5. Interpretation Of Fables. Procedure

Present the fables in the order in which they are given in the record booklet. The method is to say to the subject: "You know what a fable is? You have heard fables? " Whatever the answer, proceed to explain a fable as follows: "A fable, you know, is a little story, and is meant to teach us a lesson. Now, I am going to read a fable to you. Listen carefully, and when I am through I will ask you to tell me what lesson the fable teaches us. Ready; listen." After reading the fable, say: "What lesson does that teach us?" Record the response verbatim and proceed with the next as follows: "Here is another. Listen again and tell me what lesson this fable teaches us," etc.

As far as possible, avoid comment or commendation until all the fables have been given. If the first answer is of an inferior type and we express too much satisfaction with it, we thereby encourage the subject to continue in his error. On the other hand, never express dissatisfaction with a response, however absurd or malapropos it may be. Many subjects are anxious to know how well they are doing and continually ask, "Did I get that one right?" It is sufficient to say, "You are getting along nicely," or something to that effect. Offer no comments, suggestions, or questions which might put the subject on the right track. This much self-control is necessary if we would make the conditions of the test uniform for all subjects.

The only occasion when a supplementary question is permissible is in case of a response whose meaning is not clear. Even then we must be cautious and restrict ourselves to some such question as, "What do you mean?" or, "Explain; I don't quite understand what you mean." The scoring of fables is somewhat difficult at best, and this additional question is often sufficient to place the response very definitely in the right or wrong column.


Give score 2, i.e., 2 points, for a correct answer, and 1 for an answer which deserves half credit. The test is passed in year XII if 4 points are earned; that is, if two responses are correct or if one is correct and two deserve half credit.

Score 2 means that the fable has been correctly interpreted and that the lesson it teaches has been stated in general terms.

There are two types of responses which may be given half credit. They include (1) the interpretations which are stated in general terms and are fairly plausible, but are not exactly correct; and (2) those which are perfectly correct as to substance, but are not generalized.

We overlook ordinary faults of expression and regard merely the essential meaning of this response.

(a) Hercules and the wagoner. Full credit; score 2: - "Do not depend on others." "It teaches that we should rely upon ourselves." "We should always try, even if it looks hard and we think we can't do it."

Half credit; score 1: - This is most often given for the response which contains the correct idea, but states it in terms of the concrete situation, e.g.: "The man ought to have tried himself first." "Hercules wanted to teach the man to help himself."

Unsatisfactory; score 0: - "Teaches us to look where we are going." "Not to get stuck in the mud." "He wanted the man to help the oxen."

(6) The Maid and the Eggs. Full credit; score 2: - "Teaches us not to build air-castles." "Not to plan too far ahead." "Never make too many plans."

Half credit; score 1: - "She was building air-castles and so lost her milk." "To keep our mind on what we are doing." "Not to imagine; go ahead and do it."

Unsatisfactory; score 0: - "Not to take risks like that." "To keep your chickens and you will make more money." "She wanted the money."

(c) The Fox and the Crow. Full credit; score 2: - "It is not safe to believe people who flatter us."

Half credit; score 1: - "The crow listened to flattery and got left." "Not to be proud and let people think you can sing when you can't." "Not to be too proud." "Not to do everything people tell you."

Unsatisfactory; score 0: - "To share your food." "Not to listen to evil." "Never listen to advice." "Not to sing before you eat." "Not to hold a thing in your mouth; eat it." "To swallow it before you sing." "The fox was slicker than what the crow was." "The fox wanted the meat and just told the crow that to get it."

(d) The Farmer and the Stork. Full credit; score 2: - "Teaches us to keep out of bad company." "Birds of a feather flock together."

Half credit; score 1: - "The stork should not have been with the cranes." "Not to follow others."

Unsatisfactory; score 0: - "Not to tell lies." "Not to give excuses." "Not to trust what people say." "To tend to your own business." "Taught the stork to keep out of the man's field." "Served the stork right, he was stealing too."

(e) The Miller, His Son, and the Donkey. Full credit; score 2: - "Don't take everyone's advice." "Don't try to do what everybody tells you." "Use your own judgment."

Half credit; score 1: - "Don't take foolish advice." "They were fools to listen to everybody."

Unsatisfactory; score 0: - "To do what people tell you." "Not to be cruel to animals." "That it is always better to leave things as they are." "Not to try to carry the donkey." "That the father should be allowed to ride." "The men were too heavy for the donkey."

6. Repeating Five Digits Reversed

The series are 3-1-8-7-9; 6-9-8-2; 5-2-9-6-1.

Procedure And Scoring

Exactly as in years VII and IX.

7. Interpretation Of Pictures. Procedure

Use the same pictures as in III, 1, and VII, 2, and the additional picture d. Present in the same order. The formula to begin with is identical with that in VII, 2: "Tell me what this picture is about. What is this a picture off" This formula is chosen because it does not suggest specifically either description or interpretation, and is therefore adapted to show the child's spontaneous or natural mode of apperception. However, in case this formula fails to bring spontaneous interpretation for three of the four pictures, we then return to those pictures on which the subject has failed and give a second trial with the formula: "Explain this picture." A good many subjects who failed to interpret the pictures spontaneously do so without difficulty when the more specific formula is used.

If the response is so brief as to be difficult to classify, the subject should be urged to amplify by some such injunction as "Go ahead," or "Explain what you mean."

One more caution. It is necessary to refrain from voicing a single word of commendation or approval until all the pictures have been responded to. A moment's thought will reveal the absolute necessity of adhering to this rule. Often a subject will begin by giving an inferior type of response (description, say) to the first picture, but with the second picture adjusts better to the task and responds satisfactorily. If in such a case the first (unsatisfactory) response were greeted with an approving "That's fine, you are doing splendidly," the likelihood of any improvement taking place as the test proceeds would be greatly lessened.


Three pictures out of four must be satisfactorily interpreted. "Satisfactorily" means that the interpretation given should be reasonably plausible; not necessarily the exact one the artist had in mind, yet not absurd.

(a) Dutch Home. Satisfactory: - "Child has spilled something and is getting a scolding." "The baby is crying because she is hungry and the mother has nothing to give her." "It's a poor family. The father is dead and they don't have enough to eat."

Unsatisfactory: - "The baby is crying and the mother is looking at her" (description). "It's in Holland, and there's a little girl crying, and a mamma, and there's a dish on the table " (mainly description). "The mother is teaching the child to walk" (absurd interpretation).

(6) River Scene. Satisfactory: - "I think it represents a honeymoon trip." "It's a perilous journey and they have engaged the Indian to row for them."

Unsatisfactory: - "An Indian rowing a man and his wife down the river" (mainly description). "A storm at sea" (absurd interpretation). "Indians have rescued a couple from a shipwreck." "They have been up the river and are riding down the rapids."

(c) Post-Office. Satisfactory: - "There's something funny in the paper about one of the men and they are all laughing about it." "It's a bunch of country politicians reading the election news."

Unsatisfactory: - "It's a little country town and they are looking at the paper." "A man is reading the paper and the others are looking on and laughing." "They are laughing about something in the newspaper."

(d) Colonial Home. Satisfactory: - "They are lovers and have quarreled." "The woman is crying because her husband is angry and leaving her."

Unsatisfactory: - "The husband is leaving and the dog is looking at the lady." "The lady is crying and the man is trying to comfort her." "They have lost their money and they are sad" (gratuitous interpretation).

8. Giving Similarities Of Three Things. Procedure

The procedure is the same as in VIII, 4, but with the following words: (a) Snake, cow, sparrow. (6) Book, teacher, newspaper. (c) Wool, cotton, leather. (d) Knife-blade, penny, piece of wire, (e) Rose, potato, tree. As before, a little tactful urging is occasionally necessary in order to secure a response.


Three satisfactory responses out of five are necessary for success. Any real similarity is acceptable, whether fundamental or superficial, although the giving of fundamental likenesses is especially symptomatic of good intelligence.

Failures may be classified under four heads: (1) Leaving one of the words out of consideration; (2) giving a difference instead of a similarity; (3) giving a similarity that is not real or that is too bizarre or far-fetched; and (4) inability to respond.

This test provokes doubtful responses somewhat oftener than the earlier test of giving similarities. Those giving greatest difficulty are the indefinite statements like "All are useful," "All are made of the same material," etc. Fortunately, in most of these cases an additional question is sufficient to determine whether the subject has in mind a real similarity. Questions suitable for this purpose are: "Explain what you mean," "In what respect are they all useful?" "What material do you mean?" etc. Of course it is only permissible to make use of supplementary questions of this kind when they are necessary in order to clarify a response which has already been made.

(a) Snake, cow, sparrow. Satisfactory: - "All are animals." "All move about."

Unsatisfactory: - "All have legs." "All walk on the ground." "A snake crawls, a cow walks, and a sparrow flies."

(6) Book, teacher, newspaper. Satisfactory: - "You learn from all." "All help you get an education."

Unsatisfactory: - "All tell you the news." "A teacher writes, and a book and newspaper have writing."

(c) Wool, cotton, leather. Satisfactory: - "All used for clothing." ".We wear them all."

Unsatisfactory: - "All grow on animals." "They are pretty."

(d) Knife-blade, penny, piece of wire. Satisfactory: - "All are made from minerals."

Unsatisfactory: - "All are made of steel." "You buy them with money." "One is sharp, one is round, and one is long."

(e) Rose, potato, tree. Satisfactory: - "All grow from the ground."

Unsatisfactory: - "All are pretty." "All are valuable."