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._"

r /> 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.