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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