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Sex, age and I.Q. differences in the responses to the M-B cards Bolton, Margaret Weldon

Abstract

The intent of this study is to show maturational changes in the identification process, as illustrated by the responses of 222 normal 5, 10 and 15-year-old children to twenty-one white match-stick drawings of pairs of human figures on a plain black ground. The subjects, divided into age, sex and I.Q. groups, are asked to state the identity and activity of the figures as each card is shown. Scoring takes into account the sex and maturity (adult or child) assigned to figures, "emotional" states projected, interaction between figures, "popularity" of responses, and family-figures (including self) recognized. The writer feels that the test fulfils its purpose: scoring was found adequate for the present, preliminary, study, although refinements are necessary, and appear feasible, for further research. Findings are given in terms of the following hypotheses, which guided the study. First, hypotheses regarding projections of the various sex or age groups: (a) That girls will see more women and girls than will boys: at the 10 and 15-year-old level, this difference is significant. (b) That 5-year-olds will see chiefly men and women because they tend to identify with parental figures: strong supporting evidence is revealed. (c) That 15-year-olds will see fewer men and women than 5-year-olds, but more than 10-year-olds, because of their closeness to maturity: no significant difference is discernible. (d) That 15-year-olds will see more boys and girls together because of awakening interest in the opposite sex, while 10-year-olds will see more boys and/or girls together. Ten-year-olds gave more boy-girl, as well as more boy-boy responses than did 15-year-olds. (e) That 15-year-olds' records will resemble those of adults more than they will those of the younger groups: in many aspects of the responses, this was confirmed. (f) That 5-year-olds, particularly only-children, will tend to see themselves: this was found so. (g) That girls will see more mother-figures and boys more father-figures: results confirm the former part of this proposition, but not the latter. Second, hypotheses regarding approach; (a) That 5-year-olds will tend to perseverate, misinterpret figures, see two figures without interaction, name the sex but have it meaningless, and give kinaesthetic responses: although no statistical analysis was done, the writer is confident that these are revealed as characteristics of this group. (b) That brighter children in all groups will give more interpretations and fewer descriptions, and (c) That the lower the I.Q., the more the approach will resemble that of a lower age group: these hypotheses could not be confirmed because of the combination of age and sex in each I.Q. group. Third, hypotheses regarding content; (a) That boys will give more aggressive, conflict responses: although inconclusive, evidence appears to refute this assertion. (b) That girls will give more "emotional" responses: this is definitely confirmed. (c) That boys will see more objects: results lead to the rejection of this hypothesis. The study proved highly provocative, and would seem to warrant further investigation.

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