• Definition: A situation or surrounding substance within which something else originates, develops, or is contained
  • What does this mean?

Herman Rorschach

  • Swiss man
  • Nickname was Klex meaning “Inkblot”
  • Klecksography was a game which was commonly played by Swiss children and consisted of spotting an ink blot on paper and folding it so that the forms of a butterfly or a bird would be obtained
  • He and his wife remained poor until the early 1900 (about 5 years)

Why inkblots test?

  • He used altogether 40 cards, but 15 of them much more often than the rest, and he collected the answers to the test from 305 persons, 117 of them non-patients, 188 of them schizophrenous.
  •  He showed them the cards and asked the question: "What might this be?"
  • Their subjective responses enabled him to distinguish among his patients on the basis of their perceptive abilities, intelligence, and emotional characteristics.

What he found

  • Rorschach developed ideas and patterns of thoughts which demonstrate an extraordinary degree of originality.
  • He considered the inkblot test a kind of mirror, in which the inkblots constitute optical stimuli which, in the individual, activates kinesthetic pictures which are being projected back into the inkblots

What of the test?

  • The Rorschach ink blots are supposed to remain secret so as not to "pollute" the test population
  • The Rorschach ink blots are supposed to remain secret so as not to "pollute" the test population
  • It is not known today to be reliable, and is known only used by few


  • The test giver will rarely if ever give you any guidance; they will instead tell you that you're free to do whatever you like with the card (flip it, tilt it, lay it down, etc).
  •  About 50% of people who take the test do flip or rotate the cards, and the psychologist is supposed to note anything and everything you do with them.
  •  It's reported that some psychologists will penalize you (in terms of the results) if you don't turn the cards around or upside-down.
  • All in all, it's a very odd thing to score people on, and the Rorschach is practically the only test that uses a metric like this

Test taking

  • Five of the cards have purely black and white images, two of the cards are black, white, and red, and the last three cards have various colors of ink used in the blots


  • The time it takes you to provide a verbal response is carefully noted, along with any other secondary comments you may make. Hand gestures and some body movements may also be noted

You’re Response

  • According to some psychologists, stating "This is a..." constitutes a "bad" response.
  • You are supposed to know that the cards don't actually represent any recognizable figures, so saying something likes "This looks like ..." is considered a more "healthy" response.
  •  When you think about it, this preoccupation with literalness is rather silly.
  • No one who says "This is..." in response to a card really thinks that's what the card is actually an image of.
  • If they did they would likely be too mentally disordered to even take the test in the first place

Right or wrong?

  • According to psychologists, there are no right or wrong answers, however being outlandish in your answers would be noted.
  • It is again up to the examiner what is deemed to “ far out of the box”