The Rorschach Inkblot Test

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The Rorschach Inkblot Technique

Sherri Henley

Test and Measurement, Park University


The Rorschach Inkblot Technique was created by Herman Rorschach, a psychiatrist from Zurich, Switzerland. The technique was formally presented to the world in 1921 with his publication of the monograph Psychodiagnostik. It included his ten selected inkblots, clinical findings, and the theoretical bases for his investigations. The ten blots consist of nearly symmetrical inkblot designs, each printed and centered on a piece of white cardboard. Each inkblot design has its unique characteristics indicated by Rorschach. Each blot tends to provoke typical responses due to its form, color, shading, and white spaces. To date, the widest application of the Rorschach Inkblot Technique is in the field of mental health in the public and private institutions and practice. Despite attacks from the field of psychology, the Rorschach technique remains on of the most extensively used and thoroughly researched techniques (Durand, Blachard, & Mindell, 1988).

The Rorschach technique is considered to be a projective test where the subjects are requested to tell the examiner what the inkblots remind them of. The unstructured nature of the inkblot test encourages individualized responses. It is used to assess the structure of personality with particular emphasis on how individuals construct their experience and the meanings. The subject must draw on their personal internal images, ideas, and relationships in order to create a response. One job for the examiner is to help create the relaxed but controlled atmosphere particularly important for obtaining a useful Rorschach protocol. Several factors must be considered in preparing the subject for examination. They include: 1) atmosphere, 2) seating arrangement of the subject and examiner and test equipment, and 3) instructions. The subject must be made to feel at ease yet he/she...
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