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Robert Todd Carroll

SkepDic 日本語版
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ロールシャッハ試験 Rorschach Inkblot Test

よい子は真似してはいけません! ロールシャッハ試験は、人格の心理的投影テストで、10 枚の標準抽象デザインについての被験者の解釈が、感情と知性の機能とその統合ぶりに関する尺度として分析される。このテストは、これらインキの染みを開発したヘルマン・ロールシャッハ (1884-1922) にちなんで命名されているけれど、この人物は人格分析のためにこれを使ったりはしなかった。

The test is considered "projective" because the patient is supposed to project his or her real personality into the inkblot via the interpretation. The inkblots are purportedly ambiguous, structureless entities which are to be given a clear structure by the interpreter. Those who believe in the efficacy of such tests think that they are a way of getting into the deepest recesses of the patient's psyche or subconscious mind. Those who give such tests believe themselves to be experts at interpreting their patients' interpretations.

What evidence is there that an interpretation of an inkblot (or a picture drawing or sample of handwriting--other items used in projective testing) issues from a part of the self that reveals true feelings, rather than, say, creative expression? What justification is there for assuming that any given interpretation of an inkblot does not issue from a part of the self bent on deceiving others, or on deceiving oneself for that matter? Even if the interpretations issued from a part of the self which expresses desires, it is a long jump from having desires to having committed actions. For example, an interpretation may unambiguously express the desire to have sex with the therapist, but that does not imply either that the patient has had sex with the therapist or that the patient, if given the opportunity, would agree to have sex with the therapist.

Rorschach testing is inherently problematic. For one thing, to be truly projective the inkblots must be considered ambiguous and without structure by the therapist. Hence, the therapist must not make reference to the inkblot in interpreting the patient's responses or else the therapist's projection would have to be taken into account by an independent party. Then the third person would have to be interpreted by a fourth ad infinitum. Thus, the therapist must interpret the patient's interpretation without reference to what is being interpreted. Clearly, the inkblot becomes superfluous. You might as well have the patient interpret spots on the wall or stains on the floor. In other words, the interpretation must be examined as if it were a story or dream with no particular reference in reality. Even so, ultimately the therapist must make a judgment about the interpretation, i.e., interpret the interpretation. But again, who is to interpret the therapist's interpretation? Another therapist? Then, who will interpret his? etc.

To avoid this logical problem of having a standard for a standard for a standard, etc., the experts invented standardized interpretations of interpretations. Both form and content are standardized. For example, a patient who attends only to a small part of the blot is "indicative of obsessive personality;" while one who sees figures which are half-human and half-animal indicates that he is alienated, perhaps on the brink of schizophrenic withdrawal from people (Dawes, 148). If there were no standardized interpretations of the interpretations, then the same interpretations by patients could be given equally valid but different interpretations by therapists. What empirical tests have been done to demonstrate that any given interpretation of an inkblot is indicative of any past behavior or predictive of any future behavior? In short, interpreting the inkblot test is about as scientific as interpreting dreams.

To have any hope of making the inkblot test appear to be scientifically valid, it was essential that it be turned into a non-projective test. The blots can't be considered completely formless, but must be given a standard response against which the interpretations of patients are to be compared as either good or bad responses. This is what John E. Exner did. The Exner System uses inkblots as a standardized test. On its face, the concept seems preposterous. Imagine admitting people into med school on the basis of such a standardized test! Or screening candidates for the police academy! ("I didn't get in because I failed the inkblot test.")

The Rorschach enthusiast should recognize that inkblots or dreams or drawings or handwriting may be no different in structure than spoken words or gestures. Each is capable of many interpretations, some true, some false, some meaningful, some meaningless. It is an unprovable assumption that dreams or inkblot interpretations issue from a source deep in the subconscious which wants to reveal the "real" self. 心は迷宮だし、インキの染みがセラピストを患者の中心に導くアリアドネの糸だと考えるのは、白昼夢に等しい妄想だ。

See related entries on apophenia, pareidolia, and tarot cards.


further reading

reader comments

Dawes, Robyn M. House of Cards - Psychology and Psychotherapy Built on Myth, (New York: The Free Press, 1994).

Dineen, Tana. Manufacturing Victims: What the Psychology Industry is Doing to People (Montreal: Robert Davies Multimedia Publishing, 1998).

What's Wrong With the Rorschach?: Science Confronts the Controversial Inkblot Test by James M. Wood, Teresa Nezworski, Scott O. Lilienfeld, Howard N. Garb (John Wiley 2003).

ゥcopyright 2002
Robert Todd Carroll

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Last updated 01/14/04

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