This article addresses the issue of The Rorschach Inkblot Method of testing. More specifically it lists and explains six different guidelines for enhancing the quality and use of interpretations of the test. The article suggests that, since it is up to the ability of the assessor to generate accurate and useful interpretations, it would be wise to have a set of guidelines to do so, in order to make interpretations more accurate.
The guidelines suggested by Weiner (2000) on page 165 are as follows:
This guideline suggests that there are four different ways of interpreting an assessment (Weiner, 2000). The first way of understanding an assessment is viewing it as a perceptual task (Weiner, 2000). This type of response is plain and simply a description of what the people see. An example is if a person says that they see a butterfly or a bird.
The second response type is an association task. In other words, “respondents relate what the blots suggest to them, without necessarily referring to characteristics of the inkblot or being particularly specific about what they look like” (Weiner, 2000, p. 165). A person may say they see something but they can not identify what it is. But they know it is lost or perhaps sad. (Weiner, 2000).
The third response is an interpersonal task. People respond in this way when, “the inkblot is serving neither as a perceptual stimulus nor as a stimulus to fantasy but instead mainly as a challenging and somewhat ambiguous circumstance that is eliciting a representative sample of interpersonal behavior” (Weiner, 2000, p. 165).
The fourth and final response is a sequential task. In other words, the impact of one response my influence the other responses. By taking note of the respondent’s behavior this type of response may demonstrate the value of sequence analysis (Weiner, 2000).
This guideline addresses the uses of the Rorschach test. The Rorschach is defined in this article as “a measure of personality functioning that identifies states and traits of the individual and provides clues to a person’s underlying needs, attitudes, conflicts and concerns” (Weiner, 2000, p. 166). Weiner (2000) suggests that this test should be used merely as a tool for identifying personality characteristic, and may help in predicting behavior that is determined by personality characteristics. Weiner (2000) also indicates that this test is not a diagnostic test or a predictive instrument.
This guideline addresses the issue of psychological reports. It suggests that in clinical testing too much time is used to discover problems or maladaptive behavior. Weiner (2000) suggests that this test be used to test adaptive capacity and desirable traits as well as maladaptive traits and impairments.
FORMULATING INTERPRETATIONS AT APPROPRIATE LEVELS OF CERTAINTY
This guideline is concerned with the language of the interpretations. More specifically, it addresses making certain and uncertain interpretations. Certain interpretations involve little to no inference between data and personality characteristics. Such as saying, “This person is much more likely to be stressed than most people around them.” Uncertain interpretations however use a large amount of inference between responses and personality characteristics. Uncertain interpretations use a great deal of symbolism to infer behavior. An example from the article is as follows. A man who reports seeing a woman with her back to him, may have been rejected by women in his life. Or perhaps his own mother turned her back to him because he was not good enough for her (Weiner, 2000).
The point of this guideline is that suggests that even when expressing uncertain interpretations, the test examiner should present them more certainly (Weiner, 2000). Such as saying things like “It may be that”; or “Perhaps the data suggest”. This meets a middle ground between the underestimating of power of the Rorschach findings by the certain interpretations, and the overestimating of power by the uncertain interpretations.
PURSUING BOTH NOMOTHETIC AND IDIOGRAPHIC IMPLICATIONS OF INTERPRETATIONS
This guideline addresses both nomothetic and idiographic interpretations. Nomothetic interpretations address ways that respondents resemble other people and share personality characteristics in common with them (Weiner, 2000). Idiographic interpretations address ways in which respondents differ from most people and display unique characteristics (Weiner, 2000). Weiner (2000) suggest that both nomothetic and idiographic interpretations need to be pursued.
This guideline refers to the fact that certain cultures may have different behaviors that are viewed as maladaptive and beneficial. It simply says that there are two responsibilities of an examiner. The first is to gain data from the Rorschach to gain a description of personality characteristics (Weiner, 2000). The second is to draw an understanding of the person’s cultural context to determine the usefulness of the characteristic.
The following article examined the Rorschach Inkblot Method of clinical testing. It offers new guidelines to enhance the utility and quality of this test. The six guidelines that were presented are to be used to increase the usefulness of the Rorschach test.
Weiner, B., Irving. (2000). Making Rorschach interpretation as good as it can be. Journal of Personality Assessment, 74, 164-175