Heredity and Environment: Studies in the Genesis of Psychological Characteristics

Heredity and Environment: Studies in the Genesis of Psychological Characteristics

Heredity and Environment: Studies in the Genesis of Psychological Characteristics

Heredity and Environment: Studies in the Genesis of Psychological Characteristics

Excerpt

"Until the phenomena of any branch of knowledge have been subjected to measurement and number, it cannot assume the status and dignity of a science."

FRANCIS GALTON.

In very recent years, so recent that it has as yet hardly entered the curricula of school and college, a new science has been taking form-the Science of Man. Centuries ago, astrology was transformed into astronomy, alchemy became chemistry, and in the past hundred years chemistry and physics have transformed the conditions of human life. But until early in the twentieth century the taboos of religion and the fixity of scientific method as then established, discouraged the study of man as a growing, living, and social organism. In the past two decades a reversal of this attitude has taken place, and scientists in ever increasing numbers, and with increasing public sanction, have been developing techniques, delimiting their respective fields of study, and within those fields have been developing a foundation of factual and experimental material from which may come changes not only in the conditions of human life, but also changes in the social and personal characteristics of the individuals who make up human society.

The field with which we are concerned in the present investigation is that which deals with the differences in the characteristics of individual human beings, and with the average differences between various population groups in this country.

In any attempt to study the causes of human differences, methods of measuring man are a pre-requisite, and we must avail ourselves of the important work on human measurement which has recently been carried forward by the psychologists and anthropologists. These measures are still in their infancy, and are in many cases inexact and subject to uncontrolled factors. They were developed for many uses other than those to which we desire to apply them. It seems necessary to appraise their value and present status, as a preliminary to considering the material with which we are more directly concerned. The first two chapters will, therefore, take up the subject of measurement at considerable length under the general headings of Measurement of Intelligence and Measurement of Personality.

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