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Prof. Stanley David Porteus (April 24, 1883 - October 21, 1972) was a psychologist, academic and author.


Stanley Porteus was born in 1883 at Box Hill, Victoria, Australia, a suburb of Melbourne, where he went to school. After marriage, Porteus attempted study at the University of Melbourne but with mixed success and he never graduated.


He was the initial head teacher at Victoria's first Education Department sponsored school for feeble-minded children and in 1916 he took on extra work in an informal arrangement with the University of Melbourne, lecturing to students in this developing field.

Following his own requests, the Education Department awarded him the title of Superintendent of Special Schools, although this was a hollow appointment with no viable function or separate salary.

Having the task of selecting feeble-minded children for his small school, Porteus experimented with notions of head size and the emerging pencil and paper tests of intelligence that emerged in the early years of the twentieth century. He soon devised a new intelligence test of his own, the Porteus Maze Test, a non-verbal intelligence test, which is still in use today.

In 1918 Porteus was invited to join the Vineland Training School in New Jersey, USA, moving there to become Director of Research. This invitation came at a good time, as his full-time employment as a head teacher with the Victorian Education Department was souring and although he had no university degree, the new job launched him into a life-long academic career.

In 1922 he moved to Hawaii where he founded the Psychological and Psychopathic Clinic at the University of Hawaii, eventually becoming professor of clinical psychology and its director and Dean of the Psychology Department in 1925.

The author of many papers and books, Porteus also made a study of the intelligence of Indigenous Australian and African bushmen.

His theories about the superiority of intelligence of white races has led to recent controversy, including protests by students at the University of Hawaii. Porteus was an early contributor to Mankind Quarterly, helped William Shockley organize the Foundation for Education on Eugenics and Dysgenics, and served in on the executive committee of the International Association for the Advancement of Ethnology and Eugenics.

He died in 1972 at Honolulu, where the University social sciences building, Porteus Hall, was named after him in 1974. However, university students mounted a full-scale protest at Porteus' perceived "blatantly racist theories" and eventually, in 1998, the authorities relented and his name was removed from the building.

See alsoEdit



  • Porteus, S. D. (1933). The maze test and mental differences. Vineland, NJ: The Smith Printing and Publishing House.
  • Porteus, S. D. (1933). Maze Tests--Early Applications. Vineland, NJ: The Smith Printing and Publishing House.
  • Porteus, S. D. (1933). Other Applications. Vineland, NJ: The Smith Printing and Publishing House.
  • Porteus, S. D. (1933). Race Differences in Maze Performance. Vineland, NJ: The Smith Printing and Publishing House.
  • Porteus, S. D. (1933). Scoring and Instructions. Vineland, NJ: The Smith Printing and Publishing House.
  • Porteus, S. D. (1933). Studies in Validity. Vineland, NJ: The Smith Printing and Publishing House.
  • Porteus, S. D. (1942). Qualitative performance in The Maze Test. Vineland, NJ: The Smith Printing House.
  • Porteus, S. D. (1942). Qualitative Performance in the Maze Text. Vineland, NJ: The Smith Printing House.

Book ChaptersEdit


  • Porteus, S. D. (1950). 35 years' experience with the Porteus Maze: The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology Vol 45(2) Apr 1950, 396-401.
  • Porteus, S. D. (1957). Maze test reactions after chlorpromazine: Journal of Consulting Psychology Vol 21(1) Feb 1957, 15-21.
  • Porteus, S. D., & Barclay, J. E. (1957). A further note on chlorpromazine: Maze reactions: Journal of Consulting Psychology Vol 21(4) Aug 1957, 297-299.

External linksEdit

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