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the "Are You Bad At Math?" Test

Researching the Psychology of Mental Health and Illness



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This brief research project on the psychology of mental health and illness contrasts and compares the three primary views from which therapies occur; the psycho medical view, the psycho functional view, and the psycho visual view. To do this, we will use a common situation, "being bad at math," as the test situation.

Hypothesis

The root of mental illness is neither symptoms nor dysfunction. Rather, both these conditions result from people's blocked visual abilities to picture alternative choices.




Opening Statement

Currently, the perspectives from which mental health professionals ascertain peoples' levels of health and illness can be roughly divided into two broad categories.

In the first category, the "medical / symptoms" model, health is defined by the absence of symptoms; illness, by the presence of symptoms.

In the second category, the "functional / dysfunctional" model, health is defined by the ability to function at what are perceived to be the reference norms for a particular group. Illness, then, is defined as the inability to function at these perceived norms.

Presently, there is a third category emerging. In this third category, the "visual / blocked" model, health is defined as an unblocked ability to picture choices on the screen of one's mind. Illness is defined as the inability to picture these choices.

On what is this third perspective based? On the hypothesis that the root of illness is neither the symptoms nor the dysfunction present but rather, that illness stems directly from people's blocked abilities to visualize their choices. Literally.

It is further hypothesized that these blocked visual abilities are the actual root cause of both the symptoms and the dysfunction present, the literal a priori nature of mental health and mental illness.

And the assumption beneath these hypotheses?

That beneath all symptoms and dysfunction, there is a preverbal visual essence which, in nature, and in effect, precedes all mental and emotional processes. More over, that by directly addressing these preverbal visual aspects of peoples' inner lives, that therapists can bypass people's conscious and unconscious defenses.

Can this hypothesis be true? Can peoples' blocked visual abilities be the actual root cause of all mental health symptoms and dysfunction? Admittedly, this is a radical hypothesis. None the less, strong evidence exists for this hypothesis being true.

Research Question

Are symptoms and dysfunction the result of blocked visual abilities?

Life Situation for the Test


Many people admit to being "bad at math." Clearly, being bad at math can be seen as a functional impairment which would underlie difficulties such as poor money management skills or difficulty making buying decisions.

In addition, although the specifics would vary widely from person to person, clearly, most people who are "bad at math" will exhibit symptoms in and around this inability, personal discomforts such as feelings of inferiority in the presence of those who are good at math and or feelings of low self worth when making buying decisions.

In this test situation, we will use this condition; being "good or bad at math"; to see if we can find a correlation between symptoms, poor numeric skills, and an impaired visual ability.

Now, as "math" is far too broad a topic for our purposes, we will limit the scope of this test to exploring people's visual abilities to draw numbers. In this way, we hope to show a direct correlation between the symptoms and impaired math skills of a person who is "bad at math" and an empirical measure; a marked and measurable difficulty picturing the act of drawing one or more of the ten digits, 0 - 9.

Now rather than presenting our test design's rationale, allow us first to present our test. We do this purposely in the belief that our test rationale will be clear only after experiencing the test itself.



Question Set for the Test




Opening Test Questions

[1] At what level do you see your math skills?
[ ] very good at math [ ] good at math [ ] average [ ] bad at math [ ] very bad at math

[2] Have you experienced any difficulty in and around doing math?
[ ] yes [ ] no

[3] Picture a piece of paper. Now describe this paper in detail:
[ ] Can offer specific details [ ] Can not offer specific details

[4] Now imagine you write your name at the top of this paper. Describe, in detail, what you just wrote:
[ ] Can offer specific details [ ] Can not offer specific details

Imagining the Ten Digits

[5] Now imagine writing the number one below your name. From where do you start drawing this number?
[ ] top [ ] bottom [ ] left [ ] right

Now describe, in detail, how you drew this number. For instance, how many lines did you use?
[ ] Can describe the complete process [ ] Can not describe the complete process

Now try to picture writing this same number in a different style. Can you?
[ ] yes [ ] no

[6] Now imagine writing the number two. From where do you start drawing this number?
[ ] top [ ] bottom [ ] left [ ] right

Now describe, in detail, how you drew this number. For instance, how many lines did you use?
[ ] Can describe the complete process [ ] Can not describe the complete process

Now try to picture writing this same number in a different style. Can you?
[ ] yes [ ] no

[7] Now imagine writing the number three. From where do you start drawing this number?
[ ] top [ ] bottom [ ] left [ ] right

Now describe, in detail, how you drew this number. For instance, how many lines did you use?
[ ] Can describe the complete process [ ] Can not describe the complete process

Now try to picture writing this same number in a different style. Can you?
[ ] yes [ ] no

[8] Now imagine writing the number four. From where do you start drawing this number?
[ ] top [ ] bottom [ ] left [ ] right

Now describe, in detail, how you drew this number. For instance, how many lines did you use?
[ ] Can describe the complete process [ ] Can not describe the complete process

Now try to picture writing this same number in a different style. Can you?
[ ] yes [ ] no

[9] Now imagine writing the number five. From where do you start drawing this number?
[ ] top [ ] bottom [ ] left [ ] right

Now describe, in detail, how you drew this number. For instance, how many lines did you use?
[ ] Can describe the complete process [ ] Can not describe the complete process

Now try to picture writing this same number in a different style. Can you?
[ ] yes [ ] no

[10] Now imagine writing the number six. From where do you start drawing this number?
[ ] top [ ] bottom [ ] left [ ] right

Now describe, in detail, how you drew this number. For instance, how many lines did you use?
[ ] Can describe the complete process [ ] Can not describe the complete process

Now try to picture writing this same number in a different style. Can you?
[ ] yes [ ] no

[11] Now imagine writing the number seven. From where do you start drawing this number?
[ ] top [ ] bottom [ ] left [ ] right

Now describe, in detail, how you drew this number. For instance, how many lines did you use?
[ ] Can describe the complete process [ ] Can not describe the complete process

Now try to picture writing this same number in a different style. Can you?
[ ] yes [ ] no

[12] Now imagine writing the number eight. From where do you start drawing this number?
[ ] top [ ] bottom [ ] left [ ] right

Now describe, in detail, how you drew this number. For instance, how many lines did you use?
[ ] Can describe the complete process [ ] Can not describe the complete process

Now try to picture writing this same number in a different style. Can you?
[ ] yes [ ] no

[13] Now imagine writing the number nine. From where do you start drawing this number?
[ ] top [ ] bottom [ ] left [ ] right

Now describe, in detail, how you drew this number. For instance, how many lines did you use?
[ ] Can describe the complete process [ ] Can not describe the complete process

Now try to picture writing this same number in a different style. Can you?
[ ] yes [ ] no

[14] Now imagine writing the number ten. From where do you start drawing this number?
[ ] top [ ] bottom [ ] left [ ] right

Now describe, in detail, how you drew this number. For instance, how many lines did you use?
[ ] Can describe the complete process [ ] Can not describe the complete process

Now try to picture writing this same number in a different style. Can you?
[ ] yes [ ] no

Post-Test

[15] At what level do you now see your math skills?
[ ] very good at math [ ] good at math [ ] average [ ] bad at math [ ] very bad at math

[16] Were you surprised by anything that you experienced?
[ ] yes [ ] no

[17] If yes, was this surprise pleasant?
[ ] yes [ ] no

Optional Post Test Grouping Data

Age?
[ ] 5 - 15 [ ] 16 - 25 [ ] 26 - 35 [ ] 36 - 45 [ ]46 - 55 [ ] 56 - 65 [ ] 66 - older

Gender?

[ ] male [ ] female

Ever gone to therapy?

[ ] yes [ ] no

Highest Completed Level of Education?
[ ] grade school [ ] high school [ ] associates degree
[ ] bachelors degree [ ]masters degree [ ] doctoral degree



Guidelines For Administering the Test





Question One
Question one can also be voiced more personally as, "How are you at doing math, bad or good?"

Question Two
Possible difficulties might be:

  • anxiety
  • low self worth
  • confusion
  • poor spending habits

Question Three
Possible specific descriptions would be:

  • the color of the paper
  • the texture of the paper
  • the size of the paper

Question Four
Possible specifics for writing one's name would be:

  • the kind of writing implement used (pen, pencil, marker, crayon)
  • the color of what was written (black, red, blue, etc)
  • the general style of the font used (print, script)
  • the specifics of font used (serif, sans serif)

Questions Five through Fourteen
Possible specifics for writing the number one would be:

  • Number was drawn starting at the top and working downward
  • Number was drawn starting at the bottom and working up
  • Number was drawn starting from the left and working right
  • Number was drawn starting from the right and working left
  • Number consisted of one (two, three, etc.) lines

Questions Fifteen
Could also be stated, "Do you feel any different now about your math skills?"

Question Sixteen
If the person struggles here to give you an "exact" answer, simply ask that they give you their "most true" answer, either a "yes" or a "no."

Question Seventeen
Again, if the person struggles to give an "exact" answer here, simply ask them to give you their "most true" answer, either a "yes" or a "no."


Pre Test Interpretive Guidelines for the Test Administrator




Let's start by restating our hypothesis: that the root of mental illness is neither symptoms nor dysfunction but rather, that both these conditions result from people's blocked visual abilities to picture alternative choices.

Keeping this hypothesis in mind, if it is true, what kinds of results can we expect to see?

Obviously, the first thing we are looking to do is to divide the participants into five groups. These groups will range from those who say they are very good at math to those who say they are very bad at math.

If our hypothesis is correct, we should see a correlation between those who report they are "bad at math" and having a marked difficulty visualizing how they write one or more numbers.

We should also see a similar correlation between those who report they are "good at math" and those who have a marked ability to visualize writing these numbers.

In addition, we should see a correlation between peoples' ability to picture "alternate choices" and their reported ability with math. Thus, those who are "good at math" should find it easier to visualize alternate choices easier than those who report they are "bad at math."

Ideally, we should also expect to see these correlations range proportionately. In other words, ideally, those in the "very bad at math" group should report the highest levels of difficulty. Likewise, those in the "very good at math" group should report the least visual difficulty.

Additionally, we expect there to be a significant number of participants who will report being surprised by the experience; more over that they will see this surprise as having been pleasant.

Lastly, despite the existing gender bias that boys are better than girls at math, we expect to see these correlations be unrelated to gender.

Oh, and one more note. Some will wonder why our subtext is, "Researching the Psychology of Mental Health and Illness." Why, with this subtext, are we using a test situation like "being bad at math" rather than using something more obviously "mental health" related, such as being depressed or having relationship problems?

Our answer?

For now, all we can say is, we have purposely chosen this test situation, knowing our reasons will become obvious in the analysis. More over, we expect this test to become the foundation for many tests to come, including tests for the more obvious "mental health" related conditions.

Finally, we now make our most radical claim. We expect these tests to do something far more important than simply gathering data to support our claims. We expect these tests to actually promote healing. How? Again, we expect this claim to become obvious in the analysis.

Curious? Sure we're wrong?

We invite you to keep watching.

What's Next?

Next, we'll begin to collect the data. Know we intend to spend the next several months administering this test to a wide variety of people. We also intend to, from time to time, be posting our ongoing findings here.

Would you like to be a participant? Curious as to what our true intent is? Please know, there's no better way to see what we're up to than to take this test yourself.

More over, we'd just plain love to have you. So to be included, anonymously of course, simply send me a request. I'll email you out a test. Or click the following download button and just email me your results.



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