The issue of how to standardize test scores, what expectations to have about the performance of subjects, and how to interpret the performance observed is by no means straightforward.  Central to the difficulty of the question is the viability of the assumption that a "typical" subject or group of subjects exists.  The heart of the controversy is illustrated in the joke about the average family containing 2.7 children.  What is the meaning of a fractional child?

        It is our view that Rorschach's test is intended to illustrate individual differences, and that the concept of an average record has only very limited application.  For that reason, rather than collecting a large standardized population, stratified by variables weighted by the probability of their occurrence with respect to some arbitrary standards, we have focused on the collection of carefully specified populations of clinical or theoretical interest.  These populations currently include well educated, socially productive adults free of major psychiatric symptoms, children doing well in school and regarded as healthy by parents and teachers, foster children rated as healthy, talented college students without major symptoms, problem school children, acute hospitalized psychotics, paranoid schizophrenics, and individuals seeking sex change operations.  Obviously, none of these populations is "typical," but each represents a group of interest.

        Critical to the development of appropriate norms is not only the selection of suitable populations, but the collection of reliable data from those populations.  Scoring, generally is a basic data reduction technique.  It involves reducing or eliminating some aspects of an event in order to focus more closely on other aspects.  This the case whether the "score" is the assignment of a number, assignment to a nominal category, a sociometric observation, or a clinical description.  Rorschach scoring is basically a set of rules or conventions for recording some aspects of an event at the expense of other, quite possibly meaningful, aspects (e.g., tone of voice or other vocal gestures).  The scores have no inherent meaning other than as the result of applying conventions which are, hopefully, clear and consistently applied.

        Rorschach scoring has been much criticized for its lack of reliability.  Some of that lack is the result of illogicality or ambiguity in the conventions, and we have made an effort to reduce such factors as much as we could.  In addition, however, the judgments made in connection with some scores are inherently difficult, and sometimes arbitrary.  For example, is "a man standing" human movement?  Some systems say no, some say yes, if kinesthesia is involved (but determining that is not easy), some say position is not movement.  Our system says position is movement, but articulates degrees of movement in the MA scores, permitting the recognition that all movement is not equal.

        But if "a man standing" is human movement, is a "a lamp standing" object movement.  The answer to that question is "no," but on conventional not empirical or unassailably logical grounds.

        To learn to make the inherently difficult judgment involved in Rorschach scoring consistently requires training, but even thorough training will not totally eliminate unreliability.  For that reason, we have adopted a very stringent and demanding system of collecting normative data.  All the scorers have been trained by us.  That means a minimum of 12 hours of didactic instruction in addition to reading the manual and practice scoring of prescored records.

        Further, with the exception of the data on children with school problems, and the transsexuals every record was independently scored by at least two individuals.  Any discrepancies were then reviewed and resolved by one of the authors.  For many of the healthy child records, the third scoring involved review, not just of discrepancies, but of each scored response.  Finally, the scores for each response are entered into the computer, and the entries proofread for accuracy.

        In terms of time, this means that administering, scoring, rescoring, reviewing, and entering a Rorschach record can easily involve eight hours or more.  We are convinced that nothing less will provide suitable data.

        Below you will find the norms for each of the indicated population tested, measures of central tendency (mean, median, mode), measures of dispersion (standard deviation, quartile range and range), and measures of the distributions shape (kurtosis and skew).