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Hermann Rorschach and The Rorschach Test

Hermann Rorschach (8 November 1884 – 1 April 1922) was a Swiss Freudian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, best known for developing a projective test known as theRorschach inkblot test. This test was reportedly designed to reflect unconscious parts of the personality that "project" onto the stimuli. In the test, individuals are shown 10 inkblots – one at a time – and asked to report what objects or figures they see in each of them.


The tester and subject typically sit next to each other at a table, with the tester slightly behind the subject. This is to facilitate a "relaxed but controlled atmosphere". There are ten official inkblots, each printed on a separate white card, approximately 18x24 cm in size.
Each of the blots has near perfect bilateral symmetry. Five inkblots are of black ink, two are of black and red ink and three are multicolored, on a white background. After the test subject has seen and responded to all of the inkblots (free association phase), the tester then presents them again one at a time in a set sequence for the subject to study: the subject is asked to note where he sees what he originally saw and what makes it look like that (inquiry phase). The subject is usually asked to hold the cards and may rotate them. Whether the cards are rotated, and other related factors such as whether permission to rotate them is asked, may expose personality traits and normally contributes to the assessment. As the subject is examining the inkblots, the psychologist writes down everything the subject says or does, no matter how trivial. Analysis of responses is recorded by the test administrator using a tabulation and scoring sheet and, if required, a separate location chart.

The general goal of the test is to provide data about cognition and personality variables such as motivations, response tendencies, cognitive operations,affectivity, and personal/interpersonal perceptions. The underlying assumption is that an individual will class external stimuli based on person-specific perceptual sets, and including needs, base motives, conflicts, and that this clustering process is representative of the process used in real-life situations. Methods of interpretation differ. Rorschach scoring systems have been described as a system of pegs on which to hang one's knowledge of personality. The most widely used method in the United States is based on the work of Exner.

Administration of the test to a group of subjects, by means of projected images, has also occasionally been performed, but mainly for research rather than diagnostic purposes.

Test administration is not to be confused with test interpretation:

The interpretation of a Rorschach record is a complex process. It requires a wealth of knowledge concerning personality dynamics generally as well as considerable experience with the Rorschach method specifically. Proficiency as a Rorschach administrator can be gained within a few months. However, even those who are able and qualified to become Rorschach interpreters usually remain in a "learning stage" for a number of years

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