Leila Zenderland: "Intellectual Disability, Intelligence Testing, and the History of Psychology"

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    • 00:01

      LEILA ZENDERLAND: Thank you.[APPLAUSE]Can you all hear me?OK.It's really a pleasure to be back here in Akron.I came to Akron many, many times to use these archives in orderto write my book.As a matter of fact, what I would do is come hereand Xerox like crazy and, then, bring everything back with me

    • 00:25

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: to California and, then, spend the next yearor so trying to figure out what it meansand what it tells us about American historyand about American culture.Because I come at it as a historian and notas a psychologist.And I did this so often that the previous director, JohnPopplestone once said that he didn't

    • 00:48

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: worry if there was a fire in the archives about the Goddardpapers.Because he knew that there was pretty mucha copy out in the Annex West in California,which was in my house.And I think he was probably right.My talk today is on intellectual disabilities,

    • 01:11

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: intelligence testing, and the history of psychology.And I want to warn you up front that I'mgoing to be using the language that's used at the time.So they didn't refer to intellectual disabilities.They used a lot of other words, includingmore recent ones like mental retardation,but also older words like idiocy, imbecility,

    • 01:33

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: feeble mindedness, mental deficiency, mental defectives,and any other number of words.So I want to talk about the relationshipbetween the condition that we call, now,intellectual disabilities and the history of intelligencetesting and what this says about the history of psychology.

    • 01:56

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: So I'm starting with this rather famous photo.And I don't know if you recognize that or anyof the people in it.Or can you see that?Is the contrast--OK, so do you recognize who these people are?Well, this is Lewis Terman up here.And this is Henry Goddard down front, holding his camera.

    • 02:18

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: Because you know, it was an historic moment.And that's Walter Bingham and Robert Yerkes is next to him.Walter Bingham was an industrial psychologist.And that's Robert Yerkes who's famous for his workwith monkeys and others.This is the World War I Committeeon Psychological Examining of Recruits.And they're meeting to formulate the Army IQ tests of World War

    • 02:43

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: I. And what's interesting to me that Iwant to use as the starting point of my talkis not just this group of prominent psychologists,but where they are in this picture.So here, I've got them all identified.There's Edgar Doll in the front and Goddardand some of the others.

    • 03:05

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And as you can see, this is courtesyof the Archives of the History of American Psychology,University of Akron.That's one of your photos.And I don't know if anybody knows where this picture wastaken, but this picture was takenat what was then called the Vineland TrainingSchool for Feeble-minded Girls and Boys.So this was taken at an institution.

    • 03:27

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And there's the most prominent American testers in the UnitedStates, gathering on the steps of this institutionwhere they worked to design the IQ tests of 1917.And I want to use this as a kind of metaphor for my talk.Because what you've got is the storyof testing in the foreground.

    • 03:48

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: Famous testers like Lewis Terman and Robert Yerkes.But in the background, you've got lurking around themthe question of intellectual disabilities, the questionof feeble-mindedness, the question of childrenwho wound up in institutions.And they kind of lurk in the background of this story.There's a foreground to this story.It's usually the heredity-environment debate,

    • 04:08

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: the battles between people advocating for nature and thoseadvocating for the power of nurture.But there's a background story, whichis the history of dealing with persons diagnosed as havingintellectual disabilities.And it's kind of lurking in the back of the picture.So for this talk, I want to centermy talk around this question, what

    • 04:29

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: happens to the history of intelligence testingif we move the study of intellectual disabilitiesfrom the margins to the center?What happens if we move that story forward?And what I want to argue today is that Ican answer this in five ways.I think there's five things that you

    • 04:51

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: can see-- not just about the history of psychology,but also about American history more generally-- if you movethat story to the foreground.So that's what I want to do.So the first thing I would say, in answerto this question, what happens to the history of intelligencetesting if we move the study of intellectual disabilities

    • 05:14

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: from the margins to the center-- well, the history changes.I've got two trajectories here in two rows.So if we look at the first row, you see the basic storyas it's usually told.Which is, where does testing began?Intelligence testing-- well, it goes back

    • 05:34

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: to Francis Galton, who did a lot of early studies of howto measure human differences mathematically.And then, it moves to his student Karl Pearson,who developed a lot of more sophisticatedmathematical measures.There's a lot of people, by the way,we could put in that second spot.

    • 05:56

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: We could say it moved to James McKeenCattell, another psychologist who invented the word"mental test."We could say it moved to Charles Spearman, whoinvented the idea of general intelligence, or Spearman's G.Somehow, it went through a series of measurersand wound up at this guy, Alfred Binet.

    • 06:16

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: Alfred Binet is the inventor of the Binet-SimonTest, a new approach to intelligence testing.And then, usually in the traditional story,we go from the Binet-Simon to the Stanford-Binet.And that's Lewis Terman, who taught at Stanford, whodeveloped the Stanford-Binet.So that's our standard story.

    • 06:36

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: But if we move the question of intellectual disabilitiesforward, we get a different story, a different history.So we start with someone like John Mark Itard,who was the scientist in France whoworked with the Wild Boy of Aveyronand who worked around the question of wild children,of children who have no speech, of learning

    • 06:57

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: to educate such children and respondto these kind of children, and who takes usinto a whole different history-- the history of sign language,the history of new versions of physiological education.It brings us to his student, Eduard Seguin,a French physician and educator who eventually came

    • 07:18

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: to the United States and was very influential in setting upthe first efforts to teach students in a new way,understanding that muscles have somethingto do with learning as well and that physiological approacheshave some power.We get to the same point.There is Alfred Binet, inventor of the Binet-Simon.

    • 07:43

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: But then, the story takes us to Goddard and then, later,to Terman and others.It takes us to Goddard.Because Goddard was a psychologistat the Vineland Training School for Feeble-minded Girlsand Boys.And he is also the first Americanto understand the significance of Binet's testsand to begin to use them.

    • 08:03

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: So we get a very different history.And here, too, we can put a lot of people in spot number two.We could put Samuel Gridley Howe,who did some work that eventually led to institutionsfor the blind and the deaf and the education of LauraBridgeman and Amy Sullivan, who trained Helen Keller.

    • 08:24

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: We can go in that direction.We can put a whole series of doctorsin there-- J. Langdon Down, who identified the condition calledDown Syndrome, or William Ireland,another British physician who worked on these conditions.What's different about these two trajectoriesis the basic question they're asking, in terms of the way

    • 08:47

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: historians view them.The top row-- in that history, we'reasking how you measure human differences.What the mathematics of it?How do you develop measurements that show difference?In the second row, we're asking, what is a feeble mind?

    • 09:11

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: How can we conceptualize and classifydifferent kinds of learning disabilities?What's the science behind it?That's not the same thing as, how do youmeasure human differences?It's much closer to what's going on in medicine and much closerwhat's going on in special education.

    • 09:32

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: What's interesting is, if you actuallyread Binet-- the key figure in both stories--and you see who he quotes, he quotes these guys.He doesn't mention Galton and his workson the Binet-Simon Test.He doesn't mention Pierson.He doesn't mention James McKeen Cattell.He doesn't mention Charles Spearman.

    • 09:53

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: But he mentions Eduard Seguin.He mentions William Ireland.He mentions his student [INAUDIBLE].He mentions a string of medical writers and teachers.And they're all over his writings, especiallythese French doctors, but also English doctors and others.They're the work he's playing off of and moving forward on.So we get two different histories.

    • 10:20

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: As a matter of fact, there's an interesting quote by Goddard.In-- I believe it was 1916, there'san effort to talk about the state of intelligence testingin the United States.And it's a symposium that was publishedin the Journal of Educational Psychology.

    • 10:40

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And they asked all the prominent testersto talk about the state of the field.And in response to it, Goddard actually answered.And I'm quoting him, I myself am notworking on the testing of intelligence.But I'm studying the feebleminded.So he was making that distinction.I'm not in this trajectory.I'm in a different one.

    • 11:01

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: I'm studying this problem.What is a feeble mind?What is a learning disability?--in our language.OK, so the second thing that I would argueshows up-- if you switch your focusby moving learning disabilities into the foreground--

    • 11:23

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: is religion reappears in the history of testing.Now to me, this is a very interesting phenomenon.If you know anything about the history of psychologyas it's traditionally taught, youknow that one of the central featuresof the rise of psychology in the 19th century

    • 11:45

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: has to do with the relationship between religion and scienceand the large debates going on around Darwinian theory,but also just around battles over the authority of religion.You see that in the writings of William James.You see that in the writings of G. Stanley Hall.Most of the seminal figures who talk about psychology

    • 12:08

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: have some relationship with religion.And they talk about what's going on.But if you look at the history of IQ testing,as it's traditionally told, there'salmost no religion-science debate.There's a heredity-environment debate.But there's not a religion-science debate.When you move intellectual disabilities--

    • 12:31

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: or the feeble mind, as they called it-- to the center,the religion-science debate reappears.And it reappears everywhere.This is one of the pieces of evidencethat I personally like very much.This is a drawing that was made by oneof the children in the Vineland Training Schoolfor Feeble-minded Girls and Boys.

    • 12:54

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And this was made some time before 1914.And as you can see there, it's labeled"Study of a Child, Samuel.Here I am, for I was called."Drawn by Frank H., case number 314.Actual age, 19.

    • 13:15

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: Mental age on a Binet-Simon test, 8.He was diagnosed at the time as an idiot-savant, a verygifted artist.Later, diagnosed as insane.But at this point, part of the very diverse populationthat would wind up in an institution in this period.

    • 13:35

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And the caption is a biblical quote, is a biblical allusion.That's from the story of Samuel being awakened and saying,here I am, for I was called.But it's a larger message as well about a child beingin this institution, because he was called.Because he had a calling.And for the others who worked at that institution to feel

    • 13:57

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: they had a calling.The role of religion in relation to psychologyjumped at me everywhere when I started looking at the papershere.It was the untold story of this history, simply put.For instance, in the Goddard papersis the collection of letters from Goddard's mother

    • 14:19

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: to Goddard.Goddard's mothers is a Quaker missionary.And her letters deeply reflect that.Everywhere I looked was religion.Let's see-- there was the fact that, before Goddard workedon this, he worked on the power or the science

    • 14:41

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: of faith-healing, whether it had any legitimacy or not.He was skeptical, but he wrote about faith-healingin New England.The role of Quakers all through this movementwas very powerful, especially in Goddard's work.The words that he and other Protestant reformersused-- they talked about a scientific awakening.

    • 15:05

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And they used the language of religion just about everywhere.The phrase that they used over and over, a little child shalllead them, the idea that these childrenwere going to lead to a scientific breakthrough.That was their argument.I found it in the words of the school teachers who

    • 15:26

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: were involved in this movement, in extremely powerful ways.I found it in the words of medical people.I found it everywhere.I'll give you an example of some of these teachers.

    • 15:53

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: Here, these are teachers who come to the schoolto learn how to diagnose cases of feeble-mindednessthat they're going to see in their school classrooms.And this is what one of them said.These are letters, by the way, that they send back.I am grateful for a taste of practical Christianity.I came to an institution to study an institution.

    • 16:15

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And I find myself studying myself.Here's another one.It's hard to describe in words the impressions whichhave so deeply affected me as to changemy entire attitude toward the world in general and childrenin particular.There's a sort of beautiful atmospherehere, which can only be due to the beautiful personalitieswith whom we come in contact.

    • 16:36

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: A self-sacrificing life is to me a religion, whichis hard to find in churches and has a deepereffect on me than any sermon.And then, this was the answer that Johnstone,the superintendent of this institution stated.In answering why so many visitors talkedabout the Christian spirit that they found in this place,

    • 16:59

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: he said this.Where did it come from?We did not bring it with us.We were all average people when we came.That's it, he said.It's the children.It's they who have developed in us whateverof beauty is to be found there.Fathers, mothers, you have lent usyour children to bring our lives to perfection.

    • 17:22

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: The kind of language that's going back and forthin letters, that these teachers are speaking of,is filled with a sense of mission,with a sense of everyday Christianity.On the tombstone of Edwards, it said--I visited their tombstones.They're buried in Vineland, Goddard and Johnstone.

    • 17:45

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And Johnstone's tombstone says, God made him so.And deeds of weekday holiness fell from himgentle as the snow.And this idea that they were engagedin some version of weekday holiness is very deep here.I want to mention one other kind of language

    • 18:06

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: that they used, in particular, that Johnstone usedin his own fundraising appeals.And I'm bringing this in here for David, among others.Because David's always been tryingto get this story and other stories outand to preserve records in a way that

    • 18:26

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: will allow people to tell these stories.But Johnstone also was engaged in trying to raise funds.He was trying to raise funds for the veryfirst psychological laboratory thatwould be devoted completely to the studyof intellectual disabilities.And it was going to be run by a psychologistat this institution.And this was very pathbreaking.It was also very obscure in its day.

    • 18:48

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: He had to raise enough funds so that he wouldn't touchthe main institutional funds.Because you couldn't take money thatwas donated for the care of these childrenand put it towards science.Or at least, it was controversial if you did.Especially Darwinian science, evolutionary science.That was dangerous.So he had to raise extra funds that

    • 19:09

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: could be earmarked for science.And he did.And I just want to read you a little bit of what--I guess you could say-- his pitch to his fundraiserssounded like.Here's a little bit of it.He said, working with special children makesus realize and see in a new light the statementof the Master, a little child shall lead them.

    • 19:30

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: I firmly believe that our most advanced ideason educational procedure will comefrom the study of special childrenand their mental processes.And then, this is his larger descriptionof the kind of science he has in mind.He said this, it's as though we were constructing a temple.

    • 19:56

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: The temple's first story, consisting of custody and care,had already been built; as had its second story, occupationand entertainment; and its third story, training and education.The fourth story of investigation and researchnow needed construction.

    • 20:18

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And then, Johnstone challenged his patrons.And this is his statement.Shall we not rise to the top and train our sightupon the sky of truth laid out before us by the GreatMaster of all Knowledge and search the stars that Hehas placed within our vision?The truth will be hard to find.

    • 20:40

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: Our eyes are dim, clouds are in the sky.Sometimes, it is night.But we must be patient, faithful, confident.And sometime, we-- you-- will knowthat we have found our task and have performed itas well as we know how.

    • 20:60

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: Now, to tell this story and to leave outthe religious dimension is reallyto leave out quite a bit.Because that is an enormous part of whatis driving this movement forward.It's the way G. Stanley Hall speakswhen he speaks to teachers.He says to them at one of their meetings,unto you is born this day a new Department of Child Study.

    • 21:24

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: [LAUGHTER]This is religious language from top to bottom.And they've got a very interesting fusionof Darwinian science and religious evangelicalism.I've been more and more struck by it, becauseof the contemporary debates in which you can barelyteach Darwinian science.

    • 21:46

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And we're talking about a much earlier era thatwas far more religious and that wouldhave hit much more resistance.And they were trying to introduce Darwinian methodsright into the schools.And they found a way to do so through bridginga certain kind of scientific languagewith a certain kind of missionary language.So that would be the second point

    • 22:07

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: that really comes forward.OK, the third point that comes forward--if you move intellectual disabilitiesto the center of your story, thenyou can see the history of how psychology gotprofessionalized in a very different way.Now, what I'll say about all the people you

    • 22:29

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: see on your screen is all of them--top and bottom-- were trained to give intelligence testsin the years between 1910 and 1920.All of these people, that's who gave your intelligence test.These are your testers.And as you can see, we've got two very different groups here.The first group, that's the Vineland Summer School Class

    • 22:52

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: for Teachers of 1913, all of whomwould come to this institution.And they would learn how to diagnosefeeble-mindedness, developmental disabilities,learning disabilities.They would learn from working with these children.There was no other place you could learn this by the way.If you went to a normal school-- a teacher training college--

    • 23:13

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: they taught you nothing on special education.If you went to a medical school, theytaught you nothing on special education.If you wanted to learn about special education,you had to go an institution where they used special methodsand where they used Seguin's methodsand where they knew how to teach handicappedchildren of all sorts.So these are teachers who came there.And now, I'm going to go back into the public schools.

    • 23:36

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And they're going to be testers.The bottom is the Army Psychological Corpsof World War I. This is Yerkes down here in the corner.He's in charge of it.I don't know if you can see him down there.But that's the corps that that group of psychologistswas supervising.They were all taught to give IQ tests.

    • 23:58

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And they're under the supervisionof the Surgeon General of the Medical Office of the Army.So this is under medical supervision.This was the unit that was to diagnose,not insanity-- a psychiatrist could do that.They were to diagnose what was then

    • 24:19

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: called feeble-mindedness, intellectual disabilitiesamong soldiers.And that was seen as best done by testing.And so, here is our group of psychologistswho are going to test the Army.Now, what you see if you look at the professionalizationof psychology is that it moves right in here.It finds its niche in the in-between space right

    • 24:41

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: between the two fields that bound the studyof intellectual disabilities.What bounds those fields?Education on one side.Medicine on the other.And if you look at where clinical psychology crept in,it crept in the space between.And in part, it crept in because no one was there.This field was open to them.

    • 25:06

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And others recognized this as well.The field of intellectual disabilityhad no scientists working in it.Psychologists, like Goddard, were able to claim it.And they were able to increase their social roleonce they institutionalized it.So this is really where you see the beginnings

    • 25:26

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: of clinical psychology, right in-between these two groups.

    • 25:49

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: The fourth thing that becomes visiblewhen you move intellectual disabilitiesto the center of your story is the rolethat women are playing in this field.Let me go back one picture.

    • 26:11

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: It's pretty clear from these two picturesthat there's a gender divide.And I think everyone can see that, right?There aren't going to be any women coming through the ArmyMedical Corps in this period.There actually are going to be very few womencoming through philosophy departments.It's just not very hospitable to women in universities.

    • 26:34

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: There will be a handful, and they'll be path-breakers.But they'll be very few in number.But there's going to be a whole group of womenwho are going to enter this field through teaching.And they're going to follow a particular pattern.They're going to start their careers as schoolteachers.

    • 26:55

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: They're going to become interestedin intellectual disabilities and the special class.They're going to become testers.And then, eventually, they're goingto become psychologists, and usually clinical psychologists.And there's a whole batteries of women who come in this way.And this is one of them.So this is Florence Goodenough.

    • 27:15

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And this is a test that she's goingto develop for diagnosing intellectual disabilitiesin a different way.You can see the influence of IQ testers here.Here's her Draw-a-Man Test.And she's got a measurement of intelligence by drawings.And here's how the test works.

    • 27:35

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: I think you can figure it out from this.A child gets one point for each one of these-- head, legs, arm,trunk-- that gets in the picture.They start with a score of 3.Because they figured the mental age of 3is when you can draw a circle.I'll read you the direction here.It's kind of small.

    • 27:56

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: The child is asked to draw a man-- later, a woman too,by the way, but not in this early version--and receives a point for each item drawn,with four points equating to one year of age.As children draw circles at three years,the basic score is 3.

    • 28:17

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And the formula is 3 plus the number of points divided by 4,which gives the child's approximate mental age.OK, so here's Florence Goodenough.And here's her test with drawing of children.Now, if you read biographies of Florence Goodenough here,the same story reappears over and over again.

    • 28:37

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And I'll read you one that's typical.And I found this in 10 different places.It's the same basic chronology.Here's what they'll say.Florence Goodenough was a pioneer in psychologyand the study of gifted children.Miss Goodenough was the first to supportthe life-span development approach.She graduated with a bachelor of pedagogy in 1908

    • 28:59

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: from Millersville, Pennsylvania Normal School.So that's a teacher-training school.She earned her bachelor of sciencefrom Columbia University in 1920.In 1921, she received her M.A. under Leta Hollingworth,also at Columbia.During this time, she served as director of research

    • 29:20

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: for the Rutherford and Perth Amboy New Jersey PublicSchools.This position today would be considered a schoolpsychologist.It was in the public schools that Miss Goodenoughdid her first research studies.Her data collected was on children's drawings.Starting in 1921, Miss Goodenough

    • 29:42

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: worked with Lewis Terman at Stanford University.OK, so you get this basic pattern.She had a degree of pedagogy in 1908.And then, the next time we hear from her,she's at Columbia University in 1920.And in between, she's some sort of a teacherwho goes on to work with Leta Hollingworth and Lewis Terman.

    • 30:05

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: What is missing from this story?Well, there is something missing from this story.In the top picture, number 26 is Florence Goodenough.There she is in 1913.And what's she doing?

    • 30:25

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: She is a participant in the Vineland Summer School TrainingProgram for Teachers.She's working at an institution.As a matter of fact, she would have been at this institutionwhen this picture was drawn.She was there at the same time.This picture is published one year later,after that other thing.It was published in 1914.

    • 30:46

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: The child was still in the institution.And I'm sure this wasn't the only child's drawingthat she saw at Vineland.She was in this class of teacherswho were the group who wrote those comments that I read youpreviously about the role of practical Christianity.She was a part of this.

    • 31:07

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: That piece is left out of the story.But I don't think it's insignificant that she went onto develop this test.And it's only when we bring the questionof the institution-- which is, how does the mind of a childwork?And how does the mind of a handicapped child work?--that you can see what's really driving her.

    • 31:29

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: What's driving her is not measurement per se.It's something deeper.And it's coming through in her work.Now, the same kind of things are evident if welook at her mentor at Columbia, who was Leta Hollingworth.This is Leta Hollingworth.

    • 31:53

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And she too has a very similar history.She too was a schoolteacher studyingpsychology who wound up learning how to do tests.And she got hired at an interesting job in 1912.She got hired in a clinic that was being endowed

    • 32:15

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: by a group of women reformers.It was the Women's Municipal League of New York City.They opened a clinic at New York Postgraduate Hospital.And it was called The Clearinghousefor Mental Defectives.And this was going to be the city's clinicthat was going to deal with children brought

    • 32:37

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: to them by the public health department,by the police department, by the children's court,by school teachers, by social workers,or by charity organizations.If you had a child and you were suspicious or curious orworried about his mental conditionand you didn't understand this child,

    • 32:58

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: you could bring the child to the New York Clearinghousefor Mental Defectives at a hospital.And Leta Hollingworth was hired to give tests there in 1912.In 1914, this position, this hospital post,was briefly taken over by the Department of Public Charitiesof New York City.

    • 33:18

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: So a women's municipal group, a women's civic organizationstarted it.They hired her.And then, the city took it over.And she then became the very first civil servicepsychologist in New York City.And what did the first civil psychologists do?She did these tests of these children.And she crept into the field this way.

    • 33:40

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: Her next job, the following year,she was hired at Bellevue Hospital.And what was she hired to do?To give the same tests.Because they had psychiatrists who could deal with insanity.But they couldn't deal with what they called mental deficiency.And so, they hired Leta Hollingworth.And what she said about it was this.She said, I-- who had prepared myself for work in schools--

    • 34:04

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: found myself working in a hospital,a great surprise for me.Now, what Leta Hollingworth is showingyou is this version of professionalization.It's right between the two fields.You move from the school to the hospital.And you're in this middle ground that no one has really claimedand that testers are now claimingand that psychology is now claimingand that doctors recognize that they're claiming

    • 34:26

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: and are worried about.And she records a conversation she hadwith a physician at Bellevue.And this is the conversation.And what do you do?The doctor asks her.And she says, I am a psychologist.And what is that?

    • 34:46

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: I give mental tests.It is a very clear definition of what the field is at that time.That's what she did.She gives mental tests.She's a psychologist.Now, she's the one who's going to, then, move to Colombiaand be the teacher of Florence Goodenough, who'salso going to creep into the field through the same route.

    • 35:07

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: So I think if you move the whole question of howto understand children with learning disabilities forward,you see both the professionalizationof psychology and the role that women are playing in it,in a way that doesn't come throughif you just see psychology as related to, say, philosophy.It comes in this very applied way.

    • 35:29

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: By the way, doctors at this pointare very upset about the fact that these kindof psychologists are starting to have so much powerin the medical world.And I just want to read you one.There's a backlash that comes in by the early '20sagainst the whole field.And this is one medical superintendent.

    • 35:51

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And he said this.The clinical psychologist found himself alone in the field.And they're talking about the fieldof learning disabilities, the fieldthat we've been discussing.The clinical psychologist found himself alone in the field.So well-entrenched has he-- or usually she--become that physicians will soon be

    • 36:13

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: put to only incidental use, such as signing death certificatesand prescribing for stomachache.So here's a doctor who sees his field is very much threatenedby the emergence of clinical psychology.And he also sees that this is largely women.It's usually she.He's making this claim.And the fact that women come in because they are seen as better

    • 36:36

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: able to work with children is a piece of this history as well.So the final point I want to make.What else do we gain by moving intellectual disabilitiesforward?We gain a new understanding, not only of

    • 36:57

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: how people classified mental conditions,but how they classified all sorts of groupsof people who were considered to be different or usuallyinferior.And so, the history of this fieldis very much linked to broader issues in American history.Issues such as how people classifyrace, issues of how people think about race,

    • 37:20

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: or how they classify ethnicity, or how they classify peoplesall over the world.And this link between intellectual disabilitiesand broader classification systems thathave to do with race and have to do with labeling and languagebecomes very clear in this field.So my last slide is this one.

    • 37:46

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: Now, as you might guess, I did notget this from the Archives of the History of AmericanPsychology.This is a recent photograph.It was taken this last month during the election.This is an anti-Obama rally.And at this rally was this sign.And if anyone knows anything about the kind of research

    • 38:07

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: that I do, they would know that I have to make a copy of this.Because the person I was studying--Henry Herbert Goddard-- invented the word "moron."He's the author of that word.He made it up from the Greek.It's not spelled that way--[LAUGHTER]--but he made it up.

    • 38:27

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And the reason he made that word upis, about almost exactly 100 years ago-- 1908 it first gotadopted, I believe.It's either 1908 or it might be 1910, close to 100 years ago.--is because he wanted a word that had no connotation.

    • 38:49

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And he wanted to get away from some of the words of the day.And he wanted one that would define a certain level,a child was a mental age-- a little higher--maybe from 7 to 12 on the Binet scale.And there were confusing words.There were a lot of terminology being used.So he made one up, using his own backgroundin classical languages.And he took the word moron from the English word "oxymoron."

    • 39:12

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: Or it's the root of the word "sophomore."[LAUGHTER]And it's the part of the word-- because that word means "wiseand foolish"-- and it's the part that meant "foolish."So he took the root and he created this word, "moron."It had no connotation.It was a technical term.It was a medical term.It meant nothing to anyone outside the field.

    • 39:34

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: The word didn't exist.But within a very short time-- certainly by the 1920s--it had a very popular connotation.And by the 1920s, you can alreadyfind American folklorists collecting moron jokes.They exist.And they're being put in these treasuries of folkloreby the 1920s and '30s.So the word quickly took on a popular meaning

    • 39:57

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: and a very negative one.And a funny one.It was associated with jokes.Now that's just one of many wordswho changed their meanings.And if you look at this larger issueof the way this language has changed,you see quite a bit revealed about American historymore generally.I've been using the phrase intellectual disabilities.

    • 40:19

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: That's relatively new.That's a recent change in the language,officially came in as the name of the association--let's see the name of the associationtoday, American Association on Intellectual and DevelopmentalDisabilities.And they changed their name in 2006

    • 40:39

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: from the American Association on Mental Retardation.Now, you may think that's just a versionof modern political correctness or language sensitivityor something very current, but the truthis that was the fifth time, since theywere founded in 1876, that they've changed their name,the fifth time.

    • 40:60

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: Their starting name was the Associationof Medical Officers of American Institutions for Idioticand Feeble-minded Persons.And the first time they changed their name was in 1906.And they changed their name to the American Associationfor the Study of the Feebleminded.

    • 41:22

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And part of the reason they changedtheir name was because psychologists like Goddardwere joining.And they weren't medical officers.And persons like Johnstone, who was a schoolteacher.And all the other school teacherswere joining this movement.And so, it was moving away from medicineand into psychology and into educationand changing its focus.So its name changed.

    • 41:43

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And it was later the American Associationon Mental Deficiency.And after that, it was the American Association on MentalRetardation, until 2006.And now, the American Associationon Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.Other words as well become interesting ways

    • 42:04

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: to understand American history and to see what'sembedded in this movement.There are some very dark featuresto this movement that are clearlyindicated by the language of the movement.For instance, take the standard phrasethat became very popular in Goddard's writingsand in medical writings around the turn of the century, whichwas, what should we do with children like this?

    • 42:26

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: Segregation or sterilization.And that's a very clear movement that gave youthose two alternatives.Now, there's been an enormous amount of historical researcharound the issue of sterilization.And that sees it connected with the eugenics movement,with what eventually happened in Nazi Germany.

    • 42:47

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And it's not surprising that, in Germany, the very first groupto be exterminated by poison gas wereinstitutionalized populations.That was a sort of a practice version of what followed.But they were wiped out fairly early in the war by poison gas.And then, other groups deemed expendable

    • 43:08

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: were wiped out in similar ways.And so there's been quite a bit of history about the connectionthere, but less attention to the word "segregation"in that phrase, segregation or sterilization.We can see where sterilization is leading us.But what if it's segregation?And why use that word to talk about schools?

    • 43:31

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And you see this word arising at about the same timethat you see the Plessy vs. Fergusoncase on segregation coming up.And you see the legalization of segregation.You see a philosophy of keeping personsdeemed different separate.Other words as well that emerge in this period-- colony.

    • 43:54

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: For instance, in 1912, the Vineland Schoolbought 500 acres of uncleared farmland.And they built it as a home for some of their older boys,teenage boys who they wanted to move outso that they would have something productive to do.And they could live on this farm,and they wouldn't be in the school with the younger

    • 44:14

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: children.And what did they call it?They called this the Menantico Colony.Now, why is this a colony?And you find this all over the world by the way.You find this in France and other placesas well, where institutions are called colonies.And it's a colonial metaphor.And what's going on here?Why are these colonial enterprises?

    • 44:36

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: What do they say about what people think colonies are?What do they say about metaphors connecting mental deficiencyat the time, children, primitives-- these were alltheir words-- persons from all over the world whoare considered to be in some sort of lower classification.

    • 44:58

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: So there's strong connections between the language usedwhen discussing intellectual deficiencies and the languageof both colonialism and the language of race in America.And in the same way that they seem to emerge together,they seem to go down together.Because in the post-World War II period,you see the defeat of colonial enterprises.

    • 45:19

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And you see the beginnings of a very different movement.And you see, also, the battle against segregation.And the battle against segregating personsis going to have an effect on the way wetalk about intellectual disabilities as well.It's going to lead to their version of integration,which goes by the name of mainstreaming.Which actually attacks the idea, even, of the special class

    • 45:40

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: and moves toward an integrated model.So the idea of racial change and howit's connected to other forms of changebecomes very clear when we move this story forward.So that's why I put this in as well.I don't think it's an accident that thisis part of the anti-Obama campaign rhetoric

    • 46:01

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: of this particular group.I think the issues are linked.And they do have a history that goes together.So what happens to the history of intelligence testing?And the history of psychology, I would add as well.If we move the study of intellectual disabilitiesfrom the margins to the center, why, I would say we

    • 46:22

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: get a very rich story, a very rich history.We have a story that intertwined science and religionand profession and gender and race, allinto the history of psychology but, also,into the larger history of the United States.And a history that is interesting and broad and

    • 46:46

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: dependent on recapturing stories such as these.So I'll stop here.Thank you.[APPLAUSE]

    • 46:59

      SPEAKER 1: Does anyone have any questions?

    • 47:00

      LEILA ZENDERLAND: I'll take questions.Yes?

    • 47:03

      SPEAKER 2: Thank you very much.That was very interesting.You just got through the '20s, the backlashfrom organized medicine.In light of the fact that here in the USwe've just passed the No Bank Left Behind Act,and there are prognostifications that wemay be entering something analogous to the Great

    • 47:24

      SPEAKER 2 [continued]: Depression again, have you thoughtsas to the effects of the Great Depressionon the development of your thesis?

    • 47:34

      LEILA ZENDERLAND: It's a very interesting question as to whatwent on during the 1930s.Well, in one sense, during the 1920s,you might consider that, in some ways, the heydayof hereditarian theories about mental deficiency, the wordthey would have used.

    • 47:55

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: By the 1930s, this is changing also.You have critics of it in the '20s too.But by the 1930s, the idea that, if someone is poor,it's probably his own fault. And it probablyhas to do with some sort of inborn deficiencythat just doesn't allow him to quite make it.That argument seems to raise a lot of questions

    • 48:16

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: in the 1930s, when huge portions of the populationare unemployed.So we have a lot more doubts as to what's inheritedand a lot more attention to how the social environment works.So that's one thing that happens during that era.But it's a complicated history that swings back and forth,that hits resistance, that moves forward, that moves backward.

    • 48:39

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: I mean, that's one of the most interesting thingsabout the history.It's not a single trajectory.It's a set of institutions that jockeywith each other for power.Their relationship with medicine,their relationship with teachers,their relationship with the Army,their relationship with the court system

    • 49:04

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: goes through many variations.All these institutions have a lot of social power.And they don't give it up so easily.And so, we've got a lot of grappling going on.But it actually is a fascinating questionto think about what economic change cando to these kind of theories.And I love No Bank Left Behind.Thank you.

    • 49:22


    • 49:24

      LEILA ZENDERLAND: Anybody else?Yeah?

    • 49:27

      SPEAKER 4: Do you think currently that [INAUDIBLE] Ordo you see that connection of what was becoming what is again?

    • 49:47

      LEILA ZENDERLAND: Well, I don't know about the area around hereand what exactly is being closed and what isn't.But this issue of regressing and of closing institutionsis, again, a complicated one.I mean, there was a huge movementto close as many as possible for a long time and to defund them.And the reasons for it were complex as well.

    • 50:08

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: Part of the deinstitutionalizing campaignwas also about saving state funds.And so, we might be heading into something along those linesagain when funds get tight.It's going to be very interesting or veryfrightening, I guess, as well to watch what's going on.But it's hard to make predictions of what directionwe're heading now.And as a historian, you want to stay away

    • 50:29

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: from that as much as possible.Yeah?

    • 50:35

      SPEAKER 5: I wanted to just say thanksfor what I thought was a very interesting kind of talk.There were a lot of areas I wish you'd gone into a bit further,in particular, disability and the eugenics movement;Goddard's place in the eugenics movement.Now, he has a book about the Kallikaks.Elizabeth Kite was probably one of the people

    • 50:57

      SPEAKER 5 [continued]: in that picture in the frame.

    • 50:58

      LEILA ZENDERLAND: In that school?Yeah.Very possibly.

    • 51:01

      SPEAKER 5: So there are just all sorts of interesting areasthat you could have gone into there.

    • 51:06


    • 51:07

      SPEAKER 5: I was also interested by your pointing outsome of the religious issues, in particularabout the French Quakers.And that reminded me of some of the workthat Thomas [INAUDIBLE] had done based on Samuel Tuke's work,also connecting up with your picturethere in the [INAUDIBLE].

    • 51:29

      SPEAKER 5 [continued]: But there were two terms you usedthat I wanted to ask you about, learning disabilitiesand the official field of special educationand the Individuals with Disabilities Education Actas being distinct from that of mental retardation--

    • 51:48

      LEILA ZENDERLAND: Yes, it does.

    • 51:49

      SPEAKER 5: --which is still the federal term, incidentally.

    • 51:51

      LEILA ZENDERLAND: It's still what did you say?

    • 51:52

      SPEAKER 5: It's still the federal term.

    • 51:53

      LEILA ZENDERLAND: The federal term?

    • 51:54

      SPEAKER 5: Yeah, it's still mental retardation legally.

    • 51:56


    • 51:57

      SPEAKER 5: I was a member of the American Associationfor Mental Deficiencies, sort of gingerly,when it was still called that.And then, I was very happy when they changed itto the American Association on Mental Retardation.And now, they've sort of caught upto the intellectual disability aspect of it.And learning disabilities in the United Statesmeans something distinct from intellectual disabilities.

    • 52:18


    • 52:19

      SPEAKER 5: In other countries-- in the UK,for instance-- learning disabilitiesis similar to what we would in this countryuse as the term intellectual disability.So I wanted to ask you if you were using that on purposeor if that sort of popped up.And secondly, you also mentioned the term "mainstreaming."And typically, the term "inclusion"

    • 52:40

      SPEAKER 5 [continued]: has become a more modern term of that.And some people would argue that it has some different aspects.And so, I just wondered if you could-- those two terms--explain the disability to the mainstream.

    • 52:58

      LEILA ZENDERLAND: The reason I was using learning disabilitiesinterchangeably with intellectual disabilityand with other terms-- mental deficiencyand others-- is not so much because they're not distinguishtoday, but because-- when you readthe literature on institutionalizationand the kinds of children who are in them--you get an enormous spectrum of children.You get children who would be called autistic today.

    • 53:20

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: You get children who they call idiot-savants.You get children who were classified as insane.You get behavioral problems.You get learning disabilities.You get intellectual disabilities.You get developmental disabilities.You get everything and anything.Because it's almost a catch-all category for childrenthat you just don't know what to do with

    • 53:42

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: and that you really can't diagnose very welland you can't understand.And so, when you read the descriptions of these childrenin these institutions, they're quite fascinating.And they run the gamut.So it's not clear what Goddard's talking about.

    • 54:02

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: It's not clear to me exactly how to call,in modern terms, what they were looking at.But they were looking at everythingfrom children who can't learn to childrenwho appear to have no other physical problems to childrenwho have an enormous range of physical problems

    • 54:23

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: to children who are deaf to children who--under their description-- are beatingtheir heads on the furniture or on the floor to everythingin between.It's a very diverse diagnosis.So that's a first.

    • 54:44

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: The language changes so much and so quicklyand so subtly over time.And every one of these changes is significant.I mean, in the period that I was lookingat-- which is really the early period--the word "mentally retarded," the word "retarded"was being used.Because they wanted to distinguish itfrom feeble-mindedness.It wasn't feeble-minded.It was the opposite of it.

    • 55:05

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: Feeble-minded was a permanent conditionof being so far backward that you couldn't catch up.Retarded meant you were a little slowand that you might catch up with remedial education.And so they distinguished the two,children who were only retarded but not feeble-minded.And all of these words then change their connotations.

    • 55:26

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: They develop negative connotations.And their definitions are never all thatprecise to begin with, at least in the period I'm looking at.Because the diagnoses are complicated.As to Goddard's role in eugenics, that's central.And I decided not to focus on it because I think it'sthe story that's more known.

    • 55:49

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: But it's certainly crucial.And Kallikak family is by far his most important workor his most influential work.I guess I'd put it that way-- his most widely-read workand his most roundly-discredited work.And Goddard is a very strong proponentof eugenics in America.

    • 56:11

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: But eugenics itself is a complicated word to define.And it brought in everyone from Charles Davenport, biologistswho led the movement, to people like George Bernard Shawor even Emma Goldman might have some interest or MargaretSanger for her own reasons.And so, defining that term is also pretty complicated.

    • 56:37

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: But he is known for that.So I don't want to give you the impressionthat that doesn't form a part of the book.As a matter of fact, among the things I triedto do in this book-- one was to see, even in the Kallikakfamily, there's a very clear religious undercurrent that'splaying all the way through it.And the moment you start to see itin its sense of what fathers bequeath to their sons

    • 57:02

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: and what a goodly inheritance means,in biblical terms and other terms,and how this all gets played out as well,there's a very clear religious underpinning, evenin a eugenics text.So I just wanted to focus on some of the less-known aspects.But you're very right to point that out.

    • 57:16

      SPEAKER 5: Thank you.

    • 57:17

      SPEAKER 6: Didn't he kind of changehis-- about eugenics later on?

    • 57:20


    • 57:21

      SPEAKER 6: What made him change his mind?Was it working there for so long and seeingso many different kind of people or--

    • 57:29

      LEILA ZENDERLAND: No.I think working there is what made him a eugenicist.He starts out his early career and he's really not.He's much more a believer that his own educational methodsand psychological intervention reallymight change these children and give them a chance.He really does see that.But after four or five or six yearsthere, he becomes much more convinced

    • 57:49

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: that he's not going to be able to change themand that it is a hereditary condition.And he becomes much more pessimistic about itand much more a believer in prevention--if you want to call it that-- and sterilization.And well, segregation-- so that youdon't have sexual reproduction-- would actuallybe his preferred mode.

    • 58:10

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: They don't sterilize children at the Vineland School.But they do in other institutions.And doctors are in favor of this as well.What changes him later?I think he changes in the same waythat other aspects of the country changes.I know one thing that changed himin particular on some of this.He had a visit to Hawaii.

    • 58:31

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: He was very struck by the enormous diversity there.And that had a deep effect on him.I mean, he was never a racist in the sensethat many others of his day were.Madison Grant, his contemporary; or even Charles Davenport;or even Lewis Turman has more writings

    • 58:52

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: that seem to focus on race.Goddard had class bias.Goddard believed that the poor weresuspect, especially the disrespectful poor,disrespectable poor.But what changed him after the war?What changed him after World War II?He changed along with the rest of the country.It's an interesting shift-- in Lewis Turman as well.

    • 59:15

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: To some degree.he changed his views.Goddard is a complicated person to figure out politically.After the war, he is very opposedto the spread of nuclear weapons,and he gets very involved in that campaign.Their politics is complex, and his in particular.Very much a New Deal-er, as was Lewis Turman ironically.

    • 59:41

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: Yeah?

    • 59:41

      SPEAKER 7: Could you read books like The Bell Curveand [INAUDIBLE] in the original [INAUDIBLE] in the theory[INAUDIBLE]?

    • 59:48

      LEILA ZENDERLAND: I see a lot.And when I read The Bell Curve, Isee some parts of it that remind meof Goddard in some of the arguments that it's making,about the poor in particular.Because that's the arguments he was making as well.There are similar kinds of language.He talked about defectives, dependents, and delinquents,and all the social problems that they cause.

    • 01:00:09

      LEILA ZENDERLAND [continued]: And when I read his-- a lot of that literatureand read some of the stuff in The Bell Curve,it reminds me of a very similar kind of argument.

Leila Zenderland: "Intellectual Disability, Intelligence Testing, and the History of Psychology"

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Unique ID: bd-psych-lect-lzditathop-AA03661


Professor Leila Zenderland discusses intellectual disabilities, intelligence testing, and the history of psychology. Ideas about intellectual disabilities have changed over time, and terminology has evolved to avoid negative connotations. Zenderland also discusses the relation between religion and intellectual disabilities, women as clinical psychologists, and the classification of people deemed "inferior".

Leila Zenderland: "Intellectual Disability, Intelligence Testing, and the History of Psychology"

Professor Leila Zenderland discusses intellectual disabilities, intelligence testing, and the history of psychology. Ideas about intellectual disabilities have changed over time, and terminology has evolved to avoid negative connotations. Zenderland also discusses the relation between religion and intellectual disabilities, women as clinical psychologists, and the classification of people deemed "inferior".

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