Means That Have Been Employed
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Man has always unconsciously realized the need of vocational guidance and has employed many means to help him determine what his proper vocation should be. It can be said that the attempt to control a person's future goes back as far as the days of primitive man. Realizing that a person's fortune was dependent on two things—external circumstances and personal characteristics—he attempted to control and influence both of these by crude magical formulas. A little baby would be blessed in order that its life might be successful, and incantations were said over its cradle in order that all harm might be kept away from its door. Often a new-born babe would be dedicated to a certain profession and all its life its relatives would pray for its success in that work. These superstitious people also wore charms to ward off the evil spirits that might bring woe or even death. Great would be the sorrow of parents when some old witch cursed their child, and certain they were that the child would never escape from the dire results of that curse.
It is even possible to find a few persons who still believe in the efficacy of these old forms, and are certain that a person's fortune may be assured or ruined, according to whether or not they appeal to the powers governing all the external forces of life. Superstitious country folk still believe that some strange, occult influence may be exerted which will mold infantile abilities and propensities.
Man came finally to realize, however, that the external forces of life came and went regardless of his desires, or of anyone else's. He came, also, to realize that he was born with certain gifts and without others, and that anything he might do to change these gifts would alter them but slightly. So, instead of merely willing a person's life to follow a certain course, man is found endeavoring to pick out certain signs and symbols which would indicate just what course an individual would follow in the future. The means to this end were also varied fortune telling, palmistry, clairvoyance and the reading of horoscopes being the most popular, and considered the most reliable. From the day a baby first lay in his cradle, his every act and movement were carefully watched and analyzed in order that his parents and relatives might have some hint as to what occupation the child should follow when he grew to be a man.
There is no question that many people still believe in the efficacy of horoscopes, palmistry and clairvoyance as a final judge of what their life work should be. Prof. Hollings-worth tells in his "Vocational Psychology" of one fond father who was determined that his son should be a chemist because as a child he had been fond of pouring water from one bottle into another!
Just as reliance on the elements of crude magic was replaced by the slightly more rational reliance on the value of fortune telling and clairvoyance, so this latter belief was superseded by the stage through which we may now be said to be passing. There is no longer an attempt to control destinies by magic or to, see the future by clairvoyant means, but our personal gifts are accepted as things over which we have but slight control, and there is an attempt to fit ourselves to enter some line of work for which our natural likes and aptitudes best fit us. Phrenology, physiognomy and vocational psychology are some of the important means through which the attempt has been made to study the individual with this special purpose in mind.
Phrenology With the discovery of new medical theories, such as the circulation of the blood; with the perfection of new medical inventions, such as the microscope; and with the development of surgery came an increased interest in the nature of the human body, especially the brain and skull. When science discovered that ability to eat, to sleep, to talk, to move—in fact, the ability to do anything—was controlled by the brain, and that, when certain sections of the brain were removed, the ability to do certain things was taken away, those who had long been searching for a vocational principle to guide them jumped to the conclusion that here was a means by which they could tell just what sort of work every person was fitted to do. They believed that the external features of the skull were a perfect index to the mind and character of the individual.
All such qualities as sociability, sympathy, aggressiveness, perseverance, initiative and some thirty others were supposed to have their special little patch in the brain, and since the skull fitted so closely to the brain, it was thought that the greater the development of each of these qualities the greater would be the corresponding bump on the skull. It was then an easy matter for a person practiced in the art to "read" a person's character with his fingers.
This early "science," called Phrenology, was developed in 1798 by Dr. Franz Joseph Gall, a Viennese surgeon. Dr. Gall started when a youth with noticing the difference in his play-mates. His own difficulties in memorizing led him to observe that all persons who were gifted in that way had very prominent eyes. With his interest awakened, Dr. Gall, when a grown man, began independent research, examining many individuals in hospitals, asylums and schools, and especially noticing the heads of those who possessed some quality in marked degree. As a physician to the Hospital for Insane at Vienna he studied the various injuries to the brain. He had plaster and wax casts of skulls made, and he studied the subject continually. In 1800 he was aided in his work by Dr. J. G. Spurzheim, a noted anatomist, who constructed a scalp chart showing some thirty-five definite areas, each of which he associated with some special faculty.
In 1807 a committee appointed by the Paris Institute of Psychological Research reported very unfavorably on phrenologic practices, but Dr. George Combe of Edinburgh became converted to the science and contributed largely to its popularity. Though the early founders of the science were not far astray in some of their surmises, and though the science added much to the discovery of the facts of localization of motor and sensory functions in the brain area, nevertheless the significance of casual observations and of certain specific cases were greatly overestimated and soon gave life to the exaggerated claims of later followers of the science. Phrenological societies developed one after another, and soon the movement became entirely independent of scientific research.
Those who claim phrenology today as a science whereby character may be judged have outgrown the old system of bumps and hollows on a man's head. Nowadays the phrenologist judges character by head shape, and the relative proportions of each faculty are judged by measuring from the center of the brain. For instance, a person with a long head is supposed to manifest great mental activity, great powers of concentration and foresight. A wide head is supposed to denote aggressiveness and combativeness, while a man with a round head is likely to be a reckless person, apt to act on impulse. A man who has a retreating upper forehead is not considered likely to be a thinker or writer. If he has a narrow depressed forehead he has no genius for invention, scientific study or mechanical construction. The phrenologist believes that no talents may be contained in the head of a man which measures less than 20 inches around the base of the brain, while a man with a head measuring 22 to 25 inches must be very intellectual. Napoleon is supposed to have had the largest head in France, but there is some doubt whether all large-headed men are destined to be Napoleons!
The phrenologists of today have differed very little from Gall and Spurzheim in charting off the head. They have merely added a few faculties and so made the brain a more complex structure. For instance, the forehead is divided into three distinct portions. If, so phrenology teaches, one's forehead is developed prominently over the eyebrows, then that person is more practical than theoretical, and should be found in those occupations where a store of ready knowledge, as well as quick and practical thought, is necessary. If the middle portion of the forehead is well developed, giving a curved expression to the brow, the person will have good memory for all sorts of facts, and should make a good journalist or historian. On the other hand, if this portion recedes, the person will be one who thinks and observes well, but will never retain what he learns. With a bulging upper part to the forehead, one has great reasoning power. This sort of forehead is supposed to be found on inventors, philosophers, analysts and all who are discriminating and critical. A low, small forehead is supposed to be found on people with dull intellect, while those who have a forehead well constructed in all these three parts—high, broad and deep—will be brilliant in every way.
Just as the forehead is so minutely patterned off, so the head is divided and subdivided. Some of the main characteristics will be taken up here and their locations studied. There is "individuality," which is the faculty of noticing things. The person who can tell all about a stranger's appearance after a first meeting is a person with this faculty well developed. The phrenologists locate this faculty near the root of the nose, directly back of the eyes. On each side of this is located the ability to remember. Its development to a great extent is sup-posed to push the eyes far apart and to cause an appearance of swelling on each side of the root of the nose. Such a faculty would, of course, be desirable in almost any occupation.
Just back of the center of the eyebrows is supposed to be found the faculty of distinguishing color. A surprising number of people are color-blind and the phrenologist would say that a person with a small "color" bump could never succeed as a painter, a trainman or an artist. The man who has a place for everything and wants everything in its place is supposed to keep this characteristic hidden behind the outer angle of his eyebrows. Persons lacking in this quality would be found impossible in occupations requiring neatness as a first requisite, as they would lack system and regularity.
Mathematicians, accountants, bookkeepers and merchants re-quire the ability to calculate. According to phrenologists, this ability is located directly back of the angle of the eye, and if well developed, gives a squareness to that part of the face. So the lower part of the brow is neatly mapped off and the second and third stories are likewise tabulated. Memory, musical ability, talkativeness, benevolence, constructiveness, ideality, wit, justice, hope, secretiveness, veneration, acquisitiveness, combativeness, ambition, caution, and so forth are all given their place in the brain area and can be located with the aid of a phrenological chart. For instance, Ambition is located as above and behind Caution and on each side of Self-esteem, while Secretiveness is located as above Destructiveness and backward from Acquisitiveness.
Phrenologists also judge character by the shape of the skull. So again the phrenologist classifies men as having a high, low, narrow, wide, long or short head. If the head is high over the ears, it shows the predominance of benevolence, ideality, hope, conscientiousness, self-esteem, honesty, ambition and self-control. A person with these qualities, the phrenologist would contend, could succeed in the ministry, in law, in teaching and in medicine. The low head shows the opposite of all these characteristics. Such a person is materialistic instead of spiritual and, if such a head is broad at the eyebrows, selfishness is added to that personality.
A long-headed person is one whose head measures greatly from the ear backwards. Such people are described as sociable, strong lovers and persevering. A politician is represented as needing these qualities. A person with a short head has the opposite characteristics, is not friendly and seldom looks to the future.
Present day phrenologists are still in error. They have discarded the most palpable fallacy of their belief—that the skull could show the development of the areas in the brain—but they have not adapted their theory to scientific facts any further than this. The modem psychologist and the medical man do not admit that the various mental qualities have definite locations in the brain; if they have, the locations are unknown. Nor does the skull conform to the shape of the brain, as it varies in thickness and is separated from the brain by three membranes. Furthermore, the phrenologist seems to ignore the fact that a mental quality is relative; for instance, one cannot measure the honesty of a man who scrupulously guards the financial interests of his clients but does not hesitate to swear off his personal tax. Science has not yet definitely settled the position of functions at all. Functions are simply controlled from the brain through the medium of nerves, so that generosity does not depend on a development of any special part of the brain or body, but upon the characteristic type of reaction which the person displays to a given situation. Besides this, the phrenologists have erred in taking a few striking cases and using them as the grounds for wide generalization. The system not only is in-adequate but is apt to lead to miscalculation. For instance, the size of the brain is said to be a measure of intellectual power. Socrates, Lloyd George, Wilson, Roosevelt and Edison are pointed out as men with large heads. But many criminals and imbeciles have large heads. The phrenologist responds, to this, that other things have to be taken into consideration. There must be tests of coloring, health, education, and so forth. Often a teacher or thinker measures little around the head, and the phrenologist retorts that the shape as well as the size of the head must be considered. So, even if the phrenologist could prove that the foundations of his "science" were sound, the application would become so complicated as to be impracticable for ordinary purposes.
Physiognomy.-Phrenological practices still persist, and those who reap gains from their application try to justify themselves by saying that they do not depend entirely on a reading of the skull, but rely on body characteristics as well. The art of reading character from external appearances is known as "physiognomy." This art is founded on the belief that has long prevailed—that there is an intimate connection between the features and expressions of the face and the qualities and habits of the mind.
Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher (384–322 B. C.) detected in man some of the qualities of animals which he resembles. This theory was developed and illustrated by the French painter, Lebrun, in the seventeenth century. Lavater, a Swiss poet and theologian, was the first man to develop an elaborate system of physiognomy, the scope of which has now been enlarged so as to include all the relations between the physical and the moral and mental characteristics of man.
Physiognomy comes before phrenology historically, but in the early days it was considered a form of witchcraft and persons practicing it were much discredited. For instance, in 1597 an English law provided that "all persons fayning a knowledge of Physiognomie should be liable to be stripped and openly whipped until the body be bloudye." But when the older science came to be used to bolster up the newer science, it took on fresh life.
First of all, the physiognomist would classify a person as a fat man, a thin man or a man of mental type. According to this catalog the fat man loves the good things of life and will demand a leisurely existence. Fat men are amiable, candid and practical and are more successful as business men than as students. They are usually shrewd and learn from observation rather than from study. Famous judges, politicians, organizers and executives show a tendency toward roundness in their entire structure. Ex-President Taft would be given as an example of this type.
On the other hand, the man who is made up of muscle and bone, or the thin, wiry type of man, who has a square head, large frame, prominent features and high cheek bones, is apt to embody a certain toughness and perseverance of character; and such a person should follow a line of work requiring great activity and forcefulness. The physiognomist would catalog these men as workers rather than thinkers—men who would excel in mechanical work and executive positions. These men are the born leaders of the world. President Lincoln would be cited as an example of this type.
Then the mental type would be presented—or the man of brains. He has a high forehead and a narrow jaw and chin, which cause his face to appear triangular. The body of such a man is often frail and the hands and features are delicate. He is apt to be found studious, idealistic, highly intellectual, sensitive and refined. He would rather study and think than do manual labor, and is noted for clearness, precision and mental alertness. This is the type that does everything intensely, whether it be to love, enjoy or suffer. President Wilson would be shown you as a splendid example of the type of man known as the mental type.
Then there are the distinctions which the physiognomist makes between the blond and the brunette. The blond is supposed to possess such qualities as lack of endurance, blind optimism, fickleness, positiveness and a disposition to domineer. On the other hand, he is quick, practical, active, creative, enthusiastic, energetic and sociable, and the physiognomist would tell him that his success lay in such occupations as manufacturing, selling, politics, advertising, organizing and construction.
The brunette is described as more prone to melancholy and pessimism, with a certain lack of initiative, some superstition and no great sociability. Nevertheless, we are told, he is serious, long-enduring, careful and dependable, and would do best in following such occupations as art, music, research work, philosophy, agriculture or clerical work.
The texture of skin, hair and features is also made the basis for classification. Thus, a man with coarse skin, coarse hair and heavy features is said to be the type of man who should do heavy work and would succeed best in handling heavy tools and implements. Cowboys, miners and steel constructors are given as examples. But a man with fine hair, soft, fine skin and delicate features is thought to have happy, quick and easy mental processes. Such a person would be acute and responsive and easily affected by his surroundings. The physiognomist would place him at beautiful, delicate work, whether it were literary, artistic or scientific.
Shake hands with a person, the physiognomist tells you. If the handshake is flabby and offers no pressure, it is the hand of the idler and dreamer, who will always seek mental and physical luxury but will do little himself to gain them. Such people are described as easily influenced and often cunning in obtaining their desires. When a man shakes hands with a firm grip, as if he were really glad to see you, then it will be found that he is a person with alertness and vim and one who is apt to be resourceful, progressive and generous. But beware of the hard-handed man—he is a hard individual. Though he may be energetic and hard-working, his tendencies lead to narrow-mindedness, miserliness and often to mercilessness.
All features have their particular meaning. There is the weak chin and the strong chin. A person with a receding chin is sup-posed to be timid and afraid, and not of very high moral standards. If the chin is square and prominent, its owner would be characterized as courageous and of long endurance. If the eye is well formed and placed, and the face is broad across the eyes, that person is supposed to have the faculty of observation well developed. The furtive, shifting eye is supposed to denote criminal tendencies. A snub nose is a sign that its owner lacks firmness, and is somewhat lax in morals. If the nostrils are broad, it is a sign of an energetic, combative nature combined with selfishness and strength. The narrow nostrils are supposed to show a lack of energy and sometimes a weak mentality. The ear has its own special significance. According to the physiognomist, all people of great intelligence, philosophers and people inclined to bookishness have ears wide at the top and pointed at the bottom. A person who loves the out-of-doors and is able to do active and executive work has a square ear. Ears set close to the head show reticence, while large ears indicate the plodder and, if they are long, the person with great tenacity.
Probably one of the commonest guides to character is the lips. If they are firm-looking, the physiognomist will say that it is a sign of a resolute man or woman; if they are weak, and look as if they might easily tremble, the character is apt to be weak and trembling. If they are narrow and compressed, it is a sign of coldness, self-control and industry. If the mouth droops at the corners, it is supposed to indicate pessimism and fault finding, while, if the corners turn upwards, kindness and love of fun is indicated. Too full lips represent indolence and sensuality.
All these physiognomic facts are based on the belief that every action and every thought leave their impress on the brain and, as the face is the mirror of the brain, these thoughts are so transferred to the face and features. It is true that certain characteristic habits of thought and action do leave traces on the face of an individual. Each time one yields to some passion or desire, some trace is left upon the features. Yet character cannot be judged that way. How often the remark is heard that a person with stooped shoulders is a student. While stooped shoulders may be caused by continued studying, it does not necessarily follow that every person whose shoulders are stooped is of a studious frame of mind. A guilty person may be unable to look an honest person in the face, but that does not necessarily mean that every person with a shifting eye is a criminal or even a potential criminal. Nor is an open, honest face always an index of character, as villains often specialize in this appearance.
In short, in so far as physical characteristics result from long-continued habits, and they may so result, they may be considered as guides to moral and mental characteristics, but the dogmatic belief that there are definite relations between typical features and typical inner characteristics is unjustified. That a person is often judged by his looks cannot be denied, nor can it be denied that he is often judged wrong. When the physiognomist is able to judge correctly, it is only because years and years of repeated habit have left their traces on the face and form of the person under examination; but by the time this has happened, it is far too late in life for it to be of any use in determining fitness for any particular vocation. After all, the old expression that one cannot judge a person by appearances is pretty true, and, certainly, the facts of physiognomy are so varying, so extravagant and so contradictory that the person who is looking for a true solution of his vocational problem can use them with little or no confidence.
Vocational Psychology: Phrenology and physiognomy were of little use in helping to find a way for those who wished to fit themselves for their life work, but they served to call attention toward the fact that every person differs from every other, and that, where characteristics are similar, they are found in varying degrees. Psychologists only reluctantly lent themselves to the purposes of experimental psychology but, when laboratory experiments were begun in earnest, it was discovered that different people reacted differently to similar external conditions; and, from studying a person's behavior under scattered and uncontrolled conditions, it was but a step to studying and tabulating a person's behavior under controlled conditions or certain well-defined tests. The differences that were noted in these tests were differences between sensory and motor discrimination and were not intellectual tests, as these are known today, at all. When the examiner noted individual differences in his subjects, he tabulated these differences under such wide headings as attention, perception, memory, imagination, and so forth.
It was soon found that these fundamental faculties could be greatly divided and subdivided. For instance, a person may come out above the average in a memory test, but his memory for facts may be excellent while his memory for figures may be very poor. So the first step forward was making up and trying out a large number of tests of miscellaneous character, seemingly wholly unrelated and certainly never analyzed. These newer tests, however, were mostly intellectual in their character, and were measurements of speed and accuracy in completing certain tasks set before the subject. Clearly, all these masses of unrelated tests needed coordinating and standardizing, that records might be compared and an average set. Today these early intelligence tests are well organized and fairly uniform in standards, each test having its own "norm," as it is called, marking the ability with which the average person completes that test.
From this point it was but a step to apply the results of these tests to the actual needs of life. The tests themselves were examined, useless and unsatisfactory ones thrown out and a discard of those tests which were considered most easily influenced by external conditions was begun. First, the tests were applied to education. The names Simon and Binet are familiar to almost everyone for their series of general intelligence tests by which school children were graded and the backward pupils separated from the average. Then the tests were applied in medical circles and mental defectives were picked out from normal human beings and sent where they could be cared for without jeopardizing the welfare of the rest of humanity. And, last of all, the results of these tests have been applied as vocational guides.
There are now many types of work in which fitness is determined by certain standardized tests. These tests are slightly different in character. There is the kind of test in which a candidate for a position is given a task involving some of the actual work he will have to do if he obtains that position. For instance, if he is applying for a job as a stenographer or as a clerk he may be given some stenography and typewriting to do, or be given a test in filing.
Then there is the type of test where an attempt is made to reproduce the actual work in miniature or in another form. Apparatus is used in which conditions of actual work are as faithfully reproduced as possible. For example, in the test for telephone operators a small switchboard, closely duplicating all the conditions on an ordinary switchboard, may be used.
There is also the empirical test, for which Prof. Lough is sponsor. In this case persons who are exceptionally good at a certain occupation or exceptionally poor at it are subjected to a vast number of tests. It is found that in certain of these tests the very good person will score very high and the very poor person will score correspondingly low. So, picking out those tests which seem to be related to the particular work, as a standard, all persons desiring to enter that vocation are given these selected tests, and their ability to perform the actual work judged thereby.
The most purely psychological test is one in which no attempt is made to reproduce the conditions or apparatus required by a particular occupation, but the test given is supposed to require the same performance and the same attitude as would the original work. In other words, the attitude and the endeavor required for success in the test will insure success in the occupation.
The above types of test may be divided into two classes, de-pending on whether or not they are tests of general intelligence or tests of a person's ability to perform certain tasks set before him.
General Intelligence Tests.—After all, what is intelligence? It may be described as the ability of an individual to adjust his thinking to new requirements—mental adaptability to new problems and conditions. So, when it came to giving general intelligence tests, it was a question of testing a person's knowledge of the common things of life, the things an average person with normal intellect would pick up regardless of educational advantages. The abilities of discrimination, comparison, description of things seen or heard, the ability to form words and make them into sentences—all these are picked up more or less instinctively. Take a logical sentence, for instance. A person may know absolutely nothing about logic, but his natural intelligence would enable him to pick out a right conclusion from a wrong one, although he might be unable to tell the reasons for his choice. One of the interesting tests given by the army required the tracing with a pencil of a way through a maze. Average intelligence would enable a person to do this in a reasonable length of time. Yet many a man would trace and retrace over the same path, when his common sense ought to have told him that the reason he retraced from a certain point was because he came across a block!
Some samples of general intelligence tests may be studied. Here is a test for the ability to use collective terms:
What sort of animals would you call horses, cows, pigs and sheep? What would you call chairs, tables and carpets?
What would you call apples, pears and bananas?
What would you call bricks, mortar and cement?
There is a test known as the "Masselon test" in which one is given a list of words and asked to make sentences out of them within a certain length of time. For instance:
Pipe, match, smoke.
Hunter, dog, gun, rabbit.
Man, wood, coal, stove, dinner. Money, store, street, beggar, can.
Another type of test is that sponsored by Trabue, and known as the "completion test." In this test a series of sentences is given with blanks where words have been left out. The first sentences are easy, but the list gradually becomes harder. Here are the first two and last sentences from the Trabue Language Scale C:
The sky blue.
The boy who hard does well.
One ought to great care to the right of, for one who bad habits it hard to get away from them.
There is a test known as the "Ziehen test," which determines the ability to discriminate, compare and describe. It asks such questions as:
Tell the difference between a bird and a butterfly—a horse and an ox—wool and linen—a lie and a mistake—silent and mute, and so on.
Another form of completion test is one in which words are given with a letter or letters missing, such as:
Complete the following:
Reading backwards and upside down is another good test of general intelligence. The subject is given such words as ralucidneprep and noitacifislaf and ?ereh neeb uoy evah gnol woH. He is also given some printed matter which is upside down and is asked to read it that way. Some individuals read quite readily, but most persons take considerable time to pick out the words and phrases.
A slightly more complicated test is one which tests the ability to comprehend and explain things. For instance, the subject is asked to explain the meaning of familiar quotations such as:
The early bird catches the worm. A rolling stone gathers no moss. No man is a hero to his valet. Who spareth the rod hateth his child.
The logical test has been mentioned before, and it was pointed out that intelligent persons with no knowledge of logic are still able to pick out a correct deduction from an incorrect one. For instance:
All men are fallible; women are not men; therefore women are not fallible.
All Europeans are Caucasians; Caucasians are white; therefore all Europeans are white.
Giving opposites of words and supplying a verb with its object are other tests. Common words, like long, dead, sick, rich, summer, empty, etc., are used in the "opposites test," and in the "verb-object test" such verbs as dig, learn, mend, bake, lock, wash, etc., are used.
The appreciation of absurdities makes another good test of general intelligence. For instance:
A gentleman with his hands behind his back paced the floor reading a paper.
The engineer said the more cars he had on his train, the faster he could go.
Performance Tests.—It was soon found that the test which examined general intelligence through the use of language only had its drawbacks. For instance, there were the persons brought up in foreign-language-speaking homes. These people were not so familiar with the English language as others, and were there-fore limited in their ability to reply to language questions; and language is the foundation on which these intelligence tests are based. Deaf people, who never hear language, are also handicapped, though their intelligence may be as great as, or even greater than that of the average person. Besides, some people think and formulate their ideas slowly and, in a test where time counted, this fact would be unfavorable to the subject. So other tests were evolved where language was not a factor, and these tests were known as "performance tests."
In their earliest forms the performance tests were similar to the picture puzzles with which all children are familiar. Pictures with pieces cut out are presented to the subject, who is requested to replace the cut outs. A similar test is one in which five shapes —a square, a pentagon, a cross, a circle and an oval—are cut out of an oblong piece of wood. The pieces removed are further divided and then are to be fitted back into place by the subject. Another test consists of a group of geometrical figures numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Then, in a series of these figures, each must be numbered properly without access to the original key forms. Cancellation tests are also resorted to, in which a series of numbers are given, one line after another, and one goes through the lines picking out and canceling all the threes or all the fives, as the case may be. This is a test for quick perception. Another test, which is used in industries where quick perception combined with memory is necessary, is one in which the subject is given a number of objects to examine and is then shown about twice as many and asked to pick out those which he had seen before from those which he had not. From simple tests like these, various industries have developed very complex tests of the qualities which that industry requires, and often an expensive and elaborate equipment is necessary for the examination.
Summary.—It has been seen that phrenology and physiognomy are valueless. Phrenology is useless, because it is based on unsupported scientific facts; it has taken a few striking cases which seem to support its claims and from them has developed a set of empirical and almost ridiculous generalizations which everyday life refutes time and again; and, lastly, because the various claims are so varying and so complicated that, even if based on scientific truths, it would be impossible for the average person to use them intelligently. Physiognomy, too, is valueless, because the face mirrors thoughts and habits only after years of repetition, and it is then too late for it to be of any use in vocational guidance, assuming even that a correct reading could be made. But the facts are too varying to be reliable, and the habit of generalizing from specific cases is as misleading as in the case of phrenology. Like magic, palmistry, clairvoyance and horoscopes, phrenology and physiognomy are valueless except as historical studies showing the origin of the present-day systems of character analysis.
Looking into the mirror at one's face will not help solve life's problems. Some young people may lack certain qualities which they can cultivate, but they must know what they are. Observation may be deficient, love of work may languish, patience and perseverance may be wanting, but they may be improved when a person knows in what he must improve. It is not the face that reveals all the shortcomings of character, or all the merits of soul, but it is the inward knowledge of what a person possesses. It is almost indispensable to know whether to use check or spur, and when or where. To exercise to the full one's own talents is the best way to prosper, and a man must avail himself of the opportunities that come to him in life, regardless of what the mirror may tell him.
The weakness of psychological tests has also been shown. Reliable tests eliminating all possibility of injustice to the individual are yet to be perfected. Psychologists have not yet been able to reproduce in the laboratory the same attitude and the same mental responses as would be produced in actual work. Some people are quick in their mental processes; others are slow. So many psychological tests require a time limit that the final results are not indicative of true intelligence. The person known as a plodder, who thinks and plans carefully before he speaks, will rate low in such tests, while the person who thinks quickly, but without reasoning—the person who is superficially clever—is likely to rate high. As a matter of fact, the general intelligence of the slow person may be higher than that of the quick thinker, and he would be more dependable in actual work than the "clever" person. Besides this, there are persons of nervous temperament, to whom the very word "test" is disquieting. They become so excited and apprehensive that the result of their test is not a true guide to their abilities under ordinary circumstances. On the other hand, there is the person who enjoys a test and is stimulated by it. This person would do better work while under examination than he would do afterwards in actual work.
The power of attention plays a big part in vocational accomplishment. With a fresh mind and a set task to be accomplished only once, the result may be highly gratifying; but when it comes to actual work, and the person is forced to repeat the same processes day after day, great variation may be found between his accomplishment under test and his accomplishment in actual work. Some will work better under routine, while others will fall off, become restless and eventually be forced to give up the work altogether. Human nature is far too complicated to be readily brought under the measurements of psychology, and tabulated and indexed like the operations of a machine. Much has been accomplished, and much more, will undoubtedly be accomplished along this line, now that psychologists themselves have begun to realize the shortcomings of their own work. But for the time being, one cannot rely to any great extent on vocational psychology; one can only trust that eventually the hopes of its advocates will be realized, and that a solution of the vocational problem through psychology may result.
In the meantime other and perhaps more prosaic means of determining occupational fitness and promise will have to be relied upon.
The above is merely an outline of the subjects covered, but is sufficient for the present purpose.