Introduction: Intelligence, measurement and assessment

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Boyle, G., Saklofske, D.H., & Matthews, G. (2012). Introduction: Intelligence, measurement and assessment. In G.J. Boyle, D.H. Saklofske & G. Matthews (Eds.), Psychological Assessment vol. 1- 4 (pp. xxiii-xxix). London, United Kingdom: Sage Publications Ltd.

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© Copyright Introduction and editorial arrangement by Gregory J. Boyle, Donald H. Saklofske & Gerald Matthews, 2012





Descriptions of intelligence can be found throughout the history of humankind. Of all of the many factors found in the lexicons of cultures past and present that describe individual differences, intelligence in its various forms and iterations holds a most prominent position. Efforts to describe, explain and measure this latent trait certainly preceded the founding of psychology as a science and practice. One of the earliest examples showing that an ability test was used as part of large scale group testing programme in China predates psychology by at least two thousand years. Early Greek philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato and the Greek physician, Hippocrates, all wrote on the nature and function of intelligence. During the middle ages, various examples can be found that illustrate attempts to measure intelligence and even further, use this information to determine one's competency in relation to criminal charges. In the eighteenth century, Itard's famous case study of the "Wild Boy of Aveyron" provided further challenges for assessing intellectual functioning. Moreover, the development by Seguin of a test employing a form board to measure intelligence in persons with mental retardation was observed in the early nineteenth century, along with Esquirol's proposal of a classification for mental retardation in contrast to mental illness.

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