Lecture 28 (Thursday, March 21, 2013)
Rorschach Inkblot Test: Scoring
What aspects of the testtakers percepts are we scoring?
1. Location ▯whole or part?
What did the person see in the blot?
This is actually one of the least significant aspects of scoring
Where did you see the percept that you saw?
There are a number of possibilities
You could have used the entire blot
You could have also used a part of the blot
You could also see a shape in the white space of the blot
2. Determinants ▯colour, shape, movement?
Shape is the obvious thing, but it doesn’t have to be the shape, it could be the colour too
You could see movement
3. Content ▯object, animal, human?
We also score what was it
4. Original or popular ▯common response or not?
Does the individual tend to see the things that most people see?
This would also trigger the third phase (testing the limits)
5. Form level ▯is percept congruent with the blot?
Could one imagine seeing the thing that the individual saw in the blot?
6. Relationships ▯themes in percepts across blots?
Do we see any constant themes that the individual reports in the blots?
Like all projective tests, the Rorschach is designed to tap unconscious processes, the notion in all
projective tests is that you project onto an ambiguous or a meaning ambiguous figure some of your
inner concerns, tendencies, and fears (aspects that you won’t be aware of necessarily)
How do you interpret and quantitatively score the Rorschach test?
There have been a number of different systems for scoring it
1 Lecture 28 (Thursday, March 21, 2013)
The system that is most widely used today was developed in the mid1970s by Dr. Exner and it has
received about half of all clinicians using it and it has been the most thoroughly studied
The scores are very reliable because you can give the same individual the test after a few months or a
year apart and you will get a similar kind of score
However, are we really assessing something useful about the individual? Do scores on the Rorschach
correlate with meaningful aspects of the person? Here there is more controversy
There have been a number of studies regarding the reliability of the Rorschach test when used by
itself to diagnose patients
If the only information you have is the Rorschach how good are you at giving an individual a
diagnosis that matches the diagnosis given to the individual by a clinician? The answer is not very good
By itself the Rorschach is not a very good way to predict the presence of mental disorder
Proponents of the Rorschach test say that’s true, but it is not the way that they use the Rorscach
because no one just uses it only to diagnose mental disorder it is used in conjunction with other
measures, some projective and objective
What the Rorschach does is add a bit of certainty or validity to the diagnosis, it is called incremental
validity, so there is a meaningful addition of our ability to predict mental disorder when we include the
It is still the widely used projective test
Projective tests ▯limitless answers, objective tests ▯limited answers (single best differentiator
between the two)
Projective tests are always based on the assumption that psychodynamic processes are involved in
mental disorder and personality (psychodynamic aspect)
Objective tests do not look for internal dynamics, they typically look for things about the individual
that the individual is consciously aware (implicitly they tend to assume that what ever is significant
about the individual, they have conscious awareness about)
In terms of scoring, both objective and projective tests very often regularized/formalized forms of
scoring, some projective tests have a more or less formalized way of interpreting the scores, objective
scores always have a clearway of scoring because the responses tend to be directly translatable to
In many cases, there are very regular and automatable scoring procedures
Example ▯the MMPI can be scored on the computer and provide a written interpretation regarding
what the scores mean
Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
Single most popular personality test in the clinical realm
If you are looking at problems in personality and behaviour, the MMPI is what you should use
2 Lecture 28 (Thursday, March 21, 2013)
Dates to the mid1940s
Hathaway & McKinley (1942), University of Minnesota Hospitals ▯to assist in diagnosis of
The reason why it is special is because of the way it was constructed, it was constructed in a very
different way, they wanted an objective test that would speed up the process of diagnosing patients who
came into the hospital
You chose items based on their content (try to make it closely tied to what you were looking for)
Example ▯if you were looking for items to distinguish individuals from schizophrenia, you might
choose something like “I hear voices that people don’t hear”
Hathaway & McKinley decided to do something different, they didn’t care whether the contents on
their test specifically tested for specific disorders, all they cared about was that whether the individuals
with a specific disorder answer the questions differently than those who don’t
It was a purely empirical way of constructing the test
Some of the questions on the test of content validity, but some of them seem absolutely unrelated to
disorders, but the answers to those questions are predictive of those disorders
They collected several items from several other tests and sources and all of these items were to be
responded to by yes/no/can’t say
To develop the test they had thousands of these items and they gave these items to hundreds of
people, some who had no pathology and others who had some disorder
Every answer put on the scale was put there because it was answered differently by individuals with