Dr Arnold Gesell test objects

1911-1939 in United States and Jiangxi

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Gesell test objects, 1911-1939. General group shot. Graduated grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Bell, rattle, cup, five large and six small pine wood blocks, unsigned, United States of America, 1911-1939. These objects are part of test objects used by the developmental psychologist Dr Arnold Gesell, along with a small spool of 16mm film showing line drawing, from the Clinic of Child Behaviour, Yale University, 1911-1961.

Arnold Gesell (1880-1961) pioneered the study of normal child development. Gesell took ‘normal’ to be healthy children, based on comparison with other children. Gesell put children from newborns to six year-olds through filmed tests using these objects at his Yale clinic for Child Development in the United States. He established behaviour patterns using the observed results. For example, at 15 months a ‘normal’ child will build a tower of two blocks; at four years, a tower of ten.


Psychology, Psychiatry & Anthropometry
Object Number:
aluminium (metal), metal (unknown), paint, pine (wood), plastic (unidentified), tin (metal)
  • furnishing and equipment
  • sound device
  • idiophone
  • struck idiophone
  • percussion idiophone
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
  • drinking vessel
  • furnishing and equipment
  • sound device
  • idiophone
  • struck idiophone

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