What is it about?

This article reports the results of the attempt of my student and I to identify the first publication of test question formats that appear on modern IQ tests. We found that half of subtests date back to 1908, and all but three are older than 1980. This shows that there has been continuity in intelligence subtests for over a century.

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Why is it important?

This article shows that the types of questions that IQ tests ask (though not the exact questions) are often 100 years old or more. This has some advantages. It allows test developers to have a large body of research to draw from when creating new tests. It also is beneficial for studying the Flynn effect. Plus, it shows that many of these subtests are "oldies but goodies" that have withstood the test of time because they are excellent measures of intelligence. On the other hand, there are disadvantages to this continuity. This article shows that the current Wechsler and Stanford-Binet tests are not hotbeds of innovation or development. Instead, they are the product of earlier scientists' work into identifying new ways to measure intelligence. Another disadvantage is that these subtests were created long before modern cognitive psychology theories of problem solving, which means that these subtests do not reflect important theoretical developments.


This was a rewarding article to work on because my first author, Aisa Gibbons, was an undergraduate honors psychology student, and this paper is the result of one of her honors assignments. I love it when undergraduate students can contribute to the scientific discussion and make meaningful contributions to their field.

Dr Russell T. Warne
Independent Scholar

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: First publication of subtests in the Stanford-Binet 5, WAIS-IV, WISC-V, and WPPSI-IV, Intelligence, July 2019, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.intell.2019.02.005.
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