Are the criticisms of the Rorschach test valid or invalid?

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The criticism that the Rorschach test has received has been, both, positive and negative. However, the fact that the test is still being used today ever since its creation in 1921 can certainly confirm that whatever negative criticism the test receives does not take away the fact that the technique does work.

The main complaint has been the method of data collection and the systematic use of the data. The main way to collect data for the Rorschach is by annotating what the patient says and then by analyzing the words of the patient to determine any patterns of psychosis, irrational behavior, or cognitive dissonance.

Another complaint is the bands under which the data analysis is categorized. It includes:

  • Form
  • Whether the patient sees the shape moving
  • The inclusion of a color in the response
  • The inclusion of the color black, white or gray when responding
  • Whether a shade, texture, or dimension are noted in the answer
  • Whether the patient sees reflection, a pattern, or brightness

Hence, the process of analyzing the information is, indeed, a very complex one which requires tremendous training and the investment of time.

Therefore, the negative criticism that the test has received is valid because, it is clearly a multidimensional, non-systematic, and non-categorized test per se. Instead it is a composite of many subcategories that would require the input of the patient and then the equally non-systematic task of analyzing such input.

The positive criticism that has kept the test in use to this day speaks for itself; the Rorschach technique succeeds at tapping onto the inner thoughts of clients that would otherwise not open up and speak up freely about what they know, or what they feel. Moreover, it is non-invasive, projective, and non-threatening in every way. The fact that it has maintained its worthiness despite of criticism demonstrates that its usability is still quite valid.


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