What’s Wrong with This Picture?
Psychologist at times will use a test call the Rorschach Inkblot Test to assess personality and mental illnesses of people. This has been found to be an inaccurate way to test people for mental illness. The test consists of 10 cards with inkblots on them. They are shown to people and they must respond with what they see. The rationale behind this test is that certain aspects of the subject’s personality will be exposed as they are interpreting the images, allowing for the possible diagnosis of various psychological disorders. This type of testing began in the 1920’s and was invented by a Swiss psychiatrist named Hermann Rorschach. However, the Rorschach was revived in the 1970s with the publication of John Exner’s Comprehensive System, which detailed standards and norms for analyzing results. The CS was credited with providing a concrete, scientific basis for the Rorschach test and it became widely used in clinical and forensic settings. Exner did this by testing a group of people without mental illnesses and using their scores to create a norm. That would be the baseline. If someone scores off of that they can then determine that they may have a mental illness.
Many studies have also called into question the scoring reliability of the CS; that is, a number of experiments have shown that two practitioners will score one subject very differently using the CS method. The authors observe that “disagreements can have particularly serious implications if the test results are used to reach important clinical or legal recommendations.” In addition, some studies suggest that there may be a cultural bias associated with the CS. Research has shown that Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans score differently on a number of variables in the CS compared to Caucasians.
Studies note that “similar discrepancies have been reported for CS scores in Central and South American countries as well as in several European countries.” These...