Like Seeing Things in the Clouds
Projective tests developed out of psychoanalytic approaches to personality. In the
most commonly used projective tests, a person is presented with a vague image, such
as an inkblot or an ambiguous scene, then asked to describe what she "sees" in the
image. The person's response is thought to be a projection of her unconscious confl
icts, motives, psychological defenses, and personality traits. Notice that this idea is
related to the defense mechanism of projection, which was described in Table 10.1
earlier in the chapter. The fi rst projective test was the famous Rorschach Inkblot
Test, published by Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach
in 1921 (Hertz, 1992).
The Rorschach test consists of 10 cards, 5 that
show black-and-white inkblots and 5 that depict
colored inkblots. One card at a time, the person describes
whatever he sees in the inkblot. The examiner
records the person's responses verbatim and also observes
his behavior, gestures, and reactions.
Numerous scoring systems exist for the Rorschach.
Interpretation is based on such criteria as
whether the person reports seeing animate or inanimate
objects, human or animal fi gures, and movement,
and whether the person deals with the whole
blot or just fragments of it (Exner, 2007; Exner &
Erdberg, 2005).Projective Tests