Rorschach Inkblot Method

RorschachInkblot Method

Institutionof Affiliation

RorschachInkblot Method

The is a projective psychological test that wascreated in 1921 by Herman Rorschach. It is used by psychologists as amethod of psychological evaluation. It examines the personalitycharacteristics of the patient together with their emotionalfunctioning. Currently, the method is the most used in forensicassessments, after MMPI. Most psychologists have used test as theirmain method to test the emotional functioning of patients sufferingfrom psychological problems (Hertz, 1992).

Howdoes it works?

Thetest is has a resemblance to the party game. The test has tenofficial inkblots. Five of the inkblots are black in color, stainedon a white. Two are black and red stained on a white. The remainingthree are multicolored. A psychologist shows a patient the teninkblots and asks the patient what each of them resembles. Just likethe twirling balls found in the crystal ball, the blots tell adifferent story about the patients who gave on them. There arevarious images bats, butterflies, bow ties, diaphanous dresses,monkeys, monsters and mountain-climbing bears.

Thepsychologist shows the patient the inkblots in a given order andenquiries from the patient what he or she can see. The patientresponds to all the inkblots after which the psychologist gives themagain one at a time for the patient to study (Framingham, 2011). Thepatient is required to list all what he or she can see from theinkblots, where he or she sees it, and what in the inkblot makes whatthe patient sees look like that. Alternatively, the inkblots can berotated. As the patient observes the inkblots, the psychologist noteddown all the activities that the patient does and all what thepatient says, no matter how trivial they may be. The time taken forthe test is also timed and noted as part of the assessment. After thetest, the examiner does a series of calculations that produces astructural summary of the data collected in the entire test. Theresults are achieved through an interpretation using already done andproven empirical research data. The data is based on personalitycharacteristics that have been practically demonstrated and areassociated with the responses given by the patient. The calculationsand the scores are done electronically.

Benefitsand drawbacks of the

Fromthe time when it was introduced, the test has been used todistinguish the personalities of psychopathic and non-psychopathicpersonalities. Criminal and anti-social behaviorism has given similarcategorization in the Rorschach structure. However, the test hasfaced some controversies from the time it became popular in the1960’s. The coding of the scores was made to predict psychologicalpathologies and patient’s behaviors, but the test prohibits thedetermination of the overall personality assessment. The disadvantageis caused by the lack of standardization for the method. According toHertz (1936), the test gives a subjective and indefinite observationbecause the criterion of administration and scoring are different.Therefore, different results will be achieved for different testtakers, personalities and different conditions under which the testis taken.

Anotherdisadvantage of the test comes in the process of measuring itsvalidity. According to research done by Petot and Dragana (2005), theratios and scores of the test have no correlation with the assesseddimensions of recognized inventories of personality. Further, DonaldViglione Jr found a list of problems that are associated with thetest some of which are summarized by the table below.

Planning and design



Vague hypothesis

Experimental bias

Overgeneralization of findings

It lacks appropriate control groups

It fails to control variables

Does not specify implicit hypothesis

It uses its test to validate itself

It does not consider statistical assumptions

It brings a confusion of statistical significance


Djuric,J., &amp Petot, J.M. (2005). Introductionto the special section on the Rorschach and the Five-Factor Theory.Rorschachaiana,27, 7-10.

Framingham,J. (2011). RorschachInkblot Test. PsychCentral. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from:

Hertz,M.R. (1936). Themethod of administration of the Rorschach ink-blot test. Child development, 7, 237-254

Hertz,M.R. (1992). Rorschachbound:A 50-year memoir. Professionalpsychology: research and practice, 23, 168-171