IQ Testing and State Laws
Acting on a complaint by Paul Maxim, the Medical Board of California, Division of Medical Quality, has initiated an investigation into the testing activities of Kevin Langdon's company, Polymath Systems. The Board has also contacted Dr. Ronald Hoeflin, a resident of New York. Kevin Langdon is the author of an unsupervised, high-ceiling, adult IQ test: the Langdon Adult Intelligence Test, which was published in Omni in April, 1979 (and which is no longer scored). Ron Hoeflin is the author of several other unsupervised IQ tests which are published electronically on this site, and which he scores for a fee. The Board cited sections 2903 and 2870 of the California Business and Professions Code, which I have reproduced here (I found section 2903 online here).
The section subsequent to the California Code is a proposed amendment to a New York statute that would directly affect Dr. Hoeflin's IQ testing operation, regardless of whether he charges a fee or not. This proposed amendment was submitted on May 19, 1997, and would take effect January 1, 1998.
2903. Necessity of license; practice of psychology; psychotherapy
No person may engage in the practice of psychology, or represent himself to be a psychologist, without a license granted under this chapter, except as otherwise provided in this chapter. The practice of psychology is defined as rendering or offering to render for a fee to individuals, groups, organizations or the public any psychological service involving the application of psychological principles, methods, and procedures of understanding, predicting, and influencing behavior, such as the principles pertaining to learning, perception, motivation, emotions, and interpersonal relationships; and the methods and procedures of interviewing, counseling, psychotherapy, behavior modification, and hypnosis; and of constructing, administering, and interpreting tests of mental abilities, aptitudes, interests, attitudes, personality characteristics, emotions, and motivations.
The application of such principles and methods includes, but is not restricted to: diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and amelioration of psychological problems and emotional and mental disorders of individuals and groups.
Psychotherapy within the meaning of this chapter means the use of psychological methods in a professional relationship to assist a person or persons to acquire greater human effectiveness or to modify feelings, conditions, attitudes and behavior which are emotionally, intellectually, or socially ineffectual or maladjustive.
As used in this chapter, "fee" means any charge, monetary or otherwise, whether paid directly or paid on a prepaid or capitation basis by a third party, or a charge assessed by a facility, for services rendered.
2970. Violation; offense; punishment
Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by both.
Note: the current New York education statute in question can be found here (no longer available).
Update Jan 25, 2000: Assembly Bill 7992 as proposed below does not appear in current New York law.
Proposed Amendment to New York Statute on the Practice of Psychology
Assembly Bill 7992, May 19, 1997; read once and referred to Committee on Higher Education.
Section 1. Section 7600 of the education law, as added by chapter 987 of the laws of 1971, is amended to read as follows:
SECTION 7600. Introduction. This article applies TO THE PROFESSION OF PSYCHOLOGY AND to the use of the title "psychologist." The general provisions for all professions contained in article one hundred thirty of this title apply to this article.
Section 2. Section 7601 of the education law, as added by chapter 987 of the laws of 1971, is amended to read as follows:
SECTION 7601. Use of title "psychologist." Only a person licensed under this article shall be authorized to use the title "psychologist" or to describe his OR HER services by use of the words "psychologist," "psychology," or "psychological" in connection with his OR HER practice.
Section 3. The education law is amended by adding a new section 7601-a to read as follows: SECTION 7601-A. DEFINITION OF THE PRACTICE OF PSYCHOLOGY, THE PRACTICE OF THE PROFESSION OF PSYCHOLOGY IS DEFINED AS THE OBSERVATION, DESCRIPTION, EVALUATION, INTERPRETATION, AND MODIFICATION OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR BY THE APPLICATION OF PSYCHOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES, METHODS, AND PROCEDURES, FOR THE PURPOSE OF PREVENTING OR ELIMINATING SYMPTOMATIC, MALADAPTIVE, OR UNDESIRED BEHAVIOR AND OF ENHANCING INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS, WORK AND LIFE ADJUSTMENT, PERSONAL EFFECTIVENESS, BEHAVIORAL HEALTH, AND MENTAL HEALTH. THE PRACTICE OF PSYCHOLOGY INCLUDES, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO, PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTING AND THE EVALUATION OR ASSESSMENT OF PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS SUCH AS INTELLIGENCE, PERSONALITY, ABILITIES, INTERESTS, APTITUDES, AND NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL FUNCTIONING; COUNSELING, PSYCHOANALYSIS, PSYCHOTHERAPY, HYPNOSIS, BIOFEEDBACK AND EMOTIONAL DISORDER OR DISABILITY, ALCOHOLISM AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE, DISORDERS OF HABIT OR CONDUCT, AS WELL AS THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF PHYSICAL ILLNESS, ACCIDENT, INJURY OR DISABILITY; AND PSYCHO-EDUCATIONAL EVALUATION, THERAPY, REMEDIATION AND CONSULTATION, PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES MAY BE RENDERED TO INDIVIDUALS, FAMILIES, GROUPS, AND THE PUBLIC. THE PRACTICE OF PSYCHOLOGY SHALL BE CONSTRUED WITHIN THE MEANING OF THIS DEFINITION WITHOUT REGARD TO WHETHER PAYMENT IS RECEIVED FOR SERVICES RENDERED.
Section 4. Section 7605 of the education law is amended by adding a new subdivision 5 to read as follows:
5. THE PERFORMANCE BY A PERSON LICENSED PURSUANT TO THIS TITLE, OTHER THAN A PSYCHOLOGIST, OF ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES SIMILAR TO THOSE WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE DEFINITION OF PRACTICES OF PSYCHOLOGY, WHERE SUCH ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES ARE AUTHORIZED WITHIN THE DEFINITION OF THE SCOPE OF PRACTICE OF THEIR PROFESSION AS SET FORTH IN THIS CHAPTER.
Section 5. This act shall take effect January 1, 1998; provided, however, that the commissioner of education and the board of regents are authorized to promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary for the timely implementation of this act.
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Last updated on December 20, 1997