Embedded Figures Test
Are embedded figures tests good indicators of healthy access to juxtapositional thinking? The paradoxical literature suggests they might be, and it makes sense for them to be testing the sensitivity of a “noisy network”. The first step is to get a freely available, automated test, obtain plenty of data points, and see if activities to reduce stress can improve a person’s score.
To join the experiment, practice the test below a couple of times, then do it and write down your score somewhere. Then choose some (or none if you prefer) of the new activities suggested below. Do your chosen activity for a week to get the benefit, and then do the test again. Use the form below to describe a little about yourself, the activities you tested, and your before and after scores. It’s much better to remember your scores yourself - if nothing gets stored except one set of anonymous data, there are no privacy issues.
The common assumption is that everyone’s score is pretty much set for them. I think it can get worse and better, and when it gets worse, that’s what our grandparents called “getting stuck in a rut”.
Here are some commonly suggested ways to destress - let’s see what happens as the results come in.
Evening Walks. Take evening walks of at least half an hour. Take the opportunity to reflect on your day.
Cultural Activities. Go to concerts or museums that you wouldn’t usually have gone to.
Imaginary Friend. The old progstone exercise. Imagine you have a friend who is smart but knows nothing of the modern world. Explain where everything comes from, and where it is going. Never stop after one step - always explain what happens next, what happens after that, and so on.
History. Learn about a different historical period. Read books about it, maybe watch films, imagine what each bit of your daily life would have been like for a person living then.
Cooking. Experiment with some recipies you haven’t tried before - or cheat and eat in a different kind of restaurant!
Meditation. Of any school.
Change Routes. Leave a little time, and choose different routes during your day.
Change Job. If you are going to start a new job, try the test at the start and end of your first week.
Move Home. If you are going to relocate, try the test before and after the move.
Fall In Love. If you do fall in love during your experimental week, perhaps at a Cultural Activity, please remember to take the second test
Break Up. As Fall In Love. Do the test and make your broken heart count for something!
New Car. Try the test before and a week after taking delivery of your new car.
Vacation. Before and after your vacation.
See Old Friends. Get out of the house, and go and see some people who you know well, who make you feel comfortable, but who you haven’t seen for a while.
Get More Sleep. Apparently most people are sleep deprived these days.
Disaster. As Fall In Love. If something terrible happens during your experimental week, does it balance up your awareness?
Send Your Results
Experimental Version and Source Code
Here’s an experimental version. Please don’t use this one to report the results - the idea there is to compare like with like. But if you’d like to experiment in some different ways, help yourself!
For Java fans, it only uses AWT so it will run on anything - likely I’ll upgrade to Swing if things get more complicated. The source is one GPL’ed file, EFT.java.