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Alfred Binet

Alfred Binet (July 11, 1857 - October 18, 1911), French psychologist and inventor of the first intelligence test, the basis of today's IQ test.

Binet, who published the first intelligence test in 1905, was aiming to identify students who could benefit from extra help in school: his assumption was that lower IQ indicated the need for more teaching, not an inability to learn. Albert lived from 1857 to 1911; he created the test 7 years before he died. In 1914, his formula was adjusted by William Stern. A further refinement was published in 1916 by Lewis Terman, from Stanford University. This would become known as the Stanford-Binet Scale. The modern version is one test of intelligence commonly used today, colloquially known as an IQ test.

Binet and chess
In 1984, Binet conducted one of the first psychological studies into chess. It investigated the cognitive facilities of chess masters. Binet hypothesised that chess depends upon the phenomenological qualities of visual memory but after studying the reports by master participants, it was concluded that memory was only part of the chain of cognition involved in the game process. The players were blindfolded and required to play the game from memory. It was found that only masters were able to play successfully without seeing the board for a second time and that amateur or intermediate players found it to be an impossible task. It was further concluded that experience, imagination and memories of abstract and concrete varieties were required in grand master chess. The line of psychological chess research was followed up in the 1950s by Reuben Fine and in the 1960s by Adriaan de Groot.


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