What is the Rorschach?
The Rorschach Inkblot Method is a projective test of emotional and personality functioning. The Rorschach consists of 10 inkblots to which people are asked to tell “what might this be.” The Rorschach is a performance-based test that assesses individual approaches to ambiguous stimuli.
A projective test is a type of psychological test in which the individual gives responses to ambiguous images, words, or scenes. Projective tests were developed from the psychoanalytic school of thought, which suggests that people have unconscious thoughts and feelings. According to the theory behind these tests, people give more careful, or guarded answers to more clearly defined questions. But by providing the participant with a question or stimulus that is not clear, the underlying or unconscious motivations or attitudes may be revealed.
History of the Rorschach
The Rorschach Inkblot test was one of the first projective tests and continues to be one of the most well known. It has been displayed in many popular media sources including movies and comics. The Rorschach was developed by Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach in 1921, and consists of 10 different cards that depict an ambiguous inkblot. The results of the test can vary depending on which of the many existing scoring systems the examiner uses. The current most common and most widely accepted scoring system in current use is the Exner Comprehensive System. This system allows for more validity and reliability of the scoring and interpretation, which is a common critique of projective tests. The scoring system is currently undergoing revisions to increase its validity and reliability in the scoring and interpretation.
What is the Rorschach used for?
Critics of the Rorschach often cite that it has poor validity and thus, it is unable to accurately identify most psychological disorders and that the interpretation is largely from the examiner’s own biases, not the test-taker’s personality. However, the test has shown to be effective in the diagnosis of illnesses characterized by distorted thinking, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Psychologists also use the test to gain more understanding of people’s thinking style and style of coping with stress and strong emotions.