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Victoria Molinari
CONICET, UBA, UNLP, Buenos Aires
Vol. 40 Núm. 2 (2020): Managing Giftedness in Contemporary Society, Dossier, Páginas 375-398
Recibido: Jan 11, 2021 Publicado: Dec 31, 2020


This paper aims to analyze the definition of intelligence that appeared in the book Los Tests (1946) written by BélaSzékely, a Hungarian psychologist who emigrated to Argentina in 1938. Although Székely’s work was mainly related to psychoanalysis and child psychology, the publication of this compilation of psychometric tests became one of his most influential works, in which he based his observations on the ideas of Wilhelm Stern, Sigmund Freud, and Alfred Adler. The methodology used in this article is based on a qualitative and interpretative analysis of bibliographical sources from the perspectives of the critical history of psychology and intellectual history in Argentina in the 1930s and 1940s. In using this approach, I analyze what other specialists thought of intelligence, in contrast to the ideas presented by Székely. The article approaches the issue first by briefly presenting the author in question, and his position within Hungarian and Argentinian intellectual groups. Then, it studies general understandings of ‘intelligence’ and ‘intellectual level’ in Argentina around the time that Székely’s book made its first appearance and, finally, it examines to what extent his viewpoint was different. The articulation between epistemological and historical discussions allows us to reflect not only on the transformations present in scientific constructs such as intelligence but also on the implications they had within the scientific community and on a wider social and political level. If intelligence was considered to be a neutral concept, then a mere compilation of tests would be enough for its dissemination. Székely’s book made an impact because it contributed to the availability of testing technology, the popularization of said technology, and the intelligence concept.


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