The doyen of psychology's historians, E. G. Boring (1950), begins his history with Ebbinginhaus' comment that psychology has a long past, but a short history.  The same might be said of projective testing, and of Rorschach's test.
        The notion that what one "sees" in ambiguous stimuli reveals mental status is implied in the cloud game played by Shakespeare's Hamlet and Polonius.  Although Binet thought of inkblots as stimuli in a test of imagination (1895), it was Herman Rorschach that formalized that game as a psycho-diagnostic technique three decades later, with the publication of his 1922 monograph.

        One of the most curious features of the test has been the degree to which its development has been independent of an explicit theoretical context.  Rorschach, a Jungian analyst, referenced both Freud and Jung in his original monograph.  Despite the implications of these references and the fact that the first two decades of the century were times of great activity and interest in psychoanalysis, the test as described by Rorschach was only minimally related to or informed by psychoanalytic theory, and the works of Rapaport (1946), Schafer (1954), and Holt (1970) not withstanding, that remains largely the case today.

        As the test became known in the United States with publications in the 1930's and 1940's by Beck (1930), Hertz (1935), Klopfer (1942), Piotrowski (1936) and Rapaport (1945, 1946), it did get assimilated, not into a theoretical context, but into the psychometric tradition, exemplified by Binet. The psychometric tradition has been rooted in educational settings, and was historically fueled by the vocational/classificational needs emerging during World War II and the aftermath of veteran rehabilitation.  Perhaps for this reason, the explosion of research activity using the test, from a few hundred studies in the 1930's to thousands yearly in the forties and fifties (Klopfer, 1973), was typified by approaches focusing on predictive or concurrent validity.  Scores or combinations of scores on the Rorschach were related to concurrent diagnoses, to treatment outcomes, and the like.  Hence, the focus of the test shifted from the psychological processes thought to be reflected in the test to the Rorschach scores and their psychometric "validity."

        The outcome of this burst of research was not promising.  The results were unimpressive, in part because, as Chronbach pointed out (1949), the studies were statistically naive and/or careless, and in part because the variables being predicted to (e.g., diagnosis) were not very reliable.  In any event, a negative scientific climate for Rorschach's test developed, typified and epitomized by Meehl's sweeping critique (1954) of "clinical" prediction.

        This climate must be interpreted in context, and, in particular, with respect to four points.  First, despite the accretion of dreary failures to replicate predictive validity in narrowly conceived psychometric experiments, Rorschach's test has proved hardy in clinical settings, and in the academic settings committed to training clinicians. Piotrowski has documented the degree to which Rorschach's test continues to be among the most commonly given of psychological tests.  It continues to be taught despite a reported perception that its importance is declining, in academic and practicum settings (1984a, b, c; 1985).  The extent to which skeptical educators acknowledge the pragmatic demand for the test was illustrated when one of the authors recently paid an accreditation visit to a doctoral program known for its exclusively behavioral orientation to find Rorschach training required of students and taught by behavioral faculty!

        Second, the lack of consensus within psychology on basic theoretical issues - psychology's failure to generate a dominant theoretical view - led Rorschach teachers and practitioners to focus on matters of convention and technique rather than of theory. Controversies were cast in terms of whether animal movement should be scored, whether it was "really" movement, rather than on the inferred psychological processes. Rorschach scoring systems - Beck's (1961), Piotrowski's (1957), Klopfer's (1954, 1956) Rapaport's (1945,1946) and lately, Exner's (1974), et al. - compete without reference to their ability to contribute to the useful elaboration of mentalist constructs, despite the fact that the test is rooted in assumptions about the mind and how it works.

        The recent reawakening of experimental psychology's interest in cognition (Pribram, 1986) is a hopeful development that resonates with the Wundtian origins of scientific psychology, as well as with the Jamesian domestication of it and the more recent cognitive style work of Klein (1970), Witkin (1954) and their followers. The cognitive reaction to radical behaviorism may generate an academic-scientific context in which Rorschach behavior is seen as non-trivial, and for which Rorschach's experiment may prove to be one useful experimental paradigm.

        Finally, classical psychometrics is a tool devised for the kinds of gross but reliable classifications which characterize educational and industrial work. Recent developments in psychometrics, for example, latent trait theory (Weiss, 1983; Lord, F. M.1968), are more geared to evaluating and refining the ability to measure constructs as opposed to behaviors, and may therefore offer more useful ways of characterizing Rorschach's test.

        The basic notion of Rorschach's test (or experiment) is straightforward. The subject is presented with a stimulus known to be nonrepresentational and asked what it looks like.  He or she later is asked to elaborate.  Each comment is reduced or scored by noting a number of dimensions thought to be relevant, for example, how complicated the "percept" is, how much of the stimulus is accounted for, the ways in which the percepts are justified, etc.

        Much attention has been paid to spelling out the specific rules by which responses are to be scored or reduced. The most widely known systems for scoring are those of Beck (1961), Piotrowski (1957), Klopfer (1954), Rapaport-Schafer (1945), and Exner (1974).  The test's underlying assumption is that each of us induces order and clarity into our experiential world on the basis of a grammar that is individual and related to fundamental consistencies of behavior.  The implications of this assumption depend upon how the mind is understood.

        In the study of mind, the dominant trend has been to separate considerations of cognitive or intellectual function from those of emotional or motivational concerns. This tendency is in part due to the historical relationship between intelligence testing for the educational enterprise, with its necessary emphasis on aptitudes and achievement testing, in contrast to the psychopathological interests of clinical psychology.  Such emotion-intellect distinctions perhaps find their fullest expression in some of the neuromythology surrounding right brain - left brain differences, and in some of the speculations about artificial intelligence and thinking machines. Whatever the history of this division, it is highly likely that, in practice, any psychological test report selected at random will contain a section on intellectual abilities and a parallel section on personality factors, as though these subjects are usefully separated.

        Despite the dominance of this separatist trend, a hardy counter-culture has always existed. For example, Binet not only studied imagination (1905), but mentioned the faculty of "application" to work as interacting with aptitudes; further, the main thrust of the cognitive style research of the 1960's, (Witkin, 1954; Klein, 1970) focusing on such factors as field dependence-independence, and sharpeners-levelers, was that questions of personal style and intellectual ability are mutually relevant and perhaps inseparable.

        Although much of what has been written and taught about Rorschach's test has been colored by the dichotomization of intellect and emotion, the test, properly understood, belongs solidly in the counter-cultural tradition of interactionist considerations of these psychological functions. Despite the generally bad press in the psychometric research literature and a general antidynamic bias in graduate training, Rorschach's test has proven to be remarkably popular and useful in practice settings.  This resilience is due to the central interactionist assumption underlying the test, which embodies a core notion who's evitality transcends the weaknesses of scoring and the trivialities of training that have hampered the test.

        Intrinsic to the study of mind is the notion of humankind as seekers of meaning. Our species is styled homo sapiens. In this sense cognition is central to psychology.  Rorschach's test is a test of cognition.  The subject is handed a stimulus known to be non-representational or ambiguous ("a picture of an inkblot"), and asked what it looks like.  Later he or she is asked to elaborate, and his or her reactions scored by noting the factors thought to be relevant.  The task which Rorschach's test sets the subject is: "make sense of this," "recognize this stimulus."  The task is paradoxical and prototypical-recognizing the unfamiliar, making sense of the novel, assimilating new experience into the apperceptive mass.  This is an effort in which affective-motivational and intellectual-cognitive systems must participate.

        The key assumption is that making sense of experience is an effortful task that is largely invisible to us, because it is so over-practiced.  It is effortful, not automatic, and involves a grammar which is for each of us, individual and as much affective/motivational as it is cognitive.

        It was a brilliant intuition on Rorschach's part that cognition, the act of making sense, would become more amenable to study by asking subjects to recognize stimuli that were entirely novel, and were, in fact, nonrepresentational.  Most recognitions are rapid, and, therefore, hard for the subject to analyze retrospectively.  Rorschach recognitions, in contrast, are often both slow and difficult, making the psychologist's request for an explanation more likely to be productive.

        In summary, Rorschach's test assumes making sense of the world to be a cognitive, affective, motivational act that can be productively studied by a phenomenological exploration of a paradoxical situation: insisting that the subject "recognize" non-representational stimuli.

        One of the serious weaknesses in the teaching of Rorschach's test is the tendency to present it as a relatively theory-free technique. As noted earlier, this tendency may by rooted in the absence of a single dominant theory of personality in psychology, and in a wish to avoid controversies that cannot be quickly resolved by a crucial experiment. Nevertheless, one cannot have a theory-free view of personality or of Rorschach's test.

        Our view of the test is deeply rooted in psychoanalytic theory, especially Otto Kernberg's view (1966, 1980), that native experience is transactional in nature, consisting, as it were, of initially undifferentiated self-other-affect packets.  The differentiation and integration of these packets into one's identity, one's interpersonal and objective world, and one's motives constitutes psychological development.  That development gone awry is the basis for psychopathology.  It is this process of differentiating experiential activity that Rorschach's test seeks to recreate and to study.

        Interpretation of the results of Rorschach testing is possible only in the context of theoretical expectations about the functions of the mind, the origins of psychopathology and the psychotherapeutic implications of such factors.  Of course, theoretical points of view alternative to ours are possible, but the point is that an attempt to find a theory-freemeaning for test results condemns one to a trivial correlational sign approach that has proven relatively barren.  The theoretical matrix for the test should be explicit.



Dimensions of Scoring Rorschach Responses

        As explained above, a great deal of attention has been given to noting the ways in which the subject deals with the cognitive problems posed by Rorschach's test.  At least five major systems are in common use: those of Beck (1961), Piotrowski (1957), Klopfer (1954, 1956), Rapaport-Schafer (1945, 1946), and Exner (1974).

        These current major scoring systems share three major shortcomings: a) conceptual gaps in the scoring categories employed, b) lack of attention to the specific nature of the "recognitions" and to nuances of cognitive functions, and c) lack of clear articulation with personality and psycho-pathological theory. This author's scoring system attempts to address each of these shortcomings.

        For example, most approaches do not systematically distinguish between "determinants" that are attempts by the subject to justify his percept by referring to physical aspects of the blot (form, color, etc.) and, on the other hand, attempts by the subject to impart some subjective interpretation of the blot (references to movement, texture, etc.).  In our system this distinction is recognized by dividing so-called "determinants" into "Justifications" and "Imaginal Aspects."

        As another example, we have given much attention to what we call "Perceptual-Cognitive Characteristics." An attempt has been made to provide an extensive set of categories for classifying notable ways of approaching the task of "recognizing" the stimuli.  Figure-ground reversals (usually scored as "S" in the location sector), predicate thinking (often called confabulation), use of very common stereotypes (populars) and other modes of cognition are systematically noted.

        As a final example, the content of each response is also assessed not only to label its conceptual class, but also to determine the precision and tone of interpersonal expectations. Responses are also assessed from a psychoanalytic psychosexual point of view to determine the extent to which oral, anal, or phallic material is represented and defended against.

        To highlight the differences between our approach and those in current use, we will present a precis of our system in the context of a review of the conventional categories and their shortcomings.

Conventional Dimensions of Scoring and Interpretation

        In Rorschach's original work (1969), four basic dimensions within each response were noted: mode of apperception (location and derived scores) form, movement and color (later called determinants); content; and noting of original answers (later expanded to include noting popular responses and other qualitative observations). Beck (1933) introduced the notion of an additional dimension, organizational activity, an idea also implemented in various ways by Klopfer (1973), Hertz (1935), Rapaport (1945946), Exner (1974), Holtzman (Hill, 1972) and others. Hence, the five basic dimensions can be designated: location, organization, determinants content, and qualitative observations. We will consider each of these dimensions serially.


        This dimension of scoring involves noting which area of the blot was utilized, its size, and the frequency with which it tends to be chosen by individuals taking the test.  Derivative observations are also made, such as noting the relative preference he or she may have for using the whole blot as opposed to using smaller areas (often called approach) and the degree of orderliness with which the person searches for responses (often called sequence).  The kinds of psychological inferences conventionally based on location scores have to do with the vigor and orderliness of problem solving strategies.

        A number of problems plague the scoring and interpretation of location.  Some of the confusion stems from the way in which Rorschach put the original question: "Is the figure conceived and interpreted as a whole or in parts? Which are the parts interpreted?" (1969, p. 19).  This disjunction implies that all wholes are alike, but that all parts are not. Accordingly, many scoring systems sort out parts by size or by frequency, but most do not systematically sort out whole responses in the same way. Clearly, if the frequency with which an area is chosen is important, it should be noted for all responses, including whole responses. To put it another way, some whole responses, like some part responses are frequently chosen and some are not.

        In our system we take separate note of size and of frequency. With respect to size we score whole responses, whole responses with minor qualifications, large areas, and small areas. Detailed rules for scoring these variables are found on page 29 ff.

        The tables on page 81 ff indicate for each card which specific locations are to be scored as large areas and which are to be scored as small. Each area of each blot has been assigned a number by Beck, and we have retained these numbers.  In Beck's system, the numbers reflected the frequency with which specific areas were utilized.  Our data indicates some significant shifts in frequency.  The tables on page 81 ff list for each card the locations in order of the frequency with which they are used in our initial sample of more than 250 subjects.  The tables also indicate which locations are to be considered rare. It is interesting to note that the whole location is that most commonly used for Cards I, II, IV, V, VI, and VII; it is rare in card III, but relatively frequent in VIII, IX, and X. Areas (large or small) which are rarely chosen (e.g., represent less than about 10% of the responses) are underlined in our scoring system.

        Another complication of scoring location has resulted from the inclusion in the location sector of the scoring of other considerations.  For example, both Rorschach and Beck assumed a necessary connection between whole responses and the tendency to give responses which are highly organized. Our data suggest that there is a weak correlation between the two tendencies, but not a causal relationship. In fact, some whole responses (e.g., the "bat" to Card V) can be quite "easy." Accordingly, in evaluating organizational activity (See below), it is important to do so independently of location.

        The meaning of location scores seems to derive from the likelihood that subjects interpret the test's instructions to mean that they are to use the whole blot.  We infer this from the fact that subjects often ask permission to use a part of the blot, but never, in our experience, ask permission to use the whole blot; in addition we have already noted the relatively high frequency with which whole responses are given in comparison with other unique areas. In other words, the failure to produce a fair number of whole responses is a deficiency that needs to be accounted for - as is the failure to produce a fair number of other large area responses.

        Other extraneous intrusions into location scoring in conventional systems include noting figure ground reversals (use of white space) as well as other cognitive tendencies, such as inferential failures (usually called confabulated responses: DW, DdD, or DD), and failures to see easy wholes (oligophrenic details, Do).

        Such cognitive tendencies are important and meaningful, but not really related to location scoring. We deal with them in a separate sector of scoring, Perceptual Cognitive Characteristics (p. 59 ff), because attempting to do so in the location sector multiplies the symbols used in that sector in a way which blurs the basic questions to be considered: the size and the rarity of the area used by the subject for a particular response. Detailed rules, specific symbols, and examples relevant to the scoring of location are presented on pages 29 ff.

The Meaning of Location Scores

    Basically to be considered here are the issues of the size of the area used and the frequency with which a particular area is selected. Overall, approximately 10% of an individual's responses can be expected to be rarely selected (underlined) areas, whether W, D, or Dd. Where this percentage is significantly exceeded, in excess of 20%, the subject is demonstrating an ability to focus on unusual, original, or idiosyncratic aspects of his experiential field.  Such a capacity may reflect a failure of socialization, creative individuality, or inability to focus, depending upon other aspects of performance.

        In the older Rorschach literature, the relative preference for whole responses, large areas and small areas is often called the approach type.  Our data suggest that the percentages of large areas (D) tends to be relatively stable, with the consequences that W% and Dd% tend to be reciprocal. In other words, the tendency to use the whole blot or a very small portion are stylistic alternatives, the former being either impressionistic or integrative, the latter analytic. Variations in the D%, tend to be much rarer. Generally, as Exner suggested (p. 237) D answers appear easier to give. In other words, both W's and Dd's are more likely to require mental energy, and notably high levels of D% seems to reflect conservatism, guardedness or lack of capacity.

        A second aspect of location scoring has to do with noting the sequence of the kinds of locations used by subjects. As mentioned above, the standard instructions for Rorschach's test, and perhaps the nature of the first blot seem to predispose subjects toward initial W responses. Frequently subjects ask whether they can use part of the blot; never do they ask whether they can use the whole blot.  Most subjects develop a strategy of giving any whole response which occurs to them, then D responses and last, Dd responses.  When this sequence becomes invariable and stereotyped, Rorschach suggests pedantry, depression, or anxiety and low self-esteem (p. 43). Failures to develop a strategy of where to look produce a confused sequence and suggests an inability to exert mental discipline.  In practice, it is even more useful to examine each protocol for evidence of disruption in the subject's typical strategy, and to consider whether the disruption might be due to transient anxiety.  Where this is the case, it is often accompanied by other signs of cognitive inefficiency, such as an increase in socially unconventional content, and is called shock."

Organization or Cognitive Complexity

        Cognitive Complexity reflects the subject's tendency to see the world in complex, as opposed to simple terms.  It reflects, for example, the difference between seeing on Card I, "a bat" as opposed to "two winged creatures holding on to a third person."  It is a factor highly related to intelligence.  Evaluating this factor in Rorschach responses has been complicated by two issues. The first is a bias toward thinking of intelligence as a unidimensional factor, with a consequent tendency to force varying styles, talents, or deficiencies into a simple ordinal scale.  Beck, for example, weights the organizational values assigned to each response and then adds them to obtain a weighted sum. This tendency is at variance with views of intelligence or talent as irreducibly multifaceted.

        A second problem has to do with the tendency to confuse issues of location (e.g., whether or not a whole response is given) with issues of whether a response is a complicated one, which was discussed above.  The best solution to the second problem is to score location and organization without making assumptions about their relationship, the approach we adopt.

        Recognizing some of the subtleties of intellectual operations and their deficiencies involves categorizing them in a fairly complicated way.  We have adopted a procedure similar to that of Rapaport, classifying each response as "integrated," if it displays the synthetic ability to see distinct things in relationships; "arbitrary" if synthetic ability is misused; "articulated," if it displays the ability to analyze objects into component parts; "simple," if neither integrative or articulatory abilities are displayed; and "diffuse" if the objects seen are inherently shapeless. Arbitrary and diffuse responses are thought to represent psychopathological intrusions into potential ability, emphasis on simple responses may reflect guardedness or represent intellectual limitations. Synthetic and analytic cognitive approaches are nominal, not ordinal, stylistic variants of cognition.

        Specific symbols, rules, and examples of scoring responses are given below on page 30 ff, under the heading Cognitive Complexity.


    Rorschach originally noted whether responses depended on form or color or seemed to involve human movement. He said (1969, p. 22), "Most interpretations are determined by form alone . . . (but) in contrast to these we have 'Movement' and 'Color' responses."  Evaluating this sector of Rorschach behavior is usually called scoring for determinants, probably because of Rorschach's use of the word "determined."  Over the years the list of determinants has been expanded, adding use of the black-white dimension, spatial dimensionality, and distinguishing among human, animal, and object movement.

        The scoring and interpretation of these variables has been plagued by two difficulties. The first is an ambiguity about the basis for scoring a determinant.  Is it to be scored when the subject reports it or when the examiner is convinced it "determines" the response?  Out of this ambiguity have grown elaborate schemes for "testing the limits" of whether a determinant is "really" involved, asking, for example, "would this look as much like blood if it weren't red?"  The problem with leading questions is that they lead, informing the subject as much as they do the examiner.  We prefer to act on the assumption that we are scoring not what determines the response, but how the subject spontaneously justifies it.  For that reason, we call these scores Justification scores.

        This resolution helps to highlight and resolve the second difficulty.  Close reading of the relevant section of Psychodiagnostics, makes clear that Rorschach is contrasting the use of movement, on the one hand, with color and form on the other. He points out that for movement responses, "the subject imagines the object 'seen' as moving."

        In other words, in the case of movement the "determinant" is imagined; in the case of form and color the "determinant" is perceived in the blot.  Accordingly, our system distinguishes between Justifications, or blot characteristics seen in the blot to which the subject alludes in order to justify the response, and "Imaginal Aspects," references made by the subject, not to perceptual qualities of the blot, but to events or objects he or she knows to be in his or her memory or imagination.

        We believe that Justifications and Imaginal Aspects are two distinct realms, and that the clinical importance of the relative use of each is what gives weight to the traditional experience balance measure, the ratio of color (a common justification) to movement (a common imaginal reference).  Unfortunately, the experience balance is a very flawed measure: its shortcomings include arbitrary weights assigned to various color usages, and the exclusion of some common justifications and some common imaginal aspects.  Our system will hopefully provide a means of developing a sounder, empirically justified analogue of the traditional experience balance.

        The psychological meaning of the "determinant" scores is necessarily complicated.  In the older literature, singular meanings were often ascribed to each.  For example the use of F denoted an objective approach, the use of color denoted impulsive or instinctual discharge, the use of shading, anxiety, etc.  In our view, the major distinction to be made has to do with the relative tendency to justify responses in "objective terms" (via use of Justifications) as opposed to imparting one's subjective reactions (via use of Imaginal Aspects).  As mentioned above, this is the contrast that gives meaning to the traditional comparison of movement scores and color scores, often called the experience balance. In our view the contrast is not between seeking satisfaction in fantasy as opposed to seeking it in action.  Rather it is in self-revelation as an interpersonal mode, in contrast to appealing to external reality.  In the former mode, one creates his or her reality and then shares it, in the latter one seeks to discover an external reality.  At present this view constitutes a speculation grounded in clinical experience; clarifying Rorschach scoring in the way that we have should provide a means for validating this notion clinically and experimentally.  In general, the meaning of individual Justification scores is contextually derived.  The use of color without other justifications often involves reliance on a non-criterial attribute (e.g., "a bear because it's brown").  When this is the case we are dealing with predicate thinking, the impulsive, poorly reviewed drawing of inferences.  Our system also provides for clear notation of other uses of color as a justification, when it is unrealistic (e.g., "green sheep"), arbitrary (as in a diagram or map), or invoked when it is not present in the blot. Clear and consistent notation of such usages will permit clarification of their meaning.  Our experience to date suggests that the first is often correlated with affective dissociation, the second with intellectualization rather than emotional display, and the last the possibility of seizure activity.  The use of the black-white dimension (achromatic color) and of the intensity or saturation dimension (shading) is usually associated with painful feelings, respectively depression and anxiety. Applebaum (1968) has noted the correlation between the simultaneous use of color and shading (orachromatic color) and suicide; in our experience that co-occurrence is also associated with assaultive behavior.

        The Imaginal Aspects as a group can be regarded as reflecting imagination or fantasy in the broadest sense.  Human movement responses denote the imagination of a world informed by human motives and feelings; animal responses a world in which the conflict inherent in human interaction is diffused by the Disneyesque defenses of symbolization, repression, and displacement, and object movement responses a world which unconsciously reflects the failure of preoedipal parents adequately to modulate environmental and instinctual pressures.  References to an imaginal tactile quality (Texture responses) are said to be associated with excessive frustration of needs during the earliest months of life for contact stimulation.  An impressionistic confirmation of this possibility is found in the frequency with which individuals alluding to Texture finger or stroke the blot. References to imaginal dimensionality in which the psychological center of the percept is at a distance or difficult to access (Vista responses) are thought to be associated with the inner experiences of being weak, overwhelmed and/or without resources, a complex of feeling associated with the old diagnostic category of psychoasthenia.

        A derived score of some importance is the proportion of responses justified by form alone, and without Imaginal Aspects (pure F responses).  Almost all writers assume that the proportion of such responses reflects the degree of the individual's investment in the denotative, "out-there" world; this relationship probably flows from the fact that Form like the other justifications (color, shading, and achromatic color) involves the convergence of two sense modalities, vision and touch.  In other words, shape can be perceived by either modality and can be confirmed by their convergence.  Hence a reliance on that Justification reflects a predisposition to live in an "out there" world that is assembled to validational experiment.

        To review, we score as Justifications allusions to shape, size, color, and intensity or saturation.  We score as Imaginal Aspects references to movement, emotion, dimensionality, or tactile qualities. Specific symbols, rules and examples are given on page 35 ff under the heading Justifications and page 41 ff under the heading Imaginal Aspects.

Form Quality

        An issue usually treated as related to determinants is that of form levelor quality. In Rorschach's discussion of Form quality (1969, p. 23) two issues are confused: frequency of occurrence of a particular percept in normal subjects, and sharpness or clarity of form.  To this confusion has been added over the years a third element: the goodness of fit between the blot and the thing named.

        As might be expected this confusion has generated a certain amount of controversy, with some writers emphasizing the need for norms, and others emphasizing basically subjective judgments of clarity or precision of form.  Almost all writers associate this dimension of the percept with the form "determinant" although Beck, committed to normative distinctions, acknowledges the dubiousness of that relationship, referring (1961,p. 30) to the role of "'good form' in the social sense."

        Our view is that issues of clarity and precision overlap with judgements of cognitive complexity, and the typology we present there (q.v.), permits adequate treatment of them in that sector of the scoring system.  Attending to normative distinctions, or, more precisely, to the likelihood that healthy vs psychotic individuals will associate a given content to a given area is a content issue determined by a host of variables, including the subject's perception of the goal of the testing. Form plays a role, but not an exclusive one.

        Because the normative judgment of  "form quality" is more accurately understood as the social appropriateness of specific context to a specific area in the context of the test, we have redesignated that variable "Response Appropriateness."  Also unlike other systems, ours makes the judgment of appropriateness for each response, not only those involving form.

        Beck's tables, revised by him on the basis of survey responses from several hundred practitioners, permit such a judgment.  With the permission of Grune and Stratton and the authors of Beck's Vol. I Rorschach's Test: Basic Processes, these tables are reproduced here on p.81.  They have been modified by grouping separately the + and - responses to each area. Specific procedures for using these tables are presented on pages 82 ff.

        Judging the response appropriateness for pure Form responses leads to the development of a derived score, the proportion of the pure Form responses that are socially appropriate (F+%). This proportion reflects the degree to which the denotative world lived in by the subject is consensually validated. Our system permits, too, the development of a parallel score, the proportion of the remaining responses - those more related to inner states and the connotative world - that are socially appropriate (B + %). This score is thought to reflect the degree to which the individual's connotative world is consensually validated.


        Despite the contemporary identification of Rorschach's test with psycho-dynamic personality theory, Rorschach held the view that the test is "not a means for delving into the unconscious" (1969, p. 123) because it seemed too influenced by reality considerations.  This view is especially paradoxical in light of the emphasis placed on "content interpretation" by many contemporary working clinicians, some of whom treat the test almost as they would a dream.  Rorschach does suggest that the test can be useful in ruling out schizophrenia, in predicting the outcome of a psychoanalysis, or in estimation of investment and adaptability in work situations.

        One reason for the shift from Rorschach's view to the more contemporary ones is the intervening developments in psychoanalytic theory. What Rorschach appeared to have had in mind by the contents of the unconscious are specific repressed traumatic events, consistent with the psychoanalytic view circa 1900.  With the movement of psychoanalytic theory away from individual pathogenic events toward an elaborated view of transference and the repetition compulsion as reflected in repetitive patterns of relationship with historical meanings, and with the elaboration of structural psychoanalytic theory with its emphasis on ego-function and patterns of defense and adaptation, the concept of an unconscious domain became less figural and the purpose of projective testing expanded.

        Despite the emphasis that working clinicians place on content interpretation, the best known scoring systems, following Rorschach, treat this sector in relatively casual terms.  Usually there is a list of content categories that can be judged as good or bad form (vide supra).  In addition, these are usually categorized in some way to provide a rough measure of the number or proportion of human responses, animal responses, and breadth of real world interests, permitting inferences of the sort described by Rorschach of the subject's conscious concerns and interests.  We have retained such a list using broad content categories of obvious relevance. The specific symbols and rules for the conceptual categorization of content are listed on pages 49 ff.

        In addition, we have expanded the formal scoring of content in two basic ways related to psychoanalytic theory and in a third way related to experimental and clinical work on thought pathology, a central issue because this is a cognitive test. These three dimensions are called, respectively, Interpersonal Expectations, Psychosexual Drive and Defense, and Perceptual-Cognitive characteristics. The first borrows heavily from the work of Blatt (1976,1984) and his colleagues, the second from Holt(1970) and his co-workers, and the third from a host of work done by experimental and clinical researchers, especially in the 1950's and 60's (Chapman & Champion, 1973; Holt, 1970; Kasanin, 1944). Each dimension will be summarized below.


        This sector of response evaluation draws heavily on the work done by Blatt (1976), Mayman (1974), and others on a topic called, variously, object relations and/or object representations.  This work is in the tradition of an ego-psychological view that the sophistication with which mental representations of the external world, including the mental representations of self and self-relevant others, plus the affective quality associated with those representations, is a crucial element in psychological development.

        In this sector of our system four components are evaluated, one characterizing human percepts, two characterizing percepts involving imagining human movement and/or human emotions, and a final one evaluating the affective tone or ambience of non-human percepts. These variables are called, respectively, "Human Articulation," "Motivational Articulation," "Motivational Valuation" and "Implicit Motivational Valuation." Symbols, rules, and examples relevant to the scoring of these variables are provided (p. 55 ff).

        These scores are an index of the individual's capacity to conceptualize sharply his or her interpersonal world in terms of social roles and interpersonal motivations, and the degree to which the environment is seen as welcoming or threatening. Such characterizations are central to psychoanalytic formulation of individuals from an object relations or self- psychology point of view.


        Another aspect of Rorschach content that is not dealt with explicitly by current scoring systems is related, not to object relations, but to psychoanalytic drive theory.  The notion is that all behavior is driven by primitive drives whose early foci are the familiar oral, anal, and phallic ones. From a classical psychoanalytic view the story of psychopathology and development involves resolving the inevitable conflicts attendant on drive discharge.  Much of the originally instinctual behavior becomes neutralized, and freely available to the ego, its psychosexual origins no longer evident in behavior. Some behavior retains traces of its origins and continues to stir up conflict, which can be defended against flexibly or clumsily.

        Robert Holt's primary process scoring scheme (1970) represents a very sophisticated and detailed means of assessing each Rorschach response to determine the extent to which its psychosexual origins are identifiable, and if they are, the quality of the defense deployed against it.

        Drawing heavily on Holt's notions, we have developed a simplified scheme for making such assessments.  As one would predict, use of this scheme indicates that the Rorschach responses of healthy adults are largely conflict-free.  As would be predicted, children show higher levels of drive expression with younger children evidencing more than older children.  These data are in the child norms presented on pages 192 ff.  One would assume that structural neurotics would have focalized areas of conflict, and that more primitive pathologies would involve more diffuse patterns of drive derivative expression, i.e. across two or more psychosexual areas.

        Specific symbols, rules, and examples relevant to scoring Psychosexual drive and defense are found on pages 56 ff under that heading.


        Qualitative observations, Rapaport's "fifth column," traditionally includes the noting of popular and/or original responses, as well as significant forms of thought pathology or cognitive slippage, especially of the kind associated with psychosis.

        Two problems with current practice are apparent.  The first is that many systems score some forms of perceptual/cognitive slippage in this sector while others are confused with other sectors of scoring.  For example, figure-ground reversal is usually scored as a location variable, as is the tendency to engage in certain faulty inferences (e.g., "a cat because it has whiskers" usually called a confabulation).  On the other hand the primary process condensations usually called contaminations, in which two unrelated percepts are fused, are almost always scored in the fifth sector.  The second problem is that a large and unsystematic set of conventions has developed, with many duplications, omissions, and unclear definitions.

        In our system, we have tried to develop a comprehensive, relatively non redundant taxonomy for noting perceptual-cognitive characteristics. Some are common in healthy individuals, others are pathognomonic. Detailed symbols, rules and examples for scoring this material are presented on pages 59 ff.