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Henry H. Goddard

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Henry Herbert Goddard (August 14, 1866 – June 18, 1957) was a prominent American psychologist and eugenicist in the early 20th century. He is known especially for his 1912 work The Kallikak Family: A Study in the Heredity of Feeble-Mindedness, which he himself came to regard as deeply flawed, and for being the first to translate the Binet intelligence test into English in 1908 and distributing an estimated 22,000 copies of the translated test across the United States

From 1906 to 1918 Goddard was the Director of Research at the Vineland Training School for Feeble-Minded Girls and Boys in Vineland, New Jersey, which was the first known laboratory established to study mental retardation.

At the May 18, 1910 annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of the Feeble-Minded, Goddard proposed definitions for a system for classifying individuals with mental retardation based on intelligence quotient (IQ). Goddard used the terms moron for those with an IQ of 51-70, imbecile for those with an IQ of 26-50, and idiot for those with an IQ of 0-25 for categories of increasing impairment. This nomenclature was the standard of the field for decades. A moron, by his definition, was any person with mental age between eight and twelve. Morons, according to Goddard, were unfit for society and should be removed from society either through institutionalization, sterilization, or both. What Goddard failed to see was that his bias against morons would greatly influence his data later.

Goddard's best-known work, The Kallikak Family, was published in 1912. He had studied the background of several local groups of people which were somewhat distantly related, and concluded that they were all descended from a single Revolutionary War soldier. Martin Kallikak first married a Quaker woman. All of the children that came from this relationship were "wholesome" and had no signs of retardation. Later it was discovered that Kallikak had an affair with a "nameless feeble-minded woman The result of this union led to generations of criminals. Goddard called this generation "a race of defective degenerates". While the book rapidly became a success and was considered to be made into a Broadway play, his research methods were soon called into question; within ten years he came to agree with the critics, and no longer promoted the conclusions he had reached.

Goddard was a strong advocate of eugenics. Although he believed that "feeble-minded" people bearing children was inadvisable, he hesitated to promote compulsory sterilization – even though he was convinced that it would solve the problem of mental retardation – because he did not think such a plan could gain widespread acceptance. Instead he suggested that colonies should be set up where the feeble-minded could be segregated.

Goddard established an intelligence testing program on Ellis Island in 1913. When he published the results in 1917, Goddard stated that his results only applied to immigrants traveling steerage and did not apply to people traveling in first or second class. This program has been misreported as rejecting an estimated 80% of immigrants as "feeble-minded" and resulting in an exponential increase in deportations. In fact, Goddard wanted to test whether his classification system for mental defectives was as accurate among immigrants as it was among native-born Americans. He therefore tested a pre-selected group of 35 Jewish, 22 Hungarian, 50 Italian, and 45 Russian immigrants who had been identified individually as falling between “feebleminded” and “obviously normal” in intelligence.

The Immigration Act of 1924 was strongly influenced by American eugenics' efforts. It restricted numbers of immigrants from "undesirable" racial groups. Upon signing the bill into law, President Calvin Coolidge commented, "America must remain American."

Goddard also publicized purported race-group differences on Army IQ tests (Army Alpha and Beta) during World War I (the results were, even in their day, challenged as scientifically inaccurate, and later resulted in a retraction from the head of the project, Carl Brigham) and claimed that the results showed that Americans were unfit for democracy. He was one of the many scientists (including Francis Galton and Lewis Terman) whose work was used to defend the scientific racism movement in Europe and the United States.

By the 1920s, Goddard had come to candidly admit that he had made numerous errors in his early research, and regarded The Kallikak Family as obsolete. It was also noted that Goddard was more concerned about making eugenics popular rather than conduting actual scientific studies. He devoted the later part of his career to seeking improvements in education, reforming environmental influences in childhood, and working toward better child-rearing practices. But others continued to use his early work to support various arguments with which Goddard did not agree, and he was constantly perplexed by the fact that later generations found his studies to be dangerous to society. Henry Garrett of Columbia University was one of the few scientists to continue to use The Kallikak Family as a reference.


-Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_H._Goddard

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