A History of Infant Intelligence Testing

  • Jeanne Brooks
  • Marsha Weinraub


The infant intelligence test, like all other psychological tests, has its roots in the intelligence testing movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. If we are to understand the rise of infant testing, it must first be put in the perspective of the testing movement itself. Infancy was never the focus of the early test developers and was only studied because idiots, the lowest classification of the mentally retarded, were thought to exhibit the mental abilities of a 2-year-old (Binet and Simon, 1905). However, infants were not entirely neglected, as the child study movement led by Darwin and Preyer resulted in an interest in the early development of the species. As the testing movement gained momentum and branched out into more areas in the 1920s, a series of investigators in America began intensive studies of infants and preschoolers. This study ultimately led to the development of normative scales and intelligence tests such as those developed at Yale, Minnesota, Berkeley, and Iowa. These tests, appearing in the late 1920s and early 1930s, gained widespread acceptance and they led to a series of studies on the stability of scores from month to month, the test—retest reliability from testing to testing, and the predictive validity from infancy to childhood.


Predictive Validity Mental Development Nursery School Testing Movement Mental Test 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeanne Brooks
    • 1
  • Marsha Weinraub
    • 2
  1. 1.Educational Testing ServiceUSA
  2. 2.Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityUSA

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