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Measuring Minds

At the beginning of the 1900s, sciences such as chemistry and physics enjoyed great prestige. This led researchers to try to apply scientific principles in many other areas. For example, specialists in the emerging field of experimental psychology developed tests designed to reduce complex human characteristics like "intelligence" to simple numerical scores. During World War I, a group of psychologists persuaded the United States Army to test recruits for intelligence as a way of weeding out those that were mentally unfit for duty overseas. After the war, psychologists from the Army testing program helped shape mental testing in American schools. However, those that scored high in the tests were not necessarily of high intelligence; they were often those who shared the language, culture, and education of the people who wrote the tests.

 



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