The Edison questionnaire

Paul M. Dennis, Elizabethtown College


The heavily publicized and controversial general information questionnaire developed by Thomas A. Edison in 1921 has remained a neglected topic in the history of the mental test. Widely known throughout much of the nation, the Edison questionnaire influenced the popular recognition achieved by the mental test. At the same time, it contributed to a loss in the mental test's scientific credibility by (1) encouraging the development of a question‐and‐answer craze that became associated with the mental test; (2) stimulating the use of poorly constructed tests employed by businesses; and (3) associating the mental test with Edison's outrageous claim that college graduates were “amazingly ignorant.” Copyright © 1984 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company