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The following essay offers both a short biography of Psychologist Alfred Binet
and a present day practical application using the theory from which Binet
developed his Intelligence test.
Alfred Binet, born in Nice, France, on the eleventh of July, whose mother was an
artist and whose father was a physician, became one of the most prominent
psychologists in French history.
Having received his formal education in both Nice and later, in Paris, at the
renowned Lycee Louis -le-Grand, Binet went on to become a lawyer. This
profession, however, was not suited to him, and he found himself immersed in the
works of J.S. Mill, Bain and Sully at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. He
identified strongly with the associationism theory in following that his mentor
was J.S. Mill.
Binet began working with Charcot and Fere at the Salpetriere, a famous Parisian
hospital, where he absorbed the theories of his teachers in regards to hypnosis,
hysteria and abnormal psychology. During the following seven years, he
continuously demonstrated his loyalty in defending Charcot's doctrines on
hypnotic transfer and polarization until he was forced to accept the
counterattacks of Delboeuf and the Nancy School, which eventually caused a split
between student and teacher.
Having been married in 1884 to Laure Balbiani, whose father was E.G. Balbiani,
an embryologist at the College de France, Binet was given the opportunity to
work in his lab where his interest in 'comparative psychology' was piqued and in
which he eventually wrote his thesis for his doctorate in natural science,
focusing his research on the "the behavior, physiology, histology and anatomy of
insects"(Wolfe, p.7). It was while working in Dr. Balbiani's lab, that Binet
wrote 'Animal Magnetism', an obvious breaking away from associationism, showing
Binet's ability to adapt and learn with every opportunity.
Binet's next area of interest could be considered a precursor to some of
Piaget's work with child psychology and began with the systematic observation of
his two daughters, to whom he devoted much of his time, studying and writing
about. It was at this point, that Binet "came to realize that individual
differences had to be systematically explored before one could determine laws
which would apply to all people"(Pollack,p.xii).
Soon after, Binet was nominated co-director and one year later, became director
of the Laboratory of Physiological Psychology at the Sorbonne. He and Beaunis,
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