Document Type



The Bender-Gestalt Test has been routinely used for the past two years at the Annie Wittenmyer Home, an institution for dependent and neglected children in Iowa. This simple test was first designed by Bender (1938), as a performance test for young children. Her manual also indicates that the test can be used in the differentiation of organic brain anomolies, schizophrenias and psychoneuroses. This area of research has been covered by Hutt (1945) Swenson and Pascal (1953), Guertin (1954), and others. The observations of the writers have indicated that there is a wide difference in the way apparently normal children respond to these designs. These differences have heretofore been interpreted in the light of Hutt's (1945) findings with an adult population. For example, he indicated that such things as diminution of the figures, conservation of space and the use of light pressure in drawing are indicative of "social withdrawal, limited activity and unassertiveness." In another article Hutt (1953) stated that, "aggressive and rebellious individuals usually show an excessive use of space. On the other hand an inordinately small amount of space between successive drawings is indicative of repressed hostility, occasionally turned inwards in the form of masochistic strivings or needs." Peek (1953) has shown that the direction of drawing a single line such as the diagonal on the figure 5 (an incomplete circle with an intersecting slanting line both composed of dots) can be indicative of differences in personality adjustment. He found that patients drawing the diagonal toward the half-circle rather than in the popular direction, i.e., away from the halfcircle were significantly more immature and dependent than the control group. Rather than being able to direct their hostility upon the sources of their frustration they were inclined to use less adaptive mechanisms such as headaches and other somatic complaints. They were therefore more apt to build up frustrations which spill over into poorly controlled and indirect forms of aggressive hostility.

Publication Date


Journal Title

Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science





First Page


Last Page



©1955 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.



File Format




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.