PROJECTIVE TECHNIQUES: AN IMAGINAL APPROACH
We saw in the last chapter how Rorschach, and his ardent band of disciples, attempt to derive insights into personality structure by analyzing our responses to a series of meaningless ink blots. We are now to see how Morgan and Murray, and their followers, attempt to gain similar insights by analyzing our responses to a series of ambiguous pictures.
This is done through the medium of the Thematic Apperception Test, a test of a subject's power of imagination. This test consists of a series of 19 pictures and one blank card. These are shown one by one to a subject who is asked to make up a story based on what he sees in each card. These stories become the raw material for our analysis.
Each picture in the Thematic Apperception Test is capable of eliciting a wide variety of interpretations. This is one of the two basic facts which give the test its value. The second "fact" is our tendency to interpret ambiguous situations in directions conforming to our own present wants and to past behavior. One of the pictures in the Thematic Apperception Test is that of a little boy with a violin. In looking at the picture, we can all agree that this is a picture of a small boy with a violin. But we shall differ in our interpretation of what this picture represents. One person will see a boy longing to become a great musician. A second person will see him musing over some piece he has just played. A third person will feel that the boy is frustrated in not being able to play correctly a particularly difficult measure. And a fourth person will see a boy