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Aesthetic Comparison

Use the three pairs of faces supplied with the printed forms. It goes
without saying that improvised drawings may not be substituted for
Binet's until they have first been standardized.

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.

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.

REMARKS. From the psychological point of view this is a most interesting
test. One might suppose that aesthetic judgment would be relatively
independent of intelligence. Certainly no one could have known in
advance of experience that intellectual retardation would reveal itself
in weakness of the aesthetic sense about as unmistakably as in memory,
practical judgment, or the comprehension of language. But such is the
case. The development of the aesthetic sense parallels general mental
growth rather closely. The imbecile of 4-year intelligence, even though
he may have lived forty years, has no more chance of passing this test
than any other test in year V. It would be profitable to devise and
standardize a set of pictures of the same general type which would
measure a less primitive stage of aesthetic development.

The present test was located by Binet in year VI and has been retained
in that year in other revisions; but three separate Stanford
investigations, as well as the statistics of Winch, Dumville, Brigham,
Rowe, and Dougherty, warrant its location in year V.

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