Herman H. Spitz

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Herman H. Spitz
Born (1925-03-02) March 2, 1925 (age 93)
Paterson, New Jersey
Citizenship American
Fields Psychometrics, Intellectual disability
Institutions Trenton State Hospital,
E. R. Johnstone Training and Research Center
Alma mater Lafayette College,
New York University
Known for Mental retardation studies

Herman H. Spitz is an American psychologist known for his work measuring intelligence among those with developmental disability. He was Director of Research at the E.R. Johnstone Training and Research Center, which was a State Institution for upper level mentally retarded adolescents and young adults, in Bordentown, New Jersey, until he retired in 1989.

Spitz studied concepts such as mental age,[1] and the abilities of autistic savants.[2] He co-authored a survey of attempts to raise intelligence among people with mental retardation.[3] He reported on programs like the Carolina Abecedarian Early Intervention Project which advocated the early education of poor children.[4] Through use of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, he reported that the Flynn effect of massive intelligence quotient gains in a single generation in many nations only applied to people in the average intelligence range.[5] He also looked at the hereditarian hypothesis for general intelligence factor by examining Wechsler subtest patterns among mentally retarded test-takers.[6] He published 2 books and over 100 papers in scholarly journals and books. His last book was Nonconscious Movements: From Mystical Messages to Facilitated Communication, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (1997).

In 1994 he was one of 52 signatories on "Mainstream Science on Intelligence,[7]" an editorial written by Linda Gottfredson and published in the Wall Street Journal, which declared the consensus of the signing scholars on the measurement and significance of intelligence following the publication of the book The Bell Curve.


  1. Spitz HH (1982). Intellectual Extremes, Mental Age, and the Nature of Human Intelligence. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly v28 n2 p167-92 Apr 1982
  2. Spitz HH (1995). Calendar calculating idiots savants and the smart unconscious. New Ideas in Psychology
  3. Spitz HH (1986). The Raising of Intelligence: A Selected History of Attempts to Raise Retarded Intelligence. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  4. Spitz HH (1992). Does the Carolina Abecedarian Early Intervention Project Prevent Sociocultural Mental Retardation? Intelligence v16 n2 p225-37 Apr-Jun 1992
  5. Spitz HH (1989). Variations in Wechsler Interscale IQ Disparities at Different Levels of IQ. Intelligence v13 n2 p157-67 Apr-Jun 1989
  6. Spitz HH (1988). Wechsler Subtest Patterns of Mentally Retarded Groups: Relationship to "g" and to Estimates of Heritability. Intelligence v12 n3 p279-97 Jul-Sep 1988
  7. Gottfredson, Linda (December 13, 1994). Mainstream Science on Intelligence. Wall Street Journal, p A18.