1. Comparison Of Weights. Procedure

Place the 3-and 15-gram weights on the table before the child some 2 or 3 inches apart. Say: "You see these blocks. They look just alike, but one of them is heavy and one is light. Try them and tell me which one is heavier." If the child does not respond, repeat the instructions, saying this time, "Tell me which one is the heaviest." (Many American children have heard only the superlative form of the adjective used in the comparison of two objects.)

Sometimes the child merely points to one of the blocks or picks up one at random and hands it to the examiner thinking he is asked to guess which is heaviest. We then say: "No, that is not the way. You must take the blocks in your hands and try them, like this" (illustrating by lifting with one hand, first one block, then the other, a few inches from the table). Most children of five years are then able to make the comparison correctly. Very young subjects, however, or older ones who are retarded, sometimes adopt the rather questionable method of lifting both weights in the same hand at once. This is always an unfavorable sign, especially if one of the blocks is placed in the hand on top of the other block.

After the first trial, the weights are shuffled and again presented for comparison as before, this time with the positions reversed. The third trial follows with the blocks in the same position as in the first trial. Some children have a tendency to stereotyped behavior, which in this test shows itself by choosing always the block on a certain side. Hence the necessity of alternating the positions. Reserve commendation until all three trials have been given.


The test is passed if two of the three comparisons are correct. If there is reason to suspect that the successful responses were due to lucky guesses, the test should be entirely repeated.

2. Naming Colors. Procedure

Point to the colors in the order, red, yellow, blue, green. Bring the finger close to the color designated, in order that there may be no mistake as to which one is meant, and say: "What is the name of that color?" Do not say: "What color is that?" or, "What kind of a color is that?" Such a formula might bring the answer, "The first color"; or, "A pretty color." Still less would it do to say: "Show me the red," "Show me the yellow," etc. This would make it an entirely different test, one that would probably be passed a year earlier than the Binet form of the experiment. Nor is it permissible, after a color has been miscalled, to return to it and again ask its name.


The test is passed only if all the colors are named correctly and without marked uncertainty. However, prefixing the adjective "dark," or "light," before the name of a color is overlooked.

3. Aesthetic Comparison. Procedure

Show the pairs in order from top to bottom. Say: "Which of these two pictures is the prettiest?" Use both the comparative and the superlative forms of the adjective. Do not use the question, "Which face is the uglier (ugliest)?" unless there is some difficulty in getting the child to respond. It is not permitted, in case of an incorrect response, to give that part of the test again and to allow the child a chance to correct his answer; or, in case this is done, we must consider only the original response in scoring.


The test is passed only if all three comparisons are made correctly. Any marked uncertainty is failure. Sometimes the child laughingly designates the ugly picture as the prettier, yet shows by his amused expression that he is probably conscious of its peculiarity or absurdity. In such cases "pretty" seems to be given the meaning of "funny" or "amusing." Nevertheless, we score this response as failure, since it betokens a rather infantile tolerance of ugliness.

4. Giving Definitions In Terms Of Use. Procedure

Use the words: Chair, horse, fork, doll, pencil, and table. Say: "You have seen a chair. You know what a chair is. Tell me, what is a chairf" And so on with the other words, always in the order in which they are named above.

Occasionally there is difficulty in getting a response, which is sometimes due merely to the child's unwillingness to express his thoughts in sentences. The earlier tests require only words and phrases. In other cases silence is due to the rather indefinite form of the question. The child could answer, but is not quite sure what is expected of him. Whatever the cause, a little tactful urging is nearly always sufficient to bring a response.

The urging should take the following form: "I'm sure you know what a . . . is. You have seen a . . . Now, tell me, what is a . . .?" That is, we merely repeat the question with a Word of encouragement and in a coaxing tone of voice. It would not at all do to introduce other questions, like, "What does a . . . look like?" or, "What is a . . . for?" "What do people do with a . . .? "

Sometimes, instead of attempting a definition (of doll, for example), the child begins to talk in a more or less irrelevant way, as, "I have a great big doll. Auntie gave it to me for Christmas," etc. In such cases we repeat the question, saying: "Yes, but tell me; what is a doll? "


The test is passed in year V if four words out of the six are defined in terms of use (or better than use).

The following are examples of satisfactory responses: - Chair: "To sit on." "You sit on it." "It is made of wood and has legs and back," etc. Horse: "To drive." "To ride." "What people drive." "To pull the wagon." "It is big and has four legs," etc. Fork: "To eat with." "To stick meat with." "It is hard and has three sharp things," etc. Doll: "To play with." "What you dress and put to bed." "To rock," etc. Pencil: "To write with." "To draw." "They write with it." "It is sharp and makes a black mark." Table: "To eat on." "What you put the dinner on." "Where you write." "It is made of wood and has legs." Examples of failure are such responses as the following: "A chair is a chair"; "There is a chair"; or simply, "There" (pointing to a chair). We record such responses without pressing for a further definition. About the only other type of failure is silence. 5. The Game of Patience. - Material. - Prepare two rectangular cards, each 2X3 inches, and divide one of them into two triangles by cutting it along one of its diagonals.


Place the uncut card on the table with one of its longer sides to the child. By the side of this card, a little nearer the child and a few inches apart, lay the two halves of the divided rectangle with their hypothenuses turned from each other as follows:

Then say to the child: "I want you to take these two pieces (touching the two triangles) and put them together so they will look exactly like this " (pointing to the uncut card). If the child hesitates, we repeat the instructions with a little urging. Say nothing about hurrying, as this is likely to cause confusion. Give three trials, of one minute each. If only one trial is given, success is too often a result of chance moves; but luck is not likely to bring two successes in three trials. If the first trial is a failure, move the cut halves back to their original position and say: "No: put them together so they will look like this" (pointing to the uncut card). Make no other comment of approval or disapproval. Disregard in silence the inquiring looks of the child who tries to read his success or failure in your face.

4 Giving Definitions In Terms Of Use Procedure 18

Fig. 11.

If one of the pieces is turned over, the task becomes impossible, and it is then necessary to turn the piece back to its original position and begin over, not counting this trial. Have the under side of the pieces marked so as to avoid the risk of presenting one of them to the child wrong side up.


There must be two successes in three trials. About the only difficulty in scoring is that of deciding what constitutes a trial. We count it a trial when the child brings the pieces together and (after a few or many changes) leaves them in some position. Whether he succeeds after many moves, or leaves the pieces with approval in some absurd position, or gives up and says he cannot do it, his effort counts as one trial. A single trial may involve a number of unsuccessful changes of position in the two cards, but these changes may not consume altogether more than one minute.

6. Three Commissions. Procedure

After getting up from the chair and moving with the child to the center of the room, say: "Now, I want you to do something for me. Here's a key. I want you to put it on that chair over there; then I want you to shut (or open) that door, and then bring me the box which you see over there (pointing in turn to the objects designated). Do you understand? Be sure to get it right. First, put the key on the chair, then shut (open) the door, then bring me the box (again pointing). Go ahead." Stress the words first and then so as to emphasize the order in which the commissions are to be executed.

Give the commissions always in the above order. Do not repeat the instructions again or give any further aid whatever, even by the direction of the gaze. If the child stops or hesitates it is never permissible to say: "What next?" Have the self-control to leave the child alone with his task.


All three commissions must be executed and in the proper order. Failure may result, therefore, either from leaving out one or more of the commands or from changing the order. The former is more often the case.

Alternative Test: Giving Age. Procedure

The formula is simply, "How old are you?" The child of this age is, of course, not expected to know the date of his birthday, but merely how many years old he is.


About the only danger in scoring is in the failure to verify the child's response. Some children give an incorrect answer with perfect assurance, and it is therefore always necessary to verify.