Our study was designed to evaluate perceptual ability measured by the Gollin Incomplete Pictures Test (in which subjects identify fragmented pictures of common objects) in Alzheimer Disease. We developed a standardized procedure for administering Gollin's test and compared the performance of 58 Alzheimer patients and 37 elderly controls on the Gollin, two design copying tests, the Mini-Mental State Examination, a verbal version of the Knox Cubes test, a recognition memory test, and a verbal fluency test. Alzheimer patients performed significantly more poorly than controls on all tests. Factor analysis demonstrated a visual perceptual factor, with loadings on the Gollin test and design copying and three other factors representing primary memory, secondary memory, and language Results indicate the Gollin test measures visual perceptual ability, but the precise nature of the task requires further study. Identification of fragmented pictures appears a practical and potentially useful measure for evaluating at least some aspects of visual perception in patients with generalized cognitive impairment.