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Arnold Gesell: Maturation and the Incomplete Man Test

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1 Arnold Gesell: Maturation and the Incomplete Man Test
By Catherine Hotard

2 Biography Born in 1880 and died in 1961 in Alma, Wisconsin.
Ph.D. in psychology Went to medical school at the age of 30 to further understand physiological processes. He is the founder of the Yale Clinic of Child Development. In the 50 years of his time at the Yale Clinic, he and his colleagues developed behavior norms for children and tests to assess their level of behavior.

3 Biography continued Gesell created a series of developmental tests that assessed the readiness of children in school. These tests were studied with colleagues at the Yale Clinic of Child Development. One of these tests was the “Incomplete Man Test”. This test was designed investigated the maturity, capacity, and individuality among children in the 1950s in order to test school readiness.

4 Key Terms in Gesell’s Theory
Maturation: a process of a child’s development that is directed by genes in a fixed sequence. Readiness: the ability to learn abstractly and to comprehend the purpose of one’s work before mastering the learning or the task. Individuality: a behavior trait where the child has a sense of one’s self. Maturity: behavior traits exhibited during a child’s development. Capacity: behavior traits of adapting and learning from the child’s social environment.

5 Purpose of Research Study
Arnold Gesell made a series of developmental readiness tests and tasks to determine school readiness among children in the 1950s and one of the tests developed was the “Incomplete Man Test”, designed to investigate the maturity, capacity, and individuality of children. The purpose of this research study is to use Gesell’s “Incomplete Man Test” to investigate the maturity, capacity, and individuality exhibited in the children of 2012 and to compare their results with the children of the 1950s that Gesell studied.

6 Questions of Research Study
In a classroom with heterogeneous grouped children, will children generally reveal the same maturity, capacity, and individuality on Gesell’s Incomplete Man Test as did the children that Gesell tested in the 1950s? Are gifted and talented children more likely to show an accelerated capacity through their drawing on the Incomplete Man Test as compared to children who are in the norm? Will the children that draw facial expressions on the test, show more maturity, capacity, and individuality than the children that do not draw facial expressions?

7 Hypothesis I believe that the 4th graders will complete the “Incomplete Man” with more capacity in that they will draw the eyes, the mouth, etc. all the necessary parts as opposed to the 1st graders. The 4th graders will also give more complex answers in how the Incomplete Man will feel after they finish the drawing.

8 Procedure I visited a 1st grade class and a 4th grade class and I distributed the “Incomplete Man Test” to the students who had signed assent forms agreeing to participate in the study and whose parents have completed, signed, and returned the parent consent forms agreeing to allow their children to participate in the research. The meetings with each grade took approximately 20 minutes each. I handed out the “Incomplete Man Test” and asked the students to finish the drawing. Each test was organized by the age and gender of each child that took the test. The maturity, capacity, and individuality results of the 1st and 4th graders was compared to the results of the children that Gesell studied in the 1950s.

9 Incomplete Man Test

10 Procedure continued Rating system:
If the child adds parts, it will be recorded vertically on the left side at the bottom of the examiner’s recording sheet. The responses to these questions will be recorded in the space at the lower-right-hand side of the page. Abbreviations will be used for the following: After completing the test, the child’s responses will be recorded verbatim at the bottom of the test page in the space under the heading: “Incomplete Man.” o Body line = bl “Is there anything else?” will be asked as a suggested clue and the response will be recorded by a broken line preceding the response, as: __ __ hair. o Neck line = nl o Looks like = ll o I don’t know = idk o How does he look? = hl “Is there anything else missing here?” will be asked as a directed clue and the response will be recorded by a solid line preceding the response, as: ___ ear. o How does he feel inside? = fi o Is he happy or sad? = hs o How can you tell? = ht When testing is completed, the child’s responses will be transferred from their paper to the inquiry questions using the above abbreviations.

11 Research Data Incomplete Man Results.pdf

12 Comparison My study Gesell’s study
Ten children were able to take my Incomplete Man Test. Four 1st graders and six 4th graders. Gesell and the Yale Clinic studied 100 consecutive cases of children from ages 3 to 9 years old.

13 Results Results of data.xlsx

14 Interesting Facts The three 6 year olds drew eyes but the rest of the children did not. Instead, they drew a duplicate line of the line that is supposed to be the nose as eyes. Overall, the 4th graders showed more capacity and maturity in why their completed man felt the way that he did after completing the drawing.

15 Final Results from Data
The 4th graders (9 & some 10 year olds) showed maturity and capacity in explaining why the man felt the way he did. The 1st graders (6 & 7 year olds) showed more individuality in their drawings and personalized it more. They made smiles and said the man was happy because he was smiling. The 4th graders gave more complex reasons for why their man was sad or happy. One was in love, one didn’t like their job, etc.

16 Conclusion I was correct in my hypothesis that the 4th graders would give more complex reasoning for why their Incomplete Man would be happy or sad, however, I was wrong about how they would draw/finish their Incomplete Man. The 1st graders drew some of the features more like Gesell would expect than the 4th graders did.

17 What Would I Have Done Differently?
Because of limits on time for this research study, I was not able to compare gifted and talented children to “regular, average” children.

18 Bibliography Crain, William. (2011) Chapter 2: Gesell’s Maturational Theory. Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications. Sixth Edition. Prentice Hall. Gesell, Arnold. (1948). Studies in Child Development. New York and London: Harper and Brothers Publishers. Ilg, Frances. (1978) School Readiness: Behavior Tests Used at the Gesell Institute. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers. Gesell, Arnold and Ilg, Frances. (1943) Infant and Child in the Culture of Today. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers. Gesell, Arnold and Ilg, Frances. (1946) The Child from Five to Ten. London: Hamish Hamilton LTD.

19 Theorist on Nature/Nurture Line
Center of Line Nature Nurture Arnold Gesell

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