Anne Anastasi

National Medal of Science

Behavioral And Social Science

For her work in the development of the discipline of differential psychology as a behavioral science, which illuminates the way traits are influenced by heredity and environment and the methods by which traits and human characteristics are measured.

For her work in the development of the discipline of differential psychology as a behavioral science, which illuminates the way traits are influenced by heredity and environment and the methods by which traits and human characteristics are measured.

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Birth
December 19, 1908
Age Awarded
79
Country of Birth
USA
Key Contributions
Pioneered Psychometrics
Awarded by
Ronald Wilson Reagan
Education
Barnard College
Columbia University
Areas of Impact
Health & Medicine
Affiliations
Fordham University
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For years, scientists have wondered whether personality traits originate with heredity or influence from our environments. In the 1950s, however, one psychologist questioned the polarity of this “nature versus nurture” debate, pleading for researchers to instead contemplate the interaction of the two factors.

Nicknamed the “test guru,” Anne Anastasi, a pioneer of psychometrics, questioned the measurement by which these psychological capabilities are evaluated.

In her 1983 essay, Anastasi questioned America’s obsession over IQ – intelligence quotient – explaining how the term’s frequent misuse assumes that intelligence is inherited and doesn’t change over one’s lifetime.

As a result, Anastasi also argued that psychological tests gauging traits like personality or intelligence could not be created without cultural bias that might skew results.

“It is apparent that we cannot speak of inferiority and superiority, but only of specific differences in aptitudes and personality between the sexes,” she said. “These differences are largely the result of cultural and other experiential factors.”

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