Who Invented The IQ Test?

When it comes to the query, “Who invented the IQ test?” and more specifically, “when,” you are bound to be surprised by the answer, it was invented by none other than Alfred Bennet in France in 1905. He had developed it mainly to help segregate students so that teachers could concentrate on the weaker students and help them with their schooling.

At least, that was the fundamental premise for Alfred Bennet to have come up with it in the first place. And that should answer the query, “who invented the IQ test?”. Ironically, all his misgivings regarding his invention became misused for other purposes. 

It especially became a reality during world war2. But today, these tests enable you to find out about an applicant’s intelligence level easily.

The first IQ test:

The first IQ test was developed nearly 100 years ago by Alfred Bennet. Though he was a lawyer by profession, he became interested in experimental psychology and how one can measure human Intelligence. 

He started devoting more time to the same to the point he quit his legal profession. Around this time, the French Government passed a law mandating that every child in France must attend school.

This particular law would lead to the creation of IQ tests and define a way to measure Intelligence in others, from a child to an adult. To that end, since the Government requested Bennet, he and Simon (his colleague) decided to devise an intelligence test to help differentiate among various school kids. 

Doing so should enable the teachers to focus on those who require additional help with their schooling. This was the basic premise, so the first IQ test was developed.

Limitations of the first IQ test:

While what Alfred and Simon did was commendable, the IQ test had severe limitations. Alfred believed that the test was too limited in the sense it did not measure Intelligence accurately. It did not account for other factors, such as primary environmental factors, peer pressure, exposure to education, etc. While some of these factors are still debatable, the fact remains that the Alfred – Simon scale to measure Intelligence was severely limited. And it remained that way until 1916.

Stanford – Binet intelligence scale:

Yes, Intelligence is indeed too complex and highly dependent on several factors. That’s why an American Psychologist from Stanford University, Lewis Tremain, decided to take the Alfred-Simon test and upgrade some basic concepts. 

He even utilized two measurement scales to gauge a person’s Intelligence more accurately. What makes this test remarkable is that it is still utilized today, with a few changes and remains a predominant method by how society at large measures Intelligence.

The Flipside:

Give a human an invention, and he will indeed discover a nefarious purpose for the same, or so most scientists tend to think. Take, for example, the atomic bomb – Einstein had even regretted mentioning atomic technology to the Americans and President Roosevelt. 

After all, it led to countless deaths. The IQ tests are not all that different because various governments have misused them to marginalize societies and target certain sections. Case, for example, would be the Nazi regime and the Eugenics program.

The nazis used these tests to target specific school kids and their families to remove the feeble-minded individuals from society at large. And the result was the Jewish Pogrom, or the final solution, as Hitler put it. It is indeed shameful that IQ tests were used to rationalize genocide, but that is what it was used for in the early thirties.


Today, these IQ tests have undergone several changes to the point that they are not heavily skewed against any one race, culture or even any single background. These tests are mainly used to score a person’s Intelligence, and that’s it. Schools like Mensa test their students’ IQ ability before admitting them to their advanced programs.

Moreover, what makes the modern IQ test remarkable is that it can be customized – depending on the industry sector and the essential requirement. For example, since the first IQ test came out, other industries have started showing interest.

Today, they have implemented their versions of the IQ tests, designed to question applicants about certain circumstances more than others.

This is the person who invented the IQ tests in the first place. The earlier version represented a two-dimensional picture of a person’s Intelligence rather than what it is in nature. A complicated asset that heavily hinges on several environmental factors, including exposure to higher schooling.