Once upon a time…

February 25, 2010, 2:51 pm

As a junior transfer student at Northwest Nazarene University, Joshua Brendible did not know very many people on campus but was excited to get involved. For this reason, when his professor Dr. Glena Andrews asked for students to work with a project called the “fairy tale test,” Brendible immediately volunteered.

He soon discovered the test was a lot more work than he originally anticipated. The first half of the semester was spent determining exactly what it meant to administer the “fairy tale test.” Brendible found that, in the simplest of terms, the process involved testing children ages 7-12 with a stack of cards depicting classical fairy-tale figures. Testers show the child sets of three cards and ask the child to answer some questions about the pictures on each. There are three different types of cards in each set; one where the character pictured resembles a cartoon, one that is more sensual and one that is more realistic. Testers record how the children respond to each type of card through their answers to the questions.

After figuring out what it meant to conduct the test, Brendible spent the rest of the academic year collecting data. Over the course of the collection phase, data was periodically sent to the originator of the test, Dr. Carina Coulacoglou in Athens, Greece. Coulacoglou was so impressed by the work done by Brendible that she invited him to come to Greece and work on the data interpretation process with her and her team.

“This is really a testimony to the type of work that’s expected from NNU students,” said Brendible, “as well as the talent of the faculty and students of the psychology department.”

Brendible spent a month in Greece in the summer of 2009. During this time he got to see “the magic at work,” the outcome of the hours he had invested in data collecting as that same information was interpreted into results. Coulacoglou and her team look at the results to learn more about each child’s personality as it is divulged through the connection with classical fairy-tale figures.

Now as a senior, Brendible has taken the data he collected during the testing process and is mining it to come to his own interpretation. His study focuses on the affect that a child’s home has on their responses. He will be presenting the results of his research in April at the Western Psychological Assocation’s 90th Annual Convention in Cancun, Mexico.

To find out more about Brendible’s research or the psychology department, please contact Dr. Andrews at

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