Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dr. Detterman's intelligence bytes: On the father of individual differences-Galton

Another in the Dr. Detterman's Intelligence Bytes series

Detterman on Galton

Galton has been called the father of differential psychology, the father of individual differences research, the father of behavioral and educational statistics, the father of behavior genetics, and the father of eugenics, to name a few (though he never had any children of his own). Here is a partial list of his accomplishments:

• Explored and mapped Africa before Livingstone.

• Wrote an extremely popular book on travel to remote places.

• Developed the median

• Developed z-scores

• Developed and promoted correlation for applications in the social sciences

• Pioneered the application of the normal distribution to human characteristics

• Developed the quincunx, a device for demonstrating the normal distribution (Marbles drop down from a central hole over pegs and are distributed into bins forming a normal distribution. These are seen in many science museums.)

• Discovered regression to the mean

• Developed the twin method for behavior genetic research

• Developed and applied the questionnaire method in the social sciences

• Made many contributions to geography

• Explained cyclones

• Developed Galton whistles to test pitch discrimination

• Studied fingerprints and their heritability

• Proved that the probability of identical fingerprints from different individuals was so low that it was extremely unlikely allowing fingerprints to be used in law enforcement.

• Developed underwater ‘spectacles' to allow divers to see clearly

• Demonstrated that intercessional prayer was not effective

• Studied what made an oral presentation interesting (Don't read it.) using an ‘inclinometer' he devised

• Developed a kind of speedometer for bicycles

• Pioneered a method of composite photographs for studying the “average” face

• Developed a heliostat, Galton's Sun-Signal.

• Developed eugenics (see later chapter)

• Got experimental participants to pay him for collecting data on them

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