Francis Galton

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Galton, Francis


Born Feb. 16, 1822, in Birmingham; died Jan. 17, 1911, in London. English psychologist and anthropologist.

After receiving an education in medicine and biology, Galton began his scientific career in geography and meteorology. Statistical analysis of the weather maps that he plotted enabled Galton to discover anticyclones and to explain them theoretically. Galton’s anthropological research received practical application in criminology, in particular in dactylography. The publication of The Origin of Species (1859) by his cousin, C. Darwin, was a turning point in Galton’s career. Under the influence of this book Galton introduced into psychology and anthropology the idea of heredity, with which he tried to explain people’s individual traits. Galton’s research in psychology focused on the problem of the genetic preconditions for the development of psychophysical characteristics and abilities in man—how they are conditioned by heredity. This research laid the foundations for differential psychology. Galton invented a number of devices to measure psychophysical features, including Galton’s whistle to measure auditory sensitivity. He was one of the first to carry out experiments on the mental processes of association and the memory of images. His study of the psychological makeup of a large group of English men of science was the first experimental analysis of the personality of the man of science. Galton developed methods for diagnosing ability that marked the beginning of aptitude testing. He devised methods for the statistical processing of the results of research, in particular, the method of calculating correlations between variables. He also worked on the technique of mass canvass by questionnaire. Upon analyzing the factors of heredity, Galton came to the conclusion that it was necessary to introduce eugenics. The limitations of Galton’s views in psychology were evident in his concept of the predetermination of the intellectual achievements of a person by his genetic resources. The reactionary political character of his views revealed itself in his attempt to present the masses as biologically inferior.


Hereditary Genius. London, 1869.
English Men of Science, Their Nature and Nurture. London, 1874.
Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development. London, 1883.


Eksperimental’naia psikhologiia. Edited by P. Fraisse and J. Piaget. Moscow, 1966. Chapter 2. (Translated from French.)
Iaroshevskii, M. G. Istoriia psikhologii. Moscow, 1966. Chapter 2.
Boring, E. G. A History of Experimental Psychology, 2nd ed. New York, 1929.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(10.) For Galton's response to the criticism of his two-part Macmillan's Magazine article, see Francis Galton, English Men of Science: Their Nature and Nurture (1874),
In an interesting coincidence, it was Darwin's half cousin Francis Galton who rose to the occasion to offer an experimental analysis of pangenesis in saying "It occurred to me when considering these theories, that the truth of Pangenesis admitted of a direct and certain test....
Intellect Sir Francis Galton was a brilliant statistician
Although questions about organisms' inborn features and how those features may (or may not) change over time go back at least to Aristotle's proposed teleological view of the epigenesis of organisms, Keller--given her interest in the language of the debate--naturally looks to the earliest use of the specific terminology (Nature versus Nurture) and the specific sense of 'separability and oppositionality' (19); she identifies Francis Galton as the first to create the 'explicit conjunction' (17) of the terms.
As suggested by Heinecken's self-published book on the subject, 1984: A Case Study in Finding an Appropriate TV Newswoman (A CBS Docudrama in Words and Pictures) (1985), these works highlighted the role that typecasting plays in the television news as networks select for certain physical features (recalling the use of composite photography by eugenics master-mind Francis Galton).
TODAY FEAST DAY OF ST ONESIMUS 1822: Francis Galton, founder of a new science called "eugenics", was born in Birmingham.
The term "eugenics" was coined by Darwin's cousin, Sir Francis Galton (born 1822 in Birmingham).
It wasn't until 1883 and the theory of evolution's ascendancy, however, that the word "eugenics" was coined by English scientist Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin.
The highlight of the book is chapter three, in which Novak offers a brilliant and original reading of Eliot's representation of Daniel in Daniel Deronda by pairing the novel with Francis Galton's composite photographs of racial types.
It was during this time that pioneers such as Sir Francis Galton and Edward Henry contributed to the development of modern fingerprint identification, which became the linchpin of investigations.
In the year 1886, Sir Francis Galton, a Victorian scientist, developed a technique to predict the height of children.