Great Strides: Celebrating Women in Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center

The Bender-Gestalt Test

Lauretta Bender, MD, (1897-1987) is perhaps best known for developing the Bender-Gestalt Visual Motor Test in 1923. A neuropsychological examination that became a worldwide standard, the psychological test examines perceptual motor skills and motor developments to aid in screening for developmental disorders, and assess neurological function. The test’s name is partly derived from the use of images from the world-renown Gestalt psychologist Max Wertheimer. Dr. Bender, in her 1938 monograph A Visual Motor Gestalt Test and Its Clinical Use, described how the test was administered and the methodology behind it.

Dr. Bender was senior psychiatrist in the Children’s Psychiatric Service from 1933 to 1956. Some accomplishments during her tenure include the introduction of play therapy groups for children, the development of the first Autistic Nursery, and contributing to advances in research in the areas of child schizophrenia and psychopharmacology.