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David Wechsler(1896-1981) served in the militarytesting army recruits during World War I. He came to believe that the ways in which psychologists
viewed and measured "intelligence" was inadequate. In1934 he began construction of the most widely used adult intelligence test battery, the Wechsler Adult
ically require 2 to 3 hours to administer, score, and inter- pret. In manyclinical situations, there is not enough time or funding to use these tests. In cases where intellectual impairment or organic brain damage is thought to be cen- tral to a patient's problem, intelligence testing may be the most crucial diagnostic procedure in the test battery. Moreover, information about cognitive functioning can provide valuable clues to a person's intellectual resources in dealing with problems (Kihlstrom, 2002). Yet in many
ough understanding of a client's problems and initiating a treatment program do not require knowing the kind of detailed information about intellectual functioning that these instruments provide. In these cases, intelligence test- ing is not recommended.
many tests designed to measure personal characteristics other than intellectual facility. It is customary to group these personality tests into projective and objective mea- sures. Projective tests are unstructured in that they rely on various ambiguous stimuli such as inkblots or vague pictures, rather than on explicit verbal questions, and in that the person's responses are not limited to the "true," "false," or "cannot say" variety. Through their interpreta- tions of these ambiguous materials, people reveal a good deal about their personal preoccupations,
conflicts, motives, coping techniques, and other personality charac- teristics. An assumption underlying the use of projective
stimuli, individuals "project" their own problems, motives, and wishes into the situation. Such responses are akin to the childhood pastime of seeing objects or scenes incloud formations, with the important exception that the stimuli are in this case fixed and largely the same for all subjects. It is the latter circumstance that permits determination
responses to the test materials, which in turn can be used to identify objectively deviant responding. Thus projec- tivetests are aimed at discovering the ways in which an individual's past learning and personality structure may lead him or her to organize and perceive ambiguous infor- mation from the environment. Prominent among the sev- eral projective tests in common use are the Rorschach Inkblot Test, the Thematic Apperception Test, and sen- tence completion tests.
TheRorschach Test is named after the Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach, who initiated the experimental use of inkblots in personality assessment in 1911. The test uses ten inkblot pictures to which a subject responds in succession after being instructed as follows (Exner, 1993):
People may see many different things in these inkblot pictures; now tell me what you see, what it makes you think of, what it means to you.
is dismembered ... nothing remains but a shell ... the pelvic region. They were fighting as to who will com- plete the final dismemberment. .. like two vultures
The extremely violent content of this response was not common for this particular blot or for any other blot in the series. Although no responsible examiner would base conclusions on a single instance, such content was
Use of the Rorschach inclinical assessment is compli- catedand requires considerable training(Exner&Erd- berg, 2002; Weiner, 1998). Methods of administering the testvary;someapproaches can take several hoursand hence must compete for time with other essentialclinical
In the hands of askilled interpreter, however, the Rorschach can be useful in uncovering certain psychody- namicissues, such as the impactof unconscious motiva-
by clearly specifying testvariables andempirically explor- ing their relationship to external criteria suchas clinical diagnoses (Exner, 1995). The Rorschach, althoughgener-
that,after scored Rorschach responses are input, provides scoring summaries anda list of likely personality descrip- tions and references abouta person's adjustment. The Exner Comprehensive RorschachSystemmay, to some extent, answer the criticism that Rorschachinterpretation isunreliable, because the use of standard norms(thatis, an established distribution ofscores based ona sample of normal individuals) canresultin more reliable and invari- antscoring of descriptors forany givensetof Rorschach
Hermann Rorschach(1884-1922),a Swiss psychiatrist,received his M.D. in1912. He workedin Russia before returning to Zurich towork in mental hospitals. His interest in inkblots developed when he was a young child and enjoyed an activity called
inkblots as a way ofunderstanding their personality and motivation. In1921 he published his major work, "Psychodiagnostics," which describedhisexperience withusinginkblots to understand
is, the testappears toshow psychopathology even when the personis a"normal" person randomly drawnfrom the community.The extent to which the Rorschach provides
test hasalso beenwidely criticizedasaninstrument with low or negligible validity (Garb, Florio,& Grove, 1998; Hunsley& Bailey, 1999). The useofthe test inclinical assessment has diminished(Piotrowski, Belter,& Keller,
Apperception Test (TAT) was introduced in 1935 by its authors,C. D. Morganand Henry Murray of the Harvard PsychologicalClinic. Itstill is widely used in clinical prac- tice(Rossini&Moretti, 1997) and personality research
tionaland others quite abstract, aboutwhich a subject is instructed to make upstories.The content of the pic- tures, muchofit depicting people invariouscontexts, is highly ambiguous as toactions and motives, so subjects tend to project their ownconflicts and worriesonto it
systems, and there islittle evidencethat theymake a clini- cally significant contribution. Hence,most often a clinician simplymakesa qualitative and subjective determination of
An example of thewaya subject'sproblems maybe reflected in TAT stories is shown in the following case, which isbased on Card 1 (apicture of a boy staring at a violin on atablein front ofhim). The client,David, was a 15-year-old boy whohad been referred to theclinicbyhis
David was generally cooperative during the testing, although he remained rather unemotional and unenthusi- astic throughout. When he was given Card1of the TAT,he paused for over a minute, carefully scrutinizing the card.
machine gun. The guy is staring at it. Maybe he got it for hisbirthday or stole it or something." [Pause. The exam- iner reminded him that he was to make up a storyabout thepicture.]
gun... a Browning automatic rifle... in his garage. He kept it in his room for protection. One day he decided to take it to school to quiet down the jocks that lord it over everyone. When he walkedinto the locker hall, he cut loose on the top jock, Amos, and wasted him. Nobody bothered him after that because they knew he kept the BAR in his locker."
It was inferred from this storythat David was experi- encing a highlevel of frustration andangerin his life. The extent of this anger was reflected in his perception of the violin in the picture as a machine gun -an instrument of violence. The clinician concluded that David was feeling threatened not only by people at school but evenin his own home, where he needed "protection."
mayprovidea clinicianwith informationabout a person's conflicts and worriesas wellasclues as to how the person ishandling these problems.
recentyears. There is a "dated" quality to the test stimuli: The pictures, developed in the 1930s, appear quaintto manycontemporary subjects,who have difficulty identify- ingwith the characters in the pictures. Subjects often pref- ace theirstories with,"This is something froma movie I saw on the Late Show." Additionally, the TAT can require a great dealof time to administerand interpret. Interpreta- tionof responses to the TAT is generally subjective,which limits the reliability andvalidity of the test.
an interesting paradox: Even though theTAT remains pop- ular among practicingclinicians,clinical training pro- grams have reduced the amountof time devoted to teaching graduate students about the TAT,andrelatively fewcontemporary training resources (suchas books and manuals) exist.Again, we must note thatsome examiners, notably those who have long experience in the instru- ment's use, are capable of making astonishingly accurate interpretations withTATstories.Typically, however, they have difficulty teaching these skills to others. On reflection,
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