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Naming Familiar Objects

PROCEDURE. Use a key, a penny, a closed knife, a watch, and an ordinary
lead pencil. The key should be the usual large-sized doorkey, not one of
the Yale type. The penny should not be too new, for the freshly made,
untarnished penny resembles very little the penny usually seen. Any
ordinary pocket knife may be used, and it is to be shown unopened. The
formula is, "_What is this?_" or, "_Tell me what this is._"

SCORING. There must be at least _three correct responses out of five_. A
response is not correct unless the object is named. It is not sufficient
for the child merely to show that he knows its use. A child, for
example, may take the pencil and begin to mark with it, or go to the
door and insert the key in the lock, but this is not sufficient. At the
same time we must not be too arbitrary about requiring a particular
name. "Cent" or "pennies" for "penny" is satisfactory, but "money" is
not. The watch is sometimes called "a clock" or "a tick-tock," and we
shall perhaps not be too liberal if we score these responses _plus_.
"Pen" for "pencil," however, is unsatisfactory. Substitute names for
"key" and "knife" are rarely given. Mispronunciations due to baby-talk
are of course ignored.

REMARKS. The purpose of this test is to find out whether the child has
made the association between familiar objects and their names. The
mental processes necessary to enable the child to pass this test are
very elementary, and yet, as far as they go, they are fundamental.
Learning the names of objects frequently seen is a form of mental
activity in which the normally endowed child of 2 to 4 years finds great
satisfaction. Any marked retardation in making such associations is a
grave indication of the lack of that spontaneity which is so necessary
for the development of the higher grades of intelligence. It would be
entirely beside the point, therefore, to question the validity of the
test on the ground that a given child may not have been _taught_ the
names of the objects used. Practically all children 3 years old, however
poor their environment, have made the acquaintance of at least three of
the five objects, and if intelligence is normal they have learned their
names as a result of spontaneous inquiry.

Always use the list of objects here given, because it has been
standardized. Any improvised selection would be sure to contain some
objects either less or more familiar than those in the standardized
list. Note also that three correct responses out of five are sufficient.
If we required five correct answers out of six (like Kuhlmann), or three
out of three (like Binet, Goddard, and Huey), the test would probably
belong at the 4-year level. Binet states that this test is materially
harder than that of naming objects in a picture, since in the latter the
child selects from a number of objects in the picture those he knows
best, while in the former test he must name the objects we have
arbitrarily chosen. This difference does not hold, however, if we
require only three correct responses out of five for passing the test of
naming objects, instead of Binet's three out of three. All else being
equal, it is of course easier to recognize and name a real object shown
than it is to recognize and name it from a picture.

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