Rorschach Test

By Gillian Fournier

A well-known psychological test created by Hermann Rorschach in which subjects are asked to describe their perceptions of various abstract ink-blots. The ink-blots are supposed to be kept very secret so that the test subject’s responses to them will not be tainted. The idea behind the test has to do with the immediacy of the reaction. The reactions are supposed to reveal the innermost workings and secrets of the test subject.

Most well-known psychologists do not use the test anymore because they feel that under the best scenario they are not very reliable. They also feel that the tests can be dangerous because of the amount of flexibility as far as interpretation.

The entire test is usually kept secret as every reaction can be interpreted in some way by the psychologist. For example, asking a certain question about the card could mean something very important. The psychologist rarely gives the test-taker any guidance what-so-ever as far as the reactions they are supposed to be having. If a person asks if they are allowed to touch a card, move it etc, the psychologist adds it to the score somehow and scores it accordingly. On the original cards, there are numbers placed on the backs specifically for the psychologists’ use. If someone notices the numbers it is also noted and scored accordingly. Supposedly, the original test had one set order that it was to be conducted in.

Another thing to note include the manner in which you phrase your response…”This is a…” is a very bad response because the test-taker is supposed to know that the cards are not specific items/people/creatures. Instead of responding in those words one should say…”This looks like …” as it is considered a more mentally healthy response. If for some reason you manage to answer correctly as far as the phrasing, there are still opportunities in the test for you to be denoted as mentally retarded or for you to demonstrate a mental illness. Seeing nothing is generally a sign of “retardation” and seeing many things is a sign of “mental illness”. Either way, it seems very hard to get a “good” score on one of these tests.

Nobody agrees how to score Rorschach responses objectively. There is nothing to show what any particular response means to the person who gives it. And, there is nothing to show what it means if a number of people give the same response. The ink blots are scientifically useless.” (Bartol, 1983). This quote is from: http://www.deltabravo.net/custody/rorschach.php.


    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Jul 2010