Born: 1908, New York, USA Nat: American Ints: Clinical psychology, educational psychology, evaluation and measurement, general psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, personality and social psychology Educ: BA Barnard College, 1928; PhD Columbia University, 1930 Appts & awards: President, Eastern Psychological Association, 1946; Professor of Psychology, Graduate school of Arts and Sciences, Fordham University, 1947; Hon. DLitt University of Windsor, Canada, 1967; APA Distinguished Scientific award, 1971; Hon. PaedD Villanova University, 1971; President, APA, 1971; Hon. SciD Cedar Crest College, 1971; Education Testing Service Award, 1977; Hon. SciD Fordham University, 1979; Hon. SciD La Salle University, 1979; APA E.L. Thorndike Medal, 1983; APF Gold Medal, 1984
Anne Anastasi's father died when she was one year old. Soon afterwards her maternal relatives became estranged from her father's family and she never met any of them. Anastasi was educated at home by her grandmother. She started attending public school at the age of nine and graduated at the top of her class. When she enrolled at Barnard College, New York, in 1924 she had intended to major in mathematics but was attracted to psychology partly through her reading of Spearman's work on correlation coefficients. After graduating she enrolled for a PhD at Columbia University under the supervision of H.E. Garrett.
There she met her future husband, John Porter Foley Jr, who was also completing a PhD. They were married in 1933 and and a year later she was diagnosed with cancer, the treatment for which left her unable to have children. Jobs being scarce at the time Anastasi took a position at Barnard College and Foley worked in Washington. Later Foley secured a position with the Psychological Corporation in New York City, where they have lived ever since.
The name ‘Anastasi’ has come to be synonymous with ‘psychometrics’ for several generations of students and professionals because of the immense popularity of the many editions of her standard texts on psychometrics. These grew out of courses that she taught throughout her academic career, and are characterized by their engaging style, their attempt to explain complex statistical terms as simply as possible, and their broad, eclectic approach to psychology. For example. Anne Anastasi's treatment of the formation of psychological traits draws upon models of animal experimentation, infant behaviour and educational psychology, as well as the more obvious forms of psychological research. Fields of Applied Psychology similarly introduces a wide range of applications of psychological principles. Anastasi was interested in understanding the underlying causes of ability long before such process models were widely popular. She made seminal contributions to our understanding of the origins of traits and the relationship between life history, intelligence and variables as diverse as family size, creativity and the content of drawings of hospitalized psychiatric patients.
This generalist approach has a number of benefits. Perhaps the major one is that Anastasi does not become mesmerized by psychometric minutiae, but instead pays due attention to the psychological content of psychometric measures, the link between psychometric tests and other areas of psychology, and the social context of mental testing. Her books tell a compelling story of how properly constructed, well-validated and psychologically well-founded mental tests can prove valuable in both theoretical and applied fields provided that the underlying sociocultural, developmental and cognitive processes are well understood. Through them she has made a real and substantial contribution to the science of psychometrics and to good testing practice.
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