Drawing Designs From Memory

PROCEDURE. Use the designs shown on the accompanying printed form. If

copies are used they must be exact in size and shape. Before showing the

card say: "_This card has two drawings on it. I am going to show them to

you for ten seconds, then I will take the card away and let you draw

from memory what you have seen. Examine both drawings carefully and

remember that you have only ten seconds._"

Provide penc
l and paper and then show the card for ten seconds, holding

it at right angles to the child's line of vision and with the designs in

the position given in the plate. Have the child draw the designs

immediately after they are removed from sight.

SCORING. The test is passed if _one of the designs is reproduced

correctly and the other about half correctly_. "Correctly" means that

the _essential plan_ of the design has been grasped and reproduced.

Ordinary irregularities due to lack of motor skill or to hasty execution

are disregarded. "Half correctly" means that some essential part of the

design has been omitted or misplaced, or that parts have been added.

The sample reproductions shown on the scoring card will serve as a

guide. It will be noted that an inverted design, or one whose right and

left sides have been transposed, is counted only half correct, however

perfect it many be in other respects; also that design _b_ is counted

only half correct if the inner rectangle is not located off center.

REMARKS. Binet states that the main factors involved in success are

"attention, visual memory, and a little analysis." The power of rapid

analysis would seem to be the most important, for if the designs are

analyzed they may be reproduced from a verbal memory of the analysis.

Without some analysis it would hardly be possible to remember the

designs at all, as one of them contains thirteen lines and the other

twelve. The memory span for unrelated objects is far too limited to

permit us to grasp and retain that number of unrelated impressions.

Success is possible only by grouping the lines according to their

relationships, so that several of them are given a unitary value and

remembered as one. In this manner, the design to the right, which is

composed of twelve lines, may be reduced to four elements: (1) The outer

rectangle; (2) the inner rectangle; (3) the off-center position of the

inner rectangle; and (4) the joining of the angles. Of course the child

does not ordinarily make an analysis as explicit as this; but analysis

of some kind, even though it be unconscious, is necessary to success.

Ability to pass the test indicates the presence, in a certain definite

amount, of the tendency for the contents of consciousness to fuse into a

meaningful whole. Failure indicates that the elements have maintained

their unitary character or have fused inadequately. It is seen,

therefore, that the test has a close kinship with the test of memory for

sentences. The latter, also, permits the fusion or grouping of

impressions according to meaning, with the result that five or six times

as many meaningful syllables as nonsense syllables or digits can be


Binet had many more failures on design _a_ than on design _b_. This was

probably due to the fact that he showed the designs with our _b_ to the

left. A majority of subjects, probably because of the influence of

reading habits, examine first the figure to the left, and because of the

short time allowed for the inspection are unable to devote much time to

the design at the right. We have placed the design of greater intrinsic

difficulty at the left, with the result that the failures are almost

equally divided between the two.

Binet used this test in his unstandardized series of 1905, omitted it in

1908, but included it in the 1911 revision, locating it in year X.

Except for Goddard, who recommends year XI, there is rather general

agreement that the test belongs at year X. Our own data show that it may

be placed either at year X or year XI, according as the grading is rigid

or lenient.