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Encyclopedia > Charles Spearman

Charles Edward Spearman (September 10, 1863 - September 7, 1945) was an English psychologist known for work in statistics, as a pioneer of factor analysis, and for Spearman's rank correlation coefficient. He also did seminal work on models for human intelligence, including discovering that disparate cognitive test scores reflect a single general factor and coining the term g factor. September 10 is the 253rd day of the year (254th in leap years). ... 1863 is a common year starting on Thursday. ... September 7 is the 250th day of the year (251st in leap years). ... 1945 was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... A psychologist is a social scientist who studies psychology, the study of the human mind, thought and human behaviour. ... Statistics is a type of data analysis which practice includes the planning, summarizing, and interpreting of observations of a system possibly followed by predicting or forecasting of future events based on a mathematical model of the system being observed. ... Factor analysis is a statistical technique that originated in mathematical psychology. ... In statistics, Spearmans rank correlation coefficient, named for Charles Spearman and often denoted by the Greek letter ρ (rho), is a non-parametric measure of correlation – that is, it assesses how well an arbitrary monotonic function could describe the relationship between two variables, without making any assumptions about the... Intelligence is usually said to involve mental capabilities such as the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend ideas and language, and learn. ... The general intelligence factor (abbreviated g) is a widely accepted but controversial construct used in the field of psychology (see also psychometrics) to quantify what is common to the scores of all intelligence tests. ...

Spearman had an unusual background for a psychologist. After 15 years as an officer in the British Army he resigned to study for a PhD in experimental psychology. In Britain psychology was generally seen as a branch of philosophy and Spearman chose to study in Leipzig under Wilhelm Wundt. Besides Spearman had no conventional qualifications and Leipzig had liberal entrance requirements. He started in 1897 and after some interruption (he was recalled to the army during the South African War) he obtained his degree in 1906. He had already published his seminal paper on the factor analysis of intelligence (1904). Spearman met and impressed the psychologist William McDougall who arranged for Spearman to replace him when he left his position at University College London. Spearman stayed at University College until he retired in 1931. Initially he was Reader and head of the small psychological laboratory. In 1911 he was promoted to the Grote professorship of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic. His title changed to Professor of Psychology in 1928 when a separate Department of Psycholgy was created. The British Army is the land armed forces branch of the British Armed Forces. ... The term philosophy derives from a combination of the Greek words philos meaning love and sophia meaning wisdom. ... The University of Leipzig (Universität Leipzig), located in Leipzig in the Free State and former Kingdom of Saxony, is one of the oldest universities in Europe. ... // Wundts life and works He was born August 16, 1832 at Neckarau, in Baden. ... Boer guerrillas during the Second Boer War There were two Boer wars, one in 1880-81 and the second from October 11, 1899-1902 both between the British and the settlers of Dutch origin (called Boere, Afrikaners or Voortrekkers) in South Africa that put an end to the two independent... There have been several people called William McDougall For the Canadian politician, see William McDougall (politician) For the British psychologist, see William McDougall (psychologist) This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... University College London, commonly known as UCL, is one of the colleges that make up the University of London. ... Lecturer is the name given to university teachers in most of the English-speaking world (but not at most universities in the US or Canada) who do not hold a professorship. ...

When Spearman was elected to the Royal Society in 1924 the citation read "Dr. Spearman has made many researches in experimental psychology. His many published papers cover a wide field, but he is especially distinguished by his pioneer work in the application of mathematical methods to the analysis of the human mind, and his original studies of correlation in this sphere. He has inspired and directed research work by many pupils." The Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is claimed to be the oldest learned society still in existence. ...

Spearman was strongly influenced by the work of Francis Galton. Galton did pioneering work in psychology and developed correlation, the main statistical tool used by Spearman. Spearman developed rank correlation (1904) and the widely used correction for attenuation (1907). His statistical work was not appreciated by his University College colleague Karl Pearson and there was long feud between them. Francis Galton Sir Francis Galton (February 16, 1822 – January 17, 1911) British anthropologist, explorer, inventor, statistician, a pioneer in eugenics, investigator of the human mind, and the founder of the science of measuring mental faculties: psychometrics. ... In probability theory and statistics, correlation, also called correlation coefficient, is a numeric measure of the strength of linear relationship between two random variables. ... In statistics, Spearmans rank correlation coefficient, named for Charles Spearman and often denoted by the Greek letter ρ (rho), is a non-parametric measure of correlation – that is, it assesses how well an arbitrary monotonic function could describe the relationship between two variables, without making any assumptions about the... Correction for attenuation is a statistical procedure, due to Spearman, to rid a correlation coefficient from the weakening effect of measurement error (Jensen, 1998). ... Karl Pearson (March 27, 1857 – April 27, 1936) was a major contributor to the early development of statistics as a serious scientific discipline in its own right. ...

Although Spearman achieved most recognition for his statistical work, he regarded this work as subordinate to his quest for the fundamental laws of psychology.


Works by Spearman

  • "General intelligence," objectively determined and measured. in American Journal of Psychology 1904
  • Proof and measurement of association between two things. in American Journal of Psychology 1904
  • Demonstration of Formulae for True Measurement of Correlation, in American Journal of Psychology 1907
  • The abilities of man, their nature and measurement. 1927
  • Human abilities coauthor L. W. Jones, 1951

Biographies 1904 is a leap year starting on a Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1904 is a leap year starting on a Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1907 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... 1927 was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1951 was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ...

  • Lovie, P and Lovie A. D. (1996) Charles Edward Spearman F.R.S. (1863-1945) Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London, 50, 1-14.
  • Lovie, P (1997) Spearman, Charles Edward pp. 342-3 in Leading Personalities in Statistical Sciences from the Seventeenth Century to the Present, (ed. N. L. Johnson and S. Kotz) 1997. New York: Wiley. Originally published in Encyclopedia of Statistical Science.

External links

Spearman's 1904 General Intelligence paper is available on the Classics in the History of Psychology website.

  • General Intelligence

There is also a Spearman entry on the Human Intelligence website

There is an account of Spearman's main achievements in

There is a photograph of Spearman at

  Results from FactBites:
Human Intelligence: Charles Spearman (323 words)
Spearman completed his Ph.D. under Wilhelm Wundt, but was also influenced during his studies by the works of Francis Galton and his case for the importance of intelligence testing.
Further, if the amount of unreliability is precisely known, it is possible to "correct" the attenuated observed correlation according to the formula (where r stands for the correlation coefficient): r (true) = r (observed) \ /reliability of variable 1 X reliability of variable 2.
Using his correction formula, Spearman found "perfect" relationships and inferred that "General Intelligence" or "g" was in fact something real, and not merely an arbitrary mathematical abstraction.
Intelligence - MSN Encarta (1559 words)
In the early 1900s British psychologist Charles Spearman made an important observation that has influenced many later theories of intelligence: He noted that all tests of mental ability were positively correlated.
Spearman found that individuals who scored high on any one of the mental tests he gave tended to score high on all others.
Spearman reasoned that if all mental tests were positively correlated, there must be a common variable or factor producing the positive correlations.
  More results at FactBites »



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