Rorschach Inkblot Test

According to Exner (1993), the first publication of Hermann Rorschach's 10 inkblots was in 1921 as a monograph, Psychodiagnostik. For the 1940's and 1950's, the Rorschach was the test of choice in clinical psychology. It fell into disfavor as many clinicians began criticizing it as "subjective" and "projective" in nature. Ironically, this was never the intention of Rorschach.

While working in a psychiatric hospital with adolescents, he noticed that certain children gave characteristically different answers to a popular game known as blotto (Klecksographie). In his original publication he characterized the blots as a "Form Interpretation Test, and cautioned that his findings were preliminary and stressed the importance of much more experimentation" (Exner, 1993, p. 6). Sadly, Rorschach died in 1922 at the age of 37. He had only invested just under four years in his inkblot test.

With no clear leader to take the helm, at least four separate "systems" developed to administer, score, and interpret the test. Needless to say, questions and concerns regarding the test's reliability and validity was eventually brought into question. Beginning in the late 1950's, enter John Exner. Exner (1993) reports that David Rapport, Bruno Klopfer, Marguerite Hertz, Zygmunt Piotrowski and Samuel Beck each played a roll in his desire to compile many systems into some sort of more cohesive whole. Exner's (1993) early work showed that each system "had considerable merit, but that each were also seriously flawed in one way or another" (p. viii). The result of addressing these concerns is the Comprehensive System. The "project" grew into a three volume work that has spanned at least three editions. Exner has almost single handedly rescued a drowning beast and breathed life back into it. The result is the resurrection of perhaps the single most powerful psychometric instrument ever envisioned. 


Exner's Titles
Other Texts
  • Weiner, I.B. (1966) Psychodiagnosis in schizophrenia. New York: Wiley
Suggested Articles
  • Atkinson, L. (1986). The comparative validities of the Rorschach and MMPI: A meta-analysis. Canadian Psychology, 27, 238-247.
  • Cronbach, L. J. (1949). Statistical methods applied to the Rorchach scores: A review. Psychological Bulletin, 46, 393-429.
  • Exner, J. E. (1980). But it's only an inkblot. Journal of Personality Assessment, 44, 562-577.
  • Weiner, I. B. (1966). The future of psychodiagnosis revisited. Journal of Personality Assessment, 47, 451-461.
  • Weiner, I. B. & Exner, J. E. (1991). Rorschach changes in long-term and short-term psychotherapy. Journal of Personality Assesment, 56, 453-465.



Now you can order books about the Rorschach from the

Comic relief, or reflection, as the case may be ...

If it has been a D- day, check out the Rorschach cyber-blots.    If you are interested in one long FABCOM2, then read the Exner Bible. For the next installment of Rorschach and Religious CONTAM, read A Rorschach Prayer. I have found an interesting site that provides the "untold" story behind the missing blots.

on the more serious side ...

Rorschach Mailing List
An e-mail discussion group that is not limited to the Comprehensive system, this discussion list is home to some of the top researchers in the field. To subscribe to the mailing list send the following message:
subscribe rorschach your-first-name your-last-name to [email protected]

and other places to go ...

 Hans Huber is the publisher of the Rorschach Inkblots.  Their site also offers information on the International Rorschach Society.

Psimatica is the Spanish publisher of the Comprehensive System texts. They have a web site which is translated into English

HyperHermann is a Macintosh program which teaches Rorschach from a classical european point of view.  

The Classical Rorschach pages are devoted to the presentation and promotion of the Rorschach method, concentrating on the way it has been practiced within the classical European tradition.

For a listing of alternative non-Exnerian schemas and published works, including some of Rorchach's, originals, please see the excellent work compiled by Dr. Rick Kramer.

For a broad discussion of assessment issues in general, you may visit another site designed by PsyberScape, Inc:  Psychological Assessment Online.




Last updated: 8 Dec 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Dec 2015
    Published on All rights reserved.