Semeonoff-Vygotsky intelligence test, 1950-1980

1950-1980 in United Kingdom
Tavistock Publications Limited

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Two copies of the Semeonoff-Vygotsky Test, originally developed in 1937 as a means of studying thought disorders in schizophrenia, but here as a test of intelligence; consisting of 22 blocks of varying colour, shape, thickness and area of cross-section; as used by the Department of Psychology at the University of Liverpool, c.1980-2000.

The Semeonoff-Vygotsky Test consists of 22 wooden blocks of varying colour, shape and thickness. It was developed in 1937 by Boris Semeonoff (1910-1998). He adapted earlier research of fellow Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky into the way individuals form concepts. This example was used as a test of intelligence by the Department of Psychology at the University of Liverpool.

Semeonoff later explained the original test was devised to help select agents (spies and saboteurs) working for the Allies in the Second World War. ‘Aptitude’ tests that were not language based were needed because most prospective agents had languages other than English. A test that used object manipulation attained a quantitative measure in achievement in concept-related tasks.


Psychology, Psychiatry & Anthropometry
Object Number:
intelligence test
University of Liverpool (Department of Psychology)

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