On Now: X-Rays of the Soul

Anyone who happens to be in the Boston area, may want to stop by the Special Exhibitions Gallery of Harvard University’s Science Center. Currently featured in the Center is a special exhibition on the history of projective tests titled, X-Rays of the Soul: Rorschach & the Projective Test. The exhibit runs until June 30, 2012 and this coming Friday, March 30th, from 5-7pm Harvard history of science professors Peter Galison and Janet Browne will host the exhibit’s official opening.

The exhibit is described on the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments at Harvard University’s website as follows,

Beginning in 1921 with the Rorschach Inkblot Test and gaining momentum with the Thematic Apperception Test in 1935, a new breed of psychological probe aimed to reach previously inaccessible layers and levels of the unconscious self: the projective test.

Likened to X-rays of the inner life, these instruments promised to capture what no other tool could access – the secret self. The story of the triumphal rise as well as the periodic setbacks of the projective test movement is evidence of the heady confidence of the Twentieth Century human sciences to be able to extract and access the most human parts of human beings –scientifically.

From the genesis of the tests in passionate personal relationships to the recent Wikipedia furor over posting the Rorschach images, the exhibit will capture this neglected history’s equally utopian and dystopian elements.

More details on the exhibit can be found here.

via a recent post by Ben Harris on the Cheiron listserve.

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About Jacy Young

Jacy Young recently completed a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Surrey in the UK. She earned her doctorate in the History and Theory of Psychology at York University in 2014.

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