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Dubious Assessment

The Rorschach Inkblot Test


The Rorschach Inkblot Test consists of 10 cards, each containing symmetrical inkblots, some in color and some in black and white. Developed by psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach in 1921 as a tool for personality assessment, it is still used today by clinical psychologists in any number of settings including schools, courts and clinics. Despite its continued usage by psychologists, the Rorschach has more in common with astrology and palm reading than with science. The Rorschach is probably the best known projective test, a type of test used to infer a person's motives, thoughts, perceptions and conflicts on the basis of the person's interpretation of ambiguous or unstructured stimuli. According to associate professor of psychology Scott O. Lilienfeld, PhD, because "projective measures grant subjects considerable leeway in their responses . . . the range of possible answers is often limited only by the respondent's ingenuity, loquacity, or both." Projective tests are therefore difficult to standardize in any useful or reliable way.
See also:

For a comprehensive history of the Rorschach, visit the International Rorschach Society.

The Original Rorschach Website: Online resource for information about the Rorschach Inkblot Test.

Skeptic Links:

For information on the problems with the Rorschach Inkblot Test and other projective tests visit these links.

Approved Alternatives:
Again, according to Scott O. Lilienfeld, "With the possible exception of the Rosenzweig Picture-Frustration Study (PFS) and Loevinger's Sentence Completion Test (SCT), however, the levels of validity [for projective tests] are modest at best and nonexistent at worst. It seems safe to conclude that the popularity enjoyed by most projective tests is outstripped by the mediocre, and in most cases feeble, evidence for their validity.


Skeptical Psychology © 2004
Last updated: 12/01/2004
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