and the child must not be allowed to try again. 
A single necessary precaution is to arrange the money in such a 
way that all the pieces are visible. The operation lasts from five 
to ten seconds. If it lasts fifteen seconds, the test should not be 
considered as passed. Children in this test behave in three dif- 
ferent ways: (1) They count correctly, for example, in the fol- 
lowing manner, 1-2-3-5-7-9; thus showing that they add two at a 
time for the double sous; (2) They count correctly, but for the / 
pieces of 2 sous they do not jump two figures, thus, 1, 2, 3, then 
4 and 5 (for the first double sous), 6 and 7 (for the second double 
sou) and 8 and 9 (for the third double sou) ; (3) they count the 
double sous, as if they were single sous. The last case is a failure. 
A great majority of the seven year old children pass this test; all 
cannot do it until eight years. Therefore, this is a transition test 
between the two ages. 

Naming Jour colors. Tests of colors might be multiplied. / 

We have chosen the fundamental colors, red, blue, green and ■- 
yellow, ehminating those whose names are less familiar to chil- ~ 
dren, for example, purple and orange. Our test does not bear ^vO^-^^v 
on the perception and distinction of the colors, but on their names, 
which is quite different. The young child distinguishes, recog- 
nizes, and easily matches without the least hesitation the most 
delicate shades of color, and has nothing to envy in the adult so 
far as his color sense is concerned; it is the verbalization of his 
color sense, if we may so express it, in which he is defective. 

Prepare beforehand a card on which have been pasted four col- 
ored papers, red, yellow, blue, green, each measuring 6 by 2 cm. 
(one must avoid showing too small a surface of color). Point to 
each color and ask the child, "What is this color?" No error is 
tolerated. The slightest error causes the test to be a failure. 
This lasts on the average about six seconds. 

To count from 20 to 0. This is partly a test of instruction; one 
must have learned in order to be able to count backwards. We 
say to the subject ''Will you count backwards from 20 to 0?'^ If 
he does not understand, we add ''Count like this, 20, 19." Some" 
children cannot count in this way and will not try. Others, in 
spite of the given instruction, stubbornly insist upon counting 
forward, either immediately or after having tried to count back- 


wards; they say, 20, 19, 18, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, etc. Others 
understand quite well how they are to count, but they succeed 
only by employing a rather clever trick, consisting in counting 
forward to find the correct figure, thus, having counted from 20 to 
15, they count rapidly, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc., until 15, and find 14 preced- 
ing 15. The trick may be discovered either by hearing the child 
murmuring the numbers, or by the length of time elapsing before 
each number is pronounced. All these replies are failures. In 
order for the test to be passed, the operation must not last more 
than 20 seconds, and there must be not more than one error (one 
omission or one inversion). 

Writing from dictation. We have considered copying in the 
seven year test. Writing from dictation is far more difficult than 
copying. Dictate the following words ^'The pretty little girls." 
The test is passed when the words are written separately, and if 
they are legible to one who is ignorant of the dictation. Only a 
third of the children of seven years can write from dictation; at 
eight years all succeed. 

Comparing two objects from memory. This is a valuable test, 
for it does not depend at all on instruction, and brings into play 
the natural good sense. It consists in ascertaining if the child 
can discover a difference between two objects which he remembers; 
for this perception of difference in two objects is in reality the 
habitual and easiest result of a comparison. We say to the child 
^'You have seen butterflies, have you not?" — "Yes," ''You have 
also seen flies?" ''Yes." "Are they aUke, the butterfly and the 
fly?" "No." — "How are they not alike?" These expressions 
are not elegant in style, but have the advantage of being easy to 
comprehend. We proceed in the same way for the comparison of 
wood and glass, paper and cardboard. One must always begin 
by asking the child if he knows the objects in question, and if he 
thinks they are not ahke. Then listen attentively to his reply and 
weigh it well. We consider as insufficient the replies which con- 
sist in simply naming the objects. We have asked in what the 
paper and the cardboard are not alike; if the subject rephes 
'*' cardboard,^' it is clear that he has not understood. Another bad 
Teply, although somewhat better, "A fly, it is a fly.^^ Most com- 
monly, the difference noted relates to the size. A butterfly is 
larger, and a fly is smaller; cardboard is thicker, and the wood is 
thicker. Again certain details are given. The butterfly has 

1908 SCALE — NINE YEARS 217 

larger wings — the butterfly has white wings — the butterfly is yellow — 
they have not the same color — the fly is black, the butterfly is tri-color 
— it is because the butterflies go on the flowers, and the flies go on the 
food — paper is soft, cardboard is hard — cardboard cannot be torn — 
wood does not break — it is not transparent — glass is used to put in 
the windows and the wood is used to make boards for the floor. To 
pass the test we require that two out of three comparisons be cor- 
rect. In order for the comparison to be correct, the difference 
must be a true one. Thus, it often happens that having found a 
distinctive characteristic in the first comparison, the subject re- 
peats it for the rest ; having said that a butterfly is larger, he will 
repeat the same for the cardboard and the wood, which is neces- 
sarily an insufficient reply. The time required for this operation 
is often rather long, more than one minute for the three compar- 
isons; but if longer than two minutes we consider that the child 
has failed. A third of the six-year-old children can make these 
comparisons; nearly all seven-year-old children, and all eight- 
year-old children succeed in making them. 

In conclusion, let us note that it is difficult to distinguish be-i 
tween the intellectual level of seven and of eight years; we succeed 
in doing so by using several tests of instruction, which have been 
introduced because they are at the same time of value as tests of 

Nine Year Old Children 

Complete information regarding the date. The details that we 
require under this head are four: the day, the month, the day of 
the month, and the year. And here let us remark: we have been 
told that in a certain Maternal School (ecole Maternelle) there is 
a language exercise which is given at the beginning of the session, 
bearing upon the teaching of the date. Children are taught and 
made to repeat, the day, the month, the day of the month, and 
the year. However, not a child in this school was able to give the 
complete information required, not even the year; concerning the 
month, we have had several replies : January, although it was the 
8th of February, and that was all. Consulting our scale, one can 
see that this complete idea belongs to the age of nine. It is only 
at nine years that the great majority of children possess it. This 
unexpected discovery leads to an interesting conclusion about pre- 
cocious teaching. The aim of instruction should be to follow the 


natural development of the child, in hastening it a little; but it 
would be a vain effort to precede it by three or four years, as is 
ignorantly done, in actual cases where the attempt has been made 
to teach babies of five or six years, what only nine year old chil- 
dren can retain. 

We consider the test passed if the day of the month is within three 
days of the correct date. Indeed an intelligent person may well 
beheve that it is the 17th of February when really it is the 14th; 
but one will rarely make a mistake for the day of the week, still 
less for the month, and never, unless it is a case of sudden amne- 
sia, for the year. Curiously enough, among young children it is 
the indication of the year, which is most often lacking. They indi- 
cate no year at all, they keep silent — they do not know it. For 
them a year is too great a lapse of time, of which they can form no 
idea. And moreover, a glance at the calendar will teach them the 
day, the month, the day of the month — but not the year, which 
everybody is supposed to know. The calendar for the school- 
room should display very visibly the figures representing the year. 

Days of the week. It may be a surprise to some that we place 
in the ninth year this extra-scholastic acquisition. Nevertheless, 
it is correct. The knowledge of the days of the week belongs to 
nine years. We ask the child to recite them, and we insist that 
he recite them in regular order. To this simple and clear demand, 
the subject must reply without hesitation, without further ex- 
planation, and recite the names of the seven days of the week in 
their natural order without great effort and consequently with 
rapidity. If more than 10 seconds are required for this enumera- 
tion count the test a failure. We consider those subjects as 
having failed, who omit one day, who change the order of the 
days, or who require more than 10 seconds for the repetition. 

Making change from twenty sous. This is a test which requires 
some instruction; nevertheless, it has so great a social value that 
we make use of it. We think it well to give to this test the ap- 
pearance of a game; thus it is a recreation and a rest for the mind. 
On a table there are coins spread about, the nine coins of the na- 
tional currency (5, 10, 25, and 50 centimes and 1-2-5-10-20 franc 
pieces), and little further apart a sum of sixty-five centimes, in 
coins of the following value : three ten-centime pieces, and the rest 
in five-cenfcime pieces. Now, ask the child, "Will you play store 
with me? You shall be the merchant." Then, showing him the 

1908 SCALE — NINE YEARS 219 

money, ''This is the cash drawer, with the money which you will 
use in making change for your customers. Now," showing him 
some little boxes, "this is merchandise which you are to sell; they 
are boxes. I will buy this box; I shall pay, for example, four sous 
for it. Is that all right? Do you want to play?'^ The subject 
always consents and smiles; our offer pleases him. We give him 
a one-franc piece, and say ''It is agreed, I buy this for four sous, 
now give me the change," and we extend our hand to receive the 
money. The only correct reply is the following: the child takes 
from his change eighty centimes and gives them to us. Some- 
times it happens that the subject replies, "I owe you sixteen sous" 
and yet he does not give us back the correct number, he gives us 
15 or 17 for instance. This is a failure. Of course we consider 
as failures all errors of a still more serious nature such as giving 2 
francs or 4 francs, etc. A ten year old school child once gave us 
back thirty-five francs; this was certainly an exception. In pass- 
ing let us note how many individual varieties the simple act of 
making change will bring out. 

The quickest and cleverest take at once a ten-sou piece, to 
which they add six sous. Sometimes, hke true merchants, they 
say, "Four and ten sous are fourteen, and six more are twenty." 
Sometimes, even, they count in centimes. They are the virtuosos. 
Others allow themselves to be influenced by the 13 sous that are 
on the table; they commence by gathering up all the sous and 
counting them; then they become embarrassed because they could 
never thus complete the necessary sum; they are obUged to begin 
the calculation over again and eliminate a certain number of sous 
which they must replace by a ten- or five-sou piece. It seems 
that the most ignorant are attracted by the sous, which offer the 
less difficulty; one must be used to counting money, to take at 
once one ten-sou piece, then a five-sou piece, and finally add one 
sou. But these different ways of making change are unimportant 
for our method. Is the change given equal to 80 centimes? This 
is the whole matter. At the very most when one analyzes the 
results, one might consider as slight the mistake of giving one sou 
too much or too little, and as serious, an error of five sous or more. 

Few children of seven yeirs can give the correct change when 
four sous are to be taken from twenty. At eight years fully a third 
of them succeed. At nine, they all succeed. 

Definitions superior to use. This test is explained above. At 


seven and at eight years, half the children give definitions of this 
kind. At nine years all succeed. 

Reading with six memories. This test has to do with the read- 
ing of the selection already mentioned. All children of eight 
years are able to read aloud, bub scarcely one can retain six mem- 
ories, which at that age is very difficult ; the mechanics of reading 
absorbs their attention. At nine years nearly all retain six 

Arrangement of weights P This test is excellent, for it does not 
presuppose any scholastic knowledge or any acquired ideas, and 
expresses the intelligence in its most natural form; but it is a spe- 
cial sort of intelligence, a sensorial intelligence, in no sense verbal; 
thus a street urchin, who is skillful in the use of words may easily 
fail with the weights. 

For this test we use five little pasteboard boxes, of identical 
size and color, so that nothing on the outside permits the child to 
distinguish one from another. They are weighted with filings 
wrapped in cotton, and weigh respectively 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 grams. 
Each experimenter should construct his own boxes. For this, it 
is sufficient to use some letter scales, and five safety-match boxes, 
the weight of which shall be graded by taking out some matches 
and replacing them with sous; in this way one can easily make for 
himself five boxes, weighing respectively 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 grams, 
which may be substituted for ours. 

The five boxes are placed in a group before the subject. Say to 
him, "These boxes do not all weigh the same. Some are heavy, 
and some are light. You are going to place here the heaviest, and 
beside it, the one that is a little less heavy, then here the one a 
little less heavy, and one a little less heavy, and lastly here the 
lightest." As we speak, indicate with the finger upon the table 
the place of each box. We use such simple expressions, because 
we know that they can be easily understood. The subject is 
given three trials. When he has placed the boxes in order once, 
break up the order and ask him to begin again. The weight of 
each box being inscribed on the side resting on the table, it is 
easy to know whether the subject has made a mistake or not. 
Out of three trials, two must be absolutely without error for the 
test to be passed. Some children do not understand our explana- 

»» See p. 62, 1905 scale. 

1908 SCALE — TEN YEARS 221 

tion and remain motionless; so much the worse for them. Others 
arrange the boxes at random, without weighing them, and it is 
easy to see that they do not compare them at all. Others readily 
understand that the heaviest box must be placed first, and clev- 
erly find it, but are unable to place the remaining boxes in a de- 
creasing order; the idea of a decreasing order is not intelligible to 
them. What is here lacking, is not the appreciation of weight, 
but the directing idea. Lastly there are some who grasp the 
idea of a decreasing order, and who apply it nearly correctly; they 
make a series like the following: 15, 12, 9, 3, 6, in which only one 
box is misplaced; they could do better, but they lack attention 
and care. This is not a very serious error; nevertheless in order 
that the test be passed we require that two trials must be entirely 
correct; the entire test must not take more than three minutes. 

This test, as has already been said, is one of those which best 
denote the uncultured intelligence, since it is independent of any 
instruction. And we also note that the type of intelligence here 
required is of a very special kind. There are children otherwise 
very intelligent who do not succeed in placing the boxes in order; 
while others arrange them correctly and swiftly. 

Ten Year Old Children 

The months of the year. We are as exacting for the recitation of 
the months as we are for that of the days. The subject should 
recite them without error, without transposing or omitting any, 
and swiftly enough so that not more than fifteen seconds are re- 
quired; we permit, nevertheless, the omission or inversion of one 

Naming the nine pieces of money. They are, as has been said, 
1, 5, 10, and 50-centime pieces, 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20-franc pieces. 

The main difficulty lies in distinguishing the 1 from the 2-franc 
piece, also in distinguishing the 10-franc piece from the 20-franc 
piece. The coins are on the table; we do not handle them, but 
we point to them, and the subject must name them without touch- 
ing them. Care must be taken not to allow the coins to be 
arranged according to value. 

This is the order which we propose: 10 centimes, 2 francs, 10 
francs, 50 centimes, 20 francs, 1 franc, 5 francs, 25 centimes. 
The coins must always be shown with the face up. 


Children often call the 1-franc a 2-franc piece, and the 10-franc 
a 20-franc piece, and vice versa. These are only slight errors. 
The absurdity consists in imagining new pieces of money, as for 
example, a 3-franc piece, or a piece of 15 sous. A curious 
error leads sometimes to the confusion of a 10-franc with a 5-franc 
piece. The time consumed in this test must not exceed forty 
seconds. Sometimes one can imagine that the error is only a slip 
of the tongue; in this case we repeat, after an interval of several 
minutes, the same experiment. We recall that once a twelve year 
old child correctly named all the coins except the 5-franc piece 
which he called a 10-franc piece. We said nothing, but several 
minutes later, we again asked him to name the coins on the table; 
he made the same error, and consequently we considered that he 
had failed in the test. We note this fact as a warning against re- 
cording the results automatically; there are many cases where a 
slip of the tongue may be suspected, judging by the sum total of 
the replies; the test therefore has to be repeated to make sure 
whether it was really a slip, or not. In other words, in spite of 
the system of annotation which we have devised, we think it the 
duty of the experimenter to judge, weigh and examine the replies. 
Our method is not an automatic weighing machine like those in 
railway stations, which register automatically the weight of a 
person, without his intervention or assistance. 

Using three words in one sentence}^ This is the first time that 
we require the subject to invent anything. This one is verbal. 
It supposes that the child knows how to speak and write, and 
knows the meaning of the words "a sentence.'^ 

We write on a sheet of paper, the following words, ^^ Paris, 
fortune, stream,''^ and read the words aloud to the subject several 
times and say to him, "Make a sentence in which these three 
words will be found." Then, hand the pen to the subject. Some 
will declare that they do not understand. Often it is the expres- 
sion " Make a sentence' ' which has no meaning for them. No other 
explanation is to be given, but the instruction already given may 
be repeated. Others understand, but are not able to invent a 
sentence of any kind, or at least one that satisfies them. As the 
latter may be too exacting, therefore we insist that they write 
some sort of a sentence. The answers given by those who at- 
tempt the invention, may be divided into three groups. 

" See p. 65, 1905 scale. 

1908 SCALE — TEN YEARS 223 

1. Sentences which contain three distinct ideas. Examples: 
"Paris is a city, a person has a fortune, the streams flows,'' ''Paris 
is a small city; a fortune is a great many sous; a stream is a little 
river flowing along the sidewalk. "^^ 

2. Sentences which contain two ideas. Example: "In Paris 
there are gutters and men have great fortunes." "Paris has gutters 
and a fortune." 

3. Sentences which contain only one idea. Example: "The 
Seine is a stream which makes the fortune of Paris." "In Paris 
I found a fortune in the gutter." "A drunkard without a fortune 
has been found in the gutter in Paris." 

Beside these three types of unified sentences may be ranged 
another type, where the sentences are numerous but well coordi- 
nated. "I am in Paris; in our street there is a gutter which empties 
its water into the sewer; not very far from my father's home I know a 
man who has a large fortune." "I went to Paris when I was young; 
I dragged in the gutters for a month; a man took pity on me, took me 
to his home, and at his death, I inherited his fortune." 

Various stages in the intellectual development of the child 
are disclosed by these replies. For our purpose we retain only 
the last two : the three words in two sentences, and the three words 
in a single sentence. The first test, the three words in two sen- 
tences, has never succeeded with children of seven years; at that 
age they do not write well enough. At eight years almost none 
pass the test. A third of the children at nine years and half of 
those at ten years succeed. 

We allow a minute for finding a sentence. If after one min- 
ute, the sentence, or at least three-quarters of it, is not written, the 
test is a failure. Note that this test is one of the rare ones in 
which one child may give help to another; we have met with cases 
of it. 

Another remark. We have said, apropos of the picture test, 
that a distinction must be made between the intellectual level and 
the judgment of a child, and we have cited the example of an adult 
belonging to an advanced mental level, who was able to interpret 
the picture, but who was guilty of absurdities in his interpreta- 

" The French "ruisseau" (stream) is applied both to the river and to 
the water flowing in the street, gutter, and by metonymy to the gutter it- 
self; all the children seem to have understood it in the latter sense, hence 
their change of the word stream into gutter. — ^Ed. 


tion. Perhaps our distinction between the judgment and intel- 
lectual level may seem too subtle, but we think not. We find it 
again in this test. Thus there are children able to use the three 
words in one sentence, but they form a sentence without sense, 
and they do not perceive that it is unintelligible. Examples: 
''Paris is a city of fortune hy the gutter sJ^ ''In Paris, when there 
are gutters, she makes a fortune.'' "Paris is a great fortune, which 
has a great river." 

These sentences satisfy the requirements of our test, and show 
that the child has attained the level of the eleventh year, but they 
prove the weakness of his judgment. Further investigations will 
undoubtedly teach us the importance that must be attributed to 
these facts. 

Comprehension questions^^ (first series) . We give the text of the 
questions and some examples of replies, good and bad. 

1. "When one has missed the train what must one do?" Good 
replies, '^Wait for another train. Take the next train." Bad answers, 
"Try not to miss it another time. Run after it. Go home. Buy a 

2. "When one has been struck by a playmate who did not mean to 
do it what must one do?" Good replies, "Do nothing to him. Ex- 
cuse him. Pardon him. Tell him to pay attention another time." 
Bad replies, which show that the reservation, ''he did not mean 
to do it" has not been understood, "Go tell the teacher. Get 
revenge . Punish him . ' ' 

3. "When one breaks something belonging to another what must 
one do?" Good answers, "Pay for it. Excuse one's self. Replace 
it. Acknowledge it." Bad replies, as a rule unintelligible. " You 
must get it paid for . Fdcry. Go to the policeman." 

Our three questions, as may be noticed, are easy to imderstand 
and present no difficulty of vocabulary. Therefore, it may hap- 
pen that even six year old children will answer them satisfactorily, 
but this is rare. Half of the seven and eight year old children 
answer acceptably; at nine years three-fourths, and at ten years 
all children do so. To pass the test we require that two ques- 
tions out of three be satisfactorily answered. 

Comprehension questions (second series) . Of the same type as 
the preceding, but more subtle, and presenting some difiiculties of 

" See p. 65, 1905 scale. 



1. "When one is in danger of being late for school, what must one 
do?'' Good answers, "7 must hurry up, I must runJ^ The bad 
replies often contain an absurdity. The children have often re- 
plied as if they had understood, "What will happen?" they say, 
"We are punished, we are stood in a corner,''^ "the teacher would 
strike me." Or they look into the future, and try to see how they 
could avoid a recurrence of the situation. "We must not doit 
again. We must start from home earlier y There is another ab- 
surdity still more subtle which is sometimes given. Our question 
means this: If one is already later than he ought to be, how can 
the lateness be diminished? That is the real thought. But, in- 
stead of this, some children, mistaking the meaning of the ques- 
tion, have understood that they should tell how they can adapt 
themselves to the consequences of being late. They answered, 
"We must ring^' (The school door being closed, those that come 
late must ring). " We must bring an excuse from our parents.'^ 

For our purpose, only answers of the first kind are acceptable. 
"We must hurry up." 

2. "Before deciding an important affair, what must one dof^^ 
Good replies, " Study the matter. Reflect. Ask advice.'' The bad 
replies have but little sense, the subject, as a rule, not under- 
standing the idiom, "prendre parti." "One must care for the 
sick. One must consult the doctor. One must go away." 

3. "Why does one forgive a wrong action committed in anger more 
easily than a wrong action committed without anger V Good an- 
swers, "Because when one is angry, he does not do it purposely. 
In anger one is not responsible. In anger one does not know what 
one does." 

Finally the bad answers result from a total lack of comprehen- 
sion of the question, or because the word "anger" has acted on 
the child as a suggestion and because the child disapproves the 
fact of being angry. "When one is angry, one does not want to 
listen." "One must not get angry." 

This question is the most difiicult of all; and it may happen that 
the child understands it but cannot express his thought. That is 
a small matter; we must weigh and discover the idea that anger 
constitutes an excuse. 

4. ''If someone asks your opinion of a person whom you know 
but little what must one do?" Good answers, "One must say 
nothing. One must not talk without knowledge. One must say 


nothing for fear of giving wrong information.' ' The bad answers 
are mostly unintelligible, "One must ask. One must answer. We 
say to him, behave. We say that we do not know his name.'' 

5. " Why must we judge a person by his acts rather than by his 
words?" Good replies, "Because words may lie, but acts are true. 
Because one is surer in seeing the acts than in hearing the words." 
Bad replies, often unintelligible, "One must not lie. Because one 
does not know." 

In the preceding tests, one sometimes meets with children who 
remain silent, and the difficulty is to know the cause of this silence. 
Perhaps the child has no answer, or a poor answer, which does not 
satisfy him. The experimenter is often at a loss and only from 
the sum total of the replies can he correctly judge each special 
case. He must have the patience to allow the child twenty 
seconds reflection before answering. Two poor answers out of 
five are allowed. 

Children seven or eight years old do not give good answers to 
the majority of the questions in the second series; only half of the 
ten year old children answer correctly. This test is therefore 
transitional between ten and eleven years. 

In general, this test is one that best expresses the common notion 
of intelligence. Sometimes one hesitates about the diagnosis of a 
child. He fails in one or two tests which scarcely seem conclusive. 
Not to know the date, not to be able to recite the series of months, 
might be excusable errors which it is permissible to ascribe either 
to a lack of attention or of training. But the questions of com- 
prehension dispel all doubt. We recall that several times teachers 
have asked us to decide if such or such a child was not subnormal ; 
sometimes even they were trying to trap us; but we are not at all 
adverse to being put to the test ourselves; it is quite fair. Our 
questions of comprehension enlighten us at once. We remember in 
particular a child very slow to answer, apparently half asleep, who 
made a poor impression because of his expressionless face, who did 
not know the day of the week, nor what day came after Sunday, 
although he was ten and a half years old; he could read only by 
syllables. But when we asked the fifth question, "Why must we 
judge a person by his acts rather than by his words?" he gave imme- 
diately the following answer, "Because words are not very sure, and 
acts are more sure." That was sufficient. We were enlightened; 
that child was not so stupid as he looked. 

1908 scale — eleven years 227 

Eleven Year Old Children 

Criticism of sentences. This test is not the one we had at first 
devised. Our aim was to test the judgment of the child; and in 
order to succeed we followed the method of certain foreign alien- 
ists, by giving some absurdities, to see if we could make the child 
agree with us. Example of absurd questions which we at first 
employed : 

"When two men quarrel, why is there often near them a yellow 
dog?'^ "When a man plays marbles, why is he often decorated?" 
German alienists used to put such questions as this to the insane, 
"Is snow red or black?" 

Experience has shown us that although very dull children accept 
these absurdities, even looking for and finding a reply to our 
ridiculous questions, other very intelligent children sometimes fall 
into the trap. 

We have reached the conclusion that the acceptance of an absurd 
sentence does not depend solely upon the weakness of the child's 
judgment; timidity, diffidence, confidence, automatism, each 
plays its part. We recall having dictated our absurd sentences, 
mixed with others which were not absurd, to a class of backward 
children in Salpetri^re; imbeciles and morons were not wanting 
in this class of pupils, but there were about fifteen children who 
could reply in writing. This constituted a crowd, and a crowd is 
neither timid nor deferential. Every time that we pronounced 
one of our absurd "Whys," there was an explosion of ironical 
laughter from the whole group of pupils. The morons under- 
stood therefore the nonsense of our questions, and not feeling 
obliged to show any deference to us, expressed their feelings 
noisily. All these reasons induced us to change the form of our 
test. Now instead of imposing an absurdity, we warn the child 
that there will be one, and we ask him to discover and refute it; 
in this way no feeling of reserve, of timidity or of deference, if 
he has any, paralyses the judgment of the child. The only 
difficulty for the experimenter is to find out the real meaning of 
the child when expressed poorly in obscure sentences. Very 
often the child has the feeling that our affirmation is absurd, 
but does not succeed in giving the reason for his feeling and 
cannot translate it into thought. To feel a thing is not the same 
as expressing it; for in many cases the child contents himself 


with repeating the same sentence or the part of the sentence 
which contains the absurdity without other comment than his 
insistence upon that part of the sentence, or his air of disappro- 
bation. From this could be deduced interesting analyses of our 
method of understanding and explaining. We shall come back 
to this same subject elsewhere. 

For this test we begin with the following explanation: "I am 
going to read you some sentences in which there is something 
silly. Listen attentively and tell me every time what there is 
that is silly.'' Then slowly, very slowly, with a serious tone, we 
read one sentence, and immediately, changing our tone, we ask, 
^'What is silly in this sentence?" This experiment usually 
interests the children by its novelty. 

1. "An unfortunate cyclist broke his head and was instantly 
killed; they have taken him to the hospital, and it is greatly feared 
that he cannot recover.^' Good answers, ''Since he is dead, it is 
certain that he will not recover. " "7/ he is dead he cannot recover. " 
"Since he is dead, he cannot he cared for.'' "You say that he is 
dead, and they take him to the hospital and one is afraid that he will 
not recover." Poor answers, "It is silly to ride a bicycle.'' "It 
is silly to recover. " "Hospital. " " There is nothing silly.' ' 

2. "I have three brothers, Paul, Ernest and myself." Good 
answers, "You have only two brothers." "You are not your own 
brother." "If there are three brothers, there must be three brothers, 
but you, you do not count. " " You ought to say: I have two brothers." 
Poor answers, "What is silly is that you say 'myself.'" "You 
ought to give your name." "What is silly, it is Ernest." "What 
is silly, it is you." "There is nothing silly." 

3. " Yesterday they found on the fortification the body of an un- 
fortunate girl, cut into eighteen pieces. It is believed that she killed 
herself." Good answers, "One cannot cut himself into eighteen 
pieces." "If she cut an arm, she could not then cut anything else. " 
Poor answers, "What is silly, it is to kill one's self." "What is 
silly, it is eighteen pieces." "It cannot be found out if she killed 
herself." "There is nothing silly." "It is because it is not true." 
"If she had nothing at home to cut herself with." 

4. " Yesterday there was a railroad accident, but it was not serious; 
the number killed is only forty-eight." Good answers, "It is 
very serious when there are forty-eight killed, — it is many." "It 
is not serious, and the number of dead is forty-eight! " Poor answers. 



*' Forty-eight dead. There is nothing silly." "It is that there was 
nobody killed." "One could say many corpses." 

5. "Somebody used to say: If in a moment of despair I should 
commit suicide, I should not choose Friday, because Friday is an 
unlucky day and it would bring me ill luck." Good answers, 
"Since he kills himself, it does not matter that it be a Friday or 
another day." "It does not matter as long as he kills himself, 
if he kills himself on Friday. " "Friday cannot bring him bad luck. 
He can as well kill himself Friday as Saturday, it does not matter." 
Poor answers, "Friday is like any other day, it does not bring bad 
luck." "Friday is not a day worse than any other." "What is 
silly, is to kill one's self." "What is silly, is bad luck." "It is 
Friday." "There is nothing silly." "One must not be super- 
stitious. " " Because we donH know it. " 

These five sentences are employed to test the critical sense. 
To call the test successful we require that at least three of the 
sentences receive a good reply. This test lasts about 2 minutes. 
It is one of those which best shows the intelligence of a child. 
At nine years almost no one succeeds; at ten years scarcely one- 
fourth, at eleven years, one-half. 

Three words in a sentence. The explanation of this test will be 
found above.i^ Every one succeeds at eleven years; scarcely 
one-fourth at ten years. 

Sixty words in three minutes. The subject is told to cite in 3 
minutes the greatest number of words possible, such as table, 
beard, shirt, carriage, etc. Arouse his emulation by telling him 
that some of his comrades are able to say more than 200 words 
in 3 minutes, which is true. This test is very interesting, for it 
furnishes a rich field for observation; besides the number of words, 
one may note their association. Some subjects say only detached 
words, each of which demands an effort of invention. Others 
make series, series of school-room furniture, series of articles of 
clothing, geological series, etc. Some use only the common 
nouns, names of objects, others give abstract qualities, or words 
somewhat unusual. All this gives an idea of the mentality of the 
subject. To employ a series, to give abstract words, are good 
signs of intelligence and of culture. But here we consider only 
the number of words. In 3 minutes one should have time to cite 

" Page 222. 


at least 200 words without hurrying, if he does not have to search 
for them. However he must search, and everyone has not the 
same power of evocation. Young children exhaust at once the 
directing idea; they say, for example, "hat" then they pass to 
another object without considering that hats have different colors, 
shapes, parts, uses, connections, and that in mentioning all these 
one would find a large number of words. There is among them 
lack of skill in the use of language or in the analysis of ideas, which 
is very striking. One sees children of ten years who wait some- 
times 30 seconds searching for words and finding none. This test 
allows one to appreciate, in accord with the observations we have 
made elsewhere, the intellectual activity of a person, as well as his 
verbal type. Those who have many words at their service, those 
who think in words, who have acquired the use of abstract ideas 
or who delight in making puns, seem to us to have an advantage 
over the others. The test is not passed unless a minimum of 60 
words is found. At eleven years, all children succeed; they find 
sometimes a considerable number of words, 150, 200; one child 
gave 218. 

Abstract definitions. For definitions three abstract words are 
given, charity, justice, and goodness. The formula employed is 
very simple : What is ? 

Charity. A good definition ought to contain two ideas — the 
idea of unfortunate people and the good that one does them. 
Good answers, "It is the act when one helps people in trouble.'^ 
"It is to give money to old people who are not able to work. " "It 
is to give alms.^^ "Charity is when one sees a poor man, has pity 
on him, and if one has some sous gives them to him. " Poor answers, 
"It is to be good.*^ "It is to be charitable." "It is to ask." 
"It is a person who is good." "It is when one is poor." "It is 
to ask pardon." 

Justice. A good definition contains the idea of law, that is to 
say, a rule, of the protection accorded to persons and to interests, 
or the idea of persons treated according to their merits. Good 
answers, "Justice is an act which consists in judging persons 
who are guilty, and releasing persons who are innocent." "It is 
a law which commands." "Justice is to punish the wicked even 
if they are rich." Poor answers, "Justice is the one who judges." 
"Justice is a judgment." "Justice is to judge." "It is where 
one judges." "It is to cut the throat." "It is some agents." 


Goodness. A good definition should express the idea of affec- 
tionate feehng, of tenderness, or simply of acts of assistance, 
without implying the idea of inequality of condition between 
the one who gives and the one who receives. Good definitions, 
"Goodness is to be kind to others.'' "Goodness is an act which 
consists in waiting when a person is not able to pay, and in not 
striking others.'' "It is to give good for evil." "Goodness is to 
share with others." Poor definitions, "Goodness is to be good." 
"One must do something good." "To be good, it is to be well 
dressed." "It is to take off one's hat." "Goodness is diligence." 
"Goodness is dust." "Goodness is to have cheek or brass." 

To pass the test there must be at least two good definitions. 
This test is sometimes difficult to interpret. At eight and at 
nine years, one sometimes finds children who give good definitions, 
but it is very rare. At ten years, a third succeed; at eleven years, 
nearly all. 

Placing disarranged words in order. This test was inspired by 
the investigations of Ebbinghaus, who had his pupils fill in blanks 
left in sentences by the omission of a word. We employ the 
three following groups which are given to the pupil with the 
direction: "Put these words in order and find the sentence which 
they make.'' 




Solutions. 1. We started for the country at an early hour or 
At an early hour we started for the country. Poor answer, "We 
started country 

2. "I asked the teacher to correct my paper. " 

3. "A good dog bravely defends his master." A variation less 
exact is "A dog defends his good master bravely." Poor vari- 
ations: "A master defends his good dog bravely." "A dog de- 
fends his master bravely good." 

It is a puzzle which interests many. There are large individual 
differences in the rapidity with which the solution is found. Some 
need only five seconds; others need twenty seconds, sometimes 
even fifty. The time limit is one minute for each sentence. In 
order to pass the test it is necessary that two out of three sentences 
be correct. 

Many children do not understand the instruction given, and 


invent words or make a sentence having no connection with what 
is written. For instance one child made the following sentence, 
^^The short dog." "I defend my country." "I have bought some 

Twelve Year Old Children 

Repetition of seven figures. This test is made in the same manner 
as for 5 figures. One warns the subject in advance that he is 
going to have 7 figures to repeat. Three trials are given; one 
success is sufl&cient. 

Rhymes. ^^ Begin by asking the subject if he knows what the 
word rhyme means. Whether he knows or not (and very often 
he thinks he knows when he does not), give him the following 
explanation. ''Two words which rhyme are two words which 
have the same ending. Thus ^grenouilW rhymes with 'citrou- 
ille^ by the ending in 'ouille.' In the same way 'mouton' 
rhymes with bdton, both ending in ton. Do you understand? 
I am going to give you a word and then you must find other 
words which rhyme with it. It is the word ' oheissance.' Find 
me all the words which rhyme with ^ oheissanceJ " A minute is 
allowed for the search and during that period of time the pupil 
is required to find three rhymes. Stimulate but do not aid him. 
Generally he begins by reciting the word " desobeissance." 
Sometimes he gives a series of words which do not rhjmae. Others 
coin words as fance, niance, servance, etc., or they give words 
which do not end in "ance" and are unknown; rirement, mique- 
ment. Finally some children having understood nothing repeat 
" grenouille," citrouille." While others differently oriented say, 
obeir, fobeis, je desobeis, or again ''punition, mechancete. " Certain 
ones cite varied examples of disobedience, "To steal things from 
one's comrades, to give kicks, etc. " This test is one of the easiest 
to measure. 

Repetition of a sentence of twenty-six syllables. We have com- 
posed a series of 22 sentences each formed of words easy to under- 
stand and which are of increasing length; the first of these sen- 
tences has 24 syllables; the last has 44. One is able by this proc- 
ess to determine very easily the subject's power of verbal 
repetition. There are certain effects always to be observed when 
one proceeds by an increasing order; certain sentences are repro- 
duced exactly; then in proportion as the sentences are lengthened, 

» See p. 63, 1905 scale. 


slight, insignificant changes are made in reproducing them; a 
word is misplaced, a non-essential word is forgotten or even 
replaced by a S3monym. These sUght alterations are produced 
within a limit corresponding to an increase of from 6 to 10 syllables. 
Then serious omissions are made; an essential part of a sentence 
is forgotten or changed. We think it more convenient to allow 
no error. 

Let us remark in passing that the memory for verbal repetition 
does not greatly increase from six to ten years, notwithstanding the 
inunense intellectual difference between these two ages. 

Thus a group of six year old children at the Maternal 
School has given us the following series of maximums of repeti- 
tion, 22-18-20-18-20-24. A group of nine and ten year old 
children has given: 16-22-22-22-22-22-22. We had expected 
a very much greater difference. Decidedly, memory does not 
make great progress with age. 

We require that at 12 years a sentence of 26 syllables should be 
repeated correctly. Here are the sentences we use. 

Twenty-four syllables. My children, one must work very hard 
in order to live; one must go to school every morning. 

Twenty-six syllables. The other day I saw in the street a little 
yellow dog. Little Maurice has soiled his new apron. 

Twenty-eight syllables. Ernest is often punished for his naughty 
conduct. I bought at the store a pretty doll for my little niece. 

Thirty syllables. That night there was a terrible storm of light- 
ning. My companion has taken cold, he has a high fever and he 
coughs much. 

Thirty-two syllables. The tram car is cheaper than the omnibus, 
it costs but 2 cents. It is droll to see women driving coaches in Paris. 

Problem of various facts. Although a puzzle, this test demands 
good sense rather than a glance of the eye. We have devised 
two such tests, each of which contains a problem. 

1. A person who was walking in the forest of Fontainebleau 
stopped suddenly, and then, horrified, ran to the nearest police 
station to report that he had seen hanging from a branch of a tree a 
(after a pause). A what? 

2. My neighbor has just been receiving strange visitors. He has 
received in turn a doctor, a lawyer, and then a priest. What is taking 
place at my neighbor's house? 

These two questions greatly arouse the curiosity of the pupils. 
To the first they have answered, '^ Someone robbing a bird's nest, 


a snail, a thief, an assassin, a trunk of a tree, a hunch of grass, etc. 
The only correct answer as the text indicates is '^ a person hanged.'' 

For the second question the right answer is, ^'He is very ill, 
he is dying, etc.'' Poor answer: I do not know. The wrong 
answer often consists in a repetition of the question, He has 
the doctor and priest. 

In order to pass the test it is necessary to answer both questions 

Thirteen Year Old Children 

Paper cutting.^^ A sheet of paper folded in four is presented to 
the pupil; in the middle of that edge which shows only one fold, 
a small triangle, a centimeter in height, whose base coincides 

fig. 8 

with the edge of the paper, has been drawn, and the pupil is 
told, "Here is a sheet of paper which has been folded in four; 
suppose that here (one shows him the triangle) I make a notch 
with the scissors, and cut out the little triangle of paper which is 
drawn. Now, if I unfold the paper what shall I see? Draw the 
paper, and show in what place and how the hole will appear." 
It is of course forbidden to touch the paper; it is also forbidden 
to try by folding another paper. By the aid of the imagination 
alone the subject must be able to represent the effect of the cut- 
ting in the unfolded paper. This test is extremely difficult. 
Most subjects simplify the problem very much. They imagine 
that there is but one hole having the shape of a square, or of a 

i« See p. 67, 1905 scale. 



rhombus, or sometimes of a five-pointed star, occupying the 
center of the sheet of paper. They imagine this because the 
notch was made in the middle of the edge. Some make two 
rhombuses in a straight line each occupying the center of half 
the sheet of paper. 

When a child succeeds in this test at the first attempt, it is 
necessary to ask him if he has seen it before. 

Reversed triangle. A visiting card is cut in two pieces along its 
diagonal. It is shown to the subject on a sheet of paper, the two 
parts in place and touching, and he is told, ''Look well at the lower 
part; suppose it to be turned over and that the edge AC {AC oi the 
figure is indicated by pointing to it) is applied to the edge AB 

FIG. 9 

of the upper part; suppose also that the point C is placed on the 
point B. Now I remove the piece; replace it in your mind and 
sketch its contour as if it were in place. Commence by tracing 
the outline of the first piece. " This is a very difficult test. In 
order to succeed, the pupil must draw a right angle at B, and the 
edge AC must not be as long as AB. Very often only one of 
these conditions is satisfied by the pupil's sketch. 

Differences.^'^ It is asked. What difference is there between 

1. Pleasure and happiness? 

2. Evolution and revolution? 

3. Event and advent? 

4. Poverty and misery? 

5. Pride and pretension? 

" See p. 68, 1905 scale. 

236 development of intelligence 

General Conditions of the Examination 

First the testing should take place in a quiet isolated room. 
The examiner should be alone with the child and when possible 
he should have a secretary whose duty is to record verbatim the 
child's answers. This secretary may be a child of thirteen or 
fourteen years, provided he is very intelligent and one can 
supervise his work a little. The subject to be examined should 
be kindly received; if he seems timid he should be reassured at 
once, not only by a kind tone but also by giving him first the tests 
which seem most like play, for example — ^giving change for 20 
sous. Constantly encourage him during the tests in a gentle 
voice; one should show satisfaction with his answers whatever 
they may be. One should never criticise nor lose time by at- 
tempting to teach him the test; there is a time for everything. 
The child is here that his mental capacity may be judged, not 
that he may be instructed. Never help him by a supplementary 
explanation which may suggest the answer. Often one is tempted 
to do so, but it is wrong. 

Do not become over anxious nor ask the child if he has under- 
stood, a useless scruple since the test is such that he ought to 
understand. Therefore one should adhere rigorously to the 
formulas of the experiment, without any addition or omission. 
Encouragement should be in the tone of voice or in meaningless 
words, which serve only to arouse him. ''Come now! Very 
good! Hurry a little! Good! Very good! Perfect! Splendid! 
etc. etc.'' If witnesses are inevitable impose upon them a 
rigorous silence. How difficult this is to obtain! Every teacher 
wishes to interfere in the examination, to supplement the expla- 
nation of an embarrassed pupil, especially if he belongs to her 
class. Have the courage to insist that they keep silent. 

Always begin with the tests that fit the child's age. If one 
gives him too difficult work at first he is discouraged. If, on 
the contrary, it is too easy it arouses his contempt, and he asks 
himself if he is not being made fun of, and so makes no effort. 
We have seen manifestations of this misplaced self-esteem. 

On the part of the experimenter, some conditions are necessary. 
He must not allow himself to be influenced by information regard- 
ing the child obtained from other sources. He must say to him- 
self that nothing which he already knows about the child counts 


at all. He must consider the child as an X to be solved by this 
means alone. He must be entirely convinced that by using this 
method, he will be able by it alone to obtain a thorough knowl- 
edge of the child without depending on any outside help. But 
this self-confidence is liable to many fluctuations. In the be- 
ginning everything seems easy; it is the period of illusions. 
After a few trials, if one has at all the critical spirit, errors are 
seen everywhere, and this leads to discouragement. But if one 
keeps at it faithfully, patiently, confidence will return little by 
little; it is no longer the optimism of the beginner, but a confidence 
grounded upon deliberate reason and proof; one has a conscious- 
ness of his own power as well as of his limitations. 

This period of initiation should last through at least 5 or 6 
sessions of two hours each, and bear upon a total of twenty 
children. Every experimenter wishing to commence should 
submit himself to a similar preparation. 

Classification of the tests according to age. We here give the 
series of tests^^ ranged according to the ages at which the majority 

^8 These tests are not the first ones of which we had thought; if we keep 
them it is after long trial; they appear to us all good and practical. But 
we are far from claiming that they are the best. Those who will take up 
this work after us will find better; they will certainly succeed in eliminat- 
ing more strictly than we have been able to do, the tests that are influenced 
by education. In pursuing the experiments we have ourselves succeeded 
in making some improvements. But we have made no record of them, in 
order not to change the economy of the work and the value of our figures as 
to the result. The main point after all is that on the one hand the principle 
of the measure of intelligence be stated, and on the other that our method 
be, in spite of its defects, good enough to be put into practice. 

We lack time to establish tests corresponding to ages under 3 years. 
Our experiment in hospitals showed us which are the tests to be used, but 
we do not yet know to which exact age of normal development they corre- 
spond. In any case we give them here for reference. 

Voluntary look (follow a lighted match which the experimenter moves). 

Prehension of an object by contact (put the object in contact with the 

Prehension after visual perception. (One hands the object and the child 
must try to take it.) 

Knowledge of food. (One presents a piece of wood, then a biscuit. One 
notices if the child rejects the piece of wood to take the biscuit.) 

Execution of order given by gestures. (For instance, the order to sit 

Imitation of simple gestures. (For instance, clap the hands.) 



of children succeed in them. This constitutes our measuring 
scale of intelligence. Those who adopt our method will very often 
need to refer to it. 

(For discussion see pages indicated) 

Three years 

Show eyes, nose, mouth (p. 184). 
Name objects in a picture (p. 188). 
Repeat 2 figures (p. 187). 
Repeat a sentence of 6 syllables (p. 

Give last name (p. 194). 

Four years 

Give sex (p. 195). 
Name key, knife, penny (p. 195). 
Repeat 3 figures (p. 196). 
Compare 2 lines (p. 196). 

Five years 

Compare 2 boxes of different weights 

(p. 196). 
Copy a square (p. 198). 
Repeat a sentence of 10 syllables (p. 

Count 4 sous (p. 200). 
Put together two pieces in a "game 

of patience" (p. 198). 

Six years 

Repeat a sentence of 16 syllables 
(p. 186). 

Compare two figures from an esthet- 
ic point of view (p. 202), 

Define by use only, some simple ob- 
jects (p. 202). 

Execute 3 simultaneous commis- 
sions (p. 205). 

Give one's age (p. 206). 

Distinguish morning and evening 
(p. 206). 

Seven years 

Indicate omissions in drawings (p. 

Give the number of fingers (p. 209). 
Copy a written sentence (p. 209). 
Copy a triangle and a diamond (p. 

Repeat 5 figures (p. 210). 
Describe a picture (p. 210). 
Count 13 single sous (p. 210). 
Name 4 pieces of money (p. 211). 

Eight years 

Read selection and retain two mem- 
ories (p. 211). 

Count 9 sous. (3 single and 3 
double) (p. 214). 

Name four colors (p. 215). 

Count backward from 20-0 (p. 215). 

Compare 2 objects from memory (p. 

Write from dictation (p. 216). 

Nine years 

Give the date complete (day, 

month, day of the month, year) 

(p. 217). 
Name the days of the week (p. 218). 
Give definitions superior to use (p. 

Retain 6 memories after reading (p. 

Make change, 4 sous from 20 sous 

(p. 218). 
Arrange 5 weights in order (p. 220). 

Ten years 

Name the months (p. 221). 
Name 9 pieces of money (p. 221). 
Place 3 words in 2 sentences (p. 222). 
Answer 3 comprehension questions 
(p. 224). 


Answer 5 comprehension questions Twelve years 

^P- ^^^^- Repeat 7 figures (p. 232). 

Eleven years Find 3 rhymes (p. 232). 

^ . . . ... Repeat a sentence of 26 syllables 

Criticize sentences containing ab- / 232) 

surdities (p. 227). Interpret pictures (p. 193). 

Place 3 words in 1 sentence (p. 229). Problem of facts (p. 233). 

Find more than 60 words in 3 min- 
utes (p. 229). Thirteen years 

Give abstract definitions (p. 230). Paper cutting (p. 234). 

Place disarranged words in order Reversed triangle (p. 235). 

(p. 231). Give differences of meaning (p. 235). 

A few words upon the value of this classification. It is not 
exact for the age of three years, because certain tests placed at the 
level of that age can be done by much younger children, children 
of two years for instance. But this does not trouble us, for the 
measuring scale that we present is designed only for children 
of school age. Should a child of three years present himself 
these tests are sufficient to classify him. The only difficulty that 
could arise would be in classifying a child of two years. 

At the other extremity of the scale, there is also a little un- 
certainty. A pupil whcL4 ?asse s^ all th e tests for t he th irteenth y 
year may have a mental capacity superior to that^age! But how 
much? Our tests do not show us. 

II. Necessity of Making an Estimate op Results 

In the course of our explanation, we have insisted on the 
character of our method of measuring. Notwithstanding ap- 
pearances it is not an automatic method comparable to a weigh- 
ing machine in a railroad station on which one need but stand 
in order that the machine throw out the weight printed on a 
ticket. It is a method which requires some originality to operate, 
and we warn the busy doctor who would apply it by means of 
hospital attendants that he will be disappointed. The results 
of our examination have no value if deprived of all comment; 
thev nee d tn be ^^ terpreted . We are conscious that in insisting 
upon the necessity of this interpretation we seem to open the door 
to arbitrary opinions and to deprive our method of all precision. 
This is so only in appearance. Our examination of intelligence 
will always be superior to the ordinary examinations of instruc- 



tion, because it has many advantages over these. It unfolds 
according to an invariable plan, it takes the exact age into ac- 
count; it not only depends upon the replies but compares them 
with a norm which is at the same time a real average determined 
by experience. 

If in spite of all this precision we admit that the process must 
be used with intelligence, we do not think its value lessened by 
such reservation. The microscope, the graph method, are 
admirable examples of precision; but how much intelligence, 
circumspection, erudition and skill are impUed in the practice of 
these methods! And can one imagine any value in the observa- 
tions made with the microscope by one who was an ignoramus 
and at the same time an imbecile? We have seen examples of 
this and it makes us shudder. 

It is necessary then to abandon the idea that a method of in- 
vestigation can be made precise enough to be entrusted to the 
first comer. Every scientific process is an instrument which 
needs to be directed by an intelligent hand. With this new 
instrument that we have just made we have examined more than 
300 subjects. At each new examination our attention has been 
aroused, surprised, charmed by the observations we have made 
upon the manner of response, the manner of understanding, the 
mischievousness of some, the stupidity of others, and the thousand 
peculiarities which go to make up the attractive spectacle of an 
intelHgence in activity. Some persons to whom, very rarely 
however, we have accorded the privilege of witnessing our tests, 
have also understood and have, of their own accord, declared 
what a deep impression they had received, and how they were able 
to form a good idea of the inteUigence of each child, even those 
whom they had known for a long time. It is this deep impres- 
sion that one should know how to gather, interpret and estimate 
at its true value. The notations that we recommend should 
serve only as an aid to the memory, and to facilitate the assem- 
bhng of those elements out of which our mind alone can compose 
the synthesis. 

With these reservations we shall now explain our system of 

Recording results. In practice one has before him in a vertical 
column the names of the tests in the order in which we have here 
given them. The tests for the different ages are separated by 



a horizontal line. When one is about to test a child, begin with 
the tests for his age, and according as the test has been passed 
or not, mark the answer with the sign + or — . But that record 
is not sufficiently graded; it is necessary, we think, to adopt the 
exclamation point for those cases where the failure takes on an 
evident character of absurdity. Let us cite some examples of 
absurd replies. 

Repetition of sentences. What we have called "bafouillage" — 
(words that have no sense). 

Repetition of five figures. Pronouncing the figures in the natural 
order. One has said: 2, 8, 7, 3, 9. The child says 8, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 
7, 9. This is a particularly serious error, if the child who makes 
it has been able at another time to repeat 5 figures. It is then 
clear that it is not so much memory that he lacks, as judgment. 

Study of a picture. Making lengthy enumerations impUes a 
childish intelligence having had experience which has not devel- 
oped it. This is often encountered among the subnormal. 

To count thirteen sous. To know how to count correctly as 
far as 30 and then in counting 13 sous to make a serious error — 
for example of ten units. 

Pieces of money. To invent; to discover pieces of 25 sous; 30 
sous; 3 francs; 30 francs, etc. 

Reading. To mispronounce words when one is able to read 

Counting backwards. To skip regularly 2 figures at the end of 
a certain time, which indicates that the directing idea is lost; 
or even after having counted backwards to begin counting 

Defining objects. To repeat the word, as ''a chair is a chair." 
Or to point to the object, ''a table." *' There it is" (placing 
his finger on the table) . 

Date. Inventing extraordinary dates. Saying it is the year 
19; it is the month 9, etc. 

Memory of what is read. Inventing statements which have not 
been read. 

Comparison from memory. Repeating the word. Saying: 
"Wood is made of wood. Glass is made of glass." 

Making change from twenty sous. Giving change at random, 
5 francs, 10 francs, etc; or giving a number much less than 16 
sous; using pieces of known value, for example — giving 19 sous 
with a 10-sou piece and the rest in single sous. 


Arranging weights in order. Making mistakes which indicate 
that the subject has not understood the meaning " decreasing; '* 
or arranging the boxes, hap-hazard, two by two. 

Three words in a sentence. To write a sentence without sense as, 
" Paris is a city of fortune for the streams. '^ 

Criticism of sentences. Absurd answers. For instance to 
answer the second sentence with ''It is Ernest who was not kind.'' 
To the third, '' 'Tis hke saying, I am not well. " 

Abstract definitions. Absurdities. Example. "Charity is to 
raise one's hat." 

Arranging words in a sentence. Making a sentence void of 
sense: " One must finish his exercises. " "A good dog his bravely 
master defends." 

Rhymes. Coining words, or sometimes, what is worse, coin- 
ing words that have not even the merit of rhyming. 

Such answers deserve not merely a minus but an exclamation 
point as well. 

Utilization of notes. A series of signs is thus obtained in a 
vertical column; these signs succeed one another irregularly; 
here are minus signs, there are plus signs. How shall they be 
interpreted? First of all it is evident that in whatever order we 
place the tests, we shall never be able to find any single test of 
such a nature that when this one has been passed, all the previous 
ones will also be successful, and all the following ones failures. 

This order of tests might be estabUshed for one child in partic- 
ular, but the same order would not be satisfactory for a second 
or a third. So, let us examine the results of the order of the 
tests which we have chosen, and let us see how ten children of 
nine years react. For the five tests at nine years, which furnish 
50 repUes (since there are 5 tests and ten pupils) there are 6 failures 
and 44 successes. For the tests at ten years, there are 14 failures 
and 36 successes. A test limit could never be found which would 
stop all the children, or which would stop only children of that 
age, or to which they would all attain. That would be a very 
convenient criterion, but we have never found it, nor do we be- 
lieve it exists. The reaUty is less simple. What we have found 
is the following: children of nine years pass all the easy tests; 
in the very difficult tests, children of nine years pass none; in the 
tests of moderate difficulty some pass one, some another. This 
varies with each child. This is a fact of which one must take 



account. Every child has his individuality; one succeeds best 
in test ''A" and fails in test *'B"; another, of the same age, fails 
in '*A" and on the other hand succeeds in "B." How shall we 
account for these individual differences in the experimental results? 
We do not know exactly; it is probable that the mental faculties 
involved in the tests are different, and of unequal development 
in the children. ' If a child has a better memory than one of his 
companions, it is natural that he should succeed better in a test 
of simple repetition. Another who has already a trained hand 
will succee.d better in the arranging of the weights. Another 
reason may be alleged. All our tests suppose an effort of at- 
tention; and attention varies constantly in the degree of concen- 
tration, especially among the young; now it is intense; a moment 
later it is relaxed. Suppose that the subject has a moment of 
distraction, of constraint, of ennui during a test; he fails. One 
cannot doubt the weight of this last reason. We are so con- 
vinced of it that we consider it chimerical and absurd to judge 
the intelUgence of a child on any single test. 

From the preceding consider ations we conclude that we can 
determmejh g intellectual leveT of a^child only by the su m total 
o lthe tests. Success mj nany diff erent tests^is alone characteris- 

f. The mark of intelligence is therefore not made nor can it 
made as one measures height. For the height,^^ it suffices 
to have a table of average measurements for that age. Being 
given a child we take his height and referring it to the table of 
average measurements we easily, by a simple reckoning, learn 
if the child measures up to the average for his age, or if he is 
backward by one year, by two years, etc., or on the contrary 
advanced a year or two years, etc. Such a process of estima- 
tion is on the whole but slightly artificial. 

It is altogether different for the measure of intelligence. If one 
wishes to apply the same system of comparison between the 
intelligence of a child and the average intelligence of children 
at different ages, one is at once confronted with the difficulty 
that we have noted above. A child is backward in certain of the 
tests for his age and in advance for others. We think it possible 
to overcome this difficulty; but it is on condition that we adopt 
some arbitrary rule; and the said rule, however good it may be, 


*» See Ann^ psychologiqucy Vol. XII, p. 9 and fif. 



will always give an artificial character to the procedure, and to 
such a degree that if, by chance, one had adopted another rule, 
one would arrive at quite different results. 

We beheve it necessary to insist on this point for we shall later 
be led to say, for the sake of simpHcity of language, that a child 
of eight years has the inteUigence of a child of seven or of nine 
years. These expressions, because they are arbitrary, might 
cause some illusions. It is necessary to remember that the 
expression ^'retarded" or "advanced intelUgence, " results partly 
from the conventional procedure that we have adopted.^^ 

This procedure is the following: A subject has the intellectual 
development of the highest age at which he passes all the tests, with the 
allowance of one failure in the tests for that age. Thus young Ernest 
has passed all the tests at nine years, except one; he has also 
passed all the tests at ten years except one; therefore we attribute 
to him the mental level of ten years. 

But this rule is too strict, and an example will serve to make 
this clear. Suppose that Jean who is nine years old passes all 
the tests at nine years except two, and all the tests at ten years 
except two. Would that place him on the level of eight years? 
That would be to make him lose the advantage of the tests he has 
passed. We propose the following compensating rule; When 
once the intellectual level of a child is fixed, give him the benefit of an 
advance of one year every time he passes at least five of the tests 
beyond his level, and the benefit of an advance of two years if he 
has passed at least ten above his level. Thus, Jean aged nine is 
at the level of eight years, which one expresses by saying that he 
is -1 (that is, in other words, a year behind). But he has passed 
3 tests at nine years and 3 tests at ten years; he has been 6 
points in advance of his level; he has gained a year; he is then 
at the level of nine years, he tests at age, and is marked = . 

By employing this process, one succeeds in classifying satis- 
factorily nearly all children. We may even say all, if we ignore 
two or three exceptions which we found among the pupils of the 
Maternal School. Thus a little girl of six years lacked two of the 
tests at four years; she lacked four of those at five years and five 
of those at six years; unless she was placed at the level of three 
years one would not know where she belonged. The cause of the 

20 For final rule see p. 278. 



difficulty came from the following fact. She had an extremely- 
weak memory and could repeat neither the sentence nor the 
figures correctly. She had had, we were told, attacks of epilepsy. 
These are exceptions to the rule, but we have proved that ordi- 
narily these are found in abnormal cases. 

Let us cite some examples, giving at the same time the appU- 
cation of our method and the aspect of one of our examinations. 

One day we examined in a school two children of seven years. 
The Director who called them into his office scarcely knew them; 
they were children who had been in his school only four or five 
months. We asked for no information about these children, 
nor did we wish any beyond what was furnished by our psycho- 
logical tests. 


Let us commence with Ren6 T 

We gave to him the seven 

year tests. He passes all but the last. We reproduce his an- 
swers. Tests of seven years: Unfinished pictures. + .Answers: 
The first lacks, the eyes; second, the neck; third, the mouth; fourth, 
the arms. Except for an error in the second, all are correct. 

Ten fingers. + . Q. How many fingers have you on your 
right hand? A. Five. Q. And on the left hand? A. Five. 
Q. And on both? A. Ten. 

Copying triangle and diamond. + . His copy is very satis- 
factory, he has even drawn two sides of the diamond with a 
continuous line. 

Copy of sentence. -\- Excellent. 

Repetition of five figures. + . He succeeds. Q. 3, 2, 7, 9, 5. 
A. 3, 2, — . Q. 6, 1, 8, 3, 9, A. 6, 1, 8, 3, 9. Q. 3, 0, 2, 8, 5. 
A. 3, — . Notice that he succeeded only once. 

Description of pictures. + . He is very slow, but he makes the 
description. First picture. "A boy and a man who are dragging 
a wagon in the snow." Second. "I see that the man sleeps 
with his wife." Third. "A man who is standing on the bench 
looking out of a window." 

Counting thirteen sous. -\- . He counts correctly. 

Four pieces of money. — . He recognizes and names one sou, 
2 sous, 10 sous; he does not know the 5-franc piece. 

To sum up, he passes all the tests but one; and moreover he 
almost fails in repeating five figures. Let us now take the tests 
of eight years. 


Tests of eight years. Reading. — . He reads with difficulty 
the various facts and remembers nothing. 

Counting nine sous. + . He counts correctly. 

Four colors. — . He names all but the green which he does 
not know, and refrains from naming. 

Counting backwards. + . Correct. 

Comparisons from memory. -\- . First question . A. The wings 
are larger. Q. The wings of what? A. Of the butterfly. Second 
question. A. The wood is thicker than the glass. Third ques- 
tion. A. Because the paper is finer. These answers are good. 

Writing from dictation. — . Insufficient. He writes three 
words which he runs together; however, the result nearly attains 
the required limit. 

So he fails on three tests of eight years; two are of instruction 
and moreover those on which he fails he almost passes. Let us 
go on to nine years. 

Tests of nine years. Complete date. — . He knows the day, 
the month, the day of the month, but not the year. 

The days of the week. + . He recites these correctly. 

Definitions superior to use. -\- . Q. What is a fork? A. 
Silence. Q. What is a table? A. A table is of wood. Q. A 
chair? A. A chair is of wood. Q. A fork? A. It is of iron. 
Q. A horse? A. A horse is of meat. Q. And a mama? A. 
A mama is of flesh. These definitions of a chemist are superior 
to use. Note the naivete of the last. 

Reading with six memories. — . He can recall nothing. 

To make change of sixteen sous from twenty sous. -{- . Very slow. 
He counts on his fingers to find the differences between 4 and 
20. Then he gives a 10-sou piece, a 5-sou piece, and a 1-sou piece. 

Arranging weights. + . He makes a mistake but once in three 
times and this very slight. These are his three arrangements: 
3, 6, 9, 15, 12; 3, 6, 9, 12, 15; 3, 6, 9, 12, 15. 

If one is not satisfied with recording automatically, but studies 
each of the tests he still has a favorable impression. Ren^ 
lacked but little of succeeding in the first test, the date; he made 
change beautifully, using the five and ten-sou pieces. He 
arranged the weights in a manner almost perfect. Let us pass 
to the tests of ten years. 

Tests of ten years. Months, — . He recites only the first 
four then stops. 



Pieces of money, — . We saw that he does not know them all. 

Three words in two sentences. — . He fails. Not knowing how 
to write he does not understand the word sentence. 

Questions of comprehension , First series. + . First question. 
A. One must wait. Second question. A. To do nothing. 
Third question. A. Pay for it. These answers are good and the 
test is passed. 

Other questions. — . He answers by silence to the five questions. 

Thus we see that he is able to answer at least one of the tests 
of ten years. For the rest he fails chiefly for reasons beyond his 
intelligence because of the lack of instruction. We were curious 
to know how many words he would say in three minutes. That is a 
test that requires no instruction. But he cited five or six words, 
then stopped, much embarrassed; we waited for him, encouraged 
him, but he could find no more. 

Let us sum up and pass judgment. He succeeded in all but 
one of the tests of seven years. Then, he is at least of the seven 
year level. Furthermore, he passed eight tests of the ages 
following; he is then more than a year in advance of his age. 

Let us mark him + 1 . 


The preceding pupil was followed by young Mod , who 

was also seven years old. His countenance appeared as intelU- 

gent as that of T but one should guard against individual 

diagnoses furnished solely by the examination of a countenance. 
Or rather one ought to judge the intelligence of a countenance 
chiefly when the subject is in action, and is making an effort to 

From his first answers Mod surprised us. Your age? 

He answered seven years and a half, when he is not yet seven 
years. Is it morning or evening? He answered, morning; 
it was afternoon. If we had wished to make only a rapid test, we 
should give the tests of six years; but as this was a regular demon- 
stration, we continued the tests for seven years as our subject 
was of that age. Strange to say, he did not pass any; moreover, 
his failures were complete and serious. 

Tests of seven years. Unfinished pictures. — . First figure, 
silence. Second, the neck. Third, the neck. Fourth, silence. 
No answer correct. 


Number of fingers. — . Q. How many fingers on your right 
hand? A. Five. Q. On the left? A. Six. Q. On both? A. 

Copying diamond. — . His drawing is defective and the dia- 
mond unrecognizable. 

Copy of a sentence. — . Illegible. 

Repetition of five figures. — . Complete failure. 

Q. 2, 8, 5, 9, 7. A. Silence. Q. 3, 7, 2, 5, 9. A. 3, 2, 4—. 
Q. 6, 2, 8, 5, 7, A. 8, 9. 

Pictures. — . First picture. ^. A man. Q. And then? A. 
A Uttle boy. Q. And then? A. A wagon. Second picture. 
A. A man and a lady. Q. And then? A. A hat. Third pic- 
ture. A. I see a man. Q. And then? -4. A table and a chair. 
It is evident that it is an enumeration such as a three year old 
child would make. What a level! 

Counting thirteen single sous. — . He knew how to count; he did 
not count the same piece twice, but he lacked method; for having 
finished, he began to recount a series already counted and so 
reached 20. It was a great error of intelligence. 

Four pieces of money. — . Again enormous errors. He called 
3 sous a 5-franc piece. He called 1 sou a 10-sou piece. 

Evidently we made a great mistake in applying to him the 
tests of his own age. Let us go back; in order that the demon- 
stration be complete, let us give him all the tests starting with 
those of three years. 

Tests for three years. Show your nose, eyes, mouth. + . He 
did as coromanded. 

Enumeration in pictures. + . We have seen that he could do 

Two figures. + . He repeated them correctly. 

Six syllables, -f . He repeated them but with a babyish 

Family name. + . He did not give that by which he was 
registered, but that of his foster father. 

Tests of four years. + . He passed all the tests. 

Sex. + . He indicated it correctly. 

Knife, key, sou. + . He named them. 

Three figures. + . He repeated them. 

Comparison of lines. + . His designation was correct. 

Tests of five years. Comparison of two weights. + • He passed 



this test, but with difficulty. Q. Give me the heavier box. 
In answer he gave a box, but without comparing it with the other. 
It was necessary to tell him to take both boxes in his hand. 
At four or five years a child should not need this advice. More- 
over in three attempts he made one mistake. 

Copy a square. + . Correct. 

Repetition of ten words. + • Correct but indistinct. 

To count four single sous. + . Correct. 

"Game of patience'^ with 2 pieces. — . He could not do it. 
He joined the two pieces haphazard and was satisfied with a 
figure which resembled a triangle. 

So the tests of five years were passed, except the last, but they 
were barely passed; the first needed indulgence. 

Tests of six years. Right hand, left ear. — . He showed the 
right ear. 

Sentence of sixteen syllables. — . He could not repeat correctly 
sentences of 12, 14, or 16 syllables. It was indistinct and many 
words were omitted. For example: Q. We are going for a walk; 
Mary give me your pretty hat. A. He does not repeat half the 

Esthetic comparison. — . He did not indicate the correct 

Definitions. — . He gave them by use only, as at six years. 
Q. A fork? A. Silence. Q. A table. A. It is for eating. 
Q. A chair? A. It is to sit on. Q. A horse? A. It is to work. 
Q. A fork? A. It is for eating. Q. A mama? A, She is to 
keep house. 

Three commissions. + • He executed them quickly. 

To recapitulate, he has, with indulgence, the mental level of 
five years. For if he did not pass all of the tests of five years, he 
passed those of four years, plus six of the following tests, which 
gives him five years. If one gives him all the tests of five years, 
he has only two more, he remains then at five years. Conclusion. 
He is two years behind his age, that is —2. 

Experimental verifications. All of the authors who have de- 
vised methods of measuring intelligence, or the various faculties 
of inteUigence, have yielded more or less to a false tendency, 
which consists in limiting themselves to a priori constructions. 
The methods of diagnosing inferior states which have heretofore 
been published are certainly not the result of experimentation; 


but their authors have made use of experimentation only to give 
examples and to illustrate the tests. In spite of our aversion 
to this method, we have shown very often that we naturally were 
led to treat the present study from a solely theoretical point of 
view. One must beheve that the formulation of rules leads one 
logically to ignore facts. But one should retrace his steps. We 
wish to demonstrate the part of experimentation, that is to say, 
of truth in our work. 

First of all, it will be noticed that our tests are well arranged in a 
real order of increasing difficulty. It is as the result of many 
trials, that we have estabHshed this order; we have by no means 
imagined that which we present. If we had left the field clear 
to our conjectures, we should certainly not have admitted that it 
required the space of time comprised between four and sev6n years, 
for a child to learn to repeat 5 figures in place of 3. Likewise we 
should never have believed that it is only at ten years that the 
majority of children are able to repeat the names of the months 
in correct order without forgetting any; or that it is only at ten 
years that a child recognizes all the pieces of our money. 

In order to make perfectly clear the real hierarchy of our tests, 
we have made a very simple calculation and one easy to explain. 
We have already said that when a child passed all but one of the 
tests of a certain age, he has the intellectual level of that age. 
Let us see if it happens that, according to this rule, a child may 
lack the level of a given age but at the same time reach that of a 
higher age. If such a case presented itself, it would be an argu- 
ment against the hierarchy that we have admitted. Let us suppose 
that such a case could present itself; the independence of the in- 
tellectual faculties is great enough to explain this. But is such a 
case often presented? Out of 70 children whose replies we have 
examined from this point of view, the hierarchical depreciation 
mentioned has not presented itself a single time. Let us conclude 
that it must therefore be very rare. Let us also conclude that 
this forms a first experimental confirmation of the order we have 
established in our tests. 

We have a second means of learning if our measuring scale of 
intelUgence is gauged accurately. This means consists in trying 
out a large number of children of all ages and seeing if on the 
average they pass the intellectual tests of their age. We have 
made that experiment at length, in the Primary and Maternal 


schools for boys in Paris, on children of the age of three, four 
five — twelve years or within two months of this age. We have 
studied 203 children individually, each of whom was examined 
during a period lasting a half hour at the least. What result 
may we hope to obtain from this study? And what must we 
require of this result for it to be a confirmation of our investi- 
gation? We ought not to expect that all the children of a given 
age should be of the same intellectual level. That is very evi- 
dent. All are not equally intelligent; and if all were able to reply 
in the same manner to any one test it would simply prove that 
the test was poorly made, and subject to some error, for example 
to suggestion. Let us reckon then that in a group of children of 
the same age some are necessarily behind in intelligence, others in 
advance, others regular. What we have a right to demand is 
that there should be a balance between those who are behind 
and those who are in advance; if we have twice as many behind 
as we have in advance it would show that our tests are too diffi- 
cult. But the equaUzation of those retarded and those in advance 
can only be made on large groups. What we ought further to 
demand is that in the comparison of two successive ages, the 
number retarded from the higher age shall not equal the number 
of at age pupils of the lower age. In order to fix our ideas let us 
imagine some figures; let us compare nine and ten years. If 
the advanced at nine years number 50, and the at age 40, and at 
ten years there are 50 at age and 40 retarded, it is evident that the 
results obtained by these two different ages are identical, and that 
in consequence the children are poorly classified; if they have 
faculties of a different level, they have been badly graded. It 
is necessary that the advanced of one year shall not equal in 
number the at age pupils of the higher year, and that the at age 
of one year shall not equal the number of retarded pupils of the 
preceding year. 

Glance at our results and see if they satisfy these various con- 
ditions. At three and four years, we have a considerable number 
of backward pupils. This is explained by particular conditions. 
Young children often refuse to answer from ill-will, or from timid- 
ity. The latter influence is perhaps the more rare, for timidity is 
a feeling of social decorum, a trait of intelUgent children, and this 
trait usually develops later than three or four years. But ill- 
will is frequent. We have seen a child of three years who would 



not take the pencil offered him; he would not make any movement 
even of defense when the pencil was put under his nose. As 
that child walks and talks, we attribute his action to ill-will, 
for taking the pencil was a more simple act than speech. 

Let us remark also that between nine and ten years the differ- 
ences are not great. Is it because our tests are insufficient? 
We do not know. 

Nevertheless it is true that the backward pupils of ten years are 
almost equal in number to the regular pupils of nine years, and 
that the advanced pupils of nine years equal in number the reg- 
ular pupils of ten. Aside from these remarks it seems to us that 
our scale follows in a satisfying manner the progress of age, as the 
following table, which is the result of many experiments, shows 
very clearly. 

Table showing the number of pupils intellectually at age, advanced, and 
retarded for the different ages of school life 

At age 

Advanced by 1 year. 
Advanced by 2 years 

Retarded by 1 year. . 
Retarded by 2 years. 





















































So 103 pupils are at age, have exactly the mental level that we 
attribute to their age ; 44 are advanced ; 56 are retarded. We have 
here a confirmation, which is greater even than we had supposed 
a priori. In fact we should not have thought that so large a 
proportion of children of normal intelligence could exist, that is to 
say, having the intelligence of their age, and that those advanced 
or retarded should form such a small minority. 

Let us add a detail; we speak of advanced and retarded pupils. 
But how many are there? There are 86 who are irregular by 
one year; only a very limited number, 14, who are irregular 
by two years; now this is really very interesting. The insignifi- 
cance of these deviations proves to us that the degree of the intelli- 
gence, estimated according to our procedure, varies less from one 
subject to another than the volume of the head or even the height. 


If it were necessary we could cite other verifications of our 
scale, which though partial seem no less significant. Often we 
have asked that the brightest pupil be sent to us and that sub- 
ject has always brilHantly passed our test. On the contrary 
almost all the subnormals, that is, pupils having a scholastic 
retardation of three years, show a serious defect in intelHgence. 
Thus, having recently had to examine 14 subnormal pupils who 
were three years backward, we found the following intellectual 
retardation: -2.5, -1, -4, -3.5, -1, -3, -3, -2, -1,-1 
-3.5, -5, -3.5, -2. 

One notices here a retardation of intelligence which is extremely 
great, and to which we found nothing analogous among normal 
pupils. All these facts confirm the preceding; they appear to us 
less convincing than those which show the correspondence be- 
tween the age and our tests; but they add to the demonstration, 
the force of individual observations. 

III. Apropos of the Definition of Intelligence 

We have not attempted to treat, in all its scope, this problem 
of fearful complexity, the definition of intelHgence; if we wished 
to take it in its entirety we should be obliged to present some 
a priori views, the least danger of which would be to lead to cer- 
tain distinctions and certain subdivisions which might seem 
important to us, and which perhaps would not be so at all. Our 
intention is altogether different; we wish to confine ourselves 
to an examination of the facts that we have collected; this exami- 
nation compels us to give first a brief definition of what we mean 
by intelligence, and further leads us to distinguish several forms 
of intelligence which hitherto have been confounded, and whose 
distinction offers a practical interest. Thus we shall give no 
general theory of intelligence, but a detailed examination of 
some special facts hitherto misunderstood. 
^ Distinction between intelligence and scholastic aptitude. Let v/ \ 
us commence with the easiest distinctions. We have often said 
that in our study we have sought to find the natural intelH- 
gence of the child, and not his degree of culture, his amount of 

A very intelligent child may be deprived of instruction by 
circumstances foreign to his intelHgence. He may have Hved 


far from school; he may have had a long illness; or he may, for 
example, have been sent to Berck; or may be some parents have 
preferred to keep their children at home, to have them rinse 
bottles, serve the customers of a shop, care for a sick relative or 
herd the sheep. In such cases our scale teaches us the degree of 
intelligence that can be found among illiterates; for them it 
suffices to pass lightly the results of tests which are of a notably 
scholastic character, and to attach the greatest importance to 
those which express the natural intelligence, s^ 

Furthermore, the intellectual faculty appears to us to be in- 
dependent not only of instruction but of that which may be called 
the scholastic faculty, that is to say, the faculty of learning at 
school, the faculty of assimilating the instruction given in school 
with the methods used in school. 

We have shown in our previous investigation for the recruiting 
of subnormal classes^^ that it was only by weakness of the scholas- 
tic faculty that we defined the subnormal at school. We said: 
^^ Any pupil is subnormal who is three vears behind in his studies. 
when that retardation is not the result of lack of suffici ent in- 
struction/' Now it appears to us wise and prudent to admit, 
until further investigations be made, that this aptitude is not 
necessarily confounded in every case with the intellectual faculty 
that we measure by our method. In the first place theoretical 
reasons require us to avoid this confusion. It seems to us that 
the scholastic aptitude admits of other things than intelligence; 
to succeed in his studies, one must have qualities which depend 
especially on attention, will, and character; for example a certain 
docility, a regularity of habits, and especially continuity of effort. 
A child, even if intelligent, will learn little in class if he never 
listens, if he spends his time in playing tricks, in giggling, in play- 
ing truant. The lack of attention, of character, of will, do not 
appear or scarcely so, in our tests of intelligence, the test is too 
short; the pupil is not left to himself sufficiently. In fact, in 
our examinations we have not found an inattentive child except 
among those of three or four years. All make a good effort; 
they are near us and our presence alone is sufficient to prevent a 
weakening of attention. It is not under such conditions that 
one can measure the ordinary power of attention of a child; it is 
when he is left to himself. A little incident will serve to show this. 

*i Les Anormaux, one volume in 18 vo., Paris, Colin, 1907. 


Experimenters have long recommended a test of attention which 
consists in having the pupil cross out certain letters in a printed 
text. The number of letters crossed out correctly, without error 
or omissions, in a given time, is taken as a convenient measure of 
attention. Some want to see in this a djnaamometer of attention. 
We agree to it with this reservation — ^that the pupil be not left 
alone with the experimenter. Call to you an inattentive child 
and make the experiment, you will not see much difference in 
the numerical result between his work and that of a more atten- 
tive child. Do not be surprised. Your presence, either intimi- 
dating or encouraging, explains ever3rthing. You have prevented 
the inattentive child from losing his time; he has not dared to 
lift his eyes or watch the flies on the ceiling. In reality, you have 
cooperated in his work, and the letters he has crossed off represent 
your action combined with his. It is thus that we explain the 
entirely negative results of an investigation made eighteen 
months ago on some subnormal pupils in a special class. We 
were assured in advance that these pupils had a very slight 
power of attention, and that in consequence they would show a 
pronounced weakness in the test of crossing out letters. Now it 
happened that these subnormal children crossed out as many 
letters as the normal. 

Let us take the same test, but under entirely different con- 
ditions; let us have five children sit at a table and give them the 
same text to cross out; command silence and leave them to them- 
selves. Five minutes later when the copies are taken up it will 
be seen that there is a curious difference, if one compares the work 
done by each child working without supervision among his com- 
rades, with that which he did at first when he was alone. The 
attentive child has resisted the temptation to distraction; and he 
has been able to furnish the same quantity and quality of work in 
the two sessions, if they were of equal length. The inattentive 
child shows a decided loss in the second effort. ^^ Here are the 
results in number of letters crossed : 

" Here are the exact results of the tests made by one of us (Binet) with 
M. Vaney. There were 17 pupils composed of two groups; in one, the at- 
tentive, the studious, the disciplined ; in the other, the inattentive, the un- 
stable, the unruly. We had them cross out the letters a, e, d, r, s, in three 
sittings each one lasting 5 minutes. 








In our 

In our 

Alone with 


























































































According as the figure of the third column, expressing the amount of 
work, is equal to or less than the second figure, we conclude that the child 
is attentive or distracted; but, one sees that out of 17 cases, we were 14 
times of the same opinion as the teacher. 

This explains to us that our examination of intelligence can 
not take account of all these qualities, attention, will, regularity, 
continuity, docility, and courage which play so important a part 
in school work, and also in after-life; for life is not so much a 
conflict of intelligences as a combat of characters. And we must 
expect in fact that the children whom we judge the most intelli- 
gent, will not always be those who are the most advanced in 
their studies. An intelligent pupil may be very lazy. We must 
also notice that the lack of intelligence of certain subnormal 
pupils does not account for their great retardation. We recall 
what we saw when we followed the lesson for many hours in a 
subnormal class. It was surprising to see how restless they were, 
always ready to change their places, to laugh, to whisper, to pay 
no attention to the teacher. With such instability it would re- 
quire double the intelligence' of a normal pupil to profit from their 



lessons. And now as a pedagogical conclusion, let us say that 
what they should learn first is not the subjects ordinarily taught, 
however important they may be; they should be given lessons of 
will, of attention, of discipline; before exercises in grammar, they 
need to be exercised ia mental orthopedy; in a word they must 
learn how to learn. ^^ 

In summarizing we arrive at the conception that if there is a 
general parallelism between the scholastic faculty and the intel- 
lectual faculty, nevertheless some striking cases of divergence occur. 

Do our tests permit of this distinction between the scholastic faculty 
and the intelligence? All the tests have been empirically arranged, 
according to the difficulties they present and from the best of our 
experiments, in order to obtain a good classification of children. 
Many interesting remarks may be made on this subject. 

Some of these remarks are forced on us by observations. Thus 
there are some tests which may easily be performed in a premature 
way by children much younger than those to whom the test 
normally belongs. For example, the naming of four colors be- 
longs to eight years; it is only at that age that the majority of 
children learn the names of the colors; however one sometimes 
finds six year old children who know them. The same is true 
of the days of the week and the months of the year. Usually 
it is only at nine years that pupils know the names of the days of 
the week, and at ten that they are able to repeat the names of the 
months without error. However we have found at the Maternal 
School many children of six years who knew the days of the week. 
This shows that there are a certain number of extra-scholastic 
attainments, which may precede the ordinary age of acquisition; 
this is due to the fact that the parents or the teacher have had the 
idea of teaching the child the names of the days and the months. 
Moreover this acquisition does not demand a notable effort of 
intelligence. One must' take into account the extra-scholastic 
attainments which depend solely on memory. 

Another group of tests which may be passed precociously are 
those which, by their form or by their essence, depend on the 
intelligence alone and do not demand the use nor the compre- 

" We take pleasure in recording here that one of us with the devoted 
collaboration of the primary school inspector, M. Belot, has succeeded in 
introducing these exercises of mental orthopedy in the classes for sub- 
normals in Paris, and even as an experiment in a class of normals. 


hension of a special vocabulary, nor the concurrence of scholastic 
attainments. Thus the arrangement of weights, the definitions 
superior to use, abstract definitions, and the interpretation of 
pictures are among the tests which are most frequently passed 
before age. It is a very interesting group ; it is less influenced than 
the preceding by the child's surroundings and is therefore a 
more adequate expression of spontaneous intelligence. 

A third group represents tests which are generally correct for 
their age, neither in advance nor behind; these are the obviously 
scholastic tests, expressing a knowledge that one acquires at a 
fixed date, or even the mixed tests in which natural intelligence 
is combined with knowledge. Thus counting backward from 20 
to is an operation for which children show no signs of precocity; 
likewise the number of facts remembered after a single reading 
of a selection depends more on the facility of reading than on the 
extent of the memory; and this test is not often passed by chil- 
dren under eight years. To place words in a sentence pre-sup- 
poses a knowledge of the language and a handling of syntax 
which prevents a child's passing this test much before his age. 
There is a final exercise which is never passed before the age of 
its level, and that is the answers to the second series of compre- 
hension questions, because they are not merely questions of 
intelligence since being intelligent alone does not suffice to pass 
them; it is also necessary to know certain words of the vocabulary; 
there are certain expressions such as "prendre parti" which not 
being understood checks the most active intelligeDce. Now the 
vocabulary of a language is slowly assimilated; it demands a 
long experience which cannot be improvised. 

In a last group we should place the tests which are remarkable 
for the frequency of failures even when the pupil is older than 
the age to which these questions normally belong. We have found 
only one test to place in this category; it is the arrangement of 
weights; now as the arrangement of weights is also one of the 
tests performed precociously, one must conclude that the slight 
amount of cleverness of judgment and ability to weigh, which 
this test implies, constitutes a faculty independent of the whole. 

All these diverse verifications permit us to judge intelligently 
what we measure with our measuring scale of intelligence. We do 
not measure the intelligence considered separately from a number 
of concrete circumstances — the intelligence which is needed for 



understanding, for being attentive, for judging. It is something 
far more complex that we measure. The result depends: first, 
on the intelligence pure and simple; second, on extra-scholastic 
acquisition capable of being gained precociously; third, on scholas- 
tic acquisitions made at a fixed date; fourth, on acquisitions rela- 
tive to language and vocabulary, which are at once scholastic and 
extra-scholastic, depending partly on the school and partly on 
the family circumstances. 

Does our measuring scale fail to do justice to a child of uncom- 
mon intelligence without culture, or with a scholastic culture much 
inferior to his intelligence? We do not think so. Such a child 
will show his superiority in the repetition of figures, in the repeti- 
tion of sentences, paper cutting, the arrangement of weights, the 
interpretation of pictures, etc. And it is a specially interesting 
feature of these tests that they permit us, when necessary, to free 
a beautiful native intelUgence from the trammels of the school. 


It remains for us to make a distinction between the two kinds of 
inteUigences which hitherto, we believe, have been confounded. 
We may call them the maturity of intelligen ce and the re ctitude q 
in tellige nce. The maturity of intelUg;ence is the growth o f the 
intelligence withage. An intelligence which is not mature is 
childish; an intelligence which is mature before the age of maturity 
is precocious. These phenomena of retardation or advancement 
are especially noticeable when produced in the character. Every 
one has seen intelligent persons whose characters remain childish; 
old ladies who simper, who show affectation, who shed torrents of 
tears on the death of a canary; men of fifty who have the humor 
for practical jokes, and who enjoy playing the clown. One knows 
less of the maturity of the intelligence and it is this which appears 
in our work. In fact, it is this maturity mingled with many other 
elements that we have especially studied. In what does it really 
consist? It consists in part, in the increase of the faculty of com- 
prehending and of judging, at least this is probable; a child under- 
stands less and judges with less penetration than an adult; it con- 
sists also in the increase of acquisitions of every sort. But these 
are perhaps secondary characteristics which one may lack with- 
out compromising his maturity. We believe that this is brought 


out in 3 or 4 tests which certainly were not designed for that pur- 
pose. These tests are definitions, the work on pictures, the con- 
struction of sentences containing 3 words and perhaps also the 
arranging of weights. Let us return to the analysis we have made 
of these tests; in the results which have been recorded, it is easy 
to see in what the range of a child's thought consists. For the 
definition, it is the strictly utiUtarian point of view; he does not 
go outside of himself and he views objects in their relation to him- 
self. For the pictures, it is the act of enumeration to which he 
limits himself. For the construction of sentences, it is the pro- 
duction of three different ideas, without power of synthesis. For 
the comparison of two weights, it is the contrast between the diffi- 
culty of understanding that one ought to compare, and the rapidity 
with which one estimates the difference of two weights. For the 
arranging of weights it is something analogous, the difficulty of 
understanding and keeping in mind the fact that the weights 
should be arranged in decreasing order, and the facility of compar- 
ing them two by two. Those are some of the traits of child intel- 
ligence. Let us add that the child is equal to the adult in simple, 
but not in reasoned, memory, and in fine perception, but not in 
reflective perceptions. But it would require a study much more 
vast than ours, and above all more specialized, to set forth all 
the traits of a child's intellectual physiognomy. 

The maturity of intelligence is very distinct from the rectitude 
of intelligence, and the proof is that there exist very plain exam- 
ples, already cited by us, where the inteUigence has maturity 
without rectitude. Thus a pupil of twelve years succeeds in 
uniting in one sentence the three words given him, but the sen- 
tence is meaningless; he has maturity, not rectitude. Another, 
a true adult, a man of twenty-four, a veritable block-head — to 
quote his companions — gives us the interpretation of a picture, 
but his interpretation is remarkably false. To interpret is to 
have maturity; to make gross errors is to lack rectitude. 

The same distinction is also observable when one compares the 
answers to the tests of intelUgence given by the subnormal with 
those of normal pupils. Let us take for example, without choos- 
ing, 13 subnormals of nine to twelve years, whose intellectual re- 
tardation varies from one to four years. The absurdities com- 
mitted by these in their answers reach the following numbers per 
child: 9, 3, 5, 3, 2, 2, 2, 7, 4, 4, 0, 1, 1. With this series, let us com- 


pare those of normal pupils aged nine years; their absurdities are 
far less in number; 0, 2, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0. The average of ab- 
surd mistakes for the subnormal would be 3, for the normal 
scarcely 0.5. A very sensible difference which shows us, be it 
said in passing, that what is lacking in the subnormal is not only 
the maturity of intelhgence (which is doubtless also lacking, for 
they are constantly retarded) but also the rectitude of intelli- 
gence. We limit ourselves for the present to formulating these 
remarks; they are stepping-stones. 

Other traits of childish intelligence must also be studied so as 
to discover if in certain cases, the lack of rectitude does not also 
result from lack of maturity. 

IV. The Use of the Measuring Scale of Intelligence 

Our principal conclusion is that we actually possess an instru- 
ment which allows us to measure the intellectual development of 
young children whose age is included between three and twelve 
years. This method appears to us practical, convenient and 
rapid. If one wishes to know summarily whether a child has the 
intelligence of his age, or if he is advanced or retarded, it suffices 
to have him take the tests of his age; and the performance of these 
tests certainly does not require more than thirty minutes which 
should be interrupted by ten minutes rest if one thinks this neces- 
sary for the child. 

Furthermore when one wishes to be more precise, or to make a 
closer approximation, one may make many more tests; if the child 
is seven years old, he may attempt the tests of eight, nine and ten 
years for example. One would also be able after an interval of 
several days to substitute analogous tests. 

One question remains to be examined. To what purpose are 
these studies? In reading the reflections which we have inter- 
spersed in the course of our treatise, it will be seen that a profound 
knowledge of the normal intellectual development of the child 
would not only be of great interest but useful in formulating a 
course of instruction really adapted to their aptitudes. We fear 
that those who have drawn up the programs actually in force, are 
educated men who in their work have been led more by the fancies 
of their imaginations than by well-grounded principles. The 
pedagogical principle which ought to inspire the authors of pro- 


grams seems to us to be the following: the instruction should al- 
ways be according to the natural evolution of the child, and not 
precede it by a year or two. In other words the child should be 
taught only what he is sufficiently mature to understand; all pre- 
cocious instruction is lost time, for it is not assimilated. We have 
cited an example of it in regard to the date, which is taught in the 
Maternal School, but which is not known and assimilated before 
the age of nine years. This is only one example, but it is eloquent; 
it shows the error of what has hitherto been done; it suggests a 
method which will enable us to improve upon the past, — a method 
less literary, less rapid, and even extremely laborious, for it de- 
mands that one establish by careful investigations the normal 
evolution of a child's intelligence, in order to make all our programs 
and methods of instruction conform to that evolution, when it is 
once known. If by this labor we have succeeded in showing the 
necessity for a thorough investigation conducted after this plan, 
our time has not been lost. But we are far from flattering our- 
selves that we have inaugurated a reform. Reforms in France do 
not succeed except through politics, and we cannot readily im- 
agine a secretary of state busying himself with a question of this 
kind. What is taught to children at school ! As though legislators 
could become interested in that! 

It now remains to explain the use of our measuring scale which 
we consider a standard of the child's intelligence. Of what use 
is a measure of intelligence? Without doubt one could conceive 
many possible applications of the process, in dreaming of a future 
where the social sphere would be better organized than ours; 
where every one would work according to his known aptitudes in 
such a way that no particle of psychic force should be lost for 
society. That would be the ideal city. It is indeed far from us. 
But we have to remain among the sterner and the matter-of-fact 
realities of life, since we here deal with practical experiments which 
are the most commonplace reaUties. 

We shall not speak of parents; although a father and mother 
who raise a child themselves, who watch over him and study him 
fondly, would have great satisfaction in knowing that the intelli- 
gence of a child can be measured, and would willingly make the 
necessary effort to find out if their own child is intelligent. We 
think especially of teachers who love their profession, who inter- 
est themselves in their pupils, and who understand that the first 



condition of instructing them well, is to know them. All such 
teachers seek, more or less successfully, to make an estimate of 
the intelligence of their pupils; but they have no method, and in 
the normal schools the courses in psychology are generally so 
antiquated, that one cannot learn there how to observe mental 
phenomena. Primary School inspectors have often told us of 
zealous teachers who have had the ingenious idea of compos- 
ing psychological portraits of their pupils, and we have looked 
over these collections of portraits with interest. We have con- 
gratulated and encouraged the authors without telling them 
frankly what we thought, which was that they were working with- 
out method, like a very intelligent but unscientific man who would 
try experiments in bacteriology with unclean tools. 

It seems that the simplest process that comes to the mind of 
an instructor, when he wishes to elucidate intellectual character- 
istics, would be to interest himself in every one of his pupils and 
to apply to each one separately all the information he has gleaned 
here and there. Seeking to make a study, of which he expects 
an individual application, he confines himself to the individual. 
That appears very logical, very simple. One proposes to himself 
a goal and runs thither directly. But in the sciences the straight 
line is not always the shortest road. Even when one seeks only 
the individual application, it would be better to make a detour, 
and go from the individual to the general in order to come back to 
the individual. This is the precise point that our instructors 
have not understood, the route that they have not found, or which, 
after entering, they have not followed, deeming it too long. In 
consequence their investigations profit them alone; they remain 
empirical and arbitrary. In any case, we offer them our method 
which has been built on particular facts generalized, and which in 
consequence might and should render service to everyone. We 
are certain in advance that many instructors will desire to make 
use of it. Some having witnessed our experiments, and being 
charmed by what they saw, have already commenced its use. 

But we are of the opinion that the most valuable use of our 
scale will not be its application to the normal pupils, but rather 
to those of inferior grades of intelligence. 

It is well known, as we have often affirmed, that the alienists 
are not agreed on the definitions of the words idiot, imbecile and 
moron. There are as many definitions as writers. Moreover the 



formulae employed and the processes of diagnosis in use, are so 
vague that the most conscientious author is not sure of remaining 
constantly consistent with himself. How, for instance, can one 
make use of formulae of diagnosis, founded on difference of de- 
gree, when these differences are not measured ?2* Finally, the 
most serious criticisms that one can make of the actual medical 
practice is that if by chance, a child of normal intelligence were 
presented at a clinic, the alienist would not be able to know that 
he is dealing with a normal child. He will be unable for a very 
simple reason; he does not know what is necessary in order for a 
child to be normal; let us add that everyone is equally ignorant of 
how an individual intelhgence can be studied and measured. 
This is then a consequence of much weight. The doctor suspects 
every child who is brought to a mental clinic of being backward, 
and if, by chance, he is not at all backward, the ahenist will not 
know it; he will not even have the means of finding out. 

But one will say: You are making objections built on purely 
theoretical cases, cases possible, but invented at pleasure to sus- 
tain a thesis, cases which in reality have never been presented. 
You do not know an example of an error so great. It is true, we 
answer, that a certain number of children who are brought to the 
asylum either by parents or by officers, are so noticeably deficient 
that there is no need to be a doctor to recognize that they are not 
normal. When a boy of seven years does not know how to dress 

^* We should never cease to criticize these absurd formulas, which are 
to be met with in the best authors. In the idiot, we are told, the intelli- 
gence is but little developed, it is a little more so in the imbecile. Conscien- 
tious physicians have lately published statistics of slightly feeble-minded 
and profoundly feeble-minded, which were made in primary schools; they 
seriously give figures of percentages. There are so many slightly feeble- 
minded, they tell us, so many profoundly feeble-minded. But by what 
controllable and precise sign, can we distinguish such a slightness from 
such a depth? Not a word! It is about as if we said that there are in 
Paris 43 per cent of tall men and 42 per cent of short men, without defining 
what we were to consider tall or what short. It is as if the military law 
decided that to be passed, the recruit must have a reasonable height. How 
arbitrary! And how comical when these vague notions are accompanied 
with figures! We cannot be blamed if in the presence of these grave med- 
ical statistics, we irresistibly think of Moliere. 

Editor's Note: The famous comedies of Moliere are here alluded to in 
which the ridiculous pretensions of the doctors are made the occasions of 
mirth "Le medicin malgr^ lui," "Le malade imaginaire," etc. 


himself, when he does not understand a sentence, when he drivels, 
he would be recognized as feeble-minded by the first attendant 
who passed him. 

But besides these cases so evidently feeble-minded, one meets 
others whose deficiency is much less noticeable, and whose diag- 
nosis must be much more delicate. 

During the past year one of us examined 25 children who for 
various reasons had been admitted to Sainte-Anne and later con- 
fined at the Bicetre, at Salpetriere, or at other places. We applied 
the procedure of our measuring scale to all these children, and thus 
proved that three of them were at age in intelligence, and two others 
were a year advanced beyond the average. 

On reflection, these cases should not surprise us; and it is not 
necessary to be in touch with questions of mental medicine to 
inveigh against arbitrary segregation. One ought to confine a 
child of normal intelligence, or even of super-normal, if he has 
epilepsy, or irresistible impulses which constitute a danger to his 
neighbors or to himself. But it is none the less true that the doc- 
tors who were obHged to diagnose these cases, have had to judge 
the degree of intelligence of these children; ifc is very interesting 
to show the errors of diagnosis which have been committed in this 
regard. To two of these children who showed normal intelli- 
gence we regret to say that the term mental debility had been ap- 
plied without consideration. The third had received the term, 
truly extraordinary of its kind, of ^'enfant idiot.'' The child was 
named T , aged seven years. A doctor had written concern- 
ing him, "Idiotic, with attacks of furious anger. Wishes to 
bite. Does not know how to read or write." This last is a little 
too naive. Since the normal child does not know how to read and 

write at seven years, to be astonished that T who is just 

seven is still illiterate, is like reproaching a three year old baby for 
not knowing how to play the piano. Finally, one of these chil- 
dren who was a year in advance, was classed as a moron; and as 
to the other nothing was said concerning his mentality. Nothing 
could show more clearly, that with the means which it has at its 
command, the mental clinic is not in £^ position to diagnose cor- 
rectly a child's intelligence. ^^ 

" We cite this fact for the benefit of M. Royer, interne of M. Bourneville, 
who took upon himself to inveigh against our last booI(, Lea Enfants 


Let US show in what practical manner one ought to utiHze our 
scale. Two cases are to be distinguished: the backward adult 
and the backward child. Let us begin with the simpler of these 
cases which is the first. 

We shall use the customary words idiot, imbecile, and moron, 
giving to them a precise definition and a possible application by- 
means of the tests of our scale. An idiot is a person who cannot 
communicate with his fellows by means of language; he does not 
speak and does not understand; he corresponds to the level of 
normal intelligence between birth and the age of two years. To 
establish a differential diagnosis between the idiot and the imbecile 
it suffices to employ the following tests: first, to give verbal 
orders like touching the nose, mouth, eyes; second, to have him 
name some easy familiar obj ects that he can find and point out in 
a picture. These are our tests for the age of three years; in reality 
they belong as much to two years as to three. 

The border fine between imbecihty and moronity is not more 
difficult to establish. An imbecile is a person who is incapable 
of communicating with his fellows by means of written language; 
he can neither read, nor understand what he reads, nor write from 
dictation nor write spontaneously in an intelligible manner. To 
him may be applied the tests for eight years. As it is possible 
that one may sometimes have to deal with a person who is illit- 
erate through lack of schooling, one would need to employ many 
other tests of seven and eight years; the description of pictures, 
the coimting of mixed coins, the comparison of two objects from 
memory; these supplementary tests define the boundary which 
separates imbecility and moronity. 

There remains a third limit to establish — that which separates 
moronity from the normal state. This is more complicated; we do 
not consider it fixed but variable according to circumstances. The 
most general formula that one can adopt is this : an individual is 
normal when he is able to conduct himself in life without need of the 
guardianship of another, and is able to perform work sufficiently 
remunerative to supply his personal needs, and finally when his in- 
telligence does not exclude him from the social rank of his parents. 
As a result of this, an attorney's son who is reduced by his intelli- 
gence to the condition of a menial employee is a moron; likewise the 
son of a master mason, who remains a servant at thirty years is a 
moron; likewise a peasant, normal in ordinary surroundings of the 


fields, may be considered a moron in the city. In a word, retardation /' 
is a term relative to a number of circumstances which must be taken 
into account in order to judge each particular case. We can make 
the boundary between moronity and the normal state more defi- 
nite by considering a special category of subjects. We wish to 
speak of defective adults whom we have had occasion to observe 
in the Parisian hospitals who were subjects for custodial care. 
This forms a special category for many reasons: first on account 
of nationality and race, it is a question as to whether they are 
Parisians or persons living in the region of Paris; second, on ac- 
count of social condition; all belong to the laboring class. The 
limit that we place for them would not be correct for any others; 
we express complete reserve for the application of it which one 
would wish to make for subjects of different environments. 

In making a detailed study of the intellectual faculties of 20 
of these inmates, we found that the best endowed did not surpass 
the normal level of nine or ten years, and in consequence our meas- 
uring scale furnished us something by which to raise before them 
a barrier that they could never pass. There is always a reserva- 
tion to be made in applying our scale to them, which was pre- 
pared exclusively from observations upon young persons. Some 
of our tests consist of the usual knowledge that children acquire 
somewhat late. Thus the names of the days, of the months, of 
colors, of the principal pieces of money, are notions that an ordi- 
nary child does not possess before the age of eight, nine or ten. 
A defective adult even of inferior degree, for example an imbecile 
of forty, who is in general of the mental level of five years, may 
often recite without a mistake the names of the days, months, 
colors, pieces of money, and even the playing cards. From this 
point of view he is certainly much superior to the child of five 
years, and the reason is that he has profited by an experience very 
much longer. Let us then lay aside these practical notions which 
have no bearing here. There remain six or seven fundamental 
tests uniquely expressive of the intelligence; these are the tests 
that may be considered as forming for the laboring class of Paris 
and its environs the border line between moronity and the normal 
state. These tests are: first, arrangement of weights; second, 
answers to questions difficult of comprehension; third, the con- 
struction of a sentence containing three given words; fourth, the 
definition of abstract terms; fifth, the interpretation of pictures; 


sixth, the making of rhjnnes. Our subjects in the hospital were 
able to pass some of these tests but not one could pass all, nor even 
three of them. Now this is not a special localized success which is 
important for diagnosing a level of intelligence. All our work has 
shown that intelUgence is measured by a synthesis of results. We 
hope then that we are not dangerously precise in admitting that 
the six preceding tests will apprehend all feeble-minded adults; 
and that one who can pass the majority of them, or at least four, 
is normal. For us every subject from the laboring class of the 
region of Paris is normal if he has satisfied the condition of this 
examination of intelhgence; however, the examination shows only 
that he has intelligence enough to live outside of an institution, 
and that intelligence may coexist with accentuated instability, or 
with irresistible impulses, or even with other pathological symp- 
toms grave enough to necessitate his segregation. 

The mental level of a backward person having been deter- 
mined, one may conjecture what advantages can be drawn from 
the medico-pedagogical treatment of the person, and what progress 
can be attributed to that treatment. It has sometimes been pro- 
posed to treat the drowsy class of subnormals with thyroidine, 
and those who have recommended this new medication have pro- 
nounced its results marvelous. Instead however of allowing one's 
self to be too optimistic, or of relying upon the statements of 
hypnotized relatives, it would be much simpler to take a measure 
of the intelligence before and after treatment. That would be a 
means for ascertaining once for all what is the value of the famous 
medico-pedagogical treatment of defectives, so lyrically chanted 
by certain aUenists, and in which the pedagogue sees only certain 
procedures which are themselves very defective. ^^ 

Other investigations which are a little different, will be equally 
aided by the measure of intelUgence; thus the cephalometric study 
of the relation of the mental functions with the cranium develop- 
ment, will gain in value when one knows how to make an accurate 
measure of intelligence. Autopsies will become more eloquent 

2« It is interesting to note that according to Sollier, who published a 
special study on the medico-pedagogical treatment of idiocy, there does 
not exist any medical treatment of the idiot, and the pedagogical processes 
of Bic^tre are "very little different from the education of normal children." 
(Sollier, in Traite de Thirapeutique appliqu^e: Treatment of Mental Dis- 
eases, p. 258). 



when the anatomo-pathologic study of the brain will be made 
clear by a study of the quantitative psychology which will have 
been made on the living subject. Let us content ourselves with 
these allusions. We shall elsewhere return to the consequence of 
the diagnosis of inferior states of intelligence among adults; and 
we shall show how the diagnosis ,may be perfected by the 
establishment of many sub-degrees of idiocy, imbecihty and 

Let us pass to cases where the backward subject is young and 
in the course of mental development; the subject to be studied 
is eight years old. 

The problem is complex; one is unwilling to class the child, as 
if he were an adult, in a special group of defectives, without taking 
account of his age, and of all which that age permits him to attain. 
If he is eight years old we have not the right to consider him an 
imbecile simply because he does not know how to read; a normal 
child of eight years does not read very well, and one would never 
have the temptation to class him as an imbecile. To estabHsh 
the diagnosis of the subnormal child we must take into account 
two elements; his age and his intellectual level. 

But how combine these two elements? We shall not know with 
certainty until an extensive experience will have taught us what 
we do not yet know; how do idiots, imbeciles and morons develop; 
and what prognosis can be made from a certain retarded condition 
at,a certain age? These are investigations of prime importance 
though hitherto impracticable, since empiricism was the only 
method, and consequently there was no way of measuring the 
mental development of the feeble-minded. 

The process that we now recommend may be only provisional. 
We have sought to render it as simple as possible. In examining 
the table of our experiments upon normal pupils, one will notice 
that an intellectual retardation of one year is so frequent that it 
becomes insignificant; one need attach no particular value to it. 
On the contrary a retardation of two years is rare enough; it is 
found only in the proportion of 7 to 100. Let us admit that this 
retardation has in itself a prejudicial significance; let us admit 
that every time it occurs, the question may be raised as to whether 
the child is subnormal, and in what category he should be placed. 
The first determination being made, and its extreme facihty is 
evident, the child is placed in the category to which he belongs 


by actual development. Thus idiocy corresponds to a devel- 
opment of from to 2 years; imbecility from 2 to 7 years; moronity 
begins at 8 years. 

Whenever one deducts the retardation of a child from his real age 

he falls into one of these categories. For example the child B , 

who is seven years old, and five years behind the normal grade, 
presenting in consequence the development of a two year old 

child, is found at the limit between idiocy and imbecility; Br , 

who is thirteen years of age and seven years behind has in conse- 
quence a development of six years, and is an imbecile who ap- 
proaches the limit of moronity. Lay , who is nine years old, 

is four years behind, and has a five year development; she is 
plainly in the class of imbecility. 

It is understood that these diagnoses apply only to the present 
moment. One who is imbecile today, may by the progress of age 
become a moron, or on the contrary remain an imbecile all his 
life. One knows nothing of that; the prognosis is reserved. 

There is a third class of subnormals of which it remains for us 
to speak; these are the subnormals in the school. They differ 
from the subnormals in institutions only by a less accentuated 
state of backwardness or of instability. We could then limit 
ourselves to saying that the same methods of diagnosis are ap- 
plicable to them as to the subnormals in institutions, if the neces- 
sity of entrusting the selecting of them to persons who are not 
professional alienists did not oblige us to simplify the procedure 
they are to make use of in order to recognize them in the crowd of 
normal school children among whom they are placed. In a recent 
work we have given a very practical definition of a subnormal, in 
stating that it is one who is three years behind in his studies with- 
out the excuse of having been frequently absent from school. 

That formula is usually sufficient to guide the pedagogic diag- 
nosis; but it sometimes happens that one lacks information on 
the scholarship of a child, especially if he comes from a parochial 
school, or if he has passed successively through different public 
schools where he remained only a short time. In this case the 
examiner must establish the value of his retardation; but one hesi- 
tates at the interpretation of this retardation, and questions if it 
is by fault of scholarship or by fault of intelligence that he has 
been retarded. The intellectual test allows us to avoid all doubt, 
and we habitually resort to it when it is the question of a candidate 
for a special class. 


Evidently, let us say it in the most emphatic manner, our test 
of intelligence will not suffice to know absolutely that a child is 
subnormal; we have shown above, with an example for the sup- 
port of the theory, that one may be among the less brilliant in the 
test of intelligence and yet follow the course of study for his age 
at school; when one is able to follow the course of study for his 
age, he is saved from a suspicion of backwardness. We consider 
only a situation where there are doubts on the causes of scholastic 
backwardness; and in such a case, if to a serious retardation of 
scholarship is added a serious intellectual retardation, there is 
sufficient reason for sending the pupil to a special class. Thus 
in a recent study, we have examined some twenty children who 
had been proposed by their teachers for that class; the information 
in regard to their scholarship seemed to us vague for the majority 
of them. Three of the candidates were but one year behind; we 
sent those to an ordinary school, and sent to the special class only 
those who were two or more years retarded. 

One of these cases, to us a very striking one, was that of little 
Germaine, a child of eleven years who came from a Paris school. 
Her parents, having carried their Penates to Levallois-Perret, had 
sent their child to one of the schools for girls in that city. But 
the directress refused little Germaine under the pretext that her 
school was full; in reality because the child was extremely back- 
ward. In fact the retardation was at least three years; her read- 
ing was hesitating, almost syllabic; faults of orthography spoiled 
her dictation exercise. She wrote the following phrase under our 
eyes: The pertly litl grils stude the flwr that the gathrd yesty 
(which signifies: The pretty little girls studied the flowers that 
they gathered yesterday). Her number work was equally poor. 
She was asked, ''If I have 19 apples, and eat 6 of them, how many 
have I left?" The child, reckoning mentally, said ''12" which is 
inexact but reasonable. Trying it on paper, she was lost; she 
made an addition instead of subtraction and found 25. In other 
calculations she showed that she had the power to reckon mentally, 
tut not on paper; in the last case she made the addition correctly 
when she should have subtracted. It is however a frequent, not 
to say constant rule that those backward in arithmetic do the 
operations better than the problems, and do more easily opera- 
tions of addition and multiplication than those of subtraction 
and division. In short, this child had a retardation of three 


years; but knowledge of her scholarship was lacking. On the 
other hand her wide awake and mischievous air, and the vivacity of 
her speech made a favorable impression upon us. We made the 
test of intelligence and that showed us that her intelligence was 
normal; she was backward scarcely a year. This is a character- 
istic example which shows the use of our measuring scale. 

In terminating this account, it will suffice to make a very brief 
allusion to the appreciation of penal responsibility; there also our 
scale will render service. The problems of penal responsibility 
such as are actually placed before the tribunals, are most com- 
plex and recently have caused discussions that are highly curious 
on account of the attention which has been paid to words rather 
than to things. We have scarcely the space here to make the 
multiple distinctions which would be necessary in making clear 
the real situation. It will suffice to remark that in certain cases 
experts have to give their opinion on the degree of intelligence of 
an accused person; and that according to their customary point 
of view which consists in distinguishing health from illness they 
are preoccupied in learning if the accused should or should not 
enter the group of feeble-minded. It is strange that so far, no 
other criterion than a subjective impression can guide them; they 
weigh each case with their good sense, which presupposes in the 
first place that this is a possession common to all men, and in the 
second place that everybody's good sense is equal to every other 

We suggest to them that they should use the six differentiating 
tests that we have described above. By the methodical employ- 
ment of these tests, they will arrive at precise and controllable 
conclusions, which at the same time cannot help but enhance 
in the mind of the judges the value of the medico-legal appraise- 
ment of the aHenists. 

These examples to which we could add many others^^ show that 

" Let us point out the very great utiUty to humanity that would result 
from giving the intellectual test to young recruits before enlisting them. 
Many morons, that is to say, young men who on account of their weak minds 
are unable to learn and understand the theory and drill of arms and to sub- 
mit to a regular discipline, come to the medical examination, and are pro- 
nounced "good for the military service," because one does not know how to 
examine them from the intellectual point of view. We have learned that 
in Germany they pay attention to the mental debility of the recruits who 
are measured before enlistment by means of examination questions, writ- 


the methods of measuring the individual intelligence have not a 
speculative interest alone; by the direction, by the organization 
of all the investigations, psychology has furnished the proof (we 
do not say for the first time but in a more positive manner than 
ever before), that it is in a fair way to become a science of great 
social utility. 

Alfred Binet and Th. Simon. 

ten by Dr. Schultze, professor of psychiatry, on the Faculty of Medicine 
at Greifswald. These examination questions are made so that a twelve 
year old child of average intelligence and without any training can answer 
them. One of us referred these questions to the Minister of War, who 
answered that he would ask for a report on the matter. We have reason to 
believe that this answer is not the polite refusal which is customary with 
the State Administration, when they are importuned with propositions 
from the outside. And we shall most probably soon have the pleasure of 
telling the readers of L'AnnSe the result of our experiments on defectiveness 
among the recruits, and the means of detecting it and avoiding the 




UAnn^e Psychologique, 1911 y I4S-WI 

The method which we worked out with Dr. Simon for the 
measuring of the intellectual level of children has not passed 
unnoticed; it has received eulogies and has raised criticisms;^ we 
have thought it worth while to revise and perfect it; many devoted 
collaborators, among whom we are happy to cite MM. Bichon, 
Levistre, Morl^, and Vaney, school directors at Paris, Mile. 
Giroud, M. Jeanjean, students at our laboratory, and numerous 
other persons, have collected new facts which have permitted us 
to bring important modifications to our first plan. The points 
which we shall specially study are the following: 

1. What modifications ought to be introduced into the series 
of tests? 

2. What are the existing relations between the intellectual level 
and the scholastic level? 

3. What modifications are presented by testing the intellectual 
level of a given child at intervals of fifteen days? 

* Besides the references that we shall cite in the text, we would especially 
mention among the authors who have discussed, practiced, or criticized 
this method : H. H. Goddard, The Binet-Simon Tests of Intellectual Capac- 
ity, in the Training School, December 5, 1908 (the author has applied the 
method to a large number of subnormal children) ; Guy Montrose Whipple, 
Manual of Mental and Physical Tests, Baltimore, 1910; at the end of the 
book our method is set forth at length, with a reproduction of our pictures. 
Whipple has transformed certain ones of our tests in order to make them 
adaptable to English children; for example, the tests with the money have 
>/ received the necessary modifications. B^twhat is curious is th^jt the au- 
thor has believed it useful to substitute for our sentences to be criticised, 
new spntences, under the preiiiext that our sentences are too gruesome. 
We refer particularly to the woman cut into pieces, of an accident on the 
train which produced 48 deaths, and the man who committed suicide; it 
appears that these stories seem frightful to the American youth. Our 
Parisian youths laugh at them. However that may be, we believe that the 
new sentences of Whipple's should not be accepted without being tri^d out 
experimentally. No other tests will present the same difficulty of compre- 
hension as ours. 




4. How can teachers, by their own means, estimate the intelli- 
gence of a child? 

5. What differences exist in the intelligence of children belong- 
ing to different social conditions? 

6. What are the differences between our method and the 
methods with tests not arranged in a hierarchy? 

7. Review of several recent works which have criticized our 

Proposed Corrections to the Measuring Scale op 

Some objections to our scale have been made which seem to us 
just; we ourselves, in employing it, have discovered its defects and 
have sought to repair them. Here are the points which demand 

1. Certain tests have been repeated. For example at five years, 
there is a test of repetition of ten syllables and at six years one of 
sixteen syllables. We suppress the second repetition because it 
too closely resembles the first. 

2. There are tests which require a knowledge outside the intel- 
ligence of the child. To know his age, count his fingers, recite 
the days of the week indicate that he has learned these little facts 
from his parents or friends; we have thought well to suppress these 
three tests. 

3. There are tests too exclusively scholastic, as that of reading 
and retaining a given number of memories of what has been read, 
or copying a written model, or writing from dictation. We sup- 
press these, believing that the tests of instruction devised by M. 
Vaney, will suffice to establish the scholastic knowledge of a 
child. We advise recourse to his method when the need is felt. 

4. It results from the preceding investigations that the tests for 
twelve years are too difficult, also those for eleven years. We 
have therefore carried over to twelve years the tests' first classed 
under eleven years. 

5. Lastly, to fill the blanks produced by our suppressions, we 
have devised some new tests and have tried them upon new 

In taking count of all these modifications we have obtained the 
following series (the tests under six years have undergone no 



change. We have not considered it worth while to reproduce 
them. They will be found in UAnnee Psychologique, 1908, p. 

Six years 

Distinguish morning and evening 

(p. 206). 
Define by use (p. 204). 
Copy diamond (p. 209). 
Count 13 pennies (p. 210). 
Compare 2 pictures esthetically (p. 


Seven years 

Right hand, left ear (p. 201). 
Describe a picture (p. 210). 
Execute 3 commissions (p. 205). 
Count 3 single and 3 double sous (p. 

Name 4 colors (p. 215). 

. Eight years 

Compare 2 objects from memory 

(p. 216). 
Count from 20 to (p. 215). 
Indicate omission in pictures (p. 

Give the date (p. 217). 
Repeat 5 digits (p. 210). 

Nine years 

Give change out of 20 sous (p. 218). 
Definitions superior to use (p. 205). 
Recognize the value of 9 pieces of 

money (p. 221). 
Name the months (p. 221). 
Comprehend easy questions (p. 224). 

Ten years 
Place 5 weights in order (p. 220). 

Copy a design from memory (p. 

60, 282). 
Criticize absurd statements (p. 227). 
Comprehend diflBcult questions (p. 

Place 3 words in 2 sentences (p. 222). 

Twelve years 

Resist the suggestion of lines (p. 

Place 3 words in 1 sentence (p. 229). 

Give more than 60 words in 3 min- 
utes (p. 229). 

Define 3 abstract words (p. 230). 

Comprehend a disarranged sentence 
(p. 231). 

Fifteen years 

Repeat 7 figures (p. 232). 

Find 3 rhymes (p. 232). 

Repeat a sentence of 26 syllables 
(p. 232). 

Interpret a picture (p. 193). 

Solve a problem composed of sev- 
eral facts (p. 233). 


Comprehend a cut in a folded paper 
(p. 234). 

Reversed triangle (p. 235). 

Answer the question about the Pres- 
ident (p. 287). 

Distinguish abstract words (p. 286). 

Give the sense of the quotation from 
Hervieu (p. 287). 

We have satisfied ourselves that the application of these new 
tests produces no important change in the results; and on the other 
hand, as the number of tests has been lessened, the examination 

2 Page 238, in this volume. 



gains in rapidity which is an advantage. In employing our 
modified plan, MM. Levistre and Morl6, school directors, meas- 
ured the intelligence of many school children; we indicate in Table 
I the distribution of the pupils according to these investigations, 
how many are of average intelligence, how many superior, and 
how many inferior to the average.^ Other trained persons have 
been willing to experiment for us; we have utilized them; but for 
reasons which are too long and uninteresting to explain here, we 
do not describe their results at present. 

Table I 

Table showing the number of intellectually regular, advanced, or retarded 
children, for the different school ages 


Advanced 1 year 

Advanced 2 years 

Advanced 3 years and more 

Retarded 1 year 

Retarded 2 years 

Retarded 3 years and more. 
































It will be seen that there are children who are advanced 
or retarded in intelligence by more than two years. In our 
first study we did not encounter any such; the reason is easy to 
understand; because in our first study we operated only upon 
children chosen among those who were regular in their studies. 
We thus hmited our field of experiment because we were in haste 
to secure a knowledge of average children and the individual devi- 
ations did not then interest us. Sufiicient unto the day is the 
task thereof. Since then we have thought best not to select our 
pupils, but take them as they come. MM. Levistre and Morl4 
made a special point of choosing only such pupils as were within 
at least two months of their birthday at the time of the examina- 
tion; and it is within this contingent that they found the scholas- 

' In the table, the figures are not percentages, but indicate the number 
of children for each test. Thus, for the age of seven years, there were only 
ten children studied; for the age of eight years, there were twenty, etc. 
The schools of MM. Morle and Levistre are situated in the poor quarters 
of Paris, rue des Recollets and rue de Sambre-et-Meuse, in the XII ward. 
Experience has shown us that these are important circumstances to note. 


tically retarded and advanced; as a result of this we find that in- 
dividual deviations have become greater. Another director, 
whose school is situated in the richest quarter of Paris, measured 
the intellectual level of seven or eight children; he found those 
who were four, and even five years in advance. It must not there- 
fore be considered as an anomaly to find an advance or a retarda- 
tion of three years. 

It will further be noticed that in our new scale there are exactly 
fiveJests.foj:„eac.h age. We have thus introduced more regularity 
into our tests. The preceding scale published in 1908 contained 
sometimes five, sometimes six, sometimes seven. The modifica- 
tions which we have adopted present, among other advantages, 
that of permitting a more rapid application and one arriving 
nearer the intellectual level. Here is the rule to follow: take for 
point of departure, the age at which all the tests are passed; and 
beyond this age, count as many fifths of a year as there are tests 
passed. Example: a child of eight years passes all the tests of six 
years, 2 of seven years, 3 of eight years, 2 of nine years, 1 of ten 
years; he has therefore the level of six years plus the benefit of 
eight tests or eight-fifths years, or a year and three-fifths, equaling 
a level of seven years and three-fifths, or more simply 7.6. This 
calculation permits the appreciation of the intellectual level by 
means of a fraction. But it must be well understood that this 
fraction is so delicate an appreciation, that it does not merit abso- 
lute confidence, because it varies appreciably from one examina- 
tion to another. 

It has seemed to me worth while to publish, at least once, the 
figures expressing how many times a given test has been passed 
and how many times missed by pupils of the different ages. I 
have therefore made a calculation, based upon a great number of 
experiments old and new, which is given in Table II having, I 
hasten to say, especially an empirical value. It is interesting to 
consult because it shows the number of children upon whom we 
have operated; but like all gross results, it needs to be liberally 
interpreted, and perhaps even rectified, because the gross result 
may lead to error. Note, in effect, what course we followed in 
our experiments. We felt the need of economizing effort in the 
investigation. It requires indeed, a great deal of courage to con- 
tinue through long afternoons, a work, from which very slight 
conclusions can be drawn relative to the effort put forth. This 



Table II 

Empirical table of the results obtained in the experiments relative to the intel- 
lectual level of Primary School children of Paris, belonging to a mediocre 
social level. The figures of the table indicate the number of children who for 
each test have furnished positive, negative, or doubtful results. Example: 
For the problem of several facts, which is a test of 15 years, 2 children of 10 
replied correctly and 19 failed. These crude results need to be interpreted: 
see text. 



7 years 

8 years 

9 years 

10 years 

12 years 


































































































































Six years 

Right hand, left ear 

Compare 2 faces 

Define by use 

Execute 3 commissions 

Distinguish morning and evening. . 

Seven years 

Indicate omission in picture 

Copy a diamond 

Repeat 5 digits 

Describe a picture 

Count 13 single sous 

Eight years 
Count 3 single and 3 double sous . . 

Name 4 colors 

Count from 20 to 

Compare 2 objects from memory... 
Suggestion of lines 

Nine years 

Give the date 

Define better than by use 

Give change from 20 sous 

Place 5 weights in order 

Copy a design from memory 

Ten years 

Name the months 

9 pieces of money 

Put 3 words into 2 sentences 

Comprehend 3 easy questions 

Comprehend 5 difficult questions... 


Table II — Continued 


Twelve years 

Criticize sentences 

Put 3 words into one sentence 

60 words in 3 minutes 

Abstract definitions 

Words to be put in order 

Fifteen years 

Repeat 7 digits 


Repeat 26 syllables 

Interpret pictures 

Problem of several facts 


7 years 

8 years 

9 years 

10 years 

12 years 

explains why, after finding the level of his intelligence, we have 
not put the entire series to each child. Being given a child of 
eight, for example, we have given the tests of eight, nine and ten 
years ; and we have used the tests of seven and six years only when 
the child has failed on the succeeding years. As a whole we have 
economized our work, doing only what was necessary to establish 
the intellectual level of each child, and not concerning ourselves 
deeply with the manner in which each test is comprehended by 
children of all ages. A double consequence results from this, 
which makes itself plainly felt now that we attempt the tabula- 
tion of our results. In order to explain, let us continue the ex- 
ample of children of eight years. Here where we have 30 or more 
who have been given the tests of eight years, there are only 10 or 
15 of them who have been given those of seven years; in the same 
way there are only 5 or 6 who were given those of ten years. How 
are we therefore going to represent these results? Out of the 42 
to whom a certain test of eight years has been given, for example 
naming the colors, there are 38 who named them exactly and 4 
who miscalled at least one. We take these two numbers, the rela- 
tion between which is especially interesting, and place them in 
our table. But for the tests of seven years which were given to 

LAST REVISION — 1911 281 

fewer subjects than those of eight years, can we proceed in the 
same way? Only 10 were asked to repeat a series of five digits; 
5 succeeded and 5 failed. Is it correct to record this number with- 
out comment and consider them as of the same value as 38 and 4? 
Evidently not; because if that test had been given to only 10 
children taken from the group of 42 pupils of eight years, one 
would conclude, a priori, from the table of results, that it was only 
those 10 pupils whose results were doubtful, and one would pre- 
sume in advance that for the 32 others, good replies were certain. 
We must therefore say that 5 pupils failed, not out of 10, but out 
of the contingent of 42, which completely changes the proportion. 
An analogous reasoning can be made relative to the tests of ten 
and twelve years which were given to some children of eight years; 
all those to whom the test was not given might be considered as 
unable to pass it, because if it was not attempted in their case, it 
is clear that the poor results obtained from the earlier tests per- 
mitted no chance of securing better results from the more difficult 
ones; thus again in the case where 5 subjects succeed in a certain 
test of ten years, and 5 fail, it will not do to count 5 successes 
among 10 subjects, nor 5 successes against 5 failures but rather 5 
successes against 42 failures. 

I do not disguise the fact that there is something arbitrary in 
this manner of presenting the figures; but I believe that the ab- 
sence of interpretation is far more dangerous. In any case after 
having calculated this table from the empirical results, I thought 
necessary to calculate another where the figures are interpreted 
in the way I have just indicated; that is to say in calculating the 
good and the bad replies according to the rule of probabiUty, 
whose justice I have attempted to make apparent. It is to Table 
III that one must refer in order to judge of the value of the tests. 

This Table III was constructed from experiments tried upon an 
average of 20 children for each age; I owe these experiments, 
which have been made in the most attentive and serious manner, 
to M. Levistre and to M. Morle. These two directors have their 
schools situated in the tenth ward of Paris; the population which 
frequents these schools is of average social standing. In order 
to appreciate the value of our figures it will be understood that 
these indications are very important; because the intellectual 
level of the children is modified according to the wealth of the 



Finally it will be seen, that the new order of tests which we 
propose is justified by the figures of the table; we have arranged 
the tests according to their difficulty, so that the easier ones are 
placed before the more difficult . The degree of difficulty is indi- 
cated by the figures. These figures are always reckoned in their 
relation to 10. Thus 8 signifies that 8 children out of 10 have 
passed the test. 

It sometimes happens, that for a given test, certain astonishing 
irregularities occur. It is passed by the 10 children of nine years, 
that is to say by all, and only by 9 children of ten years; this is 
altogether inexplicable in theory, because it is certain that chil- 
dren of ten years in general are more intelligent than those a 
year younger; without doubt there slipped into the group of ten 
years several children with but little intelhgence or those who were 
distracted, which produced this failure. One can here appre- 
ciate the difference between a theoretical and an experimental 





curve; the latter almost always presents slight imperfections. 
These must not be ignored; they are proofs of the sincerity of the 
experiments; when an experimental curve is of a too regular 
beauty, it is often proof that it has been tampered with. 

Our Table III should be kept, to judge of the results which 
other observers will hereafter obtain; it is a norm. If other re- 
sults are obtained in quarters widely different from ours, the 
reasons must be sought for, either in the incapacity of the experi- 
menter, or perhaps in the differences of social conditions; we shall 
return soon to these differences of social conditions, and we shall 
show their importance. 

Some additional explanations are necessary for the new tests 
which we propose. 

Copy a design from memory (test of ten years). We show dur- 
ing ten seconds a card upon which are drawn the designs here 
given and we ask the subject to reproduce them from memory. 



Table III 

Table-type of the results obtained in experiments upon the measure of the in- 
tellectual level, among children of the primary schools belonging to the aver- 
age sections of Paris. The figures of the table are the proportion of successes 
obtained with 10 as a standard; for example, the figure 5 signifies that 5 out 
of 10, that is one-half, have passed the test. 



7 years 8 years 9 years 10 years 12 years 

Six years 
Distinguish evening and morning 

Define by use 

Copy a diamond 

Count 13 single sous 

Compare 2 faces 

Seven years 

Right hand, left ear 

Describe a picture 

Execute 3 commissions 

Count 3 single and 3 double sous. 
Name 4 colors 

Eight years 
Compare 2 objects from memory. 

Count from 20 to 

Indicate lack in pictures 

Give the date 

Repeat 5 digits 

Nine years 

Give the change from 20 sous 

Define better than by use 

Pieces of money 


Comprehend easy questions 

Ten years 

Arrange weights 

Copy design from memory 

Criticize absurd questions 

Place 3 words in 2 sentences 

Comprehend difficult questions... 

Twelve years 

Suggestion of lines 

3 words in 1 sentence 

60 words in 3 minutes 

Abstract definitions 

Disarranged sentences 








































Before showing them, one prepares the attention of the subject 
by saying that the drawings are going to be shown, and that they 
must be reproduced from memory, and that the exposure before 
his eyes will last only ten seconds, which is very little. It is quite 
difficult to appreciate the exactitude of the reproduction, without 
taking a host of measurements which are here unnecessary. We 
have adopted the following rule whose practice is easy; the test is 
counted passed when one design is exactly, and the other design 
is half reproduced. The section of the prism is always repre- 
sented to the left, as it is the one upon which the pupil ordinarily 
first fixes his attention, and without doubt this is the reason why 
this figure is better reproduced than the Greek design.* 

Suggestion of lines. This test belongs to twelve years. A 
booklet containing six white pages is first prepared. On the first 
page are traced in ink two lines, a and b, of which the first, the 
one to the left, measures 4 cm., and the second 5; they are on the 
same level separated by an interval of 1 cm. ; on the second page, 
two lines are similarly placed; but the first on the left measures 

5 cm., that to the right 6; on the third page the line to the left is 

6 cm., that to the right 7. On each of the three pages which 
follow, there are two lines placed in the same way only they are 
equal, each measuring 7 cm. If we designate the lines by the 
letters of the alphabet, we have then the following order: 

a > b g = h 

c > d i = i 

e > f k = 1 

In showing the first three pairs of lines, the experimenter simply 
says to the child, "Which is the longer of these lines?" When he 
reaches the last three pairs, he changes sHghtly the form of the 
interrogation and simply says "And here?'' We consider the child 
as having passed when at least twice out of the three times he 
has seen that the lines are equal. Experience proves that very 
young children, even children of seven years are capable of dis- 
tinguishing the difference between the lines a and b, c and d, e 
and f . When he comes to the equal lines, the child finds himself 
the object of t\vo influences; he has first the influence of sugges- 
tion; thus far, for three times, he has seen that the fine on the 

* In spite of this statement, the design is printed in rAnnee Psycholo- 
gique as we here reproduce it. Possibly a printer's error. — Editor. 

LAST REVISION — 1911 285 

right is the longer; he is therefore led to suppose that this will 
continue; it is a supposition, a generahzation, in case we should 
admit the operation to be conscious and due to reflection; but we 
think that more often there is no conscious operation, but a blind 
tendency, a natural automatism, a habit or rather the first outline 
of a habit; and though it certainly is not strong, yet the tendency 
exists, and it may be the determining factor in the replies, if no con- 
flicting cause interferes with its action. The second influence is 
precisely the reflection occasioned by the perception of the lines. A 
single glance suffices to show that the line at the right ceases to be 
longer than the one at the left. If the child reaHzes this, he will 
resist the automatism and cease saying that the line at the right is 
longer, and will reply on the contrary, that they are equal. Thus 
theoretically analyzed, this test seems to reveal the suggestibility 
of a child ; the most suggestible is the one who is guided by auto- 
matism for the last three pairs of lines; the least suggestible is 
the one who declares them equal; finally we admit, according to 
the rule which we have thus far applied, for passing the test it 
suflaces to have two correct replies out of three. 

As the term suggestibility has more than one sense, it is impor- 
tant to remark that here is a question of suggestibiUty not through 
lack in the quality of judgment but from heedlessness, lack of 
attention. The child falls into the trap because he allows him- 
self to follow the lead of habit, and does not pay attention to the 
real length of the new lines which are presented to him. But I am 
not sure that the analysis of this particular form of suggestibility is 
exactly correct. Rarely does suggestibility depend wholly upon 
the intelligence; character and feeling add their influence. There 
are children who, having successively replied under the eye of the 
master that the longer line is to the right, are, as it were, incited 
emotionally to persist in this designation to the right; they be- 
Ueve themselves forced to it; if they perceive that they have com- 
mitted an error, they are at times ashamed, blush and feel them- 
selves ill at ease; they do not dare correct themselves, but continue 
the error. There is here a slight emotional trouble which is very 
curious and which we have insufficiently analyzed. 

The test is difficult enough for a child of seven years to suc- 
cumb; from the very careful studies of M. Morl^, out of 10 chil- 
dren of eight years, a single one escaped; out of 13 children of ten 
years, 5 avoided the error. 


A final word upon the experiment. One might think that the 
automatism would be especially great for the pair g-h, which fol- 
lows the pair where a difference of length really exists. It does not 
seem that this is the case. In lumping the replies given by all the 
children, we find an equal number of erroneous replies for the 
couples g-h, i-j, and k-1. 

I at first thought of a little different disposition of the lines, in 
order to avoid what seemed to me a cause of error. I said to my- 
self it is as easy to perceive a slight difference of length between 
two lines, as it is difficult to judge if they are of the same length; 
there might result from this a certain difficulty for the children to 
pronounce upon; I thought that perhaps it might be better to 
change the nature of the test, by reversing the inequality of the 
lines in the following manner: 

a < b 

g > h 

c < d 

i > J 

e <f 

k > 1 

It will be seen, in this new arrangement that the lines have ceased 
to be equal, which forms the innovation ; g has grown larger than 
h by 5 mm. ; same difference for other pairs. But we found that 
with this modification the experiment became much too easy. 
The child who had formed the habit of designating the line to the 
right, was not able to persevere in it when the new pairs were pre- 
sented to him, because the greater length of the line to the left 
stares him in the face. From the investigations of M. Morle all 
the children of seven, of eight, of nine and of ten years, upon 
whom he tried the test, succeeded; it was too easy for what we 
desired to do and hence we rejected it. We have preserved the 
first form, with three pairs of equal lines; and we have made a 
twelve year test of it. 

Abstract differences (test for adults). What is the difference 
between idleness and laziness? Between event and advent? Be- 
tween evolution and revolution? Such are the questions asked. 
Two good replies suffice. It is necessary in distinguishing be- 
tween idleness and laziness, to clearly indicate that idleness comes 
from exterior circumstances, while laziness comes from character. 
For the distinction between event and advent, it is scarcely neces- 
sary to recall that event is a completed fact of any kind, while the 
advent is a coming. Evolution is a slow progressive change; 

LAST REVISION — 1911 287 

revolution is a sudden change; some persons take the word evolu- 
tion in the sense of the manoeuvers of a troop, and revolution in 
the sense of a serious popular insurrection; in this case the dis- 
tinction is not so good, because here the two words are different 
without being opposite, and it must be understood that we are 
here searching for opposites, and not simply differences. Never- 
theless, we admit that these replies are passable. 

Reproduction of the thought of Hervieu (test for adults) . Read 
aloud, slowly and with correct intonation, the following selection 
which we usually call the thought of Hervieu; it is only his thought 
developed; he wrote three lines that did not adapt themselves to 
our needs; we have therefore amplified his thought to prevent its 
being retained by the memory alone, something which might have 
occurred if the selection were too short. 

One hears very different judgments on the value of life. Some say it is 
good, others say it is bad. It would be more correct to say that it is medi- 
ocre; because on the one hand it always brings us less happiness than we 
desire, while on the other hand the misfortunes it brings are always less 
than others desire for us. It is the mediocrity of life which makes it just; 
or, rather, that keeps it from being positively unjust. 

Before beginning the reading, the listener must be warned to 
give close attention, for he will be asked when the reading is fin- 
ished, to repeat the sense of the selection. In this way the test 
is carried into the domain of memory, and whoever has failed to 
understand the somewhat subtle sense of the thought of Her- 
vieu, will not have the slightest wounding of his pride such as 
would occur if he had to admit not understanding it; he will blame 
his memory or failure of attention, which is infinitely less painful. 
The central thought, the one necessary to reproduce is the 
following : 

Life is neither good nor bad, but mediocre, because it is inferior to what 
we desire and better than what others desire for us. 

It is of slight importance what words are used. The essential 
is that the thought be well understood; and one will grasp this in 
proportion as he abstains from reflecting upon it word for word. 

Question of president (test for adult). Question: there are 
three principal differences between a king and the president of 
a republic. What are they? The three differences are the fol- 
lowing: the power of the king is hereditary; it lasts through the 


life of the monarch; and it has extensive power; the president of a 
repubUc is elected; he has a hmited term, and his powers are less 
extensive than those of a king. 

What are the Relations Between the Intellectual Level 
AND THE Scholastic Standing? 

At the time of om* first investigations in 1908, we begged the 
directors to send us only the children who were regular in their 
instruction; this time we have taken all of the children who were 
within two months of their birthday and we have designated the 
children as advanced, regular, or retarded in their studies. The 
group upon which we have operated has not therefore been a se- 
lected one. We have measured the intelligence of about 100 chil- 
dren; out of this number, there have been 

Regular 64 

T J ,o /advance of 1 year 12 

In advance 12 < , . _ •' _ 

(^advance of 2 years 

{retarded 1 year 17 
retarded 2 year 3 
retarded 3 year 1 

It is therefore natural to search for the deviations to be noted 
between the intellectual level and the scholastic standing. 

Thus far we have been unable to study these divergences; we 
have simply noted this fact, that the scholastic . divergence is 
greater than the intellectual divergence, and that for instance, 
subnormal children who are sometimes retarded in instruction six 
or seven years, are not equally retarded in intelligence. But these 
are only partial views. Out of our hundred little children who are 
all normal, let us see how the intelHgence distributes itself accord- 
ing to the scholastic situation. Let us draw an average of the 
differences which can be seen between the two figures expressing 
the two levels; a child for instance, retarded two years scholas- 
tically, has an intellectual retardation of one year; the difference 
is one year. What is the average difference? It is very low, 
exactly 0.7 years; in other words half a year. That is to say; in 
general, children have an intelligence in accord with their degree 
of instruction. Thus the rule that we have proposed for some 
time past, by which we can quickly select the most intelHgent 
children of a school, is confirmed, take the youngest in each class, 



because the youngest are the most advanced in their studies; we 
have just seen, that the intelUgence generally goes hand in hand 
with the degree of instruction, hence the most advanced in their 
studies have the chance of taking rank among the most 

This rule is not absolute; it is an empirical rule, a result pro- 
duced by a certain number of factors; and if the factors are lack- 
ing the rule ceases to be applicable. One can, with great prob- 
ability, imagine country children who have been kept at home 
too long herding the cows; when they come to school they are 
very much behind, but this backwardness is no sign of a lack of 
intelligence. One of our subjects is in this condition, a child of 
twelve years, he is therefore regular as to intelligence. But as 
to instruction, what retardation? He is in the elementary class 
second year. His master, of whom we asked information regard- 
ing the children measured, writes of young Dufour: "Ilhterate 
surroundings, unfavorable for intellectual progress; the child re- 
mained long in the country; irregular in school because of illness. 
Has been in school the last six months." This information, 
although brief, clearly indicates that Dufour's retardation in in- 
struction is not the result of intellectual retardation. We have 
since learned that he is progressing rapidly, and making up for 
lost time. This confirms our demonstration of the measure of his 
intellectual level. 

If the case of Dufour can be explained by an insufficiency of 
scholastic training, other cases can be explained by indolence, or 
by other special reasons. With M. Levistre, school director, I 
have made an analysis of the circumstances which might explain 
the difference of two years between the scholastic level and the 
intellectual level of the children of his school; this analysis was 
made for six pupils, and note the result. For two children no 
explanation has been found; for one who is regular scholastically 
but retarded intellectually, the Director informed me that that 
child had been placed in a class in advance of his powers in order 
to fill a vacancy; consequently the figure showing his scholastic 
situation is not correct, and should not be taken into considera- 
tion; as to the three others who have more intelligence than instruc- 
tion, they are all indolent. Thus, I beUeve, that a minute and 
impartial examination of the facts will generally result in an ex- 
planation of the apparent anomalies. 



However it be, the comparison of the figures of the intellectual 
and the scholastic levels gives rise to a very interesting considera- 
tion; it is, that never, or almost never, does a pupil present two 
contrary signs for his intellectual and his scholastic level. Thus, 
a scholar retarded one year, may be retarded in intelligence, or 
he may be regular in intelligence; he will never be advanced in 
intelligence; having the sign + for one level he will not have the 
sign — for the other level. A single exception has presented it- 
self in one hundred examinations of level ;^ this is altogether insig- 
nificant. That is to say putting it in less abstract terms, that 
when a child has a decidedly brilhant intelligence he is never be- 
hind in his studies; that when he has an intelligence decidedly be- 
low medium, he cannot be advanced in his studies. It is equally 
true that when a child is behind in his studies he cannot be a bril- 

Table IV 

This table shows the relation between the intellectual level and the scholastic 


Intelligence above the average 

Average intelligence 

Intelligence below the average 









liant subject; and when he is in advance, he cannot have a medi- 
ocre intelligence. 

As this assertion is not without importance, I think it well to 
support it with new combinations of figures. These will be found 
in Table IV. 

Thus one sees a remarkable correlation between the two levels; 
and we can express it in the following manner: When children are 
backward in their studies, they have one chance of having an aver- 
age intelligence as against two for having an intelligence inferior 
to the average, and no chance whatever for being brilliant; if they 
are regular in their studies, they have one chance of being bril- 
liant, one chance of being dull, and two chances for being of 
medium intelligence; if they are in advance of their studies, their 

^ Later investigations made on thirty children have again shown the 
justice of this rule, without any exception whatever. 



chances are nearly the same for being brilliant or for being of me- 
dium intelligence. Certainly this is not a demonstration of paral- 
lelism between the faculty of inteUigence and the scholastic fac- 
ulty; one recognizes that the two faculties are independent; but 
they are not contradictory; they develop in the same general way; 
it is a new proof of that truth, to be held in opposition to so many 
paradoxically-minded persons, that the first in school are likely to 
be the first in life. Before leaving this point, I wish to call atten- 
tion to a special question which perhaps is of interest only for pro- 
fessional experimenters. After having proved how far the scholas- 
tic situation of a child informs us of his intelUgence, I asked 
myseK if one could not obtain a more exact determination, by 
replacing the exact scholastic situation by what might be called 
an appreciated scholastic situation. Here is what must be under- 
stood by this term. In certain schools a class may have a very 
low level; or a pupil who belongs to a certain grade might, sup- 
posing he was always one of the first, be considered as belonging 
to a higher grade; or again, if he is always one of the last it would 
be just to consider him as belonging to a lower grade. I have 
therefore begged the directors of the school to rectify the school 
grading of their pupils, by taking into consideration these given 
differences. Later I made some calculations to find if the revised 
school grading, when compared with the figure denoting intel- 
lectual level, presented less deviation than that of the actual situ- 
ation; I was very much astonished to find that the deviation was 
greater in the first case. In a series of 45 pupils, who have been 
carefully studied from this point of view, the mean deviation is 
0.66 between the intellectual level and the scholastic level (that 
is to say a little more than half a year) when the school level is 
taken as it stands; and it is about 0.83 (that is to say a little less 
than a whole year) when the school grading has been corrected. 
The difference is slight, but quite constant. How explain it? 
It would seem that from the moment that one makes a serious and 
penetrating estimate of the degree of instruction of a child, the 
resulting figure should be more significant than the one which re- 
sults from a grading which is somewhat arbitrary; one might there- 
fore expect that the scholastic level when revised would more 
nearly approach that of the intellectual level. After having 
sought for an explanation of this enigma, I beheve that I have 
found it. As a matter of fact when a director classifies his pupils 


in school, many things are taken into consideration and among 
them, a very important one, is that of the age of the child. On 
the contrary, when a professor attempts to estimate exactly the 
amount of instruction of a child, he does not take the age into con- 
sideration; as a result the figure representing the estimated school 
standing is farther removed from the age of the children than the 
school grade. I have noticed this. It is, however, very evident 
that the age is a very important factor in the formation of the in- 
telligence; and this is also the reason why the estimated school 
standing, taking less account of age accords less nearly with the 
intellectual level; and this factor of age is very important. 

On the Effect of Repetition upon the Taking of the Level 

A Belgian pedagogue, who tried our psychological tests upon 
the pupils of his school, wrote me one day that it would be desir- 
able to have a fresh supply of tests, in order to be able to follow 
from year to year the progress of a given pupil. This desire is 
quite legitimate. We think that it will be easy to find such tests; 
it will suffice to have a little patience, and above all, a little col- 
laboration. The method is so simple! While waiting to have 
this lack supplied, I thought well to find out if the same experi- 
menter, after a two weeks interval in taking the level of a certain 
child, arrived at practically the same conclusions. Upon this 
point, I had only vague conjectures; I knew from earlier inves- 
tigations upon attention and adaptation, that children make quite 
rapid progress in the experiments, especially when they are taken 
individually, which removes the occasion of distraction and of 
ennui. I could therefore suppose that if the measure of the level 
were taken individually, every pupil would gain more or less from 
one sitting to another. 

M. Jean jean willingly devoted two afternoons to this question. 
He knew the method sufficiently to practice it correctly. He 
examined 5 children first on the 26th of April, 1910; he noted the 
results, then sent the children back to their class without, of 
course, telling them his intentions; and he examined them again 
the 10th of May of the same year. The examinations were made 
in the presence of M. Vaney, director of the school, rue Grange- 
aux-Belles, and upon children of his school. The five children 
serving as subjects were all about nine years old. 



There was an appreciable progress for all at the time of the 
second examination, and this progress naturally should be cred- 
ited to their having become accustomed to the situation. We 
mean a better adaptation, a better comprehension of what was 
required; perhaps the pupils had talked together about the ex- 
periment and had asked their comrades for information. That 
is not impossible. One among them, the young Allain, had al- 
ready been examined by us two years previously as it turned out, 
and he informed M. Jeanjean that he remembered that in the test 
of making change it was necessary to give 16 sous to be correct. 

Here is the result. From 22 to 23 tests were given to each 
pupil. Out of this number, there was a variation of two or three 
or even four tests, the others remaining the same. In the series of 
figures which follow, we have indicated, under the title "number 
of new failures," the number of tests which the subject had passed 
the first time and failed on at the second trial; under the title 
"number of new successes," we indicate the number of tests not 
passed at the first trial that were passed at the second. 




















Def remont 





These changes were made from time to time, apparently by 
chance, upon the following tests: months of the year, arranging 
of weights, definitions, pieces of money, disarranged sentences, 
placing 3 words in one sentence. But the most frequent varia- 
tions centered upon two tests in particular; one of these was the 
number of memories retained after a reading of diverse facts; its 
variation was almost constant; it passed from 5 to 6, from 2 to 5, 
and even from 7 to 10. That is easily understood. These chil- 
dren read twice the same selection; they should the second time 
remember more than the first time. The second of the tests upon 
which the most progress was made, was the number of words 
spoken in 3 minutes; here improvement was the law; one pupil 


passed from 54 to 79, another from 57 to 87. I repeat that they 
had learned the way. Perhaps they had practiced in the interval, 
and surely they had the right since no one forbade them. 

In our new series of tests, that of reading is eliminated, because 
it belongs to the degree of instruction; but that of finding words 
still remains. On an average — if it is possible to find an average 
from so few experiments — a child in an interval of fifteen days 
gains two tests or a little more. According to our new method of 
counting, two tests represent about five months (5 tests in reality 
form one year). It is a material gain. But notice on the other 
hand that in repeating the tests two weeks apart, we have favored 
the effects of repetition; if one had waited a year, it is very pos- 
sible that these effects would have been lessened, and that the 
subject would have recalled almost nothing of what he had done 
at the former trial. From all this let us conclude that it would 
be useful — but not indispensable — to have a new set of tests for 
successive trials. 

Here are a few, which we have eliminated from our new scale, 
but which nevertheless are worthy to be retained under the head 
of a reserve supply. 

Tests of 6 years s t^. ^. . ? * . , 

(Distinguish evening and morning. 

{The fingers of the hand. 
Copy a written sentence. 
Name 4 pieces of money. 

^ , - o /Read and remember two facts. 

Tests of 8 years s „r .^ r j- - x- 

1^ Write from dictation. 

Tests of 9 years (^^^^ "^^ *^® '^^^^• 

\Read and retain 6 facts. 

Practical Suggestions upon the Taking of the Level 

We have noticed that it is useful to make certain recommenda- 
tions -to every experimenter. Note first if one is alone with the 
pupil, or, if other persons are present, who those persons are. In 
any case, impose absolute silence upon the witness. Before many 
witnesses a child becomes timid, which tends to lower his level. 
Avoid this cause of error as far as possible. The presence of rela- 
tives is the cause of still more serious trouble. It is useless to add 
that when the witness or the lelative interferes to scold the child 
or to whisper the reply to him, a good experimenter has but one 
thing to do, either close the experiment or dismiss the witness. 



The attitude to be taken in regard to the child is delicate; first 
of all there must be good will; one must try to remain in touch 
with him; excite his attention, his self respect; show satisfaction 
with all of his replies, whatever they may be, encourage without 
aiding, without suggesting; the questions being of standardized 
difficulty, change nothing. Avoid disturbing the child by fixedly 
regarding him. Naturally, one will not fall into the ridiculous 
error of teaching him; it is a question here of ascertaining the state 
of his mentality not of teaching. 

The tests should be prepared in advance; one must have at hand 
without being obliged to search for it, the slight amount of mate- 
rial needed; in a special purse, have all the coins that will be 
needed. One must have besides, two registers; in the first, one 
will inscribe in a column the sign representing the result of the 
experiment; in the second, which is a note book, will be reproduced 
the replies in detail; one might, for the second, have the aid of a 
secretary, so as to save time; but this is not indispensable. The 
first register consists of a series of large pages of square paper 
upon which is written in advance, in a column to the left, the 
names of the tests, grouped by age, in some such form as is repre- 
sented in our Table III. After these names, rule as many verti- 
cal columns as there are children to be tested. Above each column 
write the name of the pupil. When the pupil answers the test 
write the result in the column opposite the test; this result will be 
expressed in the following sjnnbols: + indicates that the test is 
passed; — indicates failure; indicates silence; ? indicates that 
the result is doubtful; if the doubtful result is nearer failure than 
success, write — ?; if on the contrary it is nearer success, with 
+ ?; we also use the sign + ! when the result is excellent, and the 
sign — ! when it is altogether bad. We advise putting the desired 
sign as soon as each test is completed, and not after the sitting 
while re-reading the notes taken. It will be easily understood why 
we give this advice. Note that a sign is not merely to record auto- 
matically that which has just transpired, it is truly to pass a 
judgment; but the judgment stands the chance of being exact just 
in proportion as the facts are recent. However detailed the notes 
may be, they never give, except in a very incomplete manner, all 
the features of an experiment; they contain an immense number of 
things understood ; one would therefore be wrong in placing confi- 
dence in them. 


As soon as the results of the test are marked by a sign, take the 
note book, and commence a more detailed account. This must 
contain the name of the pupil, his age, date of birth, the actual 
date, the place, the number of witnesses, and every exceptional 
circumstance that could influence the examination. Very often 
this information is neglected; later when one takes up the pages, 
one no longer remembers what they express. I advise noting also 
the school standing of the child, the number of pupils in his class, 
the attitude of the pupil during the examination (natural, giddy, 
timid, dull, undisciplined, etc.) and lastly, the social condition 
of his parents (misery, poverty, moderate circumstances, ease, 
wealth) . If by chance, some important fact has transpired in the 
history of the child, be sure to note it. A certain little pupil of 
nine years has arrived from the country, and has never been to 
school; mention of this is necessary. 

The notes to be taken relative to each child are variable ; it is, 
above all, experience which teaches what is useful to record. One 
must remember first of all that a mere symbol is insufficient, and 
that one must have sufficient notes in order that another experi- 
menter may be able to judge results for himself. Thus, the re- 
plies to the questions of intelligence, the manner in which a certain 
pupil has explained or criticized the absurdity of certain phrases, 
should be written in full; when digits are to be repeated, it is well 
to have an invariable series ; then one should write the digits given 
by the pupil himself; in taking this precaution, one avoids letting 
interesting facts escape. Example: one has given the digits 1, 
3, 9, 2, 7. The pupil, believing he is repeating, says 1, 3, 4, 5, 6.; 
the error is serious, very much more serious than if he had said, 
1, 3, 8, 5, 0; because in the first repetition, he followed the natural 
order of figures, he has therefore implicitly admitted the absurdity 
that he was asked to repeat figures in their natural order. Make 
note of this fact in order to fix it in the memory. The definition 
of words and things, the resum^ of the sentiment of Hervieu, are 
also to be written in full. In the test of 60 words, it is often diffi- 
cult to write all the words given by a pupil, because he goes more 
rapidly than one can write; one can often make in passing inter- 
esting indications; for instance, one notes each word by a vertical 
mark and commences a new group every half minute (the total 
experiment lasts three minutes) ; one knows thus how many words 
were said in the first half minute, how many in the second, how 

teachers' judgment of pupils 297 

many in the third, etc. One can thus see if the subject has pro- 
gressively increased or diminished the series of words, and that 
gives an indication upon his faculty of work; I have also the habit 
of indicating the marks corresponding to the names of objects 
to be seen in the room, and I underscore whenever the subject 
employs a superior word which does not belong to current speech. 
I also advise writing the rhymes found, or the sentence given 
containing the three words. In requiring all these notes from 
my collaborator, I make myself capable of judging with what 
care the experiment has been made. A measurement of the intel- 
ligence of a child, which presents no data but symbols, seems to 
me not to be trusted; this must not be tolerated; it encourages 
negligence and even fraud. 

How Do Teachers Judge the Intelligence op Their Pupils? 

One of my colleagues, of a very superior mind, but whose high 
administrative functions have not perhaps prepared him for the 
scrupulous observation of small facts — ^because where one ob- 
serves from an elevated situation one observes not only from 
above, but from afar — reproached me amicably, one day, for 
having taken too great precautions to organize a measuring scale 
for the intellectual level. According to him, I had broken down 
an unlocked door. After having cited certain of my conclusions 
which seemed to him obvious even to triteness, he finished by 
declaring that all teachers know how to judge the intelligence of 
their pupils without difficulty. 

Is he correct? I remember that an intelligent teacher, who for 
a certain time was a pupil of mine, gave as his opinion a very 
different idea. "We believe," he said, "that we can judge of the 
intelligence of a child; and two months after having begun the 
class, we imagine that we can give to each child a mark expressing 
the degree of his intelligence; but the paradoxical fact remains, 
that the more we study him, the less we are sure of our own judg- 
ment. The increase in the number of these embarrassing cases, " 
he added, "comes especially from the contradictory observations 
to which a prolonged study gives rise.'' This opinion seemed to 
me altogether just, and in perfect accord with my personal ex- 
perience. I have always observed that when one knows a person 
but little, one has a well defined opinion of his grade of intelli- 
gence, and one believes him either very intelligent or the reverse. 


As one knows him better, the opinion that one forms is less 
extreme, because the more intelligent appear less so, and in the 
less intelligent one almost always discovers slight manifestations 
of intelligence which make one judge him less stupid. 

I wished to know what teachers think of their ability to judge 
the intelligence of children. At my request, M. Belot, primary 
instructor of Paris, agreed to send to his teachers a small question- 
naire in which he requested information upon the two following 
points: 1st. What do you think is the proportion of errors that 
you have committed in estimates you have made of the intelli- 
gence of your pupils? 2nd. What are the methods which you 
employ for arriving at an exact estimate? 

The replies elicited by these questions have been numerous, 
in the neighborhood of forty, very verbose, some forming a 
veritable memorial of 8 or 10 pages; on an average, however, they 
were content with 3 or 4 pages. The primary inspector in de- 
livering them to me, remarked that I had here found an excellent 
means of classifying the intelligence of certain teachers. Among 
the number were certain very confused studies; and also pages 
where a devout optimism was curiously displayed; the teachers 
believed that they were never deceived ! 

In analyzing all these missives, I occupied myself first in estab- 
lishing an average expressing the number of errors of which the 
teacher accused himself. But this is a calculation which seemed 
to me, on reflection, thoroughly useless. What advantage would 
there be in knowing, for example, that this average number of 
errors is 1 out of 8 or 10 pupils? It is only a figure, and one does 
not know exactly what it represents; because we completely 
ignore its origin. It is a question of recognized errors; and how 
many unrecognized errors may have been committed? One 
correspondent related for example that a young pupil had the 
most limited intelligence; she was found several years later in a 
notion store, in the rue Rivoli, where she was very much appreci- 
ated. "Her amiable and gracious air, her lively and intelligent 
conversation," said her teacher, "convinced me anew that it is 
rash to say in school that certain children are devoid of intelli- 
gence." Would our correspondent have known of her error, if 
chance had not taken her to rue Rivoli? And then, one would 
like to know how far the estimate of the teacher must deviate 
from the truth before he perceives that he has deceived himself. 

teachers' judgment of pupils 299 

If I say of a plank that it is 3 m. 45, and it is afterwards measured 
before me, I put myself under such conditions that my error will 
be easily detected. But if I content myself with saying that 
this plank is very long how can the amount of my error be known? 
How would it be possible even to establish the fact that I am in 
error? It is practically impossible. In order that a statement 
be subject to error, it is necessary that it be precise; precision is 
as necessary a condition of truth as of error, and consequently is 
a necessary condition of verification. But I ask myself, did these 
teachers when they judged of the intelligence of their children 
submit themselves to this precision? I have read many judg- 
ments given and I find them of a vagueness that is most dis- 
couraging. They say of a child that he is very intelligent, or 
"intelligent enough/' — and this last term is so very vague that 
it changes in value according to the inflection of the voice — 
or very little intelligent (still another expression of the same kind) 
or again, below the average, and that is all. Very many teachers, 
asked to divide their classes from the point of view of the intelli- 
gence, make only 3 groups. With such estimates one seldom runs 
the risk of being found lacking. 

All this leads me to attach only a moderate importance to the 
mean error of | which I have here indicated. That which ap- 
pears to me more significant is the disagreement of the teachers; 
it reduces itself here to what one calls the mean variation. 
While certain ones affirm that in a career of from ten to twenty 
years, they have been deceived only once or twice, which makes 
the admirable percentage of 1 error out of 1000, others recognize 
that one is apt to be deceived once out of every three times, which 
gives 300 for every 1000! Such divergences of opinion, are much 
more striking than any average; and they are the best argument 
for finding a precise and exact method upon which everyone may 

Let us continue then the analysis of our documents; having 
seen the replies made to the first question, let us see what is said 
of the second. We asked the teachers to indicate to us how they 
went about establishing the intelligence of a child. 

The question is vast enough and vague enough for each one to 
be able to develop at his ease his manner of viewing the subject 
and especially of recording what he has learned during his career 
as teacher; the career, often long, has given him the opportunity 


of studying the children under the admirable conditions of 
variety and of precision. I have often thought that in the brain 
of every intelligent teacher there is a treasure consisting of ob- 
servations which have been deposited there from day to day; but 
it is difficult to get possession of this treasure; and he who pos- 
sesses it, often knows neither its value nor its use. By extremely 
skillful questions one might perhaps obtain from each teacher 
something of his knowledge. 

I have read and re-read all the replies to our questionnaire, 
classifying them, passing judgment upon them, discarding those 
that were pointless, simply verbose, or too clearly inspired by 
manuals of psychology, keeping only those which indicated per- 
sonal observations, acuteness of insight and actual effort. It 
seemed to me after reading them and trying to make a synthesis 
of all they contained, that these diverse replies gave information 
upon two different points. On the one hand were scattered 
observations, half conscious, upon the signs of intelligence of 
children, which one perceives without hunting for them; and 
on the other hand certain precise methodical operations, more 
nearly resembling tests. 

Our question related to the intelligence but it did not demand a 
definition. Seldom did the teachers recognize this point of 
distinction. One school mistress, somewhat naive, has carelessly 
written that intelligence consists in the faculty of acquiring 
instruction. This is to confound intelligence and memory, that 
is to say the whole with the part, it is to see in the child nothing 
but the pupil. Others have reduced the intelHgence to the faculty 
of knowing and understanding; still another definition of the 
whole by the part, and this definition is worse than the other 
because it fails to recognize the purpose of the intelligence, that 
which forms its utility. Another definition worth repeating is 
that which sees the intelhgence in the faculty of making use of 
acquired matter in a way to produce new ideas. The one who 
expressed this thought, wished to react against the tendency, so 
common among masters of routine, to confound the intelligence 
with memory; but this point of view is too restricted. To produce 
new ideas is not the only function of the intelligence; there are 
very original minds which lack balance; and fantastic dreamers, 
who certainly find what is new, cannot be taken as models of 
intelligence. It would be better to say that the intelligence 



serves in the discovery of truth. But the conception is still too 
narrow; and we return to our favorite theory; the intelligence 
marks itself by the best possible adaptation of the individual 
to his environment; this is what one school mistress has very 
cleverly understood. She recounts how she made an error in the 
case of a young girl, who learned badly in the class, and who had 
passed for stupid but who afterwards proved her intelligence by 
her practical sense of life. And the teacher adds, "The intelli- 
gence not only serves to learn, above all it serves to live (a faire 
sa vie)." What a beautiful expression, how picturesque and 
true! In speaking of one's adaptation to one's surroundings we 
mean just that. 

Our teachers therefore passed in review all the signs of intelli- 
gence which they knew, and in making a synthesis of the replies 
one obtains a very exhaustive table of these signs. Only, we 
shall continually show that these signs are indeed subject to 
caution. One teacher says the intelligence of a child can be 
judged indirectly by heredity. Intelhgent parents have intelli- 
gent children, ''especially" she adds, "when they are young." 
Here we perhaps have to make reservations; these questions of 
heredity are still but little known; and we could object that one 
encounters backward children in families where the brothers and 
sisters are normal; with still stronger reason one may expect to 
find families where the intelligence varies; if the observation of 
teachers corresponds to a general rule, which is possible, how 
many exceptions! It seems that in reality, teachers are attached 
to the idea of the influence of heredity. If they hesitate upon the 
intelligence of a child, they draw an argument from the fact that 
a brother is not very intelligent or is backward, or on the contrary 
brilliant in his studies. But let us come to the child himself. 
Occasionally, teachers take into consideration the forna. of his 
head; ordinarily they take no notice of this, and the reason is 
that malformed heads are quite rare. The attention attaches 
itself more to the manner of conducting themselves; embarrass- 
ment is an unfavorable sign. The physiognomy above all is 
considered important. 

This is a point to which they constantly return. The intelli- 
gent child has an open, awakened, mobile countenance; another 
expression is that the countenance is sympathetic. But how take 
account of this? How define it? How be certain of not de- 


ceiving oneself either in judging it intelligent or otherwise, or in 
drawing from it a conclusion? With equal frequency the eyes 
and expression are spoken of. The glance of the intelligent is 
quick, that of the unintelligent is dull. ''There are eyes awakened 
and deep!" One teacher writes that the first have an active 
look, and the other a passive look. One can understand about 
what she wishes to express; she means to speak of the activity of 
the intelligent type which causes them not only to follow the 
lesson, but to go in advance of the questions; and this activity 
can be read in the expression. We do not contradict; but how 
shall we replace this intuition by a clear description? We do 
not see the means. Furthermore, one would be wrong to place 
confidence in these impressions, because certain teachers see a 
world in the countenance of a child and we at once become 
suspicious. One mistress writes, "While recounting to children 
an interesting or touching fact, it is extremely important to ob- 
serve their expressions which seem to me a sure revelation of the 
state of their intelligence. All are interested and upon all faces 
one reads a keen attention; but while the eyes of most of them 
express simply naivete, curiosity or a slight emotion, a few show 
an acuteness or a depth of penetration which reveals a superior 
nature." That is well said and well felt. But by what precise 
detail can one recognize the depth of the expression, and distin- 
guish it from simple curiosity? Besides more than one teacher 
puts us on our guard against such interpretations, as being super- 
ficial. ''Open, animated, expressive countenances rarely belong 
to unintelligent pupils. Nevertheless one is sometimes deceived; 
these lively, penetrating subjects lack depth and solidity, while 
a passive countenance, sometimes almost without expression, 
may hide reflection, and judgment, that are discovered little by 
little." One teacher writes, "I have found myself deceived by 
children with dainty, agreeable faces and bright eyes who gave 
the impression of being intelligent, but who are not so. Never- 
theless this impression which a casual visitor might experience 
cannot hold sway long over the every day teacher." Still more 
precise is the following observation: "There are countenances 
which are expressionless and gloomy; one never obtains from these 
children an intelligent answer; the lessons are badly learned; 
they are nevertheless strong in composition and arithmetic. On 
the contrary one may be deceived by open, frank, wide awake 

teachers' judgment of pupils 303 

countenances; one obtains good oral replies; their choice of words 
is good; but they are children incapable of sustained attention, 
and characterized by an absolute lack of ability in arithmetic." 
These affirmations, these correctives, and these vague unpressions 
compose something very difficult to define. The master is 
influenced by an open face, a quick glance, and above all by a 
sympathetic manner. He says that, without doubt, that child 
is intelligent. All the same he is obliged to add under his breath 
one or even many "buts;" and then one does not know exactly 
what remains of the first statement. 

We are also told that one must observe children during play. 
In class they are immobile and unnatural because of discipline. 
In the school yard, they are free, and become more natural, 
and the recreation period with its play, its movement, its com- 
radeship and its combats, brings them nearer to real life. It is 
at this moment that one gets an insight into their personality, their 
character. One of the best teachers writes me that two principal 
elements serve him in discovering whether a child is intelligent 
or not; his replies in class, and the way he plays. There are a 
hundred ways of playing. Some children do not know how to 
play. This is a sign of low intelligence. It is true that some 
intelligent children isolate themselves in the yards and never 
play; but that does not prove an incapacity. One may note the 
aptitudes of the children in their manner of playing; there is an 
unintelligent way; it is where imitation predominates; true 
intelligence manifests itself by initiative and creation. We do 
not contradict; a school yard, like the street, is a marvelous 
field for observation; and we can understand that one might 
remain there hours and hours observing; but nothing of that is 
described, especially is nothing tabulated; it is riot sufficient to 
observe, one must interpret what one sees, and the manner of 
obtaining a just interpretation has not been indicated. 

All these are only incidents at the threshold. According to 
the majority of our correspondents, it is especially in the class 
room that one judges of the intelligence of each child. The 
master is there to dispense instruction; it is therefore quite 
natural that his attention should be fixed upon that instruction; 
and following the manner in which this instruction is received 
by the child, the judgment of good or bad is passed upon him. 
In principle he is not wrong. The school child is there to learn; 


if he does not learn, or if he learns poorly, he fails in his task, he 
is at fault, and his intellectual insufficiency may be the cause of 
that failure. Let us imagine a master who is in charge of an 
elementary class; the benches are filled with little tots of six or 
eight years; his principal task is to teach them to read; this will be 
the great work of his scholastic year; and according to the manner 
in which each pupil acquits himself in this regard, he will be judged. 
If he encounters a child who, in spite of two years of assiduous 
training, is still unable to pronounce syllables correctly, he will 
pass an unfavorable judgment upon that pupil; and thus for all; 
the simi of their knowledge, compared with their age and attend- 
ance at school, furnishes the principal criterion for the appreci- 
ation. The instruction therefore answers for the intelligence, 
but we very well understand that this idea is only approximately 
correct; there are minds which rebel at reading; there are intel- 
lectual aptitudes which cannot develop in class, and which will 
never take a scholastic form. 

And to speak of older pupils, it is incontestable that their 
knowledge is not a measure of their intelligence. In reality, 
knowledge represents only the intelligence of others; there is some 
merit in having assimilated it; this proves first, memory, then 
attention, comprehension, work, method; but many intellectual 
qualities are not comprised in the fist. Many of the correspond- 
ents have reahzed this, and they have endeavored to distinguish 
instruction from intelligence. In the examples which they give, 
in the methods which they advise, they especially strive to elimi- 
nate memory. Memory is the grand simulator of intelligence. 
When a child makes an ingenious reply, finds a witty word, or 
gives a just appreciation, one must ask what is original in the 
reply, and what is taken from the book he has read. We must 
credit him only with what belongs to him personally. 

It is curious to see how teachers have sought to apply this 
principle. It is not easy. In the execution, difficulties of every 
sort show themselves. 

Without doubt, one must take account of the activity which 
a child shows in class. Those who have the taste for study, 
those who love to be questioned, those who reply well, those who 
go in advance of the question will be marked favorably. The 
rapidity of comprehension is also a good sign; but one must not 
allow himself to be deceived. There are children who seem to 


teachers' judgment of pupils 305 

understand and scarcely ask any questions, because they content 
themselves with nearly understanding. "This year I have a 
little girl who makes me repeat my explanations twice, and she 
is nevertheless the first in the class; but she asks me to repeat 
because she wishes thoroughly to understand while the others 
think they have understood. Unintelligent children are not 
able to recognize at what point in the explanation they no longer 
understand, so that often it is the most intelligent who say 'I 
do not understand.'" One with justice attributes intelligence 
to those who make sensible progress. Only, let us remark that 
the absence of progress may result from the lack of a special 

Certain children, to whom the ordinary work of the class is 
distasteful, make compensation in manual work, sewing, designing, 
writing; little girls weak in orthography, are strong in sewing 
and capable in the instruction concerning housekeeping; and, 
all things considered, this is more important for their future. 
In certain matters of instruction, it has seemed that one could 
easily distinguish between the part played by memory and by 
reasoning. Arithmetic has often been cited. Mental arith- 
metic furnishes a means of judging. By the way in which the 
child handles it, by the ingenuity of his methods, judge of his 
intelligence. In the discussion of problems, one easily sees who 
understands and who knows how to connect ideas. Teachers 
zealous for mathematics, think that every intelligent child ought 
to excel in arithmetic, and that the converse is equally true; 
that is to say that any one strong in arithmetic is intelligent; 
he may lack memory, but not the power of reasoning. We think 
this is an error. In the first place, no account is made of the 
diversity of aptitudes. A certain writer, and also a certain 
politician whom we know, comprehend nothing in mathematics; 
they are not, however, blockheads. In the school one sees 
certain pupils who are strong in arithmetic but who seize a 
grammatical application or get the sense from a history lesson 
with difficulty; there is a lack then of intelUgence on certain 
sides, but one cannot say absolutely that he is not intelligent. 
Another difficulty. How can we distinguish between mathe- 
matical knowledge and mathematical intelligence? One who 
knows a great deal, helps himself by means of the memory of prob- 
lems analogous to those proposed to him; while he who is very 


ignorant, would be stopped by the undeveloped state of his 
faculties, and through the want of certain indispensable ideas. 

Can one judge of the intelligence of a child by his success in 
history? No, the difficulties are analogous; granted that the 
dates are banished, and that one avoids even the recitations 
which can be learned by heart and which make use chiefly of the 
memory. One questions the child, not upon what he knows 
but upon what he thinks. This is the ideal: lead him to judge, 
oblige him to express some personal opinion. But, besides its 
being ridiculous to make such demands of little children, how 
difficult it is to know if the child, who gives us his ideas of a war, 
or of a great man or an historical act, is not simply the faithful 
echo of the teaching of the master! After having sent me re- 
flections analogous to the preceding, a school mistress wrote me: 
"In reality, very few children understand history." Another 
teacher seemed to find in the lessons of history much information 
regarding the mentality of her pupils; I asked her to send me some 
documents to support her opinion. She asked her pupils of 
from ten to twelve years to express in writing their opinion on 
Napoleon I. One of these wrote, "Napoleon I was the greatest 
warrior that ever existed; but his pride has made the name of 
France long detested by foreigners. His ambition cost the lives 
of half a million Frenchmen." This is very well. But let 
us read what another pupil wrote, "Napoleon I was a great 
warrior, but his pride attracted the anger of the people of Europe 
against Ft-ance. He left France smaller than he found it. One 
must admire his military genius, but one must blame his indomi- 
table pride. " These two opinions resemble each other too closely 
not to be the reproduction of the opinion of the teacher. What 
vanity to suppose that such young children could be capable 
of judging Napoleon! I have also been the recipient of short 
essays, where the children of twelve or fourteen years had been 
asked what they thought of the Revocation of the Edict of 
Nantes, or the Partition of Poland. Naturally, as to writing, 
orthography, punctuation, style, these attempts differed a little 
one from the other and it would be possible to draw from these 
slight differences some arguments; but the foundation, that is to 
say the opinion emitted, seemed to me to be the same for all, 
and consequently very suspicious. All the children agree in 
seeing a fault in the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and a 

teachers' judgment of pupils 307 

theft in the Partition of Poland. These are not personal historical 

Again a certain singular aptitude has been pointed out, which 
a few pupils present, of correctly following the orthography in 
use; it is what is called natural orthography. So much the 
better for those who possess it; it spares them a great deal of 
troublesome effort. But one cannot make from it a general sign 
of intelligence. The aptitude for orthography is a special gift, 
very limited, like an accurate ear or voice. A correspondent 
makes the following reasonable remark: ''Certain children seem 
to have natural orthography, which is in reality the memory for 
written words, and make but few mistakes although they scarcely 
reflect while writing; they are incapable of comprehending the 
reisults of reasoning in a problem and even in the grammar grades 
there are those who cannot distinguish when to subtract and 
when to add. " 

Certain correspondents attach great importance to expression or 
rather, if I understand them rightly, to expressive reading, which 
is not altogether the same thing; one can have expression badly 
governed, breathe badly, have a rude voice, pronounce badly, 
mutilate the words and possess, nevertheless, an expressive read- 
ing. Therefore, in order to judge of the intelligence of a child, 
one must give him a selection that is within his reach, and watch 
his reading with care. The intelligent child, says a teacher, 
makes one feel the punctuation. The intelligent child, it is said 
again, reads with the sense of the text; he understands not only 
the general sense but the shades of meaning; and he not only 
understands what he reads but he feels it. This is all very true; 
and every one is favorably impressed by expressive reading and 
pleased with the little reader. It is only necessary to listen to 
children as they talk to judge of their intelUgence; certain among 
them have fine intonations of voice which indicate even at this 
early age, different shades of meaning. But in what embarrass- 
ment one would be placed if one attempted, out of these fugitive 
and vague impressions, to pass a precise judgment! In the first 
place one would be obliged to eliminate those who cannot read 
or who read poorly, because they have defective habits, faulty 
pronunciation, and cannot yet read fluently; in a primary school, 
one would be obliged for this reason, to abstain from judging 
more than half of the children. 


As for those who have the good fortune to possess an expressive 
reading, they are often the intelHgent ones; but take care; often 
they are only artists, future actors; one knows by illustrious 
examples that an actor may be very talented, without possessing 
a great intelligence; in the school, I have sometimes had pointed 
out to me children of a noticeable lack of intelligence who put 
a charming expression into their oral reading. 

I will terminate this review, by noting that for many teachers, 
the surest and the most direct means for judging the intelligence 
of a child is to put questions to him, to make him talk. In the 
class one questions him in such a way as to sohcit a personal 
reply, a reply which does not come from the book. There is an 
excellent exercise, so it seems, that of explained reading. When 
the child has read a "passage stop him to sum up the essential 
idea of the selection, or to criticise it; still better, lead him by 
questions to reveal what he has seen, observed, felt, noted, re- 
flected outside school. Appeal to his judgment, to his imagi- 
nation or again, leaving the reading book, question the child dur- 
ing recreation; gain his confidence, make him talk; show an interest 
in his response, and question him upon his future projects, upon 
his friendships, his duties, his life at home. Freed from the 
constraint of the class, certain minds open, and thus one makes 
unexpected discoveries. This is the charm of confidences; a 
silent child begins talking; one finds that he is full of imagination, 
and often of mischief. One sees that another, strong in composi- 
tion, has never used his powers of observation. Again it is the 
spontaneous reflections of the child which indicate his intelli- 
gence. Here is one who asks his master ''Why do people of warm 
countries in summer wear clothing made of wool," or ''Since the 
earth turns, why are not the houses upset?" Another makes the 
following remark. He had been told "The oleomargerine is good 
and is less costly than butter." He repHed, "The bakers must 
use it then in their cakes." Another, to whom it had been 
explained that Bonaparte left the army in Egypt to return to 
France, replied, "He had no right to do it, they ought to have 
shot him." Certainly these words, these reflections denote a 
keen intelligence, especially if the child is young and the saying 
is authentic, but the inconvenience of these remarks is, that they 
are spontaneous, that one has not been able to foresee them, nor 
to judge them beforehand, and consequently one does not know 

teachers' judgment of pupils 309 

exactly what quality of intelligence they contain. To appreci- 
ate them, one experiences the same embarrassment as in the 
clinic, when a lunatic of a low intellectual level, utters a speech 
whose form seems intelligent; yet one does not exactly know if 
this speech reveals a former state of intelligence of which it is a 
relic, or if it might come from an imbecile. In the same way, 
when one undertakes to appreciate the value of a childish saying 
which has come spontaneously, one lacks a measure, a point of 
comparison by which to judge. 

A teacher, whom I know, who is methodical and considerate, 
has given an account of the habits he has formed for studying 
his pupils; he has analysed his methods, and sent them to me. 
They have nothing original, which makes them all the more 
important. He instructs children from five and a half to seven 
and a half years old; they are 35 in number; they come to his 
class after having passed a preparatory course, where they have 
commenced to learn to read. For judging each child, the teacher 
takes account of his age, his previous schooling (the child may 
have been one year, two years in the preparatory class, or else 
never passed through that division at all), of his expression of 
countenance, his state of health, his knowledge, his attitude in 
class, and his rephes. From these diverse elements he forms an 
opinion. I have transcribed some of these notes on the follow- 
ing page. 

These judgments were passed by the teacher in the beginning; 
out of 35 pupils he judged 31, having reserved 4 upon whom he 
could not pronounce. At the end of the year his indecisions and re- 
serves had increased; they now rested upon 9 children; and besides, 
he had changed his opinion about 8. / In reading these judgments 
one can see how his opinion was formed, and of how many ele- 
ments it took account; it seems to us that this detail is interesting; 
perhaps if one attempted to make it precise by giving coefficients 
to all these remarks, one would reaHze still greater exactitude. 
But is it possible to define precisely an attitude, a physiognomy, 
interesting replies, animated eyes? It seems that in all this the 
best element of diagnosis is furnished by the degree of reading 
which the child has attained, after a given number of months, 
and that the rest remains constantly vague. 

Is this equivalent to saying that the empirical method of knowl- 
edge, which we have here brought to trial, presents no advantage? 











Does not know how to read in 
spite of 2 years of schooling. 

Below the average 



Ignorant, timid, does not reply. 

Below the average 



Ignorant, embarrassed manner. 
Comes from the country. 

Below the average 



Ignorant, expressionless face. 
Does not reply. 

Below the average 



Unintelligent face. Does not re- 
ply to questions. A brother 
remained until he was 13 in an 
elementary class. 

Below the average 




Child stupid, sleepy. Does not 
reply. Some of the elements of 

Below the average 



Unintelligent face, expression- 
less, small, weakly, brutal. 

Below the average 




Elements of reading. Child dif- 
ficult to interest. 





Elements of reading. Heedless. 
Lack of care probable cause of 





Fluent reading. Awkward re- 
plies. Face wide awake and 


Bonnet, . . . 


Ignorant. Interesting replies. 





Cannot read, but young, open 
countenance keen look, easy to 





Reads by syllables. Easy to in- 
terest. Air alert. 





Reads by syllables. Replies of- 
ten. Heedless. 





Fluent reading. Quick glance. 
Interest easy to excite. Re- 
plies well. 





Expressive reading. Face ani- 




Ignorant, but child quick and 


teachers' judgment of pupils 311 

Oh yes, it presents one very great advantage. It is based upon 
long observation, continued during weeks and months; if the 
facts observed have not each a great value, on the other hand they 
are numerous, diverse, and when needful they correct one another. 
Herein lies the incontestable superiority of observation over the 
test; the latter is an experiment; moreover a short experiment, 
which, therefore, contains a certain element of chance. If it is 
a question of judging the ability of a child in composition, I 
prefer ten tests to one; I prefer ten tests distributed over an entire 
year rather than grouped together, if the thing were possible, 
in one afternoon. 

But on the other hand what indecision in the observation! 
What errors ! One rarely arrives at certainty and never at a measure. 

So much for observations; let us now speak of experiments. 
The teachers have made several; and we are going to examine 
them closely. In the first place, to reply to our question, certain 
of our correspondents have sent in fragments of questions to put 
to the child. Here are some of them: "Why do you love your 
parents? Why is the department of the Seine-Inf^rieure so 
called? Three persons take seven hours to do a piece of work; 
would five persons require more or less time? If any one asked 
you to choose between a quarter of a pie, or the half of a pie, 
which would you choose? In a square, which is the longer side? 
Which is the heavier, a kilogram of lead or of feathers? What 
could you buy with a 1 franc piece? Which would you prefer, 
two pieces of 5-francs or one gold 10-franc piece?" A teacher 
tells me that every year, in order to know his new pupils better, 
he makes use of some simple test questions; he has them give an 
opinion upon some fact of current life, describe an object placed 
before their eyes; he has them learn by heart a text of a dozen 
lines in as short a time as possible; he has them make a map 
allowing them all the time necessary. 

There would be indeed some criticisms to make upon these 
tests; the principal of these is the following: These tests im- 
fortunately presuppose that in order to make a satisfactory reply, 
the child has had a certain amount of instruction ; one must know 
a little geography, a little arithmetic, to comprehend most of 
them; and a child who has never been made familiar with frac- 
tions, nor with the rule of three, neither with a definition of a 
square, would find himself embarrassed without his intelligence 


being at fault. But these are slight, very slight defects, that 
could easily be effaced. We have here the true method; and the 
teachers who sent us these questions and tests were no doubt 
unconscious of this. It is the true method for the following 
reasons: (1) the problems are experimentally put; it is no longer 
a question of observation when one waits for a time when some 
happy expression may escape the child; one provokes his reply 
at the necessary moment, which is the indispensable condition 
for an examination of the intellectual level; (2) the questions 
have nothing personal to the child; consequently one could give 
them indiscriminately to all. What is now necessary, is that 
by a prolonged investigation one determines how children of 
different ages reply to these questions, in order that the difficulty 
be classified and that one may have a point from which to measure. 
At my request, three teachers came and spent the afternoon 
in our laboratory rue Grange-aux-Belles, and we asked them each 
to examine the intelligence of five children whom they did not 
know. They had full liberty to conduct the examination as they 
thought best. They put to the children different interesting 
questions. I was present, and noted several of these. Thus, 
since in the neighborhood of the school there is a canal with 
locks, one mistress wished to know if the children understood 
what a lock was, what purpose it served, and what was its mechan- 
ism. The question thus put, seemed to me curious, and the 
interrogation laborious; the teacher did not put exactly the same 
question to all, she aided some more than others; and besides, 
this was a purely local question, it could not have been asked in 
another school, and this is wrong for it makes comparison im- 
possible. Another teacher had brought pretty pictures, which 
he showed the children, then he asked them diverse questions 
about the objects there represented, for instance, why a certain 
roof was a mansard and not an ordinary roof, and how one dis- 
tinguished a mansard. Excellent idea, but it was badly carried 
out. In the first place, the questions seemed to me too easy; 
then they changed from one child to another; lastly, the teacher 
wasted time in teaching those who answered badly. During one 
of the examinations, blows of a hammer were heard; they came 
from a factory that was in process of construction. One teacher 
profited from it by asking if it were better when building a factory, 
to have thick or thin walls; too local a question in the first place 

teachers' judgment of pupils 313 

and not given in the same terms to all; and above all the form 
requiring yes or no for answer was used, which is dangerous; 
because the correct reply to such a question may be due to chance. 
Ask a pupil if blood is acid or alkaline, and there is one chance out 
of two that he will reply correctly even though he be perfectly 
ignorant. Then they asked questions about the streets of the 
neighborhood, about the way to go from one place to another, 
in order to find oufc if the children knew their surroundings and 
observed, noticed. Notes were made during their recital. As 
King Edward of England had recently died, they asked details 
upon this event, in order to discover if the children read the 
paper or if they listened to what others might have read to them. 
These again are too special questions, which make all comparison 
impossible; besides they were badly put, certain children who 
were judged intelligent in advance were aided too much. I 
noted, apropos of this, a surprising fact; to one of these questions, 
two children gave identical replies; nevertheless, one received 
a better mark than the other, simply because the teacher had the 
idea — ^he admitted it to me — that this pupil was brighter than 
the other. Lastly, like every good examination, this one termi- 
nated in scholastic exercises; there were questions of history, of 
literature, recitations of fables, and problems of the metric 
system, after assuring themselves that the children knew its 
elements; and for this too, explanations were given when the 
children did not know, and one wished to discover the rapidity 
with which they could comprehend. I have no need to say how 
much I disapprove of this mixture, of indefinite proportions, of 
questions of instruction and questions of intelligence; it is the 
means of establishing nothing at all, neither the degree of instruc- 
tion nor the degree of intelligence. In conclusion, I will remark 
that our three examiners were not altogether agreed in the classi- 
fication of the children from the intellectual point of view; but 
that is of no importance. 

I asked them at the end, how they had proceeded in order to 
evaluate the replies; because they had surely been obliged to 
rate them since they had all given marks to the candidates. One of 
them frankly told me that he had taken the first child as the point 
of departure, and it was to him that he had compared the others, 
judging them intelligent or not according as they were above or 
below their little comrade. Think of the inconvenience of such 


a practice, which leaves so much place to what is arbitrary, to 
sympathy, or antipathy. The first pupil suffered greatly from 
it because he was not judged comparatively with the others, 
and he was the recipient of an excessive and unreasonable 
severity. Another teacher provided himself with a more ingeni- 
ous method; he imagined as model, a child of the same age as 
those who were brought to him, g, child who seemed to him of 
average intelligence; and it was with this ideal model that he 
compared the successive candidates. It is a method that re- 
quires a great familiarity with children, and much intelligence; 
and I do not hesitate to pronounce it wrong. When one can say, 
*'The method depends upon the man who uses it," one is not 
praising the method. The best is the one that requires the mini- 
mum of dexterity and of knowledge. And then, does one not 
realize that these comparisons with an ideal average, are perilous? 
In reality one has not made previous experiments, one has not 
put to this average being the same questions, one does not know 
exactly how he would reply, one only makes conjectures; and the 
most expert may be mistaken. 

Thus, our three teachers, whom we were designing enough 
to put for a moment in our place and whom we had charged to 
make only once that measure of the intellectual level that we 
take nearly every day, had been lead almost naturally to employ 
the same method as ours, the method of tests; and they were 
forced to it, because under the conditions in which they operated, 
there is no other. I remember an aUenist, a doctor, who bitterly 
criticised our method for the examination of subnormal children ; 
very well, let us see how this severe critic handles the matter, 
and what methods he employs; he says simply that he prefers 
to show them postal cards and make them talk about them. But 
what is this exercise, if it is not a test? Our critic of tests em- 
ploys tests; only he employs them badly; it is the only credit 
that can be given him. 

To sum up, our teachers had recourse instinctively to the method 
which we extol. We shall simply state without the slightest 
intention in the world of reproaching them with it — because 
this is not said in criticism — ^that they committed numerous 
errors; that their questions were often of a needless length, 
that they were frequently put in the dangerous alternative form 
just noted, that they often supposed scholastic knowledge which 

teachers' judgment of pupils 315 

had nothing to do with the question, that they were of a nature 
too special (they could only have been given that particular day, 
or to the children of that school), that they were put in terms 
that differed from pupil to pupil according to the chance of the 
conversation; when a child replied badly or incompletely, some- 
thing which often happens with young children, they whispered 
to him without taking exact account of that aid; and the definite 
reply was not judged in the same manner for all even when given 
in identical terms. One can see that our teachers practiced very 
badly, a very good method. 

And this example demonstrates the exactitude of an excellent 
remark {un bien joli mot) which was said to me by an English 
lady, a teacher who had wished to know the method used in my 
laboratory for the study of children. "Science" she said to me, 
"invents no more than practice; but science does better. {Sci- 
ence nHnvente rien de plus que pratique; mais science fait mieu.) " 
It is the exact truth, at least in what concerns psychology and 

There are sciences which invent; chemistry for example has 
recipes of which one has no idea in ordinary life; but the moral 
sciences do not invent, properly speaking, they only bring to a 
point and perfect empirical means; and this is why they give to 
those curious enough to initiate themselves, a first impression of 
triviality. When one speaks to another about measuring the 
intelligence of a child, he thinks that one is going to disclose to 
him some surprising and mysterious method; and when one says 
that this method is going to consist in putting before him little 
problems, which vaguely resemble social games, he will likely 
exclaim with an undisguised disappointment, "Is that all!'' 
Evidently he could do the same, anybody could do the same. But 
" Science fait mieux. " 

Must we conclude from this that a teacher must always have 
recourse to our method in order to obtain a knowledge of the 
intelligence of his pupils? This would be a great exaggeration. 
Let us not increase indiscreetly the work of teachers who have 
from 60 to 80 pupils in the class. Our method, which is slow, 
particular, and which requires some training, is an exceptional 
one, a de luxe method. The vernier is also an instrument de luxe; 
one does not employ it unless one wishes to measure to the tenth 
of a millimeter; it is not to be used for ordinary purposes. The 


microscope is also an instrument de luxe; one does not employ 
it to analyse the fabric of the costume one buys. These instru- 
ments are only employed when there is a real interest in a careful 
study. And the same is true for taking the intellectual level. 

What Difference Exists in the Intelligence of Children 
Belonging to Different Social Conditions? 

M. Decroly and Mile. Degand have published in the Archives 
de Psychologies a study upon our method. They applied it to 
43 children (boys and girls) of a private school which they conduct 
at Brussels, and they were careful to publish very detailed results 
of their experiment. In reading their work, in scrutinizing their 
tables, and weighing their conclusions, we have been somewhat 
undecided; we have asked ourselves if it were a confirmation, or a 
criticism of our investigation. Without doubt there was some 
wavering in the thought of the authors; and that is easily under- 
stood; the method is delicate, the facts which they have collected 
are so varied and so numerous, that there results in the mind a 
sort of obstruction; one cannot clearly see the conclusions to be 
drawn therefrom. Apropos of this, a very significant fact has 
been produced; authors who have analysed a little severely the 
work of Decroly and Degand, have thought they must present it as 
unfavorable to our investigations; they say the tests are too easy, 
they do not exactly apply to the ages for which Binet and Simon 
organized them; on the other hand, some of the tests are defective 
because they involve too much instruction, and not enough of the 
natural inteUigence. A superficial mind, in holding to this 
analysis, might think that the two Belgian savants had made a 
complete refutation of the whole of our method. Granted that 
Decroly and Degand have made a great effort, granted that their 
whole study breathes honesty and good faith, conscientiousness 
and care, still we have thought that it would be regrettable to 
leave the matter there. We have asked them for their tables 
and their notes; and we have submitted these .documents to an 
analysis which we here sum up. In this manner we have been 
able to account for the very interesting corrections and additions 
which the Belgian study has contributed to our work. 

• January, 1910, No. 34, Vol. IX, p. 81-108. 


One fact has struck us forcibly; it is that the children studied 
by Decroly and Degand give very much better replies to the 
tests than our subjects. In calculating their level of intelligence, 
according to the method which we have before indicated, we do 
not find one who is backward, not one, and this is a very sig- 
nificant fact, because our subjects present an equal amount of 
advance and backwardness. The only little Belgian who would 
present a very slight degree of backwardness is a child of twelve 
years, eight months, who has a level of twelve years; this is very 
little. The amount of the advance is on the other hand quite 
marked; there are twelve children who are advanced more than 
a year, their advance being equal to two years or less; there are 
eleven children who are advanced more than two years; the great- 
est advance is two years and a half. The average is a year and a 

This is a considerable difference. To what can it be ascribed? 
To three possible causes — outside material errors, which truly 
we could not suspect. First. The Belgian authors may have 
made their estimates with an excessive indulgence; without being 
conscious of it, they may have aided their subjects, diminishing 
the difficulty of the questions. We regret that M. Decroly and 
Mile. Degand have not been able to come to Paris, and see us 
operate; they know our technique only through reading; they are 
not, strictly speaking, our pupils. In reading their work, we 
have had the feeling that they really are more indulgent than we. 
But the difference has seemed to us very slight, quite insignificant; 
in our opinion it could not create among the children an advance 
of a year and a half. Second. The children studied are not of 
the same social condition as ours. Our subjects belong to the 
primary schools of Paris situated in the 10th ward (rue Grange- 
aux-Belles, rue R^collets, rue Ecluses Saint-Martin) the district 
is poor without being indigent. It is to be supposed that the 
school conducted by M. Decroly and Mile. Degand is differently 
recruited. At our request, M. Decroly and Mile. Degand informed 
us that their pupils belong to a social class in easy circumstances; 
they have parents who are particularly gifted and understand 
education in a broad sense; they are renowned physicians, uni- 
versity professors, well known lawyers, etc. They also wrote us, 
**We know perfectly well the mentality of our pupils, since there 
are only 8 or 9 or 10 at most in each class; we see them a great 


deal between whiles, they are free, joyous, open, their counte- 
nances cannot deceive us, we can therefore know them well!'' 
To sum up, here are two causes which, it seems to us, explain the 
difference of results, a superior social condition, and an edu- 
cation which tends toward individualism (and which is directed 
to a small number at a time). Already M. Rouma has told us 
that he had applied the method to children of the upper classes 
in Belgium, and he had been surprised to find how far the children 
were advanced, compared to children of the primary school. 
Is this a matter of heredity? Is it a matter of education? It 
would be difficult to establish a difference between the two 
factors which are here operating in conjunction. On the other 
hand individual education has superior advantages; a professor 
succeeds better in developing the intelligence of his pupils when 
he has only 8 or 10 than when he has 60; when he has 60 he 
cannot even know them all. What occurs in our subnormal 
classes proves this clearly, and we believe that the principal 
advantage of these classes lies in the very simple fact that there 
are fewer pupils there than in the ordinary classes. Thus is 
definitely explained the disagreement which seems to exist be- 
tween the work of M. Decroly and Mile. Degand and our own. 

I feel that M. Decroly and Mile. Degand have had the privilege 
of studying a very interesting question, the difference of intelli- 
gence between the children of the poorer classes and those of the 
rich. This I have already written them. That this difference 
exists one might suspect; because our personal investigations, as 
well as those of many others, have demonstrated that children 
of the poorer class are shorter, weigh less, have smaller heads and 
slighter muscular force, than a child of the upper class ; they less 
often reach the high school ; they are more often behind in their 
studies. Here is a collection of inferiorities which are slight, 
because they are only appreciated when large numbers are con- 
sidered, but they are undeniable. Some probably are acquired 
and result from unavoidable and accessory circumstances; others 
are probably congenital. The investigations of Decroly and 
Degand naturally belong to this group, they confirm what we 
already knew; and in a subject so new as this, a confirmation 
is not useless. In addition, there is here something more, there 
is a measure of this difference. 



A second remark should be made upon the documents sent us by 
Decroly and Degand; for their pupils who are a year and a half 
in advance of those of the primary schools of Paris, there is a 
whole series of tests in which the advance is more marked than 
in the others; and consequently it is perhaps possible to deduce 
something interesting upon which aptitudes are most favored 
in the education of a rich child. A priori one would suppose 
that these children, little used to serving themselves, constantly 
surrounded by willing servants, would be more awkward with 
their hands than future workmen. But without making sup- 
positions let us see what the facts reveal, or rather let us see how 
we can draw some conclusion from the tables which have been 
submitted to us. 

With those children having an average advance of a year and a 
half, we have noted the tests for which they have on an average 
an advance of more than a year and a half, and tests for which 
they have on an average an advance of less than a year and a half. 
They show no special weakness for any test and are not specially 
backward for any aptitude; but their advance is very unequal. 
Here is the list of tests for which their advance is particularly 






Description of pictures 
Interpretation of pictures 

Intelligence and language 

Count 13 SOUS. 

Home training. 

Repeat 5 figures. 


Name 4 colors. 

Home training. 

Comparisons from memory. 

Faculty of language and observa- 


Lack in pictures. 

Habit of looking at pictures, and 


Arrangement of weights. 


Naming the days of the week. 

Home training. 

Abstract definitions. 


Knowledge of pieces of money. 

Practical life. 

Naming the months. 

Home training. 

Finding 60 words. 


Criticize sentences. 

Comprehension and language. 

Repeat long sentence. 



Opposite each test we have placed the aptitude which it 
seems to require. But we are far from presenting our inter- 
pretation as final; it is only assumed. It has seemed to us that, 
when one makes experiments upon minds as young as these, one 
is especially struck by the difficulty which the child experiences in 
handling the language, and in expressing in words what he thinks. 
For example, in the test of criticising certain sentences, the 
children often show that they have understood the absurdity of 
the sentence only by the play of the countenance, the intonation 
of the voice, or by the simple fact that they repeat the sentence. 
Thus when asked, ** Yesterday there was an accident on the rail- 
road, but it was not serious, the number of deaths was only 48," 
they say simply, "The number of deaths was only 48 and it was 
not serious!" There is in this manner of expression, or rather 
of non-expression, a simplicity which recalls primitive poetry 
where the facts are announced but not judged. Consequently 
we have felt justified in supposing that language played a part in 
a good many of the tests contained in the above list. It is the 
same with the 60 words, the abstract definitions, and the criticism 
of sentences. Many others seem to us to depend upon home 
training. It is not in school that the children are taught the 
days of the week, the months, or colors; it is at home, or at least, 
it seems so to us. Taking all into account it would seem that 
these little rich children are advanced for: Attention, in 3 tests; 
Home training, in 4 tests; Language, in 6 tests. 

This last point seems the most characteristic ; the little children 
of the upper classes imderstand better and speak better the 
language of others. We have also noted that when they begin 
to compose, their compositions contain expressions and words 
better chosen than those of poor children. This verbal superi- 
Ny ority must certainly come from the family life ; the children of the 
rich are in a superior environment from the point of view of 
language; they hear a more correct language and one that is more 

Now note the tests for which the children show an advance of 
less than a year and a half. 





Copy a sentence. 

Scholastic exercise. 


Scholastic exercise. 

Counting 9 sous. 

Practical life or home training. 

Counting backwards. 

Scholastic exercise. 

Writing from dictation. 

Scholastic exercise. 

Copying a diamond. 

Scholastic exercise. 

Giving change from 20 sous. 

Scholastic exercise. 

Putting 3 words into one sentence 


Finding rhymes. 


Problem of different facts. 


Here again, we make the most emphatic reservations upon the 
aptitudes which we have felt to be correlated with the different 
tests. Nevertheless our list shows that the tests of language are 
fewer than in the first list; on the other hand scholastic exercises 
abound. As Decroly and Degand have already remarked, it is 
especially in the degree of instruction that the children of the 
rich approach those of the poor. They are not backward in 
instruction but they do not show the same marked advance that 
they showed in other tests. This may be the result of accidental 
circumstances which have no importance; for example, the habit 
of the parents of not pushing their children and of not sending 
them to school too early. 

To sum up, the experiments of Decroly and Degand when 
thoroughly examined cannot lead us to change the tests; because 
if most of the tests have seemed too easy for their children, it is 
due simply to the fact that the intellectual level of their children 
is that of the rich. On the other hand the work that the two Bel- 
gian savants have done is interesting and has shown us with equal 
precision two new facts: First. That the intellectual superiority 
of children of the higher classes over that of children of the lower \ 
amounts to an average advance of a year and a half. Second. fJlp 
The intellectual superiority manifests itself especially in the tests j ^ 
where language plays a part. i ' 

I have sought to find a confirmation of the preceding investiga- 
tions by making a fresh study of documents gathered a long time 
ago. Among the pupils of the schools of the 10th ward whose intelli- 
gence we measured three years ago, there are those who come from 



indigent conditions; there are others who are in easy circumstances. 
All this was noted at the time of the examination. But in com- 
paring the average of the intellectual level of children from 
wretched surroundings with the average of children in easy cir- 
cumstances, I have found no appreciable difference. What 
causes the negative result? Perhaps because the social condition 
was not noted with sufl&cient care, or perhaps also because the 
difference of the conditions was too slight. 

I therefore asked the school director, M. Morle, who measured 
the intellectual level of 50 children from his own school, to note 
with great care the social standing of each of them; and to give 
in his report of each child one of the four following qualifications: 
indigence, poverty, mediocrity, ease, from definitions devised in a 
previous work with my habitual collaborator, M. Vaney. Strange 
to say, the results which have been obtained by M. Morle and 
which I calculated from the pages which he sent me, are entirely 
negative. Here is the exact statement. 

Intellectual Level of Primary School Children in Relation to their Social 

















By attentively reading this table, one can see that the children 
of an intelligence superior to the average are just as numerous 
in the group of indigence as in that of ease; and it is the same in 
regard to children inferior to the average. How shall we inter- 
pret these results? It is clear that we cannot accuse the experi- 
menter of negligence. How does it happen then that the social 
condition, which exercises such an influence over the pupils of 
Mile. Degand, is not of the least importance in a primary class 
here in Paris? Perhaps it is because the social differences among 
children of our primary school are not distinct enough to produce 
a difference of intellectual development; for even when the 
children come of parents in easy circumstances, they do not see 
their parents as often as do the children of the rich; they are 
left more to themselves; the parents make a good living, but they 


live away from home, enter late at night, and do not bother much 
with the children; with others the environment is unfavorable 
to their education because the parents are wine merchants or 
alcoholics. And it must be added that what equalizes the chil- 
dren of different social conditions in the primary school is that they 
all receive the same kind of instruction in class. To sum up, 
there is persumably here a question of very slight social differ- 
ences which cannot exercise a noticeable influence upon the in- 
tellectual level. 

Very different have been the results obtained by Madame Th6- 
venot, directress of a primary school for boys, rue Cadet. Mme. 
Thevenot measured the intelligence of 18 children, of whom 15 
were between eight and nine years of age and three were between 
seven and eight. These children belonged to her class because 
the school is small and Madame Thevenot teaches at the same 
time that she is directress. Mme. Thevenot has worked with 
M. Vaney and me and she uses the measuring scale very well. 
Immediately one is struck with the figures which she obtained. 
Not one of her pupils is behind in intelligence, and many are in 
advance. Some are three years ahead, 6 are two years and over; 
as an average the advance is 1.7 (that is a little more than one year 
and a half); it is an advance analogous to that of the pupils of 
Mile. Degand; it is considerable since this is a mean value. 

Mme. Thevenot considers that these children are of a higher 
intelligence than those of other schools where she has taught; 
we think that the social condition of the parents (the rue 
Cadet is located in a commercial quarter in the center of Paris and 
is quite rich) must have an influence. It is also worthy of 
note that several of these little pupils are of foreign birth. The 
instruction is more individual than in most schools as Mme. 
Thevenot has only 15 pupils in her class. Ordinarily classes 
number from 30 to 40 pupils. Finally Mme. Thevenot felt it 
worthy of note that these children were started the preceding 
year by a very superior teacher who taught the preparatory class. 
Thus one sees many slight causes operating to produce the results, 
and it would be rash to try to explain each one of them; good 
social conditions and individuahzed education agree in producing 
the same result. 

Miss Katherine Johnston, of the University of Sheffield, dur- 
ing the year 1910 came to visit my laboratory, rue Grange-aux- 



Belles; she was especially interested in the measure of the in- 
tellectual level, and, returning to England, repeated the experi- 
ments upon 200 school children of Sheffield. The results were 
made public by her, at a meeting of the British Association at 
Sheffield in 1910; she courteously communicated these results to 
me and replied to my questions. It appears from the documents 
which I have seen that she worked with children of very unequal 
social standing. The schools which opened their doors to her 
presented very different conditions; here the population repre- 
sented the liberal professions, there the trained mechanics, again 
the extremely poor mechanics. It is a pity that these heterogene- 
ous elements have been confused in the averages, which thus lose 
some of their significance. I strongly urge the author to calculate 
new averages, taking account of the state of poverty or wealth 
represented by the parents of the children. A detail in passing. 
I suppose that in the rich schools, there are fewer children in a 
class than in the poor schools; and that is, I believe, an important 
condition to note in order to correctly estimate the intellectual 
development of the child; I believe that, everything else being 
equal, a child^s intellect will develop better in a class composed of 
15 or 20 pupils, than in a class composed of a great number. The 
information furnished by Miss Johnston confirms this idea to a 
certain extent, because in the schools of the rich, it is said that the 
number does not exceed 15 or 20, while in the schools of the poor 
it varies from 40 to 60. But this rule is not without exception. 

From the accounts of the experiments which have appeared in 
the journals I have not understood the results of Miss Johnston's 
experiments because she has sometimes employed a method of 
calculation which is personal to her and which I consider open to 
criticism. But in putting the results in a form which I have myself 
calculated here is the table which one obtains. 

Distribution of Intellectual Levels of the Pupils in Miss Johnston* s Experi- 
ments at Sheffield 











Superior to the average 











Inferior to the average 



It results from the above table (and this commentary will 
explain it) that 55 children are superior to their level, 42 are equal 
to it, and 49 are inferior. If one notes besides, that starting with 
11 years the number of children below the normal level has 
distinctly increased, which results as we have shown from the 
fact that the tests of 11 and 12 years were much too severe, one 
might conclude that Miss Johnston's results were in perfect 
accord with our own. 

This is the best reply to certain objections which have been 
made to us. Objections have not been lacking; some have been 
just; but others have been childish. In an Italian review it was 
declared that our tests were too easy. The experiments of Decroly 
and Mile. Degand seem to have lent support to this criticism. 
Whipple, in spite of the friendliness of his analysis, has associated 
himself with these unreservedly. Truly, without wishing to 
defend to excess a method which is only being tried, I repel these 
objections; Miss Johnston's results are there to prove that they 
are not well founded. 

I again requested Miss Johnston to indicate the tests that are 
easiest for each age. Here is an extract from her communication 
which shows not only the tests that are easiest but those which 
are the most difficult. 

41 children of 7 years 


Lack in pictures 24 

Naming 4 pieces of money 19 

Repeating 5 figures 18 

Number of fingers 10 

Counting 13 sous 7 

Description of pictures 5 

Copying a diamond 4 

Copying a written model 2 

2S children of 8 years 


Counting backwards 17 

Reading with 2 memories 16 

Dictation 3 

Naming of colors 2 

Comparing two objects from memory 2 

Counting 3 single and 3 double sous 1 


30 children of 9 years 


Definitions superior to use 23 

Arranging weights 21 

Giving change from 20 sous 16 

Reading with 6 memories 14 

Date 10 

Days of the week 2 

S8 children of 10 years 


Difficult questions 26 

3 words in 2 sentences 21 

The 9 pieces of money 19 

Easy questions 6 

The months of the year 

£4 children of 12 years 


Abstract definitions 21 

Putting words in order 13 

3 words in 1 sentence 12 

Criticism of sentences 7 

More than 60 words 5 

If one compares these results with those we have indicated in our 
Table II, it will be found that except for tests where our little 
Parisians are decidedly in advance of their neighbors (lack in pic- 
tures, counting backwards, abstract definitions) the other results 
are almost analogous. 

Finally, I recently asked my devoted collaborator, M. Morl^, 
director of a school in Paris, to take the measure of the level 
in two primary schools presenting extreme social differences. It 
seemed to me advisable to entrust the two parts of the experi- 
ment to the same experimenter. M. Morl^ had already taken the 
measure of the level of the children in his school (rue-Sambre-et- 
Meuse) which is one of the poorest in Paris; with these indications 
and with the authorization of the inspector, M. Belot, he made the 
supplementary investigations in the school, rue Marseilles, where 
the children belong to a population in easy circumstances. M. 
Morl^ took all the necessary precautions not to let himself be 
influenced ; he even voluntarily ignored the school standing of the 
pupils examined. His findings are very significant. In compar- 
ing from the point of view of level 30 children from the school of 
the poorer class with 30 children of the class in easy circumstances, 



the age being the same in both, he found the distribution indicated 
by the following table : 

Comparison, from the Point of View of Intellectual Level, of a Primary School 
Attended by the Poorer Class, with a Primary School Attended by Those in 
Easy Circumstances. 









2 years 

1 year 

1 year 

2 years 

Poor Primary School 








Primary School Easy 


Thus, on one hand, there are 16 students in the better class school 
in advance, while in the poorer school there are only 5; and on the 
other hand there are 4 children in the better class school who are 
backward, while there are 12 backward children in the poor school. 
If from these figures we try to estimate in years the mean diver- 
gence which separates these two groups of children, we find that 
it is about three-fourths of a year. The total of the poor children 
is below the average by one-fourth of a year and the children of 
the better class are above it by a half year. Certainly this ad- 
vance of one-half year is not equal to that which Mile. Degand 
found imder conditions much more favorable ; it points, however, 
in the same direction and is consequently a valuable confirmation. 
Let us add, in passing, that the school standing of the children 
in the poor school was less advanced than that of those in the 
better school as the following table indicates : 

Comparison from the Point of View of Scholastic Level in a Poor Primary 
School, and in a Primary School of the Better Class 










2 years 

1 year 

1 year 

2 years 

Poor School 






Better Class School 

The difference shows itself also in the same direction ; the average 
scholastic level in the poor school is very little removed from the 


normal average; while that of the better class school is slightly 
in advance, about a half year. That need not surprise us since 
we have already seen that the scholastic level and the intellectual 
level go hand in hand. 

A word in conclusion. A singularly interesting idea arises 
from these investigations which I have already noted in my 
previous articles but perhaps without sufficient insistence. For 
the first time I now see its full meaning. This idea may present 
itself first as a criticism of past methods. For a long while the 
psychologists have tried to establish correlations of experiments; 
they study among adults and more often among children some 
aptitudes which seem to them different and afterwards they wish 
to know what bearing they have upon one another. Legitimate 
investigation certainly and timely; but more often they can lead 
to no real result, so that the calculations of correlations has 
become one of the most delicate questions of psychology. 

We now imder stand why. It is because the aptitudes studied 
have not been the object of a sufficiently profound investigation. 
One has contented himself with an experiment or two. Thus, to 
take a simple example upon which we can reason, one has studied 
by short and rapid tests suggestibility by lines then by weights; 
afterwards one tries to find if a child, suggestible to one form of 
test is also suggestible to the others; and naturally one never finds 
appreciable correlation. An American investigation published 
this year arrives at this conclusion. But what we should do 
first and above all else during this period of groping in which we 
now are, is not to make a comparison of tests, an analytical 
investigation of their correlations, but just the contrary, that is to 
say, a comprehensive study of their significance, a calculation of 
their results. Just as it is perilous to investigate whether one 
form of suggestibility is correlated with another, so on the other 
hand is it advantageous to try to group all the tests of suggesti- 
bility, to make of them a mass, and to make a classification of 
pupils from this point of view, to afterwards see if the most sug- 
gestible pupils are the youngest, more docile in the class, or have 
such and such mental qualities more pronounced than less sug- 
gestible pupils. This is what we have tried for the measure of 
intelligence; we have grouped all the tests supposing that they 
all more or less tend in the same direction and we have thus 
arrived at a classification of pupils from the point of view of the 


What is the reason for proceeding thus? Obviously it rests 
upon the principle that a particular test isolated from the rest 
is of little value, that it is open to errors of every sort, especially 
if it is rapid and is applied to school children; that which gives a 
demonstrative force is a group of tests, a collection which pre- 
serves the average physiognomy. This may seem to be a truth 
so trivial as to be scarcely worth the trouble of expressing it. 
On the contrary it is a profound truth, and good sense is so far 
from being sufficient to divine this so called triviality, that up to 
the present it has been constantly disregarded. One test signi- \ 
fies nothing, let us emphatically repeat, but five or six tests signify 
something. And that is so true that one might almost say, 
*'It matters very little what the tests are so long as they are 
numerous." ^^'■^ / 

In support of this, I shall cite what Mile. Giroud' recently 
proved in applying to pupils a method of measuring the intelli- 
gence devised by our colleague M. Ferrari. This method is 
composed, very much like that of BHn, of a long series of questions 
which one puts to the subjects; the questions are often badly 
formed and Mile. Giroud has made a detailed criticism which 
shows that out of some forty of them scarcely more than 8 or 10 
can be retained; furthermore, I hasten to add that this criticism 
can in no way touch the author of this list of questions because 
they were not organized for the study of children but for the 
study of patients. But in spite of the immense majority of the 
questions being poorly made for children, the total res.ult is far 
from being bad; one succeeds in proving that the total number of 
questions to which good rephes are given grows quite regularly 
with the age, which is the touch stone of the test. It is necessary 
that the principle of the methods which we employ be excellent 
in order that they can lead to such useful conclusions even when 

they are badly appUed. It is then chiefly to the principle of the 

multiplicity of tests that the attention of the psychologists must I 
be drawn. Without doubt great benefit will be derived from I 
these methods in the future for the study of aptitudes of character \ 
and even for the psychological condition, in a word for the reaHza- 
tion of a measure of individual psychology. 

Alfred Binet 

7 Mile. Giroud. Study for a New Process for Measuring the Intellectual 
Level. Soc. libre pour T^tude psychologique de I'enfant, No. 69, Mars, 1911. 


Abstract differences, idleness 

and laziness, etc 286 

question 65, 121 

terms, definitions of 68, 230 

Absurdities 227 

Adenoidal condition 84 

Adults, application of scale to 

defective 267 

Age, how old are you? 206 

of parents at the birth of the 

child 77 

Alcoholism of the parents 77 

Algeria 41 

Anatomical examination 80 

Anthropology 92 

Aptitudes 121 

Arithmetic 305 

Attention, the key to idiocy. . . 26 

a test of 255 

Attitude to be taken toward 

the child 295 

Automatic tendency 202 

Automatism 115 

Autopsies 268 

Backward adult, the 266 

child, the 266 

Backwardness, how much 

means defective 269 

Bic^tre 11 

Bicycle, know how to ride a 74 

Blin, Dr 10 

Blood, examination of 86 

Boundary of imbecility and 

moronity 103 

Bourneville 11, 144 

Bourne ville's classification. 19, 20 

Brain, study of the 269 

Bridgman, Laura 43 

Brothers, three 228 

Cases, examined by Binet 240 

illustrating method of scoring 245 

Certificates, dissimilar 11 

Chance, error of, eliminated... 115 

Change, making 218 

Charity defined 230 

Child, superiority of a, over an 

adult 115 

Children, kind of, examined 92 

number of, necessary to ex- 
amine 169 

silent 185 

of three years 93, 184 

of four years 195 

of five years 96, 196 

of six years 201 

of seven years 98, 207 

of eight years 211 

of nine years 217 

of ten years 224 

of eleven years 227 

of twelve years 232 

of thirteen years 234 

of fifteen years 276 

Classification, Bourneville's 19 

Ireland's 18 

Sollier's 25 

Voisin's 20 

character of 23 

to be made by means of psy- 
chology 22 

of the tests according to age . 237 

Classifications, criticism of 23 

Clock, reversal of the hands of 66 

Coins, naming four 211 

Colors, naming four 215 

Commands, execution of 48 

Commissions, execution of 
three 205 





of lengths 52, 61, 112, 196 

of objects from memory... 59, 216 

of two weights 55, 196 

procedure for 99 

Comparisons, reasoned 102 

Comprehension questions 224 

Consanguinity of the parents ... 77 

Copy of a written model 209 

Copying a diamond 209 

a square 198 

Corrections proposed to the 

scale 275 

Correlations, calculations of 328 

Correspondance d' omnibus 73 

Count, from 20 to 215 

Counting four single sous 200 

nine sous Zl4 

thirteen sous 210 

Cranium, malformation of the. 84 
Criminality and intelligence. . . 272 

Criticism of classifications 23 

of sentences 227 

Cyclipt, an unfortunate 228 

Damaye 11, 28 

Data, character of 92 

interpret the 123 

source of 184 

Date, give the 217 

Days of the week 218 

D6bile 10, 161 

Decroly, M 316 

Defective nutrition 84 

Definitions, abstract 230 

of abstract terms 68 

Definition of backward children 
not uniform 11 

of familiar objects 57, 202 

Definition by use only 204 

superior to use 205, 219 

characterized by Binet 23 

Degand, Mile 316 

Degrees of intellectual inferi- 
ority 145 

De moor, Dr 70 

on physiognomy of defectives 87 
Demoor illusion 55 

Dentition, retardation of 79 

Design from memory, copy 

a 60, 282 

Development (Ley's diagnosis). 79 

Diagnosis, difficulties of 264 

inexact 12 

three methods 90 

Diamond, copying a 209 

Dictation, writing from 216 

Differences, paper and card- 
board 99 

pleasure and happiness, etc. 

68, 235 

Difficulty, tests in order of 250 

Distribution of cases by the 

scale 252 

Drawing a design 60 

Dreyfus 170 

Ears 84 

Ebbinghaus test 64 

Eight year old children 211 

Eighteen pieces, cut into 228 

Eleven year old children 227 

Encourage always 122, 236 

Esquirol 15 

Esthetic comparison 202 

Estimate of results 239 

Examination, general condi- 
tions of the 236 

indispensable condition 170 

our methods of 142 

for scholarship 35 

of subnormal children 168 

time required for 41 

Experiments 311 

of Decroly and Degand 321 

Experimenter, preparation of. . 237 

qualifications of 44 

Expression 307 

Facts, problem of various 233 

Figures, memory for 110 

procedure 53 

rate of pronouncing 188 

repetition of three 53 

Fingers, number of 209 

Five figures, repetition of 210 



Five years, children of 196 

Fontainebleau, walking in the 

forest 233 

Food, quest of 48 

recognition of 47 

Four years, children of 195 

Fractions of year not highly sig- 
nificant 278 

Frying an egg 73 

Genius 68 

Gestures, imitation of simple . . 48 

Gilbert, Allen 92 

Giroud, Mile 329 

Goodness, definition of 231 

Grammatical point of view 205 

Hair 84 

Head measurements 82 

Height 80 

Help, one child may give to an- 
other 223 

Hereditary influences. 77 

Historical notes 15 

History as test of intelligence 306 
Hostility to investigation of 

subnormals 168 

Houses, three burn 212 

Idiocy, defined by Esquirol 16 

Idiot 10, 145 

once an, — always 144 

precise definition 266 

Idiots, certain faculties almost 

wanting 38 

classified 146 

Illusion, Demoor size — ^weight 55 

Illustrative case — Ernest 180 

Martin 171 

Raynaud 178 

Imbecile 10, 145 

precise definition 266 

today, may become a moron . 270 

Imbeciles classified 152 

Institution cases 139 

Instruction, intelligence and... 42 
tests of 217 

Intellectual faculty, indepen- 
dent of instruction 254 

Intellectual level, diagnosis of . . 39 
relation to age of the subject . 143 
relations between the, and the 

scholastic standing 288 

in relation to social condition 322 
of subnormals 37 

Intelligence defined 42 

general 39 

measure of the 40 

normal development of the . . 91 

of a child 91 

apropos of the definition of. . . 253 
the development of, in the 

child 182 

how do teachers judge 297 

measured by a synthesis of re- 
sults 268 

most direct means for judging 308 
of what use is a measure of . . . 263 
and scholastic aptitude, dis- 
tinction between 253 

sensorial 220 

two kinds of 259 

Interpretation, replies by 193 

Investigators, relation of, to 
school officers 169 

Ireland, classification of 18 

Irregularities, in passing tests . 282 

Johnston, Miss Katherine 323 

Judgment 41, 43, 107 

defined 42 

Justice defined 230 

Keller, Helen 43 

Knowledge not a measure of in- 
telligence 304 

Language, intelligence with de- 
velopment of 121 

Level, the intellectual, and the 

judgment 223 

Levels, intellectual 92 

Ley, Dr 77 

Ley's diagnosis 84 

Life is neither good nor bad. . . 287 



Manual work 305 

Maternal school 98 

Measuring scale of intelligence 

40, 184 

general recommendations 44 

the use of 261 

Medical method 40, 75, 90 

Memory 43, 104 

of pictures 60 

simulator of intelligence 304 

Mental age of idiots, imbeciles 

and morons 270 

level 40 

tests for recruits 272 

Method, depends upon the man 314 

Money, naming the nine pieces of 221 

Months of the year 221 

Moral imbeciles 37 

Morel, terminology of 14 

Morning and afternoon, dis- 
tinction between 206 

Moron 10, 145 

precise definition 266 

Morons classified 161 

Moronity 41 

Mortality of brothers and sis- 
ters 79 

Motor functions 85 

Mutism 122 

Name, family 194 

Naming of, designated objects. 51 

familiar objects 195 

Nantes, edict of 306 

Napoleon 1 306 

Necessity of a standard 89 

Neighbor's visitors 233 

Neuropathic affections 77 

Nine year old children 217 

Nitchevo 57 

Nomenclature, faults of 13 

Normal child, discussion 264 

Notes, to be made 296 

utilization of 242 

Objects, naming of designated. 51 

verbal knowledge of 49 

Observation of Ernest 180 

of Martin 171 

of Raynaud 178 

Observers (visitors) at an ex- 
amination 236 

Order of the child in the family 78 

Orthography 307 

Palate, high, narrow 84 

Paper cutting 67, 120, 234 

Parents, attitude of 39 

Patapoum 57 

Pathological history 79 

Patience, game of 198 

Peasant, normal in ordinary 

surroundings 266 

Pedagogy, of interest for 101 

Pedagogical, method 40, 70, 90 

retardation 70, 254 

Penal responsibility 272 

Physiogomy 301 

expression of 86 

reveals intelligence 88 

Physiological examination 85 

Picture, description of a 210 

presentation of a 188 

Pictures, the three 189 

memory for 13 109 

unfinished 207 

verbal knowledge of 50 

Pinel 15 

Play, observe children during 303 
Pointing to nose, eyes and 

mouth 184 

Poland, partition of 306 

Praise, value of 141 

Precocity of children 79 

Preconceived idea 170 

Prehension 46 

President, question of 287 

Price of a sack of charcoal 73 

Primary schools, subnormals of 

the 167 

Procedure 141 

Procedure, general.... 93, 122—123 
Psychology in institutions 144 




Psychological, classifications. . . 24 

examination 91 

method 40, 90 

rapidity of, method 170 

Questions, abstract, discussed. . 129 

table of replies to 124-128 

list of 28 

of comprehension 65, 224 

Race 92 

Rachitis 84 

Railroad accident 228 

Rate of pronouncing digits 188 

Reading 309 

Reading, average rapidity for. . . 212 

selection 212 

with two memories 211 

with six memories 220 

Reasoned comparisons 99 

Record, method of keeping 295 

Recording results 240 

Regard, the 45 

Repetition, effect of 292 

of figures 61, 187 

of three figures 53 

of seven figures 232 

of sentences 58, 186 

of sixteen syllables 202 

of twenty-six syllables 232 

Reply, ambiguous 123 

Replies, examples of absurd 241 

grading of 34 

Reproduction of the thought of 
Hervieu (test for adults).. . . 287 

Resemblances 103 

of objects 61 

Respiration and circulatory 

functions 85 

Retarded child, defined 70 

the pedagogically 70 

pupils, how many are there. . 252 
Retardation, a relative term... 267 

of two years, suspicious 269 

Reversed triangle 235 

Rhymes 63, 232 

Ribot 26 

Right hand, left ear 201 

Rote learning 42 

Salp^tri^re 140, 143 

Scale 292 

accuracy of, discussed 250 

limitations of 239 

practical suggestions upon 

the 294 

proposed corrections to the. . . 275 

revised 1911 276 

training necessary to use 240 

the use of the measuring 261 

Scholastic, aptitude, distinction 
between intelligence and. . . . 253 
standing, relations between 

intellectual level and 288 

Science 315 

Scoring 69 

rule for 244 

final rule 278 

illustrations 241 

illustrative cases 245 

Secretary, aid of a 295 

S6guin 24 

Sensorial intelligence 112 

Sentence, three words in 

65, 222, 229 

Sentences 104 

criticism of 227 

list of 187, 233 

placing disarranged, in order. 231 
repetition of . . . .58, 186, 202, 232 

Seriation of weights 116 

Sex 92 

of the child 195 

Seven year old children 207 

Shakespeare 123 

Shuttleworth quoted 87 

Silly sentences 228 

Sixty words 229 

Six year old children 201 

Size-weight illusion 55 

Snare of lines 57 

Social conditions, differences in 

the intelligence 316 

Sollier, classification of 25 

Sommer, German alienist 73 

Speech, retardation of 79 

Spelling 307 

Square, copjring a 198 



Stamps 214 

Standardizations 73 

discussion of the Scale 250 

number passing each test 279-283 

Stigmata 84, 89 

String, a cup, a key 49 

Subnormal defined 71 

Subnormal, who is 254 

Subnormals, intellectual level 

of 37 

of the primary schools 167 

in the school 270 

Suggestibility 56, 97, 120 

Suggestion of lines 284 

test 121 

Suicide, commit 229 

Symbols, not to be trusted 297 

Symptoms, enumeration of 21 

Syphilis 84 

Teachers, attitude of, toward 

examinations 168 

Teacher's questions 311 

Teachers, three, examine the 
intelligence of five children 312 

Teeth 84 

Temperature 86 

Ten year old children 221 

Tests, classification of the 237 

begin with, appropriate for 

age 170 

final rule for scoring 278 

irregularities in passing 282 

isolated, of little value 329 

list of 1908 238 

must be standardized 41 

number passing each of the 


performed prematurely 257 

practical suggestion upon 
the 294 

Tests, revised 1911 list of 276 

should be prepared in ad- 
vance 295 

use of 41, 243 

Thirteen year old children 234 

Three words in one sentence. . . 65 

Three years, children of 184 

Thyroidine 268 

Time required for psychological 

examination 91, 170 

Training, necessary to use scale 240 

Triangle, the reversed 235 

Tubercular (stigmata) 84 

Tuberculosis, per cent among 

parents, etc 77 

Twelve year old children 232 

Urinary inferiority 79 

Vaney, M 169 

Vaucluse 28 

Verbal gaps to be filled 64 

knowledge of pictures 50 

Vernier 315 

Voisin, Dr 140 

classification of 20 

Walking, retardation of 79 

Weights, arrangement of 

62, 119, 220 

comparison of two 55 

construction of 220 

gaps in 63 

omission of 1^ 

What ought one to do? 65 

Whipple, Guy Montrose 274 

Words, placing disarranged, in 

order 231 

Writing from dictation 216 


Buffalo Committee. Informal Conference on the Binet-Simon Scale. 

Jour. Ed. Psych., February, 1914, Vol. IV, No. 2. 
Doll, E. A. Note on the Intelligence Quotient. Tr. Sch. Bull., Vol. 13, 

No. 2. 
GoDDARD, H. H. Four Hundred Feeble-Minded Children Classified by 

the Binet Method. Ped. Sem., September, 1910, Vol. 17, No. 3. 
GoDDARD, H. H. Two Thousand Normal Children Measured by the Binet- 
Simon Measuring Scale of Intelligence. Ped. Sem., June, 1911, Vol. 

18, No. 2. 
HuEY, E. B. Backward and Feeble-Minded Children. Ed. Psy. Mon., 

Baltimore, 1912. 
Kite, E. S. The Binet-Simon Measuring Scale for Intelligence. Bull. 

No. 1, Committee on Provision for the Feeble-Minded, Philadelphia, 

KoHS, S. C. The Binet-Simon Measuring Scale for Intelligence. An 

Annotated Bibliography. Jour. Ed. Psych., April, May, June, 1914, 

Vol. V, Nos. 4, 5, 6, (254 titles). 
KuHLMAN, F. Results of Grading Thirteen Hundred Feeble-Minded 

Children with the Binet-Simon Tests. Jour. Ed. Psych., May, 1913, 

Vol. IV, No. 5. 
Rogers, A. L. and McIntyre, J. L. The Measurement of Intelligence in 

Children by the Binet-Simon scale. Brit. Jour. Psych., October, 1914, 

Vol. VII, No. 3. 
Schwegler, R. a. a Teacher's Manual for the Use of the Binet-Simon 

Scale of Intelligence. Univ. of Kansas School of Education, 1914. 

(Selected Bibliography of 56 titles.) 
Stern, W. Psychological Methods of Testing Intelligence. Ed. Psych. 

Mon., 13, Baltimore, 1914. (Bibliography appended.) 
Stern, W. Der Intelligenzquotient als Mass der kindlichen Intelligenz, 

insbesondre der unternormalen. Zt. f. Angew. Psych., January, 1916, 

Vol. XI, No. 1. 
Terman, L. M. The Stanford Revision and Extension of the Binet-Simon 

Scale. Buckel Foundation, 1915. 
Terman, L. M. Suggestions for Revising, Extending and Supplementing 

the Binet Intelligence Tests. Psychological Principles Underlying 

the Binet Scale. Jour. Psycho. Asthenics, Vol. XVIII, Nos. 1 and 2. 
Town, C. H. (Translator), Binet, A., and Simon, Th.— A Method of Meas- 
uring the Development of the Intelligence in Young Children. 1913, 

Lincoln, III. 
Whipple, G. M. Manual of Mental and Physical Tests. Baltimore, 1910. 

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Review Digest. 

"Dr. Goddard gives us a competent, scientific analysis of three murder 
cases. He is able to show in plain judicial and convincing fashion that 
the three culprits were actually imbeciles, and as such, irresponsible. 
There is no waste sentimentality about the book; the scientific data present 
themselves. It is refreshing to know that there are adequate scientific tests 
which can actually be utilized for a court of law, and that these tests 
promise to go far to eradicate the scandals of expert testimony in cases 
of alleged insanity of acknowledged criminals." — Boston Herald. 

John W. Davis, director of the Bureau of Attendance of the Depart- 
ment of Education of New York City says, "Permit me to congratulate 
you on presenting clearly and succinctly a matter that should be better 
understood by our professions. Chapters IV and V should be in the 
hands of every teacher, even though the whole book could not be." 

"Teachers, priests, parents and preachers would do well to read this 
book for themselves." — Cleveland Leader. 

"A conspicuously illuminating piece of work that should mark a new 
epoch in the treatment of this type of criminal." — /. P. Lichtenberger. 

"The contribution is peculiarly valuable in showing how the recogni- 
tion of abnormality is an expert matter." — Dial. 

"A new standard has been established in criminal procedure. It ha^ 
been recognized that weakness of mind, or in other words feeble-mind" 
edness, as an excuse for crime is in the same category with insanity. This 
means little less than a revolution in the treatment of criminals. Mr. 
Goddard's book, giving very valuable information, has also the interest of 
romance."— ^-Bosf on Transcript. 

For Sale at The Training School at Vineland, New Jersey 

andTh. Simon, M.D. Translated by Elizabeth S. Kite. Cloth. 8vo, 
about 300 pp. Price $2.00 postpaid. 

This volume is a supplement to "The Development of Intelligence 
in Children" and gives Binet's and Simon's own application of their 
scale to the problem of feeble-mindedness. It is the most complete 
psychological scientific study of mental defectives that has ever been 
made. It should be in the hands of everyone who would understand 
the problem. 


simple method for examination of subnormals. By Edgar A. Doll, 
Assistant Psychologist of the Research Department of the Training 
School, Vineland, N. J. (75 cents.) 

This book shows a new and simple method of making a pre- 
liminary diagnosis of feeble-mindedness by means of six anthropo- 
metric measurements. It is based on a statistical study of normal 
and defective children. 


Revised Edition. An adaptation of Binet's last Scale for use with 
American children. A most convenient form for those who would use 
the Scale with school children. (15 cents.) 

CHILDREN. An experimental study of discrimination of lifted 
weights in relation to mental age. By Anna M. Petersen, formerly 
research student and E. A. Doll, Assistant Psychologist, Research 
Department. The Training School at Vineland. (5 cents.) 

AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS. A statistical study of nearly 12,000 
mental defectives from American Institutions. By Henry H. God- 
dard. (10 cents.) 

A. Doll. (10 cents.) 

For Sale at The Training School at Vineland, New Jersey 


BINDING SECT. i4 1980 



Binet, Alfred 

The development of intelli- 
gence in children. 
Tr. by E.S. Kite. ^