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The Famous Rorschach Inkblot Test

Updated on January 9, 2013
Does Brad Pitt resemble Hermann Rorschach or what?
Does Brad Pitt resemble Hermann Rorschach or what?

Want to See the Famous Rorschach Inkblots?

Most of the tests we take are easy to score. They are True / False, Multiple Choice, or Sentence Completion. Our answers are either right or wrong. But there are also tests with open-ended questions, like the dreaded essay questions you may remember from high school and college.

The Rorschach Inkblot Test, created by Swiss psychiatrist, Hermann Rorschach, was published in 1921 and belongs to the second category. There has been a considerable uproar recently about the fact that the ten original Rorschach ink blot images have been reproduced online together with the most common responses. Published almost 90 years ago, the test has lost its U.S. copyright protection.

What had been an ongoing dispute about reproducing even one inkblot picture reached new heights when Wikipedia and other online sites displayed the illustrations for all ten inkblots. Some compare this revelation to displaying the correct answers for the SAT or the GRE.

Who started the furor? An Emergency Room doctor from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan – I’m not kidding, it really was Moose Jaw – first posted the 10 illustrations and common responses for each one.

Psychiatrists and psychologists are concerned that subjects could be coached and a wrong diagnosis could be rendered as a result. In my experience, Rorshach results are already subject to error because they are so outdated, inaccurate and meaningless. And subjective. They may well reveal the secret world of the doctor who is interpreting them rather than the mindset of the patient.

Reminds me of this old joke: Psychiatrist: “I’m going to show you some ink blots. Tell me what you see." The doctor then shows his patient 10 different inkblots and to each one, the patient responds saying something with a sexual connotation.

Psychiatrist – “You seem to have an abnormal obsession with sexuality, male and female genitalia, and unusual sexual practices.”

Patient – “I’m not the one with the problem. You’re the one who has been showing me dirty pictures.”

Want to see the inkblots and take the Rorschach for yourself?

View the video and quickly jot down your answer - what you see - after each inkblot is shown, before the narrator gives an explanation.

Take the Rorschach Inkblot Test

© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2013 Rev. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So." Includes valuable information for older workers, and how to negotiate salary successfully.


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