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Rorschach test (rôr´shäk´
tèst, -shäKH´) noun
A projective test in which a subject's interpretations of ten standard inkblots are analyzed as a measure of emotional and intellectual functioning and integration.
[After Hermann Rorschach (1884-1922), Swiss psychiatrist.]
Psychological Testing, measurement of aspects of human behavior by procedures with carefully prescribed content, methods of administration, and interpretation.
History of Testing
The primary reason for the development of the major psychological tests used today was the need for practical guidelines for solving social problems. The first useful intelligence test was prepared in 1905 by French psychologists Alfred Binet and Théodore Simon. In 1916 American psychologist Lewis Terman produced the first Stanford Revision of the Binet-Simon scale for Americans from age three to adulthood.
The need to classify American soldiers during World War I (1914-1918) resulted in the development of two group intelligence tests- Army Alpha and Army Beta. During the 1930s controversies over the nature of intelligence led to the development of the Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Scale, which not only provided an index of general mental ability but also revealed patterns of intellectual strengths and weaknesses.
As interest in the newly emerging field of psychoanalysis grew in the 1930s, two important techniques introduced systematic ways to study unconscious motivation: the Rorschach or inkblot test- developed by Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach- using a series of inkblots on cards; and a story-telling procedure called the Thematic Apperception Test, developed by American psychologists Henry A. Murray and C. D. Morgan. Since the late 1960s increased awareness and criticism have prompted greater efforts to establish legal controls and more explicit safeguards against misuse of testing materials.
Uses of Tests and Types of Tests
A wide range of testing procedures is used in the United States and elsewhere. Achievement tests are designed to assess current performance in an academic area and are often used to predict future academic success. Aptitude tests predict future performance in an area in which a person is not currently trained. Schools, businesses, and government agencies often use aptitude tests when assigning individuals to specific positions. Intelligence tests measure a person's global capacity to cope with the environment. Test scores are generally known as intelligence quotients, or IQs. In clinics and hospitals, psychological tests may be administered for purposes of diagnosis and planning treatment.
Self-report questionnaires on which the subject indicates personal preferences among activities are called interest inventories; these are used primarily in guidance counseling. Objective personality tests measure social and emotional adjustment and identify a need for psychological counseling. Some personality tests are based on the phenomenon of projection, a mental process described by Austrian physician Sigmund Freud as the tendency to attribute to other people those personal feelings or characteristics that are too painful to acknowledge. The Rorschach test and the Thematic Apperception Test are projective tests.
Interpretation of Results
The most important aspect of psychological testing is the interpretation of test results. The raw score of a test is the simple numerical count of responses. Percentile scores, standard scores, and norms are all devices for comparing an individual's score with the scores of a larger group. Standard scores are derived from a comparison of the individual raw score with the mean and standard deviation of the group scores. The test manual should include a description of the sample of people used to establish norms. Norms based on a group of people whose major characteristics are markedly unlike those of the person being tested do not provide a fair standard of comparison.
Interpretation of test scores ultimately involves predictions about a subject's behavior in a specified situation. If a test is an accurate predictor, it is said to have good validity, which is established by various criteria including the relevance and range of its content. Major psychological testing controversies stem from two interrelated issues: technical shortcomings in test design, and ethical problems in interpretation and application of results.
Psychodiagnostics by Swiss
psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach, 36, introduces the Rorschach test, based
on subjects' reactions to inkblots, to probe the unconscious.
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