Examining the Validity and Applicability of the Rorschach Test

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In examining the psychological aspects of personality, some of the most controversial studies stem from the psychoanalytic views of projective testing. In such tests, examinees are asked to interpret otherwise ambiguous pictures in an application of the projective hypothesis that individuals will project aspects of their personality onto such a stimulus. This freudian idea then allows interpreters to work backwards from such interpretations to examine particular personality traits.

Proponents advocate for such testing on the basis that it allows psychologists to examine mainly unconscious (and hence uncontrollable) responses to stimuli, allowing them an otherwise impossible view into a subjects innermost personality. However, the reason such tests remain controversial is due to their refuted reliability in terms of the scientific method.

The best known of these projective measures is the Rorschach Inkblot test, in which subjects interpret 10 symmetrical inkblots. The results are then scored based on numerous characteristics supposedly associated with personality traits. The interesting part of such a test is that despite its criticism and doubts, it is on of the most commonly used of all personality measures. (Lilenfield p. 570) In addition, excluding extreme psychological cases (such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), the test has little reliable validity in terms of predicting behavior. This raises the question, why would it still be used on a widespread basis? Especially due to the fact that respondents could potentially fake such disorders on tests quite easily.

Rorschach test cartoon.jpg

Based on my reading and analysis of the Rorschach test, my main question is why? Why would psychologists still use it? Though I understand that it's prominence is receding, it still makes me question the overall studies of personality. If we are still employing a method that has almost certainly been proven ineffective, how can we ever truly understand the inner workings of the mind?

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Good questions. Nice post overall.

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This page contains a single entry by zipp0009 published on November 20, 2011 11:24 PM.

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