Common Sense Test

The Common Sense Test was an instrument used as part of the intelligence testing recruitment into the US Army in the early 1920s. It consisted of ten multiple choice questions.

Although we recognise these processes as belonging to the early history of intelligence testing, they were referred to at the time as "psychological examining", making clear that intelligence in the early twentieth century was considered an innate dimension to personality.

##The questions

Each question came with four options, and the test was footnoted as "practical judgment".

Why, for example, ought every man to be educated? Because Roosevelt was educated? Because it makes a man more useful? Because it costs money? Or because some who are educated are wise?

The other nine questions:

Why ought a grocer own an automobile?

Why is beef a better food than cabbage?

Why are doctors useful?

Why judge a man by what he does rather than what he says?

Why is the telephone more useful than the telegraph?

Why are warships painted gray?

If you find a 2 year old baby on a city street what should you do?*

Why is agriculture valuable?

Why is tennis good exercise?

* Just in case you do, the correct answer is not "Take him to the Post Office." Nor should you take him home and keep him "if he is a nice child". Interestingly, you also shouldn't ask him where he lives and take him there. The correct answer, of course, is that you should "ask the police to help you or leave him with them."

Source: Psychological Examining in the United States Army, 1921, p 208 Open Source Library