Benton Visual Retention Test

Purpose: Designed to assess visual perception, visual memory, and visuoconstructive abilities.

Population: Ages 8 and over.

Score: Difference between error score and correct score.

Time: Not reported.

Author: Arthur Benton.

Publisher: The Psychological Corporation.

Description: The Benton Revised Visual Retention Test is a widely used instrument that assesses visual perception, visual memory, and visuoconstructive abilities. Because it measures perception of spatial relations and memory for newly learned material, it is used in clinical diagnosis of brain damage and dysfunction in children and adults, as well as in research. The Benton, as it is usually called, has three alternate forms, each of which consists of ten designs. In addition, there are four possible modes of administration.

Scoring: Test interpretation is based on an assessment of the number and types of errors made and involves several levels of analysis for diagnostic purposes. The examiner compares the examinee’s obtained scores with the expected scores found in the norm tables. When examining the difference between these scores for the number correct, the wider the discrepancy in favor of the expected score, the more probable it is that the examinee has suffered neurological impairment.

Reliability: The interscorer agreement for total error score is high (r = .95) and for major categories of errors reliability is moderate to high (r = .66 to .97). The category of errors having the lowest interscorer reliability is substitutions (.66), whereas distortion and omission/addition categories produce a correlation of .75. All other categories have correlations over .85. Alternate form reliability for Forms C, D, and E is high (r= .85) for Administration A. The multiple-choice forms (F and G) are reported to have a moderate internal consistency, split-half reliability is .76. To determine test-retest reliability, Administration C was given to 194 Kindergarten children twice in a four-month interval. The correlation of .75 between the two sets of scores is very promising.

Validity: A correlation of .42 was found between the Benton and the Digit Span WAIS subtest. This low correlation indicates discriminate validity since the Benton was created to supplement the Digit Span test. Various studies have examined the ability of the Benton to assist in the diagnosis. Using a cutoff score of -3, the test identified as brain-injured 22% of the suspected brain injured, 24% of the true brain injured, and 6% of normals.

Norms: 600 people were used in the norming of this test, but the manual does not indicate the demographic distribution of its sample.

Suggested Uses: The Benton is recommended for use as part of a neuropsychological battery to assess specific dysfunction.