Intelligence has been an important and controversial topic throughout psychology's history. In addition to debates over how to define intelligence, researchers continue to question whether it can be accurately measured. While psychologists often disagree about the definition of intelligence, research on intelligence plays an important role in many areas including policy decisions regarding how much funding should be given to educational programs, the use of testing to screen job applicants and the use of testing to identify children who need additional academic assistance.
The term "intelligence quotient," or IQ, was first coined in the early twentieth century by a German psychologist named William Stern. Since that time, intelligence testing has become a widely-used tool that has led to the development of many other tests of skill and aptitude. However, it continues to spur debate and controversy over the use of intelligence tests, cultural biases, influences on intelligence and even the very way we define intelligence.
While interest in intelligence dates back thousands of years, it wasn't until psychologist Alfred Binet was commissioned to identify students who needed educational assistance that the first IQ test was born. Learn more about the subject in this brief history of intelligence testing.