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Reaction to Rorschach

January 16th, 2009 2 comments

Dore is studying the Rorschach inkblot test this quarter, which of course means that once again I get to be her guinea pig.  So how did I fare?  Well, lucky for me she hasn’t gotten to the scoring part of the course, so I guess I dodged the bullet. 🙂  I have to say, though, that the test is interesting.  For anyone that hasn’t heard of the test, you are shown a series of ten ink blots, and you have to try to find images in each one.  Your responses are then used to determine how crazy you are.

My preconceptions going into the test were:

  • Everyone sees a bunch of sexual imagery in the blots (at least that’s what pop culture would have one believe)
  • The blots are all black and white
  • There are a ton of pictures
  • The test only shows anything of interest if you’re really messed up

So now I’m starting to take the test, and it’s actually quite interesting.  Here were my observations of the test:

  • At first, I was working against my initial perceptions.  I actively avoided anything sexual in my responses.  Not because it was uncomfortable, but rather that it felt very clichéd.  I really didn’t want to give the answer that everyone else does.  Turns out that’s probably the wrong approach; odd answers means you’re crazy.
  • Some of the blots were ridiculously easy to find images in.  I would immediately see a very strong image, often with a full story behind it.
  • Other images were very hard to place.  They just didn’t look like anything.
  • You not only have to see something in each blot, but you have to show the tester what you saw.  This proved to be way more difficult than I expected.  Just saying, “it’s two bears giving each other a high five” (an actual answer) wasn’t good enough — I had to show exactly what I was seeing.  This proved especially difficult when Dore had seen something else in the image that conflicted.  I finally saw what she was seeing, but it took me a while.  It was a lot like the vases and faces illusion.
  • They’re not all black and white.  And the color adds a ton of new possibilities for seeing crazy things.
  • There are a bunch of extra things that could be inferred from your answers.  Themes in answers, how they differ from the norm, and other things that you say can and will be used in interpretation.
  • I think that the test is very much influenced by the perception of the tester.  I wouldn’t want to have this be my only test of sanity.
  • Most of my answers tended to be whimsical and have funny stories attached to them.  At least a couple of the images I saw made me laugh out loud.
  • I also used white space a lot to construct images.  I think I looked at the blots like photos, and in several cases I was looking at both the dark parts and the light parts to reconstruct a scene complete with lighting.  Now if only I could do that to envision what I’m going to do with a photograph….

Dore thought that:

  • I talked too much.  She just wanted to get her homework done. 🙂

So overall it was fun, but not something I’ll be ecstatic to repeat anytime soon.

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