Mental Working Test

Quoted from “Igusa Children’s Mental Working Test”(1989, Igusa Educational Institute) by Suzuki, Kazunaga


In dealing with young children, Kindergarten and nursery school teacher often have special problems in handling two   kinds of pupils:children who relatively less care and children who are beyond control.  Some children within the former group retire within themselves (autism), some tend to become immersed in a single activity to the exclusion of others, and some are not able to get along with classmates.  Some children within the latter group are unable to control their  emotions; others try to be the center of attention and are moody.

These behavior patterns among young children correspond closely to the behavior patterns observed in adults.  Why?   I have been deeply concerned with this and have been seeking the basic reasons.

In order to identify existing behavioral types in children, I thought of adapting the “Uchida-Kraepelin Mental Working  Test” for adults.  As a result of this study, the “Igusa Children’s Mental Working Test” was developed.

The  “Uchida-Kraepelin Mental Working Test” has been widely employed by companies in Japan as a screening device  for job applicant. The number of persons taking this test is far greater than the number taking intelligence tests, yet     the emphasis has been solely on practical application rather than on the conceptual framework of the test.

For myself, I have been concerned about my own character ever since I was a child.  I found that I could not easily      concentrate on any subject, and my personal relationships with others was constrained.  I blamed myself for not being able to act as smoothly as others.  My distress continued to grow even after I attained adolescence.

A casual meeting with  Dr,  Yuzaburo  Uchida,  then, was of greatest relief to me since it enabled me to identify the flaw of my character.

Around 1920, in order to observe the work obstacles of schizophrenic patients at the Matsuzawa Metropolitan Mental   Hospital, Dr. Uchida was engaged in a follow-up test of consecutive adding works (the method prepared by             Dr. Kraepelin, a German psychiatrist.  Dr. Uchida noticed that the graphic forms of the curves yielded by                      the  schizophrenic patients displayed certain characteristic patterns.

Later, the test was given to high school students who were of sound mind and body.  Based on the results of these tests, Dr. Uchida observed that a mentally healthy person exhibits a particular type of curve, termed “Teikei” (typical).   From this discovery, and subsequent experiments, Dr. Uchida developed the “Uchida-Kraepelin Mental Working Test.”  The application of this test was extended to such areas as shop management for drafted workers and an aptitude test   for pilots during world war II.  Since the war, the test has been widely used by the Japanese National Railways  (JNR),  general enterprises, factories, and schools.

I was intrigued by the variety of curves obtained from many and various people, and following the war I spent about    ten pleasant years as a research worker for Dr. Uchida.

In 1955,  I began to wonder if the same characteristics of mental behavior for adults might also appear in children.

I tried to originate a new test from for children.  I changed the consecutive adding works for adults  (15 minutes of      testing, 5 minutes of rest, 15 minutes of testing, etc.) into a marking method that could be managed easily for            children.  This marking method stimulates the children’s brain to the same degree as the consecutive adding method   does for the adult’s brain.  This makes it easy for an examiner to determine the locus (that is, the graphic form of the  curves).

Under this new method, the test for children is administered under similar circumstances as that for adults.  As a result of this test, it can be seen that a child who had few aberrant inclinations in his personality and could get along with      classmates has “Teikei  kyokusen” (the “typical forms of curves”) in the same geometrical ratio as an adult.  This type  of child generally excels in drawing and rhythmical motion and can manage everything well.  Furthermore, children who showed nontypical inclinations in their personality and who could not function harmoniously in group life also exhibited certain characteristic types of curves depending on their particular aberrations. 

This is a simple 35-minutes test,  I have tested myself under a variety of physical, mental, and physical situations     (more than 20 times).  The particular disposition of my own curves has never shown the slightest variation.               The graphic forms of my curves have never displayed “typical forms,” thus clearly revealing my own particular trait in  personality. 

In 1987,  JNR was reorganized into 11private companies , thus ending its 115ーyear history as a public corporation.  The new private companies are collectively called JR (Japan Railways). 

I read a paper on this test at the “Nihon Hoiku Gakkai”  (Japan Nursery Society)  in 1959.  Since then,  I have been    studying the correspondence of personal characters of children to the graphic forms of the curves.  I can safely state    that the personal character of a child is dynamically display in the graphic form of a curve just as that of an adult. 

This test can be conducted as a group test for children from 4 years of age (or, in some cases, for 3-year-old children   as well).  

Every  flower  has  its  own shape and feature.     ~
Suzuki ,  Kazunaga


The purpose of this test is to reveal the personal characteristics of pre-school children through the dynamic curves that result when pre-school children complete this mental working test.  

Initially, the German psychiatrist E. Kraepelin (1856-1926) used the “Consecutive Adding Works” method to carry out   experimental research on working psychology (work curves, “Die Arbeit Kurve”).  Later, in japan, Dr. Yuzaburo Uchida (1894-1966) created the “Uchida-Kraepelin Mental Working Test,” which is suited for use with the general public.  But   these tests are all geared to adults.  

The Continuous Adding Works method is not a “mathematical test” but rather a method to apply light stimulus to the   brain in order to urge mental activity. 

The problem, therefore, was how to construct an appropriate mental working test for pre-school children; that is, how  to achieve the same light degree of stimulus to the brains of pre-school children as the Consecutive Adding Works       method does to the brains of adults.  Beginning in about 1955, for about 3 years I conducted several experiments       attempting to solve this problem.  As a result, in 1958 I settled upon the most appropriate method for pre-school        children; that is, to have them write ○× marks continuously in rows (rather than numbers) so as to yield curves as     shown in the diagram below.  (For test details, refer to “Testing Method” (chapter 1 of this thesis.)  

curves are to be vlewed vertlcally

Since then, for about 20 years I’ve continued my            research.  This thesis represents the essence of my       findings.  (This was originally published in 1978 in        Japanese; this English book is a translation of parts of    the Japanese original.) 

Under this testing method, similar patterns of curve forms appear if the mental characteristics are similar, even among parents and children or even between strangers with no blood relation.