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Rorschach Inkblot Test

Rorschach Inkblot Test was created by Hermann Rorschach, a prominent Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and the follower of Freud and Jung. The date of the test creation is 1921 (Schachtel, 2013). The original Rorschach Inkblot Test was set of 40 bisymettrical inkblots that seemed formless. However, later, to reduce the printing costs, only 10 standard inkblots pictures were left. The remaining pictures demonstrated the ultimate results in patient’s mental condition diagnostics. The pictures had different shapes and various colors depicted on them. Five blots were black and white. Two blots were black and red and white. Three blots were multicolored. The test was created with the objective to perform clinical diagnosis of psychiatric patients in mind.

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The outcomes of the test intended by Rorschach amount to patients’ mental condition data collection (Schachtel, 2013). The scholar’s idea behind the test creation was his hypothesis that the observation and evaluation of bisymettrical inkblots by psychiatric patients would help reveal the aspects of their mental condition and personality (Coon & Mitterer, 2013).

The ambiguous stimuli intended in bisymettrical inkblots were expected to identify an individual’s emotional condition, cognitive process, motives, drivers, and defenses (Schachtel, 2013). Applying the ambiguous pictures to the mental patients, Rorschach aimed to assess their psychological mechanisms of coping with ambiguity in life (Coon & Mitterer, 2013). He was interested in how they perceive the world around them and how they process and respond to the new information (Schachtel, 2013).

The mechanism of testing with the help of inkblots was very simple. A subject was given a card with ambiguous shapes developed with the help of inkblots and asked a simple question of what was defected at the picture (Coon & Mitterer, 2013). All replies were carefully written and evaluated with the help of criteria elaborated by Rorschach. Basically, the criteria was aimed at assessing whether the subject identified the whole object depicted or its part only; to what shapes and colors the person responded; whether the subject saw an animated or not animated object; and whether the patient was able to see the entire shape of the object and interpret it or only its parts (Schachtel, 2013). Rorschach also evaluated the family members with the help of the inkblot test to acquire a better understanding of the social environment and social stimuli the patient was subject to.

The subjects the test was performed on were 300 mental patients (Schachtel, 2013). Rorschach created this test for the patients having schizophrenia. However, later scholars and researchers found that it provided much better results in other area of mental science specialty, which is the projective test of personality (Schachtel, 2013). Nowadays, the test has its implementation in the area of forensic assessment to evaluate the criminals’ mental condition as well as the victims’ one (Schachtel, 2013).

During his life, Rorschach could not elaborate the test to optimize its value because he died early, only after a short time since publishing his main paper addressing the inkblot test (Schachtel, 2013). Other researchers continued to upgrade his work by developing scoring systems and perfecting the evaluation criteria. The most prominent specialists who made significant contribution in Rorschach’s project development were Klopher, Beck, and Exner (Schachtel, 2013). In the United States, the Exner system received the best feedback. Today, it is widely implemented in the mental health specialists’ practice.


Coon, D., & Mitterer, J. (2013). Introduction to psychology: Gateways to mind and behavior with concept maps and reviews (13th ed.). London: Cengage Learning.

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Schachtel, E. G. (2013). Experiential foundations of Rorschach’s test. London: Routledge.

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