SIR FRANCIS GALTON, FRS (/ˈfrɑːnsɪs ˈɡɔːltən/ ; 16 February 1822 – 17 January 1911) was an English Victorian statistician , progressive , polymath , sociologist , psychologist , anthropologist , eugenicist , tropical explorer , geographer , inventor , meteorologist , proto-geneticist , and psychometrician . He was knighted in 1909.
Galton produced over 340 papers and books. He also created the statistical concept of correlation and widely promoted regression toward the mean . He was the first to apply statistical methods to the study of human differences and inheritance of intelligence , and introduced the use of questionnaires and surveys for collecting data on human communities, which he needed for genealogical and biographical works and for his anthropometric studies.
He was a pioneer in eugenics , coining the term itself and the
phrase "nature versus nurture ". His book
As an investigator of the human mind, he founded psychometrics (the science of measuring mental faculties) and differential psychology and the lexical hypothesis of personality. He devised a method for classifying fingerprints that proved useful in forensic science . He also conducted research on the power of prayer , concluding it had none by its null effects on the longevity of those prayed for. His quest for the scientific principles of diverse phenomena extended even to the optimal method for making tea.
As the initiator of scientific meteorology , he devised the first
weather map , proposed a theory of anticyclones , and was the first to
establish a complete record of short-term climatic phenomena on a
European scale. He also invented the Galton Whistle for testing
differential hearing ability. He was
* 1 Early life
* 2 Middle years
* 3 Heredity and eugenics
* 4 Model for population stability
* 5 Empirical test of pangenesis and
* 7 Innovations in statistics and psychological theory
* 7.2 The lexical hypothesis
* 7.3 The questionnaire
Variance and standard deviation
* 7.5 Experimental derivation of the normal distribution
Bivariate normal distribution
* 8 Fingerprints * 9 Final years * 10 Honours and impact * 11 Major works * 12 See also * 13 References * 14 Further reading * 15 External links
Galton was born at "The Larches", a large house in the Sparkbrook
He was cousin of
Douglas Strutt Galton and half-cousin of Charles
Darwin and both families boasted Fellows of the
Galton was by many accounts a child prodigy – he was reading by the
age of two; at age five he knew some Greek ,
Men who leave their mark on the world are very often those who, being gifted and full of nervous power, are at the same time haunted and driven by a dominant idea, and are therefore within a measurable distance of insanity
Galton attended King Edward\'s School,
According to the records of the
United Grand Lodge of England
A severe nervous breakdown altered Galton's original intention to try
for honours. He elected instead to take a "poll" (pass) B.A. degree,
like his half-cousin
In his early years Galton was an enthusiastic traveller, and made a
notable solo trip through Eastern Europe to
In 1850 he joined the
Royal Geographical Society
In January 1853, Galton met Louisa Jane Butler (1822–1897) at his neighbour's home and they were married on 1 August 1853. The union of 43 years proved childless. Louisa Jane Butler
Galton was a polymath who made important contributions in many fields
of science, including meteorology (the anti-cyclone and the first
popular weather maps), statistics (regression and correlation),
psychology (synaesthesia ), biology (the nature and mechanism of
heredity), and criminology (fingerprints). Much of this was influenced
by his penchant for counting or measuring. Galton prepared the first
weather map published in
He became very active in the British Association for the Advancement of Science , presenting many papers on a wide variety of topics at its meetings from 1858 to 1899 (Bulmer 2003 , p. 29). He was the general secretary from 1863 to 1867, president of the Geographical section in 1867 and 1872, and president of the Anthropological Section in 1877 and 1885. He was active on the council of the Royal Geographical Society for over forty years, in various committees of the Royal Society, and on the Meteorological Council.
James McKeen Cattell
In 1888, Galton established a lab in the science galleries of the South Kensington Museum. In Galton's lab, participants could be measured to gain knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses. Galton also used these data for his own research. He would typically charge people a small fee for his services.
During this time, Galton wrote a controversial letter to the Times titled 'Africa for the Chinese', where he argued that the Chinese, as a race capable of high civilisation and only temporarily stunted by the recent failures of Chinese dynasties, should be encouraged to immigrate to Africa and displace the supposedly inferior aboriginal blacks.
HEREDITY AND EUGENICS
Galton in his later years
The publication by his cousin
Galton devoted much of the rest of his life to exploring variation in human populations and its implications, at which Darwin had only hinted. In so doing, he established a research program which embraced multiple aspects of human variation, from mental characteristics to height; from facial images to fingerprint patterns. This required inventing novel measures of traits, devising large-scale collection of data using those measures, and in the end, the discovery of new statistical techniques for describing and understanding the data.
Galton was interested at first in the question of whether human
ability was hereditary , and proposed to count the number of the
relatives of various degrees of eminent men. If the qualities were
hereditary, he reasoned, there should be more eminent men among the
relatives than among the general population. To test this, he invented
the methods of historiometry . Galton obtained extensive data from a
broad range of biographical sources which he tabulated and compared in
various ways. This pioneering work was described in detail in his book
Galton recognised the limitations of his methods in these two works, and believed the question could be better studied by comparisons of twins. His method envisaged testing to see if twins who were similar at birth diverged in dissimilar environments, and whether twins dissimilar at birth converged when reared in similar environments. He again used the method of questionnaires to gather various sorts of data, which were tabulated and described in a paper The history of twins in 1875. In so doing he anticipated the modern field of behaviour genetics , which relies heavily on twin studies . He concluded that the evidence favoured nature rather than nurture. He also proposed adoption studies , including trans-racial adoption studies, to separate the effects of heredity and environment.
Galton recognised that cultural circumstances influenced the
capability of a civilisation's citizens, and their reproductive
success . In
The best form of civilization in respect to the improvement of the race, would be one in which society was not costly; where incomes were chiefly derived from professional sources, and not much through inheritance; where every lad had a chance of showing his abilities, and, if highly gifted, was enabled to achieve a first-class education and entrance into professional life, by the liberal help of the exhibitions and scholarships which he had gained in his early youth; where marriage was held in as high honour as in ancient Jewish times; where the pride of race was encouraged (of course I do not refer to the nonsensical sentiment of the present day, that goes under that name); where the weak could find a welcome and a refuge in celibate monasteries or sisterhoods, and lastly, where the better sort of emigrants and refugees from other lands were invited and welcomed, and their descendants naturalised. (p. 362)
Galton invented the term eugenics in 1883 and set down many of his observations and conclusions in a book, Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development . He believed that a scheme of 'marks' for family merit should be defined, and early marriage between families of high rank be encouraged by provision of monetary incentives. He pointed out some of the tendencies in British society, such as the late marriages of eminent people, and the paucity of their children, which he thought were dysgenic . He advocated encouraging eugenic marriages by supplying able couples with incentives to have children. On 29 October 1901, Galton chose to address eugenic issues when he delivered the second Huxley lecture at the Royal Anthropological Institute.
MODEL FOR POPULATION STABILITY
Sir Francis Galton, 1890s
Galton's formulation of regression and its link to the bivariate
normal distribution can be traced to his attempts at developing a
mathematical model for population stability. Although Galton's first
attempt to study Darwinian questions,
Galton's solution to this problem was presented in his Presidential
Address at the September 1885 meeting of the British Association for
the Advancement of Science , as he was serving at the time as
President of Section H: Anthropology. The address was published in
Nature , and Galton further developed the theory in "Regression toward
mediocrity in hereditary stature" and "
Galton's development of the law of regression to the mean, or
reversion, was due to insights from the quincunx and his studies of
sweet peas. While Galton had previously invented the quincunx prior to
February 1874, the 1877 version of the quincunx had a new feature that
helped Galton demonstrate that a normal mixture of normal
distributions is also normal. Galton demonstrated this using a new
version of quincunx, adding shoots to the apparatus to represent
reversion. When the pellets passed through the curved shoots
(representing reversion) and then the pins (representing family
variability), the result was a stable population. On Friday, February
19, 1877, Galton gave a lecture entitled "Typical Laws of Heredity" at
In 1875, Galton started growing sweet peas and addressed the Royal Institution on his findings on February 9, 1877. He found that each group of progeny seeds followed a normal curve, and the curves were equally disperse. Each group was not centered about the parent's weight, but rather at a weight closer to the population average. Galton called this reversion, as every progeny group was distributed at a value that was closer to the population average than the parent. The deviation from the population average was in the same direction, but the magnitude of the deviation was only one-third as large. In doing so, Galton demonstrated that there was variability among each of the families, yet the families combined to produce a stable, normally distributed population. When Galton addressed the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1885, he said of his investigation of sweet peas, "I was then blind to what I now perceive to be the simple explanation of the phenomenon."
Galton was able to further his notion of regression by collecting and analyzing data on human stature. Galton asked for help of mathematician J. Hamilton Dickson in investigating the geometric relationship of the data. He determined that the regression coefficient did not ensure population stability by chance, but rather that the regression coefficient, conditional variance, and population were interdependent quantities related by a simple equation. Thus Galton identified that the linearity of regression was not coincidental but rather was a necessary consequence of population stability.
The model for population stability resulted in Galton's formulation of the Law of Ancestral Heredity. This law, which was published in Natural Inheritance, states that the two parents of an offspring jointly contribute one half of an offspring's heritage, while the other, more-removed ancestors constitute a smaller proportion of the offspring's heritage. Galton viewed reversion as a spring, that when stretched, would return the distribution of traits back to the normal distribution. He concluded that evolution would have to occur via discontinuous steps, as reversion would neutralize any incremental steps. When Mendel\'s principles were rediscovered in 1900, this resulted in a fierce battle between the followers of Galton's Law of Ancestral Heredity, the biometricians, and those who advocated for Mendel's principles.
EMPIRICAL TEST OF PANGENESIS AND LAMARCKISM
Galton conducted wide-ranging inquiries into heredity which led him to challenge Charles Darwin's hypothesis of pangenesis . Darwin had proposed as part of this model that certain particles, which he called "gemmules " moved throughout the body and were also responsible for the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Galton, in consultation with Darwin, set out to see if they were transported in the blood. In a long series of experiments in 1869 to 1871, he transfused the blood between dissimilar breeds of rabbits, and examined the features of their offspring. He found no evidence of characters transmitted in the transfused blood (Bulmer 2003 , pp. 116–118).
Darwin challenged the validity of Galton's experiment, giving his reasons in an article published in Nature where he wrote:
Now, in the chapter on Pangenesis in my Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication I have not said one word about the blood, or about any fluid proper to any circulating system. It is, indeed, obvious that the presence of gemmules in the blood can form no necessary part of my hypothesis; for I refer in illustration of it to the lowest animals, such as the Protozoa, which do not possess blood or any vessels; and I refer to plants in which the fluid, when present in the vessels, cannot be considered as true blood. The fundamental laws of growth, reproduction, inheritance, therefore the means can hardly be diffusion through the blood. Nevertheless, when I first heard of Mr. Galton's experiments, I did not sufficiently reflect on the subject, and saw not the difficulty of believing in the presence of gemmules in the blood.
Galton explicitly rejected the idea of the inheritance of acquired
This approach was later taken up enthusiastically by
ANTHROPOMETRIC LABORATORY AT THE 1884 INTERNATIONAL HEALTH EXHIBITION
In 1884, London hosted the International Health Exhibition. This
exhibition placed a lot of emphasis on highlighting Victorian
developments in sanitation and public health, and allowed for the
nation to display its advanced public health outreach, compared to
other countries at the time.
Though the laboratory did not employ any revolutionary measurement techniques, it was unique because of the simple logistics of constructing such a demonstration within a limited space and have it quickly and efficiently be able to gather all the necessary data. The laboratory itself was a see through (lattice-walled) fenced off gallery measuring 36 feet long by 6 feet long. In order to efficiently collect data, Galton had to make the process as simple as possible for people to understand. As a result, people were taken through the laboratory in pairs so that explanations could be given to two-people at a time also so that, ideally, one of the two would confidently take initiative to go through all the tests first in order to encourage the other. This design made it so that the total time spent in the exhibit was fourteen minutes for each pair.
Galton states that the measurements of human characteristics are useful for two reasons. First, he states that measuring physical characteristics is useful in order to ensure, on a more domestic level, that children are developing properly. A useful example he gives for the practicality of these domestic measurements are regularly checking your child’s eye sight, in order to correct any deficiencies early on. The second use for the data from his anthropometric laboratory is for statistical studies. He comments on the usefulness of the collected data to compare attributes across occupations, residences, races, etc. The exhibit at the health exhibition allowed Galton to collect an incredible amount of raw data from which to conduct further comparative studies. He had 9,337 respondents and each respondent was measured in 17 categories, creating a rather comprehensive statistical database.
After the conclusion of the International Health Exhibition, Galton used this data in order to confirm his theory of linear regression, that he had posed after studied sweet peas, in relation to humans. The accumulation of this human data allowed him to observe the correlation between forearm length and height, head width and head breadth, and head length and height. With these observations he was able to write “Co-relations and their Measurements, chiefly from Anthropometric Data". In this publication, Galton defined what co-relation as a phenomenon that occurs when "the variation of the one is accompanied on the average by more or less variation of the other, and in the same direction."
INNOVATIONS IN STATISTICS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL THEORY
The method used in
THE LEXICAL HYPOTHESIS
Sir Francis was the first scientist to recognise what is now known as the lexical hypothesis . This is the idea that the most salient and socially relevant personality differences in people's lives will eventually become encoded into language. The hypothesis further suggests that by sampling language, it is possible to derive a comprehensive taxonomy of human personality traits .
Galton's inquiries into the mind involved detailed recording of
people's subjective accounts of whether and how their minds dealt with
phenomena such as mental imagery . To better elicit this information,
he pioneered the use of the questionnaire . In one study, he asked his
fellow members of the
VARIANCE AND STANDARD DEVIATION
Core to any statistical analysis is the concept that measurements vary: they have both a central tendency , or mean, and a spread around this central value, or variance . In the late 1860s, Galton conceived of a measure to quantify normal variation: the standard deviation .
Galton was a keen observer. In 1906, visiting a livestock fair, he stumbled upon an intriguing contest. An ox was on display, and the villagers were invited to guess the animal's weight after it was slaughtered and dressed. Nearly 800 participated, and Galton was able to study their individual entries after the event. Galton stated that "the middlemost estimate expresses the vox populi, every other estimate being condemned as too low or too high by a majority of the voters", and reported this value (the median , in terminology he himself had introduced, but chose not to use on this occasion) as 1,207 pounds. To his surprise, this was within 0.8% of the weight measured by the judges. Soon afterwards, in response to an enquiry, he reported the mean of the guesses as 1,197 pounds, but did not comment on its improved accuracy. Recent archival research has found some slips in transmitting Galton's calculations to the original article in Nature: the median was actually 1,208 pounds, and the dressed weight of the ox 1,197 pounds, so the mean estimate had zero error. James Surowiecki uses this weight-judging competition as his opening example: had he known the true result, his conclusion on the wisdom of the crowd would no doubt have been more strongly expressed.
The same year, Galton suggested in a letter to the journal Nature a better method of cutting a round cake by avoiding making radial incisions.
EXPERIMENTAL DERIVATION OF THE NORMAL DISTRIBUTION
Galton's 1889 illustration of the quincunx or bean machine .
Studying variation, Galton invented the quincunx, a pachinko -like device also known as the bean machine , as a tool for demonstrating the law of error and the normal distribution (Bulmer 2003 , p. 4).
BIVARIATE NORMAL DISTRIBUTION
He also discovered the properties of the bivariate normal distribution and its relationship to regression analysis .
CORRELATION AND REGRESSION
Galton's correlation diagram 1886
In 1846, the French physicist Auguste Bravais (1811–1863) first developed what would become the correlation coefficient. After examining forearm and height measurements, Galton independently rediscovered the concept of correlation in 1888 (Bulmer 2003 , pp. 191–196) and demonstrated its application in the study of heredity, anthropology, and psychology. Galton's later statistical study of the probability of extinction of surnames led to the concept of Galton–Watson stochastic processes (Bulmer 2003 , pp. 182–184). This is now a core of modern statistics and regression.
Galton invented the use of the regression line (Bulmer 2003 , p. 184) and for the choice of r (for reversion or regression) to represent the correlation coefficient.
In the 1870s and 1880s he was a pioneer in the use of normal theory to fit histograms to actual tabulated data, much of which he collected himself: for instance large samples of sibling and parental height. Consideration of the results from these empirical studies led to his further insights into evolution, natural selection, and regression to the mean.
REGRESSION TO MEDIOCRITY
Galton was the first to describe and explain the common phenomenon of regression toward the mean , which he first observed in his experiments on the size of the seeds of successive generations of sweet peas.
The conditions under which regression toward the mean occurs depend on the way the term is mathematically defined. Galton first observed the phenomenon in the context of simple linear regression of data points. Galton developed the following model: pellets fall through a quincunx or "bean machine " forming a normal distribution centered directly under their entrance point. These pellets could then be released down into a second gallery (corresponding to a second measurement occasion. Galton then asked the reverse question "from where did these pellets come?"
The answer was not "on average directly above". Rather it was "on average, more towards the middle", for the simple reason that there were more pellets above it towards the middle that could wander left than there were in the left extreme that could wander to the right, inwards (p. 477)
THEORIES OF PERCEPTION
Galton went beyond measurement and summary to attempt to explain the phenomena he observed. Among such developments, he proposed an early theory of ranges of sound and hearing , and collected large quantities of anthropometric data from the public through his popular and long-running Anthropometric Laboratory, which he established in 1884, and where he studied over 9,000 people. It was not until 1985 that these data were analysed in their entirety.
Galton's study of human abilities ultimately led to the foundation of differential psychology and the formulation of the first mental tests. He was interested in measuring humans in every way possible. This included measuring their ability to make sensory discrimination which he assumed was linked to intellectual prowess. Galton suggested that individual differences in general ability are reﬂected in performance on relatively simple sensory capacities and in speed of reaction to a stimulus, variables that could be objectively measured by tests of sensory discrimination and reaction time. He also measured how quickly people reacted which he later linked to internal wiring which ultimately limited intelligence ability. Throughout his research Galton assumed that people who reacted faster were more intelligent than others.
Galton also devised a technique called "composite portraiture "
(produced by superimposing multiple photographic portraits of
individuals' faces registered on their eyes) to create an average face
(see averageness ). In the 1990s, a hundred years after his discovery,
much psychological research has examined the attractiveness of these
faces, an aspect that Galton had remarked on in his original lecture.
This work began in the 1880s while the Jewish scholar Joseph Jacobs studied anthropology and statistics with Francis Galton. Jacobs asked Galton to create a composite photograph of a Jewish type. One of Jacobs' first publications that used Galton's composite imagery was "The Jewish Type, and Galton's Composite Photographs," Photographic News, 29, (24 April 1885): 268–269.
Galton hoped his technique would aid medical diagnosis, and even criminology through the identification of typical criminal faces. However, his technique did not prove useful and fell into disuse, although after much work on it including by photographers Lewis Hine and John L. Lovell and Arthur Batut .
The method of identifying criminals by their fingerprints had been introduced in the 1860s by Sir William James Herschel in India, and their potential use in forensic work was first proposed by Dr Henry Faulds in 1880, but Galton was the first to place the study on a scientific footing, which assisted its acceptance by the courts (Bulmer 2003 , p. 35). Galton pointed out that there were specific types of fingerprint patterns. He described and classified them into eight broad categories: 1: plain arch, 2: tented arch, 3: simple loop, 4: central pocket loop, 5: double loop, 6: lateral pocket loop, 7: plain whorl, and 8: accidental.
Francis Galton, aged 87, on the stoep at Fox Holm, Cobham, with
In an effort to reach a wider audience, Galton worked on a novel entitled Kantsaywhere from May until December 1910. The novel described a utopia organised by a eugenic religion, designed to breed fitter and smarter humans. His unpublished notebooks show that this was an expansion of material he had been composing since at least 1901. He offered it to Methuen for publication, but they showed little enthusiasm. Galton wrote to his niece that it should be either "smothered or superseded". His niece appears to have burnt most of the novel, offended by the love scenes, but large fragments survived, and it was published online by University College London.
HONOURS AND IMPACT
Over the course of his career Galton received many major awards,
* Silver Medal, French Geographical Society (1854)
* Gold Medal of the
Galton was knighted in 1909. His statistical heir
The flowering plant genus Galtonia was named in his honour.
* Galton, Francis (1853). Narrative of an Explorer in Tropical South
* Galton, F. (1869).
* Biography portal
A Large Attendance in the Antechamber , a play about Galton
* ^ "Sir
* ^ Francis Galton, Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development
(London, England: Macmillan and Co., 1883), pp. 24–25. From page 24:
" intention is to touch on various topics more or less connected with
that of the cultivation of race, or, as we might call it, with
"eugenic"1 questions, and to present the results of several of my own
1 This is, with questions bearing on what is termed in Greek,
eugenes, namely, good in stock, hereditarily endowed with noble
qualities. This, and the allied words, eugeneia, etc., are equally
applicable to men, brutes, and plants. We greatly want a brief word to
express the science of improving stock, which is by no means confined
to questions of judicious mating, but which, especially in the case of
man, takes cognisance of all influences that tend in however remote a
degree to give the more suitable races or strains of blood a better
chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable than they
otherwise would have had. The word eugenics would sufficiently express
the idea; it is at least a neater word and a more generalised one than
viriculture, which I once ventured to use." * ^ Galton, Francis
(1874). "On men of science, their nature and their nurture".
Proceedings of the
* ^ Conklin, Barbara Gardner., Robert Gardner, and Dennis Shortelle. Encyclopedia of Forensic Science: a Compendium of Detective Fact and Fiction. Westport, Conn.: Oryx, 2002. Print. * ^ Innes, Brian (2005). Body in Question: Exploring the Cutting Edge in Forensic Sc