Chapter 14: Projective Techniques
General Characteristics of Projective Techniques and the Projective Hypothesis
1. Projective techniques have two key features.
2. (1) the tests items are typically somewhat ambiguous stimuli (it is not immediately clear what the test
stimuli means) (2) they use a constructed-response format, also known as a free-response format.
3. Rationale underlying projective techniques is often called the projective hypothesis: if the stimulus for
a response is ambiguous, the response itself will be determined by the examinee's personality dynamics.
4. According to this hypothesis, the response will be formulated in terms of the person's desires, fantasies,
inclinations, fears, motives, and this it is thought, the projective test is an ideal way of uncovering deep
seated, perhaps unconscious, personality characteristics.
Use of Projective Techniques
5. There are two principal uses for the projective techniques. (1) they are used for the assessment of
individual cases in clinical, counseling and school psychology. (2) they are used for research.
6. Even in the face of psychologists' predictions that usage of projective techniques will decline, the most
recent surveys show that projectives continue to be widely used.
7. There are 8 tests that receive high rankings (Table 14.1)
8. These tests have some peculiar features.
9. (1) psychologists often use a projective technique only in a very informal way. (they may not score it in
any formal sense, they may use only part of the stimulus materials, some of the tests materials may serve
an ice-breaker function)
10. (2) most of the projective techniques have a variety of scoring systems. Since the scoring system is
actually part of the test, each scoring system should be represented as a different test; hence each system
should be represented separately in the survey.
11. (3) we note that projective techniques are ordinarily used in the assessment of personality variables
however in some cases, they are used for quite other purposes, but when employed for these other
purposes, they still contribute to the high rankings of projectives in comparison with other tests.
12. In addition to their use for applied clinical work, projective techniques are widely used for research.
The research falls into two categories.
13. (1) there is an enormous amount of research on the psychometric characteristics of the projective
measures themselves. (2) projective techniques are often used as a criterion variable.
Indicators for the Use of Projectives
14. Sometimes a psychologist may prefer use of a projective test over an objective test.
15. (1) most projectives do not require reading
16. (2) although projective tests are susceptible to faking, they are probably more difficult to fake than
objective personality inventories.
17. (3) many projective techniques allow for development of an exceptionally broad range of hypotheses
about personality dynamics.
Administration and Scoring of Projective Techniques: A Forewarning
18. Since directions for administering projective techniques are usually simple, it is likely that a fair
approximation of the ordinary directions was used. However, in some instances not all the stimulus
materials are used.
19. There are three general approaches to scoring projective techniques.
20. (1) The first approach involves formal scoring according to established rules, we can call this the
quantitative or psychometric approach. It yields specific scores that may be related to norms and are
subject to ordinary studies of reliability and validity.
21. (2) there is the informal use of that involves no scoring and no definite conclusions. The projective
stimuli are used in much the same way as elements in an interview. Such usage aims to develop hypotheses that will be pursued more specifically in subsequent work and so this is called hypothesis-
22. (3) The third approach to scoring a projective technique involves reaching some conclusion, for
example, a diagnostic classification based on the overall impression given by the examinee's responses
rather than through an analysis of specific scores.
The Rorschach Inkblot Test
23. Easily the most widely used projective technique.
24. The Rorschach inkblots consist of 10 bilaterally symmetrical blots. The cards are numbered I, II, ...X
on the back, in the upper right corner.
25. Actually none of the blots are solid black; some have no black in them at all.
Administration and Scoring
26. the book did not give a standard set of directions for either administering or scoring the 10 inkblots
but after his death a number of American psychologists developed systems, that is, directions for
administering and scoring.
27. There are five such systems.
28. There was also the Holtzman Inkblot Technique who wanted to use inkblots but in a quite different
way from any of the other systems. He allowed only one response for each inkblot.
29. Each of these systems gained some currency but none became the industry standard.
30. Exner produced what is called the Comprehensive System for administering and scoring the inkblots.
He attempted to incorporate the best, most defensible and apparently most fruitful features of all five
systems into his system. This system has become the industry standard in recent years.
31. Administration proceeds in two phases: the response phase and inquiry phase.
32. In the response phase, the card is handed to examinee and they respond in the way the examiner likes.
33. When the examinee responds to a blot, the examiner records what is being said, as well as noting
emotional tonality and response time is also recorded.
34. In the Inquiry phase, each of the 10 blots is again presented to the examinee and the examinee is asked
to explain and elaborate on answers in the response phase.
35. The record of responses is called the protocol.
36. The scoring, officially called coding, is very elaborate and detailed.
37. Interpretation is based on a very empirical, norm-referenced approach, following a detailed coding
procedure. The responses listed previously and responses to each of the other blots are carefully coded
and then certain summations, percentages, and ratios of coded responses are determ