Tag Archives: evidence

Video: Hegarty on the Rorschach & Sexuality


In this video from the University of Surrey, social psychologist and historian of psychology Peter Hegarty discusses his work on visuality in psychological science. The first research project Hegarty discusses is his historical research on the categorization of homosexuality as a mental illness, including the inclusion of homosexuality in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association from 1952 to 1973. Hegarty’s interest is in how the rise and fall of the Rorschach test as a psychological instrument related to efforts to detect and diagnose homosexuality as a mental illness during this period. He briefly charts the growing psychoanalytic influence post-WWII on the use of the Rorschach test, in conjunction with the rise of clinical psychology, as well as increasing skepticism about Rorschach test from experimental psychologists in ensuing years. Here, Hegarty recounts the story of Evelyn Hooker’s doubleblind study on the use of the Rorschach to diagnose homosexuality (previously discussed on AHP here), as part of changing standards of evidence within the discipline.

The second research project Hegarty discusses is not specifically historical, but also deals with the nature of evidence in psychology: the psychology of how people draw graphs. In this research, Hegarty investigated the composition and interpretation of graphs depicting gender differences. His review of 40 years worth of graphs of gender differences found that 75% of the time data about males was presented first and data on females presented second. This finding led Hegarty to undertake further research into how gender stereotypes might be effecting the scientific record. The full story of his findings on this subject can watched in the second half of the above video.

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