The Biography of L.L. Thurstone Essay
The Biography of L.L. Thurstone
Throughout Thurstone’s childhood he and his family suffered through the difficulty of having their name mispronounced and misspelled and thus the ThunstrO? m family changed their family name to Thurstone. Thurstone’s educational career began in grade school in Berwyn Illinois, and it was at the age of eight that the Thurstone family migrated to Stockholm, Sweden where L. L. studied the swedish language in order to assimilate into this new environment presented to him. After many years in their native country, the Thurstone family decided to move back to the U. S. A, specifically Jamestown, New York in 1901.
Moving from Stockholm, Sweden back to the U. S proved to be an issue, and Thurstone had to relearn the english language by having tutoring sessions with a school principal. As a young child he earned his first award as a geometry contest winner. He won thirty dollars, and used that to buy objects that pertained to his hobbies. As a sophomore in high school he would then come to publish an article in the scientific journal the Scientific American on the ?issue of water consumption and the energy being used by the power companies and tourists in the Niagara Falls area.
Continuing his educational career, after graduating high school Thurstone went on to pursue a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering at Cornell, but then later changed his major to electrical engineering. While pursuing his degree, Thurstone developed the motion picture camera and the projector, which unlike the older projectors, moved at a continuos and uniform manner. After developing and patenting these projects he went to Thomas Edison in his New Jersey lab to show what he had accomplished. Edison took Thurstone’s machines and reviewed them.
While Edison reviewed Thurstone’s work, Thurstone revisited his interest in the psychology behind what is machine design. Thurstone wanted to research how it was that the operator learned the visual-motor coordination necessary to use a particular machine, which in later years became known as human engineering. Thurstone wanted to understand learning as a function. In order to understand learning as a function Thurstone visited and partook in lectures by professor Madison Bentley and E. B. Tichnener. One of the professors that most inspired Thurstone was engineering professor Dexter Kimball.
Kimball taught the idea of the psychological history of machines which greatly interested Thurstone It was later in his life when Thurstone would recollect on the teaching manner of Kimball and later use the same teaching techniques himself. After a long examination of the machines Thurstone had presented to Edison, Thurstone finally heard back from Edison; it was 1912 when Edison was offering him an assistantship at his New Jersey laboratory. It wasn’t until after Thurstone received his Masters in Engineering that he ?would come to accept this position.
Edison was another person that influenced Thurstone, in the same way that Edison would experiment and review his projects a thousand or more times, as would Thurstone, which proved to be helpful later in his career. Following his assistantship with Edison, Thurstone became an instructor at the engineering college of the University of Minnesota, and his courses included geometry and drafting. While an instructor at the University of Minnesota, Thurstone enrolled in a graduate program course that focused on experimental psychology. This course was taught by Herbert Woodrow and J.
B. Miner and interested Thurstone, because of his interest in learning as a function. He first approached this course through the educational lens, but than saw it best to see it through the psychological perspective, which interested him the most. After finding this new passion for psychology he then became the assistant in the new Division of Applied Psychology at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he was an assistant for two years. After completing his assistantship, Thurstone received his PhD. in psychology in 1917. To receive his PhD. e wrote his dissertation on the learning curve, one of his favorite topics. Three years after receiving his PhD. Thurstone started the journey of Thurstone’s leadership role in the psychology departments throughout his professional career. In 1920 he served as a chairman in the psychology department at Carnegie Institute of Technology. After serving as the chairman, a government supported institute for research contacted him to make manuals and other materials to stimulate the improvement of civil service examination, which began his journey in the world of human examination.
After being granted support from the government he was granted access to the American Council on Education (ACE) who asked him to make an examination of their own. This examination was to guide college admission ?decisions. While constructing his exams he asked his college sweetheart, Thelma Gwinn to work alongside him. Like Thurstone, Thelma wished to pursue a PhD. in Psychology and thus they both moved to the University of Chicago around 1924, the same time Gwinn and Thurstone married.
While Thurstone was associate professor of psychology, Gwinn birthed three sons and pursued her PhD in psychology. As associate professor Thurstone taught courses on statistics and mental test theory, his specialized subject. This mental test theory class consisted of the assumption of normality within age groups and estimated the mean and variance at each age, causing the mental test theory. While associate professor at University of Chicago, Thurstone published many articles in the Psychological Review and American Psychological Association (APA) from 1926 to 1928.
While contributing articles to the many journals in the psychology community Thurstone also contributed by creating a basis of psychological measurement that was in contrast to Fechner, Muller, and Titchener. His measurement accommodates to to the intelligence, ability or achievements and attitudes or opinion; a psychology construct that lacks any direct physical correlation with what the other psychologist thought of. The method he used was the use of judges and a scale.
After working at the University of Chicago for many years Thurstone was finally granted an office space in the building of social sciences which he converted into his psychometrics laboratory. After building this lab he started writing a series of psychometric lab reports, which consisted of precisely 81. While working at the University of Chicago at his psychometrics lab during WWI he authored vocational tests for classifying military personnel and from 1919 through 1923 he authored tests of intelligence, clergical skills, engineering aptitude and ingenuity. After Thurstone authored his examinations, he and Gwinn joined together and authored annual editions of ACE examinations for high school seniors and college freshmen and the success of his examinations came from his training in engineering which made him take into consideration the different variables never considered before. It was in this time that the Work Progress Administration contacted him and asked for an exam on their behalf, after having done many examination it came to the conclusion that Thurstone had authored 57 or so examinations.
In result he constructed the Primary Mental Abilities (PMA) and around this time he gained access to the Chicago public when Gwinn became a psychology instructor at Chicago Teachers College in 1938, which provided access to a broader range in ages for his mental test examinations. This access brought about the beginning to many opportunities for Thurstone such as co-founding the Science Research Associates and agreeing to be chief examiner at the University of Chicago for a course that gave credit to students vi examination.
In the passing years he became president of the Midwestern Psychological Association, President of the APA, President of the Psychometrics society, gained membership to the National Academy of Science along with 17 other psychologist, was a Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, President of APA’s Division on Evaluation and Measurement and Honorary Fellow of the British Psychological Society.
During WWII Thurstone continued his work as an examiner and served as a member of the committee on classification on military personnel of the U. S. Adjutant General’s Office and authored psychological tests for the selection of military and classification of the soldiers. After working for the military for quite some time Thurstone received grants for research which led to employment tests, hedonic scales, and create and experimentally evaluate objective tests for a measurement of human temperament.
From the years of 1948 to 1949 he became a visiting psychology professor at the University of Frankfort and around this time he built a seminar room in home and had visiting professors and speakers from inside and outside of the U. S. A couple years after establishing his seminar room the Thurstone-Gwinn family moved to North Carolina due to the fact that Thurstone had reached 65 and had to retire from the University of Chicago. At his home in North Carolina e still had seminars and re-established his psychometrics in the Nash Hall and continued his lab reports. It wasn’t until September 19th of 1955 when Thurstone Died. It surprised many since Thurstone had scheduled to be a visiting professor at the University of Stockholm a year before and had scheduled many seminars in between. To continue his great mental test examinations, Thelma Gwinn succeeded him as the director of the Psychometrics Lab. Thurstone had contributed many ideas and authored many examinations which still remain prevalent to this day.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 25 May 2018
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