Bender® Visual-Motor Gestalt Test

  • overview

    General Information

    The Bender® Visual-Motor Gestalt Test, originally published in 1938 by Lauretta Bender, M.D., is one of the most widely used psychological tests in the past half century. The Second Edition (Bender-Gestalt II) continues its tradition as a brief test of visual-motor integration that can provide interpretive information about an individual's development and psychological functioning.

    Appropriate for ages 4 to 85+ years, Bender-Gestalt II is designed for use with both children and adults and is useful in the identification of learning difficulties including:

    • Poor perceptual discrimination ability
    • Poor fine motor skills
    • Visual-motor integration problems
    • Weak organizational and planning skills
    • Attentional and impulsivity problems
    • Personality and behavioral characteristics, as exhibited by the drawing activities
    • Memory storage and retrieval problems
    • General maturation delays


    • Provides a recall procedure to assess visual-motor memory that provides a more comprehensive assessment of visual-motor skills
    • Offers supplemental tests of simple motor and perceptual ability that help to identify specific visual-motor deficits
    • Includes a comprehensive testing observations system including physical demeanor, drawing technique, and test-taking behavior and attitude
    • Features a timing component option that measures drawing time for the Copy and Recall phases
    • Provides a quick, easy, and comprehensive scoring criteria in the Global Scoring System
    • Co-normed with the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, Fifth Edition
  • administration


    Administration of the Bender-Gestalt II involves two phases: the Copy phase and the Recall phase. In the Copy phase, the examinee is asked to copy each of the designs on a blank sheet of paper. In the Recall phase, the examinee is asked to redraw the designs from memory.

    In addition to the two phases, examiners are asked to record examinee behavior on an Observation Form. The Observation Form contains areas for recording times and different types of test-taking behavior.

    The Bender-Gestalt II includes two supplemental tests to provide a brief screening of specific motor and perceptual abilities. The purpose of these tests is to help understand low performance on the Bender-Gestalt II Copy and Recall phases by detecting the presence of motor or perceptual difficulties. The supplemental tests should be administered following the Recall phase.

  • Scoring

    The Bender-Gestalt II Global Scoring System (GSS) is based on a simplified adaptation of the Qualitative Scoring System. Examiners use the GSS to evaluate the overall representation of each design the examinee produces during the Copy and Recall phases of administration. The GSS consists of a 5-point rating scale that is designed to yield individual scores for each item and a total score for each test. The essence of the scoring system emphasizes the examination of discrepancy between the actual design on the stimulus card and the examinee's drawing.

    Although many systems of analysis are available for the Bender-Gestalt II, an approach that integrates an individual's test scores and test behaviors is advocated. The former includes quantitative test results based on the Global Scoring System, and the latter involves qualitative observations of general test behavior as well as the specifics of reproducing the designs.

    Scores that can be generated by using the Bender-Gestalt II include: Percentile Ranks, Scaled Scores, T Scores, and Confidence Intervals.

    The Bender-Gestalt II Global Scoring System was designed to assess visual-motor integration functioning across a large segment of the lifespan. As such, it can aid in differentiating subtypes of learning, psychological, and neurological problems. The Recall phase adds to the utility of the Bender-Gestalt II by providing a brief assessment of memory. The Recall phase can be used as an indicator of how well the examinee encodes, stores, and retrieves information from memory. Like performance on the Copy phase, performance on the Recall phase can be influenced by motor and perceptual problems.

    The Global Scoring System provides an overall impression of an individual’s performance on the Bender-Gestalt II. Generally, the lower the score, the greater the likelihood that severe pathology (whether it is developmental, physiological, neurological, or psychological) exists.


    Technical Information

    The Bender-Gestalt II was normed on more than 4,000 individuals ranging in age from 4 to 85+ years. The standardization sample is representative of the 2000 U.S. population. The Bender-Gestalt II was co-normed with the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, Fifth Edition.


    Assessment Bulletin Number 1: Innovative Features of the Bender-Gestalt II and Expanded Guidelines for the Use of the Global Scoring System.