Tests with projective techniques they use ambiguous stimuli to be able to emotionally evaluate a person, where personality characteristics that they often do not want to show will come to light.
In order to perform these tests, the psychologist uses his criteria to analyze them, we must remember that these tests are subjective. There is no correct response pattern, but the psychologist is responsible for interpreting the answers people give and thus deciding what type of personality he has.
Types of projective techniques
There are several types of tests using this technique, such as Rorschach ink stains, TAT, drawings of human figures, completing sentences, word association, etc. Next we will briefly talk about each of them.
The Rorschach test
The Rorschach inkblot test was created by psychiatrist Herman Rorschach in 1921. This consists of 10 spots, some can be colored and black.
To carry out this test, people are asked please describe what you seeOnce the description is given, the psychologist puts the figure back on them and starts asking questions related to the person's interpretation.
The psychologist has to be aware of all the comments made by the person, all the gestures that the person produces since from there the test result will come out, through the interpretation that the psychologist makes.
This test is used by many psychologists around the world.However, some protest because it has little validity since it is subject to the interpretation of the professional, but not to a standardized interpretation.
Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
On the other hand, we have the subjective Thematic Aperception Test (TAT). This test was created by Henry Murray and his follower Christiana Morgan in the years 1935.
This test is about saying what is interpreted in an image. These images are pasted on cards. Thus, the test consists of 31 cards, where the majority are people in an ambiguous situation, says nothing.
The person who is taking the test has to create a little story based on what he interprets. The psychologist's duty is to interpret what the person says and try to analyze the feelings, achievements, and power that this person feels.
Again, this test, being subjective, It is based on the interpretations made by the psychologist who performs the test. Therefore, training and practice are essential to do it correctly.
The next test to evaluate is that of drawings of human figures. Created by psychologist Karen Machover in 1949. In this test you have to draw a person.
According to the characteristics of the drawing, the psychologist will interpret it and provide a meaning for every thing or detail. For example, if the patient draws the person with very large genitals, it may mean that he is worried about his sexuality.
Unfortunately, this test is not considered 100% valid, since some people cannot correctly draw what they see, think or feel. Thus, the interpretation will be affected due to the artistic skill that a person has.
Projective techniques: conclusions
Despite the effort that has been made to systematize some of these tests, such as the Rorschach, projective techniques remain too subjective. That is, they are too dependent on the interpretation made by the psychologist in each case.
This it can mean that, given the same result, two psychologists make different interpretations, decreasing both reliability and validity.
Despite these limitations, these tests are still used. However, a detailed and constant training process must be carried out to avoid incurring errors and interpretative biases. However, as is known, professionals who use this type of tests do not usually leave anything to chance, nor do they neglect their own training.
- Álvarez, A., & Alonso, M. C. (2001). Rorschach technique: background, current situation and perspectives.Cuban Journal of Psychology, 57-62.
- Murray, H. (1988). Thematic apperception test.TAT) Ed. Paidos, Bs. As.
- Portuondo, J. A. (2012).The human figure: Karen Machover projective test. XXI century.