Sunday, June 4, 2017

Book Review: The Inkblots Hermann Rorschach and his Iconic Test

FTC disclaimer:  I received a copy of the book for review purposes from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.

I was a psychology major in college.  Yet, we barely touched on Rorschach.   My first exposure to the test (which, incidentally, the inventor never called a test) was in junior high school when I was undergoing a battery of tests because I was in the Gifted and Talented class.  After about two cards I was bored and gave one word answers so I could move on to something more interesting.  I mean, why should I have to mention everything in the card?  Wouldn't that take forever?  And what did it help anyone to know my opinion of abstract art?

So, when I had the chance to review The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing, I was intrigued.  Maybe I could learn more about the man who came up with this standard psychology assessment and also have an idea of how it worked.  This book didn't disappoint.

Compiled from letters and unpublished interviews with those who knew him, this book begins as a biography of this man who left his mark in ink.  While interesting to a point, I felt the details a little too much because, honestly, I was more interested in how he came up with the assessment as well as its use in the psychology field.

The second half of the book is where the book really gained my attention.  How could a series of abstract pictures supposedly tell so much about the human mind?  So many questions I hadn't even thought of were brought up about the use of this in psychology -- and even using it as a military assessment.  What do cultural differences have to do with answering the questions?  Why do people from the United States tend to see two men looking at each other in one of the cards, and people from Africa often see bones or a graveyard?  How are differences in time, culture, and other variants taken into account when administering the Rorschach test?  For instance, a woman was said to be "clingy" based on her answer of saying a blot looked like a turkey.  But was this accurate or was it because she hadn't' eaten lunch and was hungry, and it was just after Thanksgiving and the woman still had a turkey in her refrigerator?

While I gained no definitive answers, this book was facinating to me both as a psychology major and as someone who had so many tests preformed on me when I was in school.

You can begin reading the book right here:

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