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(August 2, 1893 - April 17, 1989)
- She was homeschooled throughout her youth
- Diploma, Sargent School for Physical Education (exact date unknown)
- Most likely simultaneous with her attendance at the Sargent School,
she took miscellaneous graduate level courses at New York, Columbia
and Stanford Universities and the New School for Social Research
- She attended summer programs at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory,
the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory and the University of
- Cornell University (M.A., 1925)
- Harvard University (Ed.M., 1925; Ed.D., 1927)
- Research Assistant, Harvard Growth Study, Harvard University (1922-1925)
- Research Assistant in Psychology under Lewis Terman, Stanford University
- Research Fellow, Harvard University School of Public Health (1932-1939)
- Instructor in Mental Testing, The Nursery Training School of Boston
- Psychologist, Lebanon County Mental Health Clinic, Lebanon PA (1939-1942)
- Chief Psychologist, Guidance Clinic of Lancaster, PA (1939-1963)
- Maintained Private Practice (1939-1972)
- Published the Cattell Infant Intelligence Scale (1940)
- Founder and Director of The West End Nursery School (later renamed
The Cattell School), Lancaster, PA (1941-1974)
The above information was provided by Hudson Cattell (personal communication,
June 27, 2002) and Psyche Cattell (ca. 1971)
The Cattell Infant Intelligence Scale (A downward extension of
Ideas and Interests
Psyche Cattell's father, James Mckeen Cattell
(1860-1944) is a prominent figure in the history of American psychology.
He founded and edited numerous psychological and scientific journals,
helped to build one of the largest psychology training programs in the
U.S., and was a key player in the establishment of psychology as a science
separate from philosophy and medicine.
His contributions to the development of intelligence testing were also
considerable. He was among the first researchers to look for a unitary
factor underlying human intelligence; in fact, he originated the term
"mental test" (J.M. Cattell, 1890). His empirical investigations
of the relationships among reaction time, sensory acuity and intellectual
prowess remain intriguing and controversial to this day. (Please see our
Wissler's Controversy Hot Topic for more
His daughter, Psyche Cattell, was also a successful psychologist. She
was well known in Pennsylvania for her work at local mental health and
guidance clinics, and also for the school she founded and directed between
1941 and 1974. However, her most enduring achievement is the Cattell Infant
Intelligence Scale, a downward extension of the Stanford-Binet.
Although this test was originally published in 1940, it remains popular
to this day.
Psyche was the third of the seven children, all of whom were educated
at home by their parents and private tutors. The Cattell household was
indeed an enriched learning environment. Their father's editorial staff
did much of their work out of the house, and distinguished visitors came
and went routinely (Woodworth, 1944). James McKeen's connection with Columbia
university offered other benefits as well: The children were able to earn
pocket money by raising laboratory animals (H. Cattell, personal communication,
June 27, 2002).
Psyche was a tenacious, focused student, but she was a slow reader, and
had to spend extra time studying. In later years she would say that she
was probably dyslexic, although she never underwent testing to confirm
this. She was athletically inclined, and when she came of age she enrolled
at the Sargent School for Physical Training, a Boston-based school for
future physical education teachers. (H. Cattell, personal communication,
June 27, 2002, P. Cattell, ca., 1971). As time and opportunity permitted,
she also took classes at New York, Columbia, and Stanford Universities,
and the New School for Social Research. Most of her graduate level courses
were in statistics and educational psychology, but she studied a wide
variety of subjects at both the undergraduate and graduate levels (P.
Cattell, ca., 1971)
Psyche obtained a diploma from the Sargent School, but explorations at
the various universities had intensified her interest in psychology, and
she decided to focus her attention there. In 1922 she became a Research
Assistant for the massive Harvard Growth study, assisting in the supervision,
administration and revision of a variety of mental tests. In the summers
she attended programs at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory,
the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, and the University of Vienna
(P. Cattell, ca., 1971). In 1925 she completed her two simultaneous Master's
degrees--one at Harvard, and one at Cornell. She spent the next academic
year working as a Research Assistant for Lewis
Terman at Stanford University, assisting him in the revision of the
Stanford Achievement Test and the development of a masculinity-femininity
test. She then returned to Harvard, and in 1927 became the first woman
to earn an Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (Office
of External Relations, Harvard Graduate School of Education, personal
communication, July 1, 2002).
Psyche Cattell's most significant contribution to the field of intelligence
testing came as a result of her work at the Harvard University School
of Public Health. In 1932 she was appointed a Research Fellow in a comprehensive
longitudinal child development study examining the influence of environmental
and health factors on the psychological development of children (P. Cattell,
ca. 1971; Stuart, 1940). At regular intervals the approximately 300 children
involved in the study were photographed and given a variety of medical
and psychological tests.
As the study progressed, the investigators discovered that the intelligence
tests they had been using were lacking in several areas. The Stanford-Binet
worked well for the older children, but it could not be administered to
the toddlers and infants. No standardized infant intelligence tests were
available, and the preschool intelligence scales that did exist were not
successful in catching and maintaining the attention of the toddlers.
Other problems having to do with standardization, subjectivity, and an
overemphasis on social knowledge and gross motor skills also made these
tests undesirable (P. Cattell, 1940).
Psyche Cattell was charged with developing a better test. Her plan was
simple: She examined the available tests, took the best parts from each
one, and adopted and adapted as necessary. Many items came from the Gesell
Developmental Schedules (1925), and the Stanford-Binet, but she also created
new test items based on data collected from the Harvard study in progress.
She then arranged the items into an age scale modeled after the Stanford-Binet
(P. Cattell, 1940). The test she developed was progressive, so infants
were assessed based on such things as object manipulation, vocalization
and attention to stimulus objects, and toddlers would be evaluated with
increasing numbers of items from the Stanford-Binet. The entire test,
assembled in a kit of 45 familiar household items, could be administered
individually in 20-30 minutes. The test's reliance on the Stanford-Binet
had a major advantage: For the first time, researchers and clinicians
could assess intelligence on a continuous scale from infancy to adulthood.
(definitely cite this one)
In 1940, Psyche Cattell published her test in The Measurement of Intelligence
Of Infants and Young Children. The test kits became commercially available
that same year, and were distributed by The Psychological Corporation,
an organization started by her father in 1921. She preferred to assemble
the kits herself, and continued doing so until the 1980s.
Many psychologists praise the Cattell test for its relatively short
administration time, its ease of use, and its emphasis on cognitive (as
opposed to motor) development (Ricciuti, 1994). However, Psyche Cattell
did not believe that her test was perfect, (P. Cattell, 1940, p. 24) and
research has demonstrated that it has little predictive validity for children
less than one year old (P. Cattell, 1940; Cronbach, 1960). In addition,
Cattell IQ at age one has only a modest correlation (.56) with IQ at age
3. (Cavanaugh, et al., 1957). However, it is possible that this does not
reflect a weakness in the test: Some theorists believe that there may
be a qualitative difference between infant intelligence and the intelligence
measured later in life (Fagan, 1985).
Despite these shortcomings, the Cattell Infant Intelligence Scale can
be a valuable tool in situations where predictive validity is not of primary
importance. For example, the test can be used to identify young children
who are not developing normally (P. Cattell, 1940). Children who are screened
in infancy can benefit from early intervention programs. The scale can
also be used in developmental research studies (Ricciuti, 1994). There
can be no doubt that Psyche Cattell's sixty year-old test, although imperfect,
is indeed a genuine asset to 21st century psychology.
Cattell, P. (1936). The development of intelligence and motor control
in infancy. Review of Educational Research. 6, 3-16.
Cattell, P. (1939). The development of motor functions and mental abilities
in infancy. Review of Educational Research. 9, 5-17.
Cattell, P. (1940). The measurement of intelligence of infants and
young children. New York: Psychological Corporation.
Cattell, P. (1941). Intelligence of infants and its measurement. Transactions
of the New York Academy of Science. 3,162-71.
Cattell, J.M.(1890). Mental
tests and measurements. Mind, 15, 373-381.
Cattell, H. (personal communications, June 27, 2002; July 29, 2002)
Cattell, P. (ca., 1971). [Statement of the Education and Experience of
Psyche Cattell]. Unpublished. Provided by Hudson Cattell, June 28, 2002.
Cavanaugh, M.C., Cohen, I., Dunphy, D., Ringwell, E.A., & Goldberg,
I.D. (1957). Prediction from the Cattel Infant Intelligence Scale. Journal
of Consulting Psychology, 21, 33-37.
Cronbach, L.J. (1949, 1960). Essentials of Psychological Testing
(Second ed.). New York: Harper and Row.
Fagan, J.F. (1985). A new look at infant intelligence. In D.K. Detterman
(Ed.). Current Topics in Human Intelligence (Vol. 1). (pp. 223-241).
Office of External Relations, Harvard Graduate School of Education (personal
communication, July 7, 2002).
Ricciuti, H.N. (1994). Infant tests as measures of early competence.
In R.J. Sternberg (Ed.). Encyclopedia of intelligence. (pp. 575-578).
New York: Macmillan.
Stuart, H.C. (1940). Forward. In P. Cattell (Au). The measurement
of intelligence of infants and young children. (pp.5-7). NY: The Psychological
Woodworth, R.S. (1944). Some personal characteristics. Science, 99
Zusne, L. (1987). Eponyms in psychology: A dictionary and biographical
sourcebook. New York: Greenwood Press.
Image courtesy of Hudson Cattell.
We would like to thank Hudson Cattell for his generous help with this
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16 May 2013