Beyond the Metric Scale of Intelligence. Alfred Binet, Founder of French Scientific Psychology
Lecture by Alexandre Klein (Univerity of Ottawa)
September 28th, 2015
McMaster University , Hamilton (ON)
Health Sciences Library
The French psychologist Alfred Binet (1857-1911) is the well-known inventor of the first metric scale of intelligence (which had led to the creation of the IQ test). Beyond this fact mentioned in all books pertaining to the history of psychology, Binet was also a multifaceted scientist and most importantly one of the main founders of scientific psychology in France. After his training at La Salpêtrière with Jean Martin Charcot (1825-1893), Binet developed, in the laboratory that Henry Beaunis (1830-1921) had created at La Sorbonne, an individual psychology based on the experimental method. Thanks to l’Année psychologique (the first journal specifically dedicated to psychology in France) that he created in 1894, he established himself as a major figure of Francophone psychology. Defending psychology as an autonomous scientific discipline, distinct from medicine as well as philosophy, he shaped it as the specific human science we now know it as. This new and more complete portrait of Alfred Binet as the nexus of the emergence of scientific psychology in France, which was drawn in the 2014 webdocumentary entitled Alfred Binet. Naissance de la psychologie scientifique (www.alfredbinet-univ.lorraine.fr), will be the object of our presentation.