Visual-motor development and the emergence of emotional indicators : a reexamination of the Bender gestalt test with young children

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Morrongiello, Michael A.
Wenck, L. Stanley (Lewis Stanley)
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Thesis (Ph. D.)
Department of Educational Psychology
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The purpose of this investigation was to determine the extent to which visual-motor maturity influenced the emergence of diagnostic emotional signs on the Bender Gestalt Test. The Bender Gestalt Test was administered to 400 first and second grade students from lower middle class homes in Wisconsin. The subjects were in regular education classes and were, therefore, not identified as having learning or emotional problems. Each subject was given a Bender Gestalt Test, which was subsequently scored for developmental errors and emotional indicators according to the Koppitz system. Pearson product moment correlation coefficients were computed for all emotional indicators and all developmental errors. This was referred to as the omnibus correlation coefficient. Correlations were also computed for all developmental errors and each emotional indicator. A coefficient of determination was computed for all developmental errors and all emotional indicators. Finally, the frequency of each emotional indicator was plotted at each developmental age. The omnibus correlation and the following emotional indicators attained statistical significance confused order, wavy line, increased size, and small size. All of the correlations indicated little if any relationship exists between emotional indicators and developmental errors. In addition, little if any variance is shared by the two above named entities. While the appearance of confused order and increasing size can be attributed to developmental factors, the emergence of small size cannot. Several emotional indicators appear almost unrelated to visual-motor development, specifically dashes for circles, large size, and expansion. When these emotional indicators appear in the protocols of young children further investigation regarding emotional functioning seems warranted. Wavy line and confused order do appear frequently. This suggests that it is not unusual for children to render these emotional indicators.