Galton's Data a Century Later

Ronald C. Johnson, Gerald E. McClearn, Sylvia Yuen, Craig T. Nagoshi, Frank M. Ahern, Robert E. Cole

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A century ago, Francis Galton obtained data from thousands of individuals on a variety of sensory, psychomotor, and physical attributes. A substantial portion of these data has remained unanalyzed. In this article, we report on the reliability of the measures, developmental trends in mean scores, correlations of the measures with age, correlations among measures, occupational differences in scores, and sibling correlations. Test-retest correlations generally were very substantial. Growth continued for some individuals, especially those from lower economic strata, until they were in their mid-20s. Developmental trends during later childhood, adolescence, and early maturity were found to be similar to those described in contemporary developmental psychological literature, except that the tempo of development appears to have been slightly slower then than now. Persons from lower economic strata were smaller and weaker and showed less sensory efficiency. In addition, analyses of variance indicated that persons from lower economic strata continued their physical growth longer than persons from more advantaged environments. Sibling resemblances were substantial on most of the measures; opposite-sex siblings resembled one another less than did same-sex siblings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)875-892
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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