Finding Omissions In Pictures
PROCEDURE. Show the pictures to the child one at a time in the order in
which they are lettered, _a_, _b_, _c_, _d_. When the first picture is
shown (that with the eye lacking), say: "_There is something wrong with
this face. It is not all there. Part of it is left out. Look carefully
and tell me what part of the face is not there._" Often the child gives
an irrelevant answer; as, "The feet are gone," "The stomach is not
there," etc. These statements are true, but they do not satisfy the
requirements of the test, so we say: "_No; I am talking about the face.
Look again and tell me what is left out of the face._" If the correct
response does not follow, we point to the place where the eye should be
and say: "_See, the eye is gone._" When picture _b_ is shown we say
merely: "_What is left out of this face?_" Likewise with picture _c_.
For picture _d_ we say: "_What is left out of this picture?_" No help of
any kind is given unless (if necessary) with the first picture. With the
others we confine ourselves to the single question, and the answer
should be given promptly, say within twenty to twenty-five seconds.
SCORING. Passed if the omission is correctly pointed out in _three out
of four_ of the pictures. Certain minor errors we may overlook, such as
"eyes" instead of "eye" for the first picture; "nose and one ear"
instead of merely "nose" for the third; "hands" instead of "arms" for
the fourth, etc. Errors like the following, however, count as failure:
"The other eye," or "The other ear" for the first or third; "The ears"
for the fourth, etc.
REMARKS. The test is one of the two or three dozen forms of the
so-called "completion test," all of which have it in common that from
the given parts of a whole the missing parts are to be found. The whole
to be completed may be a word, a sentence, a story, a picture, a group
of pictures, an object, or in fact almost anything. Sometimes all the
parts of the whole are given and only the arrangement or order is to be
found, as in the test with dissected sentences.
Further discussion of the completion test will be found in connection
with test 4, year XII. For the present we will only observe that
notwithstanding a certain similarity among the tests of this type, they
do not all call into play the same mental processes. The factor most
involved may be verbal language coherence, visual perception of form,
the association of abstract ideas, etc. To pass Binet's test with
mutilated pictures requires, (1) that the parts of the picture be
perceived as constituting a whole; and (2) that the idea of a human face
or form be so easily and so clearly reproducible that it may act, even
before it comes fully into consciousness, as a model or pattern, for the
criticism of the picture shown. The younger the child, the less
adequate, in this sense, is his perceptual familiarity with common
objects. In standardizing a series of "absurd pictures," the writer has
found that normal children of 3 years often see nothing wrong in a
picture which shows a cat with two legs or a hen with four legs. Such
children would, of course, never mistake a cat for a hen. Their trouble
lies in the inability to call up in clear form a "free idea" of a cat or
a hen for comparison with the perceptual presentation offered by the
picture. Middle-grade imbeciles of adult age have much the same
difficulty as normal children of 4 years in recognizing mutilations or
absurdities in pictures of familiar objects.
Binet first placed this test in year VII, changing it to year VIII in
the 1911 revision. In other revisions it has been retained in year VII,
although all the available statistics except Bobertag's warrant its
location in year VI.