A test designed to reveal hidden emotions and internal conflicts via a subject’s responses to ambiguous stimuli. Instead of being scored to a universal standard as with an objective personality test, content from projective tests is analyzed for meaning.
Projective personality tests are supposed to be able to measure areas of your unconscious mind such as personality characteristic, fears, doubts and attitude. Some employers use these type of tests to try and see if you are an appropriate fit for their work environment.
Francis Galton is the person who invented this method of testing. His first experiment was conducted in 1897 and consisted of choosing a selection of words and letting his mind free associate. He then took the words that he generated in reaction to the original list and put them into new classifications which led think more about the possibilities of sub-consciousness and thought.
Example: The Rorschach inkblot test, where subjects are asked to describe what they see in ambiguous images, is the best-known projective personality test.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Jul 2010