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Look at these inkblots and tell me what you see. That’s something a psychologist may say to you while showing you an image of the infamous Rorschach inkblot test.

Find out here what the Rorschach test is, what is it for, how it works, and – most importantly – how you can use it to understand yourself better? These and many more questions will be answered today in this article.

What is the Rorschach test?

The Rorschach test is a psychological personality test created by the Swiss Psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach in 1921. The test features a wide variety of different abstract and symmetrical inkblots.

Rorschach test pronunciation

The most common way in English to pronounce Rorschach is like roar + shack. Since Hermann Rorschach was Swiss, the actual pronunciation would be German – so quite similar to the English one, but with the typical German ch at the end, which sounds more like a deep hissing sound.

What is the purpose of the Rorschach test?

The purpose of the Rorschach test is to examine a person’s personality and emotional functioning by exposing them to different symmetrical inkblots. The test subject then has to say what they see in these inkblots. Some may see human faces, body parts, creatures, inanimate objects, or even things only seen in science-fiction movies like flying saucers. There is no right or wrong in the Rorschach test.

From the explanations of what the test subject sees, the psychologist concludes about their personality aspects. The test has proven especially helpful with people who are reluctant to describe their thinking process (openly). That way, underlying thought disorders can be easily detected.

How does the Rorschach test work?

The Rorschach test works as follows: The psychologist shows specific symmetrical images to the test subject that resemble artistic inkblots – hence its other name, inkblot test. People see all kinds of things in these inkblots. Depending on what the test subject spots, the psychologist can evaluate what that may mean regarding the person’s personality and emotional state. Since there is no right or wrong in the Rorschach test, the possibilities of what can be seen are almost limitless.

Rorschach Inkblot Test Online

If you want to take the Rorschach test, you’re in luck because we’ve got two for you! The easiest way to take the Rorschach inkblot test online for free is to simply follow this link: Rorschach test: Who am I?

Depending on what you see, the results may vary drastically!

But we have another free Rorschach test for you that will illuminate your darkest secrets. Do you dare to take the test and find out what no one else knows about you? Then check out this quiz: Rorschach test: What’s your darkest secret?

Rorschach Test History

Already Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli had ideas to interpret “ambiguous designs” to assess an individual’s personality. There have also been experiments with inkblots as a creativity test, but Rorschach was the first to come up with the idea of using them as a means of measuring a test subject’s personality and emotional functioning.

Some say that Rorschach’s use of inkblots has likely been inspired by poems of the German doctor Justinus Kerner which were inspired by accidental inkblots.

In 1921, Rorschach published his book Psychodiagnostik, which was the basis of the inkblot test. It featured only ten inkblots that Rorschach drew himself, even though he created hundreds of them. Although he was a well-esteemed psychologist, his book attracted little to no attention when it first appeared. Sadly, Rorschach died the following year of Psychodiagnostik’s release.

Several years later, the Rorschach test gained traction and became one of the most influential psychologic tests of all time.

Rorschach Inkblot Test Scoring

There are different things psychologists look for when they analyze the responses of a test subject regarding the inkblots. It’s not only about the content but also about the location and determinants.

1. Content

Content means which kind of things a test subject sees in the inkblots. There are quite common responses, but also some unique ones. The more atypical things they see in the inkblots, the more likely they have a disturbed thought process.

The most common things include human figures and human details, animal figures and animal details, sexual content, and natural things.

2. Location

Also, the location plays an important part. On what part of the image did the person focus the most? Which details did they pay the most attention to? Did their response focus on the entire inkblot or only parts of it?

3. Determinants

The determinants are the most complex part of scoring the Rorschach test. In this part, the psychologist has to consider the reasons why a person sees certain things. These determinants may be color, form, reflections, or shading.

4. Other factors

Other factors may also be how the test subject looked at the image. Did they tilt their head or squint their eyes? How did they interact with the inkblot? How fast did they respond? Did they give their best? Did they have a hard time seeing anything, or did they hesitate to respond?

Rorschach Interpretation Guide

The interpretation of a Rorschach test is a very complicated thing to do. You’ll get the most accurate results of a psychologist because of their wealth of knowledge and experience.

But to understand yourself better, it’s also possible to interpret it on your own with a little help. Just take notes when looking at one of our Rorschach test for every single picture: - Rorschach test: Who am I? - Rorschach test: What’s your darkest secret?

In the end, you’ll have a list of what you saw. After you’ve taken the test, check out the paragraphs below and get a result for every single image and not just the whole quiz. It’s more precise that way anyway. Answer all inkblots as if you’re talking to someone else.

1. Something general about responses

Most of the time, it’s not really about what you see but more about the connotations of what you see. If you mention negative things, it may indicate unresolved issues, frustration, aggression, anxiety, etc. Positive responses, in general, may mean the opposite. But it’s not always as easy as that. Sometimes they can also indicate narcissistic personalities or self-overestimation.

For example, suppose an inkblot could be interpreted as a feminine figure. In that case, this figure could be interpreted as females in general, the gender the person feels attracted to, or the test subject’s mother. If the test subject now states to see a witch or an angry woman, they might have unresolved problems with females or their mother.

So take good note of what you saw and review your responses with the following list.

Common positive responses

  • Flowers
  • Butterflies
  • Dancing
  • Praise of life
  • Child’s face
  • Female figures

Common negative responses

  • Weapons
  • Witches
  • Demons
  • Bats
  • Fight or conflict
  • Blood
  • Death
  • Monsters
  • Explosions

But it’s not always as easy as that. If a person, for example, is really into bats, a bat might be a neutral or even positive response. Also, it often depends on how a person interprets something. If the test subject sees two animals interacting with each other, they could say the animals are fighting or playing; the former would be something negative, the latter something positive.

If the test subject states more negative than positive things, they tend to be frustrated, aggressive, and potentially violent. On the other hand, a very high number of positive things may indicate a timid and submissive personality.

2. Sexual responses

It’s possible to see in almost every inkblot something sexual. And as many psychologists, Freud included, believe that sexual feelings are omnipresent, they aren’t uncommon as answers. But it’s not only what you say but also how you say it. Some even tend to say something different, just not to overdo it with their sexual responses. Especially in situations with a stranger, like a psychologist, people may say something else even if most people see something sexual.

For example, if you see female genitals and say you see a butterfly, it’s a quite positive response. Butterflies are said to be beautiful, and almost everybody is fond of them. If you say you see a moth or a bat, that’s rather negative. A negative response to potential sexual motives may indicate sexual frustration and/or problems with the gender you’re attracted to.

Attention: Some psychologists believe if there is an excess of sexual responses, it may be an indication of schizophrenia.

3. Mirror image responses

As all images are flipped over a central axis, they are symmetrical. So for some people, it may be tempting to turn them ninety degrees to interpret them as something reflected in water. Some may see drifting clouds, which can also be seen as a mirror image response.

Such responses may indicate self-reflective and thoughtful personalities. Still, they can also indicate a narcissistic personality that overestimates their own value.

4. Whole responses

Especially in very complex inkblots, responding in an attempt to put various elements of an image into context may indicate intelligence, abstract thinking, and great ambitions. Most people doing this have leadership qualities and don’t shy away from solving bigger problems.

5. Food responses

Seeing food in inkblots may indicate an addiction problem or that the test subject is prone to addiction.

6. Division responses

Breaking a complex inkblot down into sub-regions reflects common sense.

7. Detail responses

Paying attention to small details may indicate impulsiveness, anxiety, alertness, and/or compulsive thinking. But sometimes, it can also indicate a fascination with the mundane but, in some cases, even paranoia.

8. Movement responses

Seeing movement (like something walking, dancing, swimming, etc.) in the immobile inkblots can indicate a lot of imagination, creativity, and mature thinking.

9. Colour responses

Some inkblots contain color. Depending on which order you respond to them, it may have different meanings: - If you first see the form of an inkblot and then address its color, that’s a good thing. It means your rational thinking dominates your emotions. - If you see the color first and then the general shape of the inkblot (or you ignore the form at all), it means your emotions rule over your rational thinking.

10. Shade responses

If you pay a lot of attention to different color shades, it may indicate stress, anxiety, and/or depression.

11. Surface structure responses

If you responded to an inkblot with words like rough, smooth, hairy, sharp, etc., it might indicate that you’re in need of human interaction and connection with others. You may feel lonely.

So how did you do? Were you able to get to know yourself better?

We hope you had lots of fun doing so. If you want to get to know yourself even better, then you should definitely ask yourself these 100 questions. That way, you can say you know yourself better than anyone else does.

✍️  July 16, 2021

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