Rorschach Day

According to Warren Street’s “Today in the History of Psychology,” on June 6 1921, “Hermann Rorschach’s book Psychodiagnostik, describing his inkblot method of personality assessment, was published in Switzerland by Bircher, the eighth publisher to review the manuscript and cards. Rorschach died 10 months afterward.”

Although a standard psychiatric assessment instrument for decades, the Rorschach inkblot test is no longer widely believed to be valid measure of psychiatric status. According to the Wikipedia entry, however, “The Rorschach is currently the second most commonly used test in forensic assessment, after the MMPI, and is the second most widely used test by members of the Society for Personality Assessment.” It is not widely known that Rorschach decided which inkblots to include in his test on the basis of which best differentiated psychotic from “normal” individuals. Apparently his empirical conclusions did not generalize well beyond the original set of observations, however.

About Christopher Green

Professor of Psychology at York University (Toronto). Former editor of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Creator of the "Classics in the History of Psychology" website and of the "This Week in the History of Psychology" podcast series.

9 thoughts on “Rorschach Day

  1. Readers wanting to know more about the validity of the Rorschach might be interested in the 2001 Psychological Assessment article (v. 13,4, 423-432) by Irving Weiner titled “Advancing the Science of Psychological Assessment: The Rorschach Inkblot Method as Exemplar.”

  2. I don’t want to sound like the Rorschach police here, but as it is a protected test, I would recommend taking down the image.

    Also, ditto the above comment. Anything written by Weiner regarding the Rorschach is worth reading.

  3. I am going to have to agree with TC here. This is not “copyright cleared,” as Pearson Assessments holds a copyright on the Rorschach currently. They also have a reputation for being rather legally aggressive in protecting their material. You may want to reconsider your stance on this, as there are plenty of other images you could put up that are not actual cards, yet give the general idea to the reader.

  4. SR,My understanding is that the blots are now in the public domain, even though Pearson publishes the test. They were originally published in 1921, 88 years ago. I cannot see how they could possibly remain under copyright all these years later. In 1921, US copyright was only for 56 years.

  5. All,

    The issue is not so much copyright, but clinical. Despite your opinion about the usefulness of the test, it is used my clinicians and very helpful “norms” have been collected. You help to invalidate test. Perhaps that is of no concern to you. It should be. Please take it off.

  6. Whoa! Get a grip! If someone can show pieces of the Anarchist Cookbook then why can’t they show a picture from the Roschach? I like to look at the picture to see what I can find in it….I think it shows Death!

  7. I agree that the material should be protected, but because of the issues with the vailidity of the test being compromised. The test simply cannot work as well as it does if a client sees it beforehand.

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