Personality tests "are instruments for the measurement of emotional, motivational, interpersonal, and attitudinal characteristics, as distinguished from abilities."1 Some types of personality tests are called "projective techniques." According to one text:
The idea is that the test taker will project himself into the unstructured task.
Probably the best-known and most idolized of the projective techniques is the Rorschach inkblot test. Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach developed this test, which has been used for more than 80 years. The test consists of 10 cards. Each card has a bilaterally symmetrical inkblot on it. Five cards are black and white and the other five are colored. An examiner shows the cards to the individual and asks him to describe what he sees. The examiner then evaluates the personís responses according to specified guidelines.
The guidelines reveal the testís religious bias. If a person sees religious symbols, those responses will generally be scored as abnormal. The Rorschach Interpretation: Advanced Technique authors say:
One wonders how many unsuspecting Christians might have taken the Rorschach and consequently been treated for sexual preoccupation.
Everyone seems to know about this seemingly magical instrument, but few lay people question its validity. At least one million people took the test each year during the mid-sixties. About five million hours of administering and scoring added up to a whopping $25,000,000 per year during those years.4 Although there has been a slight decline, the Rorschach has continued to be used at a rate of nearly a million per year, which would equal a much larger bill at todayís prices.5
Dr. Robyn Dawes says, "The Rorschach Ink Blot Test is the test most highly recommended by professional psychologists, and it is one of the most widely used."6 Even though psychotherapists are aware of studies that reveal the Rorschachís poor validity, they continue to use it. Why? Because they hope to discover at least one hidden clue to understanding the person. Yet, what do they really find? Hidden treasure? Or is the treasure they are looking for as elusive as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? In purporting to reveal and even measure the personalityís deepest levels, the Rorschach cannot even help anyone distinguish between foolís gold and the real thing
Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz says:
After researching the use of several projective techniques, Dr. Scott Lilienfeld and his colleagues say that there is "virtually no evidence" to support the idea that the Rorschach inkblot test reliably diagnoses emotional problems, such as depression and anxiety. Their research seriously questioned using the Rorschach as a diagnostic tool either for court cases or for psychotherapy.8
Dr. Margaret Hagen, in describing the fraud of psychiatric testimony in court, criticizes the use of the Rorschach inkblot test and asks some important questions about it:
After an extensive analysis of the Rorschach inkblot test and review of the literature, Dr. Arthur Jensen presents his conclusion in the Mental Measurements Yearbook. He says:
Dr. Anne Anastasi says:
The Rorschach and other personality tests of poor
validity have been used far too long. They have been used far too
long by psychiatrist and psychologists who claim to be Christian. And,
they have been used far to long to evaluate Christians seeking to serve
the Lord. Yet, it will be even longer before they are abandoned. As
long as horoscopes remain in vogue, the Rorschach and other personality
tests will also retain their mystique.
1Anne Anastasi. Psychological Testing, Sixth Edition. New York: Macmillan Publishers, 1988, p. 523.
2 Ibid., pp. 594-595.
3 Leslie Phillips and Joseph Smith. Rorschach Interpretation: Advanced Technique. New York: Grune and Stratton, 1953, p. 149.
4 Arthur Jensen. The Sixth Mental Measurements Yearbook. Oscar Krisen Buros, ed. Highland Park: The Gryphon Press, 1965, p. 501.
5 Charles C. McArthur. The Seventh Mental Measurements Yearbook. Oscar Krisen Buros, ed. Highland Park: The Gryphon Press, 1972, p. 443.
6 Robyn M. Dawes. House of Cards: Psychology and Psychotherapy Built on Myth. New York: The Free Press/Macmillan, Inc., 1994, p. 146.
7 Thomas Szasz. The Manufacture of Madness. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1970, p. 35.
8 Erica Goode. "The Battle over Rorschachís Fabled Blots," Santa Barbara New-Press, Feb., 27, 2001, p. D1.
9 Margaret Hagen. Whores of the Court: The Fraud of Psychiatric Testimony and the Rape of American Justice. New York: Regan Books/HarperCollins Publishers, 1997, pp. 30-31.
10 Jensen, op. cit., p. 501.
11 Anastasi, op. cit., p. 621.
(PAL V9N5 * September-October 2001)