Thematic Test Analysis

Thematic Test Analysis

Thematic Test Analysis

Thematic Test Analysis


SURELY this book is an original, something unique in scientific literature, satisfying, in part, to curiosities which up to now psychologists have put aside as vain. Who believed that experts would be willing to make spectacles of their minds for the benefit of their fellows? More particularly, who anticipated that they would let their rivals watch them wend their way through the labyrinth of two projective protocols, groping for broken threads to lead them to a lucid formulation? Who but Dr. Shneidman and his collaborators?

Scientists are by conscience cautious, not disposed to speculate in public, more fearful of embracing error than of overlooking a new truth. Furthermore, experience has shown that blind analyses of stories from the MAPS test and the TAT are often no better than an astrologist's reading, and today most workers are agreed that interpreting in the dark is an extra-rational activity which should not, ordinarily, be attempted. Thus, the experts who declined the challenge offered them by Dr. Shneidman were in accord with cultural expectations; whereas those who unreservedly accepted it were deviants for the sake of experimental science.

The outcome of this exciting enterprise was statistically unreasonable. Those who laughed at probabilities and stretched inference to the limit succeeded in seizing the fruits of truth, which in this case were in the topmost branches of the protocols. In contrast, those who were more obedient, say, to their scientific superegos were uncriticizably less triumphant. They did not reach the best fruit of this tree of knowledge and so their eyes were not fully opened and they were not as gods.

Since the editors' own conclusions are not presented in this volume, but have been withheld for a sequel which is still in the making, the opinion I have just submitted has the status of a general impression and no more. If it is improperly premature or even presumptuous, I blame this very book, the lesson of which is boldness.

The fact, if it is a fact, that those who gave their intuitions freest play came closer to the mark can hardly be hailed as a prophetic sign. For some of the psychologists who in this experiment held most conscientiously to the ruts of a particular conceptual scheme may be contributing most, now and later, to the development of an instrument which will someday be unanimously accepted as the one which yields the highest percentage of valid diagnoses. Thus, in all likelihood, the more methodical tortoises will as usual be the first to arrive at the scientific goal--a reliable system instead of unreliable flashes of the imagination.

For those who have been wrestling with the giant problem of devising a . . .

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