BENDER ERRORS: INDIVIDUAL APPROACHES AND THE FIGURE'S POSITION
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The present study was concerned with the role played by higher-order integrative processes in the act of copying geometric shapes. The goal was to determine the nature of these processes in order to clarify several sides of the same issue: what copying errors mean; what the Bender-Gestalt test measures; and what is meant by the term, 'visual-perceptual-motor integration'.;Five Bender figures (A, 3, 4, 5, and 8) were presented for copying in different positions, including the standard, for 24 N.Y.C. public school boys ranging in age from 8 to 12 years, who were diagnosed as learning disabled with "visual-motor problems" specified as a component. Figures were scored for errors, and the sequences taken to draw each figure were recorded at the time the figures were drawn.;The study set out initially to test the general hypothesis that the underlying processes involved in higher-order integration in the act of copying involved 'knowing' the rules or paths to follow for the specific figure being copied. It was anticipated that this would be demonstrated in a significant difference in errors and in approach changes across different positions of the same shape. Evidence was found in support of these specific predictions, and though pertinent, the hypotheses proved to be too narrowly stated for the overall aim of the study. However, data analysis unexpectedly suggested further directions in which to take the data, in terms of a descriptive, sequential analysis of individual errors. This consisted of an analysis of 144 drawings which carried the study beyond the initial hypotheses and generated new ones consistent with the goal of the study.;In following the sequence taken to draw figures with errors, it was possible to observe how errors evolved. Errors were traced to difficulty in negotiating one or more crucial steps in the drawing sequence. And the kinds of difficulty observed in the sequence of errors strongly suggested a breakdown in critical monitoring and/or calculating of the steps in the sequence. This served as a basis for hypothesizing that monitoring and calculating play a major, higher integrative role in the act of copying. The act of copying (and 'visual-perceptual-motor integration') was conceptualized, therefore, as a sequential activity which, on a higher level, is mediated by the integrative processes of monitoring and calculating--these processes enabling the individual to integrate the observations and movements at each step in the sequence with all others, i.e., into a sequential whole relevant to the figure being copied. It was proposed that the Bender test measures an active, constructive process rather than a fixed, static, absolute 'amount' of ability or inability.;Some question about the homogeneity of the sample was discussed in terms of its bearing on the interpretation of some of the results. Implications for educational planning; for the clinical use of the Bender; and for directions of future research were also discussed.
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