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4. Eysenck Type Personality Test

6. Ten Rorschach Cards

The Art of Passing a Personality Test

5. Rorschach's Inkblot Test

1. Introduction 2. Hermann Rorschach
3. Test Behaviour 4. Response Time
5. Number of Response 6. Real Responses
7. White Area Response 8. Negative Responses
9. Literature

1. Introduction

It is important to make clear that an inkblot test is not a creativity test. It is a test, designed to expose the test subjects' deepest secrets, they hardly even know they have.

Test persons, who take it from the humorous side and provides amusing but less relevant responses, will run a great risk of being characterized as psychiatric deviants in a report that can follow them for life.

This inkblot can resemble a map of Norway

This inkblot can resemble a map of Norway.

The test was developed by Herman Rorscach in 1921 to be used in psychiatric hospitals, and it is basically designed to find what mental disorders the patients are suffering from, so that doctors can make a diagnosis and prescribe an effective treatment for the unfortunates, who are hospitalized there. Herman Rorschach himself placed great emphasis on identifying schizophrenia.

We must honour Hermann Rorschach's genius. We must recognize that his test have been created for man's best.

However, when one carries the test out of the hospitals and applies it to normal people, it will also there find depressions, neurotic and psychopathic disorders and other pathalogical personality disorders; that is what it is designed for.

An inkblot of unknown origin - it looks like a Rorschach card

An inkblot of unknown origin - it looks like a Rorschach card.

As Annie Murphy Paul writes, no matter how cunningly one try to avoid the traps of the test, it will find something that the test subjects have answered and interpret it as an indication of potential mental illness. The test person may think that - well - he also have something to offer. But such a test does not measure good qualities, it is only intended to find mental abnormalities.

2. Hermann Rorschach

The inkblots, you see in lexicons and magazines are most often not the real Rorschach inkblots. They are expected to be kept secret and have been protected by copyright. Only psychologists have been presumed to have prior knowledge.

The original inkblot test is the Rorschach test, which was developed by the Swiss Herman Rorschach in 1921. The test consists of ten images, apparently random inkblots, but however, painted by Rorschach himself, who besides being a psychologist, also was a dazzling art painter. The American John E. Exner organized the interpretations of the patients' responses in his "Comprehensive System".

Hermann Rorschach 1884 - 1923

Hermann Rorschach 1884 - 1923.

Hermann Rorschach died already in 1923. Since it is more than 70 years ago, the artist died, the images are now "public domain" in the EU; They can be found on many sites on the Internet. Books and manuals that describe standardized interpretations of test-persons' responses are today freely for sale to anyone, who wants to buy. Rorschach inkblot test is no longer exclusive knowledge of psychologists and will undoubtedly soon have outlived its role as one of the psychologist's favorite personality tests.

However, it had got a successor, namely the Holtzman inkblot Test, which consists of 45 alternate pairs of inkblots, which have been selected from a collection of thousands of inkblots. The Holtzman test is intended to be as a further development of the Rorschach test dealing with many of its weaknesses. Until now, the psychologists have kept their cards close to their chest on this test.

But as the Holtzman test is a child of the Rorschach test, one must logically assume that if a person has a good knowledge of scoring practices of the Rorschach test, so he also has a good chance to escape relatively unscathed through a Holtzman test.

3. Test Behaviour

Rorschach's test from 1921 consists of 10 images, supposed to be random inkblots. They are pictured on cards made of stiff cardboard. They are about 16x22 cm.

An inkblot test

An inkblot test. The psychologist and the test person are here placed incorrectly in relation to each other. The psychologist should sit behind the test person.

During testing, the psychologist will usually sit diagonally behind the test subject so that he can not see the psychologist and the inkblot cards at the same time. Basically, everything, the test person says and does, will be noted and interpreted.

The test subject will be presented with the cards one by one in a prior established order with the "right" edge upwards.

It will be perceived positively to respond in phrases like: "This could be -" or "This looks like -". The test person is expected to could realize that this is only some inkblots on a piece of cardboard. If he responds: "This is -", it will not be beneficial to him.

On the other hand, it would not be good for the test person to say "This is an inkblot on a piece of cardboard." It will be interpreted in the sense that the test taker does not take it seriously.

Some responses may be unconscious in the rspect that the test person can not say exactly why he thinks the card looks like what he is saying. However, the result of the test depends a lot on the test subject's ability to formulate his perceptions. Therefore, he should argue for his views and point out the details that make an image look like this and that.

If the test person is unable to see anything on a card, the psychologists may think that it suggests a possible neurosis.

An inkblot image

An inkblot image. This is not a Rorschach's picture, because he only made ten pictures, all of which are known. But it looks like a Rorschach picture with symmetry, color shades in the watercolor-painted surfaces, the smaller red areas and so on. Photo rambler.ru.

If the test-person holds the card in front of him with an angle other than horizontal or vertical or he covers part of the picture with the hand, signs, groans or makes other incomprehensible sounds, it will not be in his favor. All this can be interpreted as signs of brain damage, according to some interpretation tables. It is of great importance how the test person expresses himself, it is not good to use strange, unusual words and expression.

The test-subject is expected by himself to figure out how to rotate the card and seek interpretations from different angles, it means turning it 90 or 180 degrees. He can probably see shapes formed by both the black and the colored areas and the white areas, which they enclose.

When one are reading randomly in the extensive literature on the Rorschach test, it is striking that female test-takers seem to be considered more sympathetic than male. Maybe because most psychologists are men, many of women's less fortunate responses are ascribed to the traumatic situation that they as oppressed women find themselves in. Men, however, mainly get their diagnosis without mercy.

Another inkblot with a little face in the center

Another inkblot with a little face in the center - it is important not to focus on the face, as it can indicate anxiety.

Hence one can conclude that the test is somewhat subjective. Despite all the Exner system's exact calculations, index and ratios it nevertheless depends to a large extent of psychological assessment.

Just as the situation in modern football. The rules of the game are very unambiguous and accurate, but many matches are still decided by some referee's judgments that can be discussed afterwards. He sends a key player out in an early stage of the match, fails to whistle for a possible penalty and so on.

Therefore we must face that it may be essential, so to speak, to do a good sales job. One should seek to create a positive atmosphere in relation to the psychologist and his possible assistants in a way that does not attract attention. You can ask for his business, his training and experience and give him time to talk about it. You can talk about traffic or the weather. It is important to show a positive attitude to the test.

4. Response Time

The psychologist will note, how quickly the test person responds, most likely from a tape recording. If he answers too slowly, it is not good for him. A long response time will indicate depression. Especially if he, after long reflection gives less meaningful answers, he will be judged down.

A response time something like 20 seconds is very common.

5. Number of Responses

The average number of responses is 23, i.e. 2-3 responses each card. If a test subject gives fewer than 14 responses, the test is invalid and should be discarded. Few responses can be attributed to low IQ, paranoia or depression.

It is said that psychotic patients often see violence, deaths and disasters in the inkblots, which they naturally do not want to say, precisely because they fear to be labeled psychotic, and therefore they can have few responses.

A reason for few responses can also be that the test person has an oppositional attitude to the test, he's really not happy to participate in this kind of test.

Many responses may indicate creativity, but also mania.

6. Real Responses

It will be to the test person's advantage to interpret the ink blots as "realistically" and obviously as possible, thereby convincing the psychologist that he is completely normal. The ability to see what most others also see will be considered as practical, realistic thinking, an ability to see the obvious and conventional, and "stick to the facts". It is a sign of sound perception of reality. The test person recognizes the normal and conventional.

On the other hand, if the test-taker sees something in a particular card that people do not normally see, it can be a positive sign, indicating alertness, creativity and individualism. But if he persistently in all the following cards sees things that others do not normally see, it may indicate eccentricity, stubbornness, rebellioness, poor perception of reality and even psychosis - the latter because he sees something that does not exist.

An inkblot that looks like the sun, a paddle wheel or a cell under a microscope

An inkblot that looks like the sun, a paddle wheel or a cell under a microscope. It is not wise to say it is a cancer-cell as it would indicate a dark and pessimistic personality. Photo Kevin Arnowitz - Twitter

The test person is expected to be able to make probable, what he thinks the blots can imagine. If for example, he says, he sees a face in one of the blots, he is expected to point out, for example, eyes, mouth and outline of the face. If the psychologist does not believe that the test subject's explanation fits with the picture, he may think that it indicates schizophrenia or other psychopatic deviation; i.e. the test person sees something that does not exist, or knowingly telling something that he does not see.

This stands in contrast to, for example, the TAT test, where the test person is asked to tell a story that nominally is fiction, without being classified as mentally deviant for this reason.

Serious and obvious responses will be in the test-person's best interest.

For example, a blot looks like the sun; children often draw the sun like this. Or that it resembles a cell photographed under a microscope. However, if it is stated that it is a cancer cell, it would indicate a dark and pessimistic side of personality.

Examples from the animal and plant world are neutral. The blot can be a jellyfish or a starfish. Or it may be a paddlewheel from a paddle steamer, a rotor for a pump or a fan.

7. White Area Response

Someone taking the Rorschach test is asked to look at the ink blots and say what he thinks they might look like. But sometimes a test-person instead focuses on the white area between and around the ink blot and tells what they think it looks like.

Apart from the fact that the ink blot does not in itself represent anything, it will be a bit like when some friends show him a picture of their newborn baby, he immediately starts talking about why he finds the blurred garden bushes in the background interesting.

It is a very subtle and usually unconscious way of defying the instructions of the test, why a white area response may indicate oppositional, aggressive or rebellious tendencies.

However, if the test-taker only mentions the white areas once or twice, it may indicate alertness, an ability to notice the unusual, as the ink blot does not in itself represent anything but an inkblot.

7. Negative and Positive Responses

An inkblot, resembling a creature from outer space

An inkblot, resembling a creature from outer space.

Negative responses are especially those, which contain fight and conflict, weapons, blood, death and destruction, and threatening and attacking monsters and dangerous animals.

If a test person sees avenging spirits from the past or monsters from the outer space, it will be recorded as negative responses, even it can be made probable from the form of the inkblot.

The interpretation of responses of the type "run over cat", "trampled cockroach on a bathroom floor", "a smeared corpse of an insect on the car windshield" and "the corpse of a slapped mosquito on a white wallpaper" will certainly also be interpreted as negative responses and therefore indicate suppressed aggression, frustration and anger.

However, the interpretation of such responses may depend on whether the test person identifies with the cat and the insect or with their killers.

A woman gave the response: "A poor little beetle ran around minding its own business, then came a boot and trampled it flat." This response gives an indication of anxiety and the feeling of being a victim of events she can not control.

Positive responses include those that describe something that is alive and not dead, something praising life, child faces, flowers, cute animals, female figures, dancing couples and so on.

Two fighting animals can be interpreted as an unconscious personal conflict. Explosions will be a symbol of hostility. Spiders, octopuses and witches can be interpreted as dominant mothers. Giants and gorillas as dominant fathers.

A large number of negative responses will indicate that the test person is frustrated, angry, aggressive and potentially violent.

A very high number of positive responses can be interpreted thus that the person is submissive, timid and is suffering from a martyr complex.

The blots are symmetrical, and this opens up interpretations inspired by the animal world that a test-taker can not get really do badly.

Inkblot art 4 Inkblot art 3 Inkblot art by Josh Fisher Inkblot art 2

Inkblots have evolved into a new direction within visual art. Blot number 3 was made by Josh Fisher. For the other images, unfortunately, I cannot find the names of the artists.

8. Literature

LISTVERSE De ti Rorschach kort.
The Rorschach Test - ParentingPlan.net De 10 kort og respons-forslag.
The Inkblot.com - Rorschach Test Online Online multiple choice Rorschach test.
Rorschach Test Wikipedia.
The Rorschach Inkblot Method - Science or Pseudoscience? Great Plains Sceptic.
"Principles of Rorschach Interpretation" af Irving B. Weiner.
"Contemporary Rorschach Interpretation" af J. Reid Meloy.
"Rapid Psychological Assessment" af Jason T. Olin, Carolyn Keatinge.
"The Cult of Personally Testing" af Annie Murphy Paul - Free Press - Simon and Schuster Inc.
This article is a contribution to the debate on personality tests and Dalum Hjallese Debate Club assumes no liability for a use of the article in real life.
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