Chapter 12. Projective Personality Tests


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Chapter 12. Projective Personality Tests

Projective tests: People tend to supply structure to ambiguous and unstructured stimuli in a way that is consistent with one’s unique pattern of conscious and unconscious needs, wishes, fears, desires, impulses, conflicts, and ways of perceiving and responding.
Rorschach Inkblot Test:

-Based on ideas of how patient’s artwork can provide insights into personality, Rorschach (1921) published an inkblot test.

-10 inkblot cards (5 black-white and 5 chromatic cards).
1. Procedure:
(1) Prepare materials (i.e., paper, pencil, cards, Location sheet).

(2) Never face-to-face seating but by side.

(3) Present the cards one at a time in numbered order.

(4) Instruction:

“It is a series of inkblots that I will show you and I want you to tell me What they look like to you.”

(5) Write responses verbatim.

(6) After the 10th card,

“Now we are going back through the cards again. I want to see the things that you said you saw and make sure that I see them like you do. I will read what you said and then I want you to show me where it is in the blot and then tell me what there is there makes it look like that so that I can see it like you did.”

(7) Write them verbatim, focusing on “Where it is (location), what makes it look like that (determinants), and what it is (content).”
2. Scoring

(1) Invalid if R (a total number of responses) < 14.

(2) Scoring criteria

*Location (W, D, Dd, S)

*Developmental quality (DQ: +, o, v/+, v) (single object? Or form demand?)

*Determinants (Form, Movement, Chromatic, Achromatic, Shading-Texture, Shading-

dimension, Shading-Diffuse, Form dimension, Pairs & Reflections).

*Form Quality (FQ: +, o, u, -) (see things at least 2% of people do or serious distortion?)

*Content: H, Hx, A, An, Bl, Cg,…….

*Special Scores: AG, MOR, Color Projection, Cop., Etc.

*Pair or Popular:


Response: “The whole thing looks like a flying bat, it’s black. The wings are out like flying, here and here is the


Inquiry: “Yeah, all of it, it’s all black like a bat, see the wings and body and these are the antennae like bats have.”

Location DQ Determinants FQ Pair Content Pop Z Special Scores

W o FC’.FMa o no A P 1.0 no

3. Interpretation:

(1) Ideation

(2) Affect

(3) Mediation

(4) Interpersonal

(5) Processing

(6) Self-perception
4. Summary

(1) SCZI (schizophrenia index) (too much – responses, etc.)

(2) DEPI (depression index) (i.e., FD > 2)

(3) CDI (coping deficit index) (i.e., COP < 2 and AG < 2)

(4) S-constellation (suicide potential) (i.e., S > 3, MOR > 3, Pure H < 2, etc.)

(5) HVI (hyper-vigilance index) (FT+TF+T = 0 and Cg >3, etc.)

(6) OBS (obsessive style index) (Dd > 3, Pop > 7, etc.)
5. Evaluation:

(1) Valid and reliable

(2) Clinically useful

(3) Effective for illiterate people.

(4) Scoring takes time.

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT: Morgan & Murphy, 1938)

1. Overview:

-TAT consists of 31 cards (including 1 blank card).

-Tell me a story about the picture. Tell me (a) what is happening in the picture, (b) what events led up to the scene in the picture, (c) what the outcome will be, and (d) what people in the picture are thinking and feeling.

-Not necessary to administer all the cards (i.e., long responses to cards, less cards will be administered)

-Each card has different “pulls” that correspond to different “latent stimulus demands.”

-Test-takers identify with someone in the card (story) and that the conflicts, environmental demands, and needs of the person in the story are related to the concerns, conflicts, desires, fears, and hopes of the examines.

-Scoring and interpretation is subjective. But still reliable and valid.

2. Variables in responses:

(1) Form demand: Some details about persons and objects in the story.

(2) Manifest stimulus demand: Some explanation of the nature of the relationships among persons/objects and some reason about the relationships (i.e., description of the card/story)
(3) Latent stimulus demand: More than description of the story. Some characteristics placed/projected on the story such as optimism-pessimism, security-insecurity, dependence-independence, passivity-assertiveness, and etc.
(4) Frequent Plots: Frequent responses.
(5) Significant variations: Deviates from frequent plots.
3. Scoring and interpretation:

(1) Numerous scoring and interpretation systems.

(2) The Defense Mechanisms Manual (DMM: Cramer, 1991a)


D-1 (omission of major characteristics of objects)

-failure to perceive what is there to be seem

-Not D-1 if major object is implied or indirectly acknowledged (i.e., something or it’s function).

-For example, no mention of a boy or violin on Card 1, no young man or older woman on Card 6BM.

D-2 (misperception)

-Any unusual or distorted perception of a figure, object, or action w/o sufficient support.

-Perception of a figure as its opposite sex.

-D-2 even if the misperception is corrected later.

-D-5 if the misperception is continuously used for the basis of the story even after corrected.

-P-2 if the misperceive object is ominous.

D-3 (reversal)

-Changing the disturbing aspects of reality into their opposites (i.e., he thinks he can’t play it, but takes lessons and becomes very good at it”).

-It involves both ends of a continuum (i.e., unhappy-happy, weak-strong).

D-4 (negation)

-Assign a negative value (negate) to an experience that if acknowledged would produce pain (i.e., negation of unpleasant thoughts or feelings such as “the sick man does not feel any pain”).

-It involves only one end of a continuum.

-Changing the real to non-real, the truth to the non-truth, and the known to the unknown.

D-5 (denial of reality)

-Avoidance of a situation, painful if acknowledged, through fantasy, daydreaming, or physical avoidance (i.e., sleep, refusing to look, run away, return to won thought).

-Fairy tales.

-“Slipped one’s mind,” “did not think,” “imagine,” or “turning away.”

D-6 (overly maximizing the positive or minimizing the negative).

-Any gross exaggeration or underestimation of a character’s size, skill, beauty, or possessions (i.e., small lion, old lion, the most beautiful…in the world).

-Unfounded optimism or idealization.

-“He is only 4, but played at places like Carnegie Hall.”

-Not D-6 for exaggeration of physical objects (not a character).

-Mild negative outcomes are expected unlike D-7.

D-7 (unexpected goodness, optimism, positiveness, and gentleness).

-Everything will be O.K. despite the theme of harm or negative outcomes.

-Any sort of drastic change of heart for the good.

-Nonchalance in the face of danger.

-References to the natural beauty, wonder, awesomeness (i.e., need to see the world only as a positive/pleasure giving place.

-Sour grape attitude (i.e., accepting one’s negative fate w/o the justification of not really wanting it anyway).

-Optimism where a negative outcome is expected w/o justifiable explanation.

-Broader than D-6 (i.e., very positive view of the world).


P-1 (attribution of aggressive/hostile feelings or intentions to a character w/o justifiable reasons).

-Attribution of one’s or a figure’s negative/hostile feelings/intentions/emotions to a character or another character w/o clearly happened negative events.

-Sadness, crying, thinking suicide, frustration, etc (normatively unusual).

-No double score for the same object.

P-2 (additions of ominous people, ghosts, animals, objects, or qualities).

-Addition of ominous/threatening nature (i.e., bees, dangerous toy, axe, robber (notI-6), etc).

-Addition of blood, serious/uncommon physical/mental illness.


-“A wave of flames or smoke.”

-Handicapped, cracked, destroyed, deteriorated, falling apart w/o justifiable explanation.

-Not P-2 for suicide or depression on Card 13 MF
P-3 (Magical, autistic, or circumstantial thinking)

-Projection of the responsibility onto causes external to oneself using illogical/magical/circumstantial reasoning or animism.

-One assumes unusual control over another (i.e., hypnosis).

-Hype-alert search for flaws or tricks in the given cards (i.e., there must be tricks to this”).

P-4 (Concern for protection against external threat).

-Suspiciousness, outlook, or precautious for external threat, assault, or injury.

-Fear of being seen or having seen something one should not have seen.

-References to hiding.

-Anticipation of kidnapping, or “others are against me.”

-Use of masks, disguise, creating protective barriers, locking doors.

-Defensive need for self-justification.

-“It is a secrete” “witnessed ominous things.”

P-5 (Apprehensiveness of death, injury, or assault).

-Death, illness, or attack that actually occurred or has occurred.

-Fear of going to sleep.

-Not P-5 if assault is carried out by a figure of the 13MF.

-Not P-5 if assault for retaliation or justifiable self-protection.

-Not P-5 for suicidal response to the card 13 MF.

P-6 (Themes or pursuit, entrapment, and escape).

-Imprisonment due to fear, political reason, war, jealousy, whim, etc.

-Can double score for pursuit and escape (i.e., “being chased and escape”).

-P-6 only when one traps another (not P-6 for “being trapped”).

-I-7 if imprisonment is justifiable.

-Not P-6 if imprisonment w/o clear explanation.

-Not P-6 for “escape from society” and “running away from home.” (They are I-3)

P-7 (bizarre or very unusual story or theme; Can be very subjective; Unusual self-punishment)

-Peculiar twist

-Very unusual self-punishment.


I-1 (Emulation of skills)

-Desire to acquire/imitate/take over another’s skills or talents w/o adult’s insistence.

-“Competition of skills.”

I-2 (Emulation of characteristics)

-References to one imitating, taking over, or acquiring quality, attitude, or character of another.

-References to one being like another or the same as another.

-Not I-2 for acquisition of another’s physical property.

I-3 (regulation of motives or behaviors)

-References of demands, control, influence, guidance, or prohibitions of one over another.

-Justifiable punishment by parents (score once for more than one occasions).

-Active rebelling against these (i.e., “running away from home” or “escaping from society”0.

-Indication of having internalized rules, morals, or codes governing behavior in a conflicting situation.

-Negative consequences of not conforming to the regulators’ demands.

-Self-criticism (i.e., “should have…”) or self-reflection (“guilty/mad for what I did”).

-“Proving to parents.”

I-4 (Self-esteem through affiliation)

-Pleasure/positive consequences through affiliation/association with a group/people.

-Need for affiliation with others (not with family or police, but else).

-Being part of a special group from which some special pleasure or help derives.

-“Help each other in danger.”

-Not I-4 for friends/family members giving help, rescuing, or need for rescue.

I-5 (work; delay of gratification)

-Implications of working/work/has been working where this is not suggested by the picture.

-“Steadily persevered.”

-Recognition that success is not immediate.

-“Proving to oneself.”

I-6 (Role differentiation)

-Mention of specific adult roles, recognition of the differences among people in the world.

-No parents/relatives, but implications of function of husband, wife, doctor, fireman, inventor, teacher, etc.

-Not I-6 for “musician or violinist on Card 1,” “husband, wife, boyfriend, prostitute on card 13 MF,” and “law reinforcement officers in action (I-7).”

I-7 (Moralism)

-A moral lesson is learned (i.e., goodness begets goodness, good conquers evil, wrong-doing is punished by society’s justice, negative consequences of own wrong-doing).

-Justifiable punishment by law, teacher, or other authority figures (not parents or guardians).
Word Association Test (Rapaport, Gill, and Schafer, 1946).

(1) Present a series of words one at a time (i.e., book, love, mouth).

(2) Ask to quickly respond to the word with the first word that comes to mind.

(3) Present the list again and ask what they responded.

(3) Ask to clarify the relationship between the stimulus word and the response word (i.e., what were you thinking or what was going through in your mind?).

(3) Record responses (content), popularity, reaction time (denial, conflict), and test-retest response.

Washington University Sentence Completion Test (Loevinger et al., 1970).

-Assessing self-concept.

-“I like to-----,” “Someday, I will----“ “I wish my parents----”
Drawing a Person: Screening Procedure for Emotional Disturbance (DAP:SPED; Naglieri et al., 1991)

-Adding unusual features in a figure signals emotional problems.


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