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A psychology test from 1936 claims to use science to tell how gay you are

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Are you afraid of “burglars,” “contagious diseases,” and “negroes”? According to the Terman-Miles test, your answer might say a lot about you, including your gender.

Consisting of 455 questions and prompts, the Terman-Miles test was considered a breakthrough in modern psychology after it debuted in 1936. On the test, the taker is judged by whether they can answer questions based on what is considered appropriate for their gender. You pass the test if you adhere to social norms, but if you were male and answered too femininely, it was considered a sign of “sexual inversion.” Terman and Miles believed that a man or a woman with an undesirable test result might “develop into a practicing homosexual if [they] were not one already.”

You could call the Terman-Miles test the original BuzzFeed quiz—except unlike “How ‘Bro’ Are You?” it wasn’t a fun way to pass the time. It was just evil.

How do you score on the masculinity-femininity scale? Here are some excerpts from the test. (It's best to have a friend administer to you, if possible.)

+ indicates a masculine response; - indicates a feminine response; 0 indicates a neutral response

Exercise 1:

Look at the word in capital letters, then look at each of the four words that follow it. 

For example: HORSE: cow hay race swim

Draw a line under the world that seems to you to go best or most naturally with HORSE; that is, the word that HORSE tends to make you think of.

1) POLE

a. barber 0

b. cat +

c. North -

d. telephone +

2) DATE

a. appointment -

b. dance +

c. fruit +

d. history +

3) BAR

a. drink +

b. prisoner -

c. sand +

d. stop -

4) SHARP

a. bright -

b. flat -

c. knife 0

d. pin +

5) TRUNK

a. baggage 0

b. elephant +

c. travel -

d. tree 0

6) ORDER

a. buy -

b. command +

c. neat -

d. quiet -

7) CASE

a. bottles +

b. container 0

c. doctor -

d. grammar -

8) POST

a. fence +

b. gate -

c. letter -

d. mail 0

9) TENDER

a. kind -

b. loving -

c. meat +

d. sore 0

10) JACK

a. cards -

b. money +

c. tool +

d. toy -

11) TRAIN

a. engine +

b. gown -

c. travel -

d. whistle -

12) DRAW

a. blood +

b. bridge +

c. pencil -

d. picture 0

13) BRACE

a. bit +

b. pair -

c. strap -

d. support -

14) FLY

a. airplane +

b. bird -

c. nasty 0

d. travel -

15) BOND

a. love +

b. paper -

c. security +

d. tie -

16) PASS

a. car 0

b. mountain +

c. over -

d. subject -

17) RAIN

a. clouds +

b. umbrella -

c. weather +

d. wet 0

18) BOOK

a. cover 0

b. paper +

c. print +

d. read -

19) PURE

a. good -

b. milk +

c. water -

d. white 0

20) MOON

a. light +

b. month 0

c. night -

d. round -

 

[We're skipping Exercise 2, because it wasn't interesting.]


Exercise 3:

In each sentence draw a line under the word that makes the sentence true.

Example: America was discovered by BALBOA COLUMBUS DRAKE WASHINGTON

1) Marigold is a kind of

a. fabric +

b. flower -

c. grain -

d. stone +

2) Things cooked in grease are

a. boiled +

b. broiled +

c. fried -

d. roasted +

3) The Yale is a kind of

a. hammer 0

b. lock +

c. screen 0

d. wrench 0

4) We should drink tea from the

a. cup -

b. saucer +

c. spoon +

5) Pongee is a kind of

a. cloth -

b. drink 0

c. flower 0

d. game +

6) The most gold is produced in

a. Alaska +

b. New York 0

c. Tennessee -

d. Texas -

7) The earth moves around the sun in

a. 7 days -

b. 30 days 0

c. 180 days -

d. 365 days +

8) A stately dance of colonial days was the

a. minuet -

b. polka +

c. two-step 0

d. waltz +

9) One must run fast in

a. fruit basket -

b. jackstones +

c. tin-tin +

d. wood-tag 0

10) Beethoven is known as a

a. composer -

b. painter +

c. poet +

d. singer -

11) Most of our anthracite coal comes from

a. Alabama -

b. Colorado -

c. Ohio -

d. Pennsylvania +

12) The number of players on a baseball team is

a. 7 -

b. 9 +

c. 11 -

d. 13 0

13) Eggs are best for us when

a. deviled -

b. fried +

c. hard-boiled +

d. soft-boiled -

14) A loom is used for

a. cooking +

b. embroidering +

c. sewing +

d. weaving -

15) Peat is used for

a. fuel +

b. pavement -

c. plaster 0

d. road-making 0

16) Marco Polo was a famous

a. king 0

b. philosopher -

c. traveler +

d. warrior -

17) Tokyo is a city of

a. China -

b. India -

c. Japan +

d. Russia 0

18) The first American naval hero was

a. Hull -

b. John Paul Jones +

c. Lawrence +

d. Winslow -


Exercise 4:

Below is a list of things that sometimes cause anger. After each thing mentioned, draw a circle around VM, M, L, or N to show how much anger it causes you.

VM means VERY MUCH; M means MUCH; L means A LITTLE; N means NONE

1) Being blamed for something you have not done

VM -

M 0

L +

N 0

2) Being called lazy

VM -

M 0

L 0

N +

3) Being called stupid

VM -

M 0

L +

N 0

4) Being called a thief

VM 0

M 0

L +

N -

5) Being deceived by a supposed friend

VM -

M 0

L 0

N 0

6) Being disturbed when you want to work

VM 0

M 0

L +

N -

7) Being snubbed by an inferior

VM -

M 0

L -

N +

8) Being unexpectedly slapped on the back as a joke

VM -

M 0

L -

N +

9) Hearing someone make fun of your clothes

VM -

M 0

L 0

N +

10) Hearing your political views ridiculed

VM 0

M -

L +

N +

11) Seeing boys make fun of old people

VM -

M +

L +

N 0

12) Seeing an honest official thrown out of office by politicians

VM 0

M 0

L +

N -

13) Seeing a person laugh at a cripple

VM -

M +

L 0

N +

14) Seeing people disfigure library books

VM -

M -

L +

N +

15) Seeing someone cheat in an examination

VM -

M 0

L +

N +

16) Seeing someone try to discredit you with your employer

VM +

M 0

L +

N -

17) Seeing someone laugh when a blind man runs into an obstacle

VM -

M +

L +

N +


Below is a list of things that often cause fear. After each thing mentioned, draw a circle around VM, M, L, or N to indicate how much fear it causes you. Be honest and admit all the fears you have. Fears are not disgraceful.

VM means VERY MUCH; M means MUCH; L means A LITTLE; N means NONE

1) Automobiles

VM 0

M -

L -

N +

2) Being lost

VM -

M -

L +

N +

3) Being in a closed room

VM -

M -

L 0

N +

4) Becoming deaf or blind

VM -

M +

L +

N -

5) Bulls

VM -

M -

L +

N +

6) Burglars

VM -

M 0

L +

N +

7) Contagious diseases

VM 0

M +

L 0

N -

8) Deep water

VM -

M 0

L -

N +

9) End of the world

VM -

M -

L -

N +

10) Floods

VM -

M -

L +

N +

11) Garter snakes

VM -

M -

L -

N +

12) Graveyards at night

VM -

M -

L 0

N +

13) Heart trouble

VM -

M +

L +

N +

14) Insects

VM 0

M 0

L 0

N 0

15) Lightning

VM -

M 0

L -

N +

16) Negroes

VM -

M -

L -

N +

17) Pain

VM -

M 0

L -

N +

18) Punishment in the next world

VM 0

M 0

L -

N +

19) Thunder

VM -

M -

L -

N +

20) Windstorms

VM -

M -

L -

N +


Below is a list of acts of various degrees of wickedness of badness. After each thing mentioned, draw a circle around 3, 2, 1, or 0 to show how wicked or bad you think it is.

3 means “EXTREMELY WICKED”; 2 means “DECIDEDLY BAD”; 1 means “SOMEWHAT BAD”; 0 means “NOT REALLY BAD.”

1) Picking flowers in a public park

3 0

2 -

1 +

0 +

2) Stealing a ride on a truck

3 -

2 -

1 +

0 +

3) Telling a lie to avoid punishment

3 -

2 +

1 +

0 +

4) Whispering in school

3 +

2 0

1 -

0 0

5) Boys teasing girls

3 -

2 -

1 +

0 +

6) Making fun of cripples

3 -

2 +

1 +

0 -

7) Using slang

3 -

2 -

1 +

0 +

8) Breaking windows

3 -

2 +

1 0

0 +

9) Boys smoking before they are 21

3 -

2 -

1 +

0 +

10) Indulging in “petting”

3 -

2 -

1 0

0 +

11) Moderate drinking

3 -

2 0

1 +

0 +

12) Excessive drinking

3 -

2 +

1 +

0 0

13) Putting pins on the teacher’s chair

3 -

2 -

1 +

0 +

14) Swiping fruit out of orchards

3 -

2 0

1 +

0 +

15) Laziness

3 -

2 0

1 -

0 +

16) Going to bed without saying your prayers

3 -

2 -

1 +

0 +

17) Not brushing your teeth

3 -

2 0

1 +

0 +

18) Boys fighting

3 -

2 -

1 +

0 +

19) Being a slacker in time of war

3 0

2 0

1 +

0 0

20) Boy running away from home

3 0

2 -

1 0

0 +

21) Neglecting to study your lesson

3 0

2 -

1 0

0 0

22) Being a Bolshevik

3 +

2 -

1 0

0 0

23) Not standing up when the “Star-Spangled Banner” is played

3 -

2 +

1 +

0 -

24) Drinking a great deal of coffee and tea

3 0

2 +

1 -

0 0

25) Being cross to your brother and sister

3 +

2 -

1 0

0 0

26) Shooting rabbits for fun

3 -

2 0

1 +

0 +

27) Having fits of temper

3 0

2 -

1 +

0 +

28) Insulting the defenseless

3 -

2 +

1 +

0 0

[Note: Terman and Miles didn't provide the key to score the test, but I'm going to wager we all failed this one.]

Photo via COCOEN daily photos/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)