Foulds, G. A. (1953)
Speed of performance on mental tests among psychoneurotics.
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Section I reports the findings of previous investigators into problems of speed of performance on mental tests and the effect of distraction on speed and accuracy of performance. The majority of the subjects of the investigation were psychoneurotic in-patients and the tests used were progressive Matrices, the Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale, the Thematic Apperception Test and the Porteus Mazes. Section II deals with the scores obtained by individuals suffering from different forms of psychoneurotic illness on Progressive Matrices and the Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale and the ratio between these scores when Progressive Matrices is used with and without a time limit. The main finding is that anxiety states, reactive depressives and obsessionals have a considerably higher general intellectual ability: vocabulary ratio than psychopaths and hysterics. This result is contrary to previous findings. An explanation of this difference, partly in terms of speed of performance, is offered. Section III is concerned principally with the productivity and fluency of subjects on the Thematic Apperception Test and subsidiarity with analysis of the content of their stories. Section IV deals with temperamental differences, particularly with regard to speed of performance, on the Porteus Mazes. Experiments are reported in Section V which were designed to determine the effect of distraction and of electroconvulsive therapy on Maze performance in general and on psychomotor retardation in particular. Section VI interrelates the results reported in the preceding Sections and shows that there are significant though relatively low, correlations between the speeds of performance on the tests used. The main concern has, however, been with the significance of the findings for diagnostic and psychodynamic purposes rather than with the existence or non-existence of a general speed factor. Section VII contains a general summary together with the main conclusions to be drawn from the investigation.
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Institution: University of London, Bedford College (United Kingdom).