A human brain being measured  with a measuring tape. Human Intelligence

Human Intelligence: Historical influences, current controversies, teaching resources.

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Percival Symonds



  • Harvard University (B.A.1915)
  • Columbia University (Educational Psychology, M.A., 1920; Ph.D., 1923)
  • Assistant to E. L. Thorndike, Institute of Educational Research, Columbia University (1921-1922) 
  • Professor of Education and Psychology at University of Hawaii (1922-1924) 
  • Professor of Education at Columbia University, Teachers College (1924-1958) 
Major Contributions

The scientific study of personality.

Wrote twenty-one books and more than two hundred articles in the area of educational and psychological measurement, personality assessment, psychology of adolescence, and the psychology of the teacher.


Stressed the importance of dynamic psychology and nonintellectual components in personality assessment in the educational system, such as free association and Rorschach test.

His definition of ego is the same as Freud. He defined the self as the ways in which the individual reacts to himself in terms of his self-perception, self-cognition, self-valuation, and self-maintenance or enhancement.A person may not be aware of these aspects of the self and hold contrary opiinions of oneself, one conscious, the other unconscious, hence what the person says about himself may not be how he really feels about himself. If the ego is effective in mediating between external reality and internal demands the person will have a good opinion of himself; conversely, a high opinion of oneself is conducive to more effective ego-functioning.


  • Measurement in Secondary Education (1927)
  • Adolescent Fantasy (1949)
  • The Dynamics of Human Adjustment (1946)
  • Dynamics of Psychotherapy (1956-1958)
  • The Ego and the Self (1951)
References: 5, 8, 14, 17, 21, 28

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