Psychological Test, Worcester Form Board

Psychological Test, Worcester Form Board

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Grace Helen Kent (1875-1973) spent the years from 1922 to 1926 as a psychologist at the Worcester State Hospital in Massachusetts. Kent had previously written on the use of geometric puzzles in psychology and also developed a word association test while working under A. J. Rosanoff at the Philadelphia Hospital for the Insane. In Worcester, she and psychologist David Shakow (1900-1981) sought to develop a version of the form board that would be suitable for clinical psychologists who needed to carry their equipment some distances to examine patients. They thought the form board suited to “immigrant, feeble-minded and psychotic subjects because of its self-explanatory nature” and also interesting enough to appeal to normal subjects.
In 1925, Shakow and Kent published a description of the Worcester form board (see 316372.36 for a copy of the paper). It included six wooden boards. Two had nine depressions that each held one piece, two had five depressions that each held two pieces, and two had five depressions that each held three pieces.
This object is a different form of the test. There is only one board that has six depressions in different shapes. These now hold eighteen pieces (three per depression). A cardboard box holds twelve pieces that also fit in the depressions, two per depression. Two drawings show the arrangement of the pieces. The one showing twelve pieces is labeled 2c, the one showing eighteen pieces 3c. It seems likely that this was an early form of the test as in later versions the pieces were painted to be color-coded.
Kent, Grace H. “A Graded Series of Geometrical Puzzles,” Journal of Experimental Pshychology, 1, pp. 40-50.
Kent, Grace H., & Shakow, D., “The Worcester Formboard Series,” Pedagogical Seminary and Journal of Genetic Psychology, 32, 1925, pp. 599-611.
Shakow, David "Grace Helen Kent," Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 10, 1974, pp. 275–280.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Psychological Test
date made
ca 1925
place made
United States: Vermont, Worcester
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
paper (overall material)
overall: 1 cm x 26.5 cm x 20.5 cm; 13/32 in x 10 7/16 in x 8 1/16 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of David Shakow
Psychological Tests
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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