What Rorschach performance can add to assessing and understanding personality

Gregory J. Meyer

Abstract


I provide a contemporary overview of Hermann Rorschach’s inkblot task, including how it was developed, why it seems to work as it does, and how to contextualize inferences drawn from the things that people see, say, and do while completing the task. Following this, I review the meta-analyses that have been conducted concerning Rorschach validity, several multi-sample studies concerning focused topics, and a selection of recent individual studies. The aim of this part of the article is to illustrate the validity of the Rorschach as a behavioral performance task that can provide a useful complement to self-reported characteristics – both in clinical practice and in research on personality processes. Administering and coding Rorschach’s task is much more time consuming than many other sources of personality data, particularly the ubiquitous introspective self-report method. However, it is argued that Rorschach performance provides a unique source of information about people that can validly add to the assessment and understanding of personality and psychological processes. As such, despite its history of controversy, it is an instrument that is worth consideration or reconsideration by personality assessors and researchers.


Keywords


Rorschach inkblots; personality; performance assessment; research review

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