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'Big Timothy' mechanical aptitude test, England, 1900-1970

The ‘Big Timothy’ machine is an aptitude test. An aptitude test assesses intelligence or ability usually through scored problem solving exercises. The subject handles the machine for two minutes. He or she then turns away as the machine is put out of order. The task is to put it back in working order in under five minutes. The longer this takes, the less marks the subject is awarded. The test is repeated as the machine is disabled in a variety of ways, but only one at a time. Extra marks are awarded for dexterity and for not touching irrelevant parts of the machine. The National Institute of Industrial Psychology (NIIP) used a smaller version of the ‘Timothy’ test. The NIIP was set up in Britain in 1921. It applied physiology and psychology to industry and business to improve efficiency.

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