Deary, I.J., Lawn, M., & Bartholomew, D. J. (2008). A conversation between Charles Spearman, Godfrey Thompson, and Edward L. Thornkdike: The International Examinations Inquiry Meetings 1931-1938. History of Psychology, 11(2), 122-142.
- Even within “an appreciation of the fundamentally social nature of scientific activity” (K. Danziger, 1990, p. 3), it is unusual to read what key scientists actually said to each other, directly or in audience. Here the authors describe, structure, illustrate, and interpret the verbatim statements made by, and a detailed conversation that took place between, Charles Spearman, Godfrey Thomson, and Edward Thorndike within the Carnegie-funded International Examinations Inquiry meetings in 1931, 1935, and 1938. Unusually, there were transcriptions of all comments at these meetings, even of the smallest verbal utterance. The transcriptions offer a novel look at these researchers’ theoretical and practical approaches to intelligence testing and its place in education. Aspects of Thomson’s and Spearman’s personalities are in evidence too, from this unique source. One particular conversation among the three leads to an important new insight about intelligence and intelligence testing. These conversations provide new and complementary information on a trio of leading intelligence researchers whose individual contributions and interactions with each other were seminal in the scientific study of human cognitive abilities.
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