Projections Of Who You Are (Rorschach)

by Courteney
Myer’s Definition: Rorschach inkblot test is the most widely used projective test, a set of 10 inkblots, designed by Hermann Rorschach; seeks identify people’s inner feelings by analyzing their interpretations of the blots.

  • The Rorschach inkblot test and the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) are the two most widely used tests, and they were both important outputs of clinical psychology.
  • The test assumes that the person being tested is projecting their personalities into the inkblots. It involves mental illnesses and the diagnose of psychological disorders.
  • A projective test, the category that the inkblot test falls under, presents a person with uncertain and vague stimulus and assumes that the subject project his or her unconscious onto the test. The stimulus for this projection is a symmetrical inkblot that can be seen as many things at the same time.
  • Rorschach said that what the person sees in the inkblot will reveal something significant about the person through the “the interpretation of accidental forms” in his exact words. Rorschach believed that his test could become a useful tool for research of the unconscious as well as for the diagnose of psychopathology.

  • The test assumes that since the person is focusing on the inkblot in order to identify what it id, they would be removing the attention on themselves and remove their usual psychological defenses.
  • Since the same inkblot could seem like everything and nothing, any object or idea that the subject claims to see would be a product of the subject’s unconscious projected onto the inkblot.

Development of the Test
  • A few large inkblots are thrown on a piece of paper and the paper is folded so that the ink spreads making a symmetry.
  • Certain conditions had to be met in order for he inkblot to be usable: the inkblot had to be simple, symmetrical, and moderately suggestive of objects. (asymmetrical inkblots were rejected as being impossible to identify by previously tested subjects.)
  • Rorschach decided on a set of 10 prints for his original test after much testing took place. 5 were black on white paper, 2 of black and red, and 3 multicolored.
Administration and Scoring
  • The inkblots are handed to the subject.
  • The subjects are asked “What might this be?”
  • There is no right side up, and the subject can look at the inkblot fro any distance.
  • There is no time limit.
  • The testers cannot suggest or state what the inkblot looks like to them.
  • The test is not a test of imagination and he explains to his subjects that it is instead a test of perception relevant to the senses, memory, and the unconscious and conscious associations with the inkblots (stimulus) and the individual’s psychological factors.
  • Rorschach made guidelines for the scoring of the 10 inkblots:
“1. How many responses were made? What was the reaction time; that is, how long did the subject look at the figure before responding? How often did the subject refuse to interpret a picture?
2. Was the subject’s interpretation only determined by the shape of the figure, or were the color or movement included in the perception?
3. Was the figure seen as a whole or in separate parts? Which parts were separated, and how were they interpreted?
4. What did the subject see?”

  • Rorschach considered the content of the subject’s interpretation the least important portion of the responses of the subject to the inkblot.

  • In order to figure out whether different groups of people will perform differently on the inkblot test, Rorschach and others conducting the research decided to give the test to varying psychological groups--for example, normal individuals with differing degrees of education, schizophrenic patients, those with manic-depressive disorders, etc.
  • Normal individuals gave about 15-30 answers total for the 10 inkblots, happier people generally gave more answers than sad people; it took about 20-30 minutes to conduct the entire test.
  • For schizophrenics, the test took a shorter amount of time in general because they sometimes refused to answer the question on what they saw in the inkblot; the amounts of answers thy gave for the 10 inkblots differed significantly from patient to patient.
  • Rorschach took an interest in the effect of specific parts of the inkblots as well as their color and sense of movement of the inkblot on influencing the answer of the person being tested.
  • Animals and insects were among the most popular answers as to how the subject interpreted the inkblot 25-50% of the answers were animals or insects; depressed individuals gave the most insect and animal answers while artists gave the fewest.
  • original responses was the term coined by Rorschach for answers that occurred fewer than once in 100 tests; schizophrenics gave the most original responses while average individuals of normal intelligence gave the least.
  • Rorschach stated that he had originally planned for the test to serve as a tool to help comprehend the unconscious psychology of individuals; he later found out that the test had the ability to diagnose.
  • Rorschach claimed that the test had been able to indicate schizophrenia, depression, introversion, extroversion, and intelligence; he said that the inkblot test could help the process of diagnosing patients.
  • The inkblot test can touch upon the tendencies of the unconscious, but it is general and nonspecific; Rorschach stated that other practices such as the interpretations of dreams and free association are superior methods of exploring the unconscious--perhaps this is because those methods were in common practice at the time of this experiment.
  • Does the Rorschach inkblot test really measure underlying personality characteristics? The verbal ability, age, intellect, education, etc. influenced the answers of the subjects (Anastasi & Urbinai, 1996).
  • Although the inkblot test is not deemed very reliable, it continues to be one of the most widely used tests among clinical psychologists and psychotherapists. The test is not used for the results of the test itself; psychiatrists usually use the tests to strike up conversation with their patients and to get to know them better.
  • The inkblot test had been modified to study human interaction and ways to ameliorate it by Aronow and Reznikoff in 1976; they asked multiple people to come to a consensus about the figures on the inkblot.

  • Arenella and Ornduff did a research in 2000 using the Roschach Inkblot Test; the test results of two groups were compared--girls from stressful environments and girls who had been sexually abused. The latter group exhibited a tendency to be more concerned about their body images than the former group.
  • The inkblot test may also be able to predict which individuals are prone to becoming violent criminals; this may help intervention for such individuals.
  • For individual and family therapy, the inkblot test has been modified to create a "family album" (Yeruchalmi & Yedidya, 1997). Clients are asked to create a family album in the form of a collage using any material that they wish to use. The collages are then used as "inkblots" to comprehend the issues at hand.
Rorschach's original inkblot test as well as other modified forms of the test are being used today to help resolve psychological issues.



First of all, please note that this is a different Rorschach from the Watchmen...

Rorschach.jpg rorschach image by k-soll

This is the Rorschach that executed the research.

Some examples of what an inkblot may look like... What do you see?

This video has 10 official inkblot tests.

The video above is about Rorschach and his tests.

The following is a video about the experiment...

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