Ink Blot Psychology and Unique Scoring Systems

Originally the Ink blot psychology was used to study imagination processes and other functions of your brain. However, Hermann Rorschach, used inkblot pictures for the first time to measure your underlying personality traits, fears, anxiety and thoughts.

He created Rorschach images by dribbling ink on white sheets of paper and folding them in half. You may experiment the same way to generate your own relatively symmetrical inkblot pictures.

Unfortunately, Rorschach couldn’t survive to mature his projective techniques and much was left with his followers. Now 10 inkblot pictures are used to measure your subconscious. Five of them are prepared in shades of gray and black colors, two in bright red and the remaining in combination of different colors.

Ink Blot Psychology in Action

In a real testing session, the tester shows you inkblot pictures one by one. He asks you to respond for the image. Whatever you say becomes part of his notebook.

He also notes down your reaction time, position in which you hold a card, your spontaneous reactions and emotional expressions. He may also ask you questions about the parts and aspects of each of the ink blot picture.

The test proceeds in a very leisurely pace. The examiners expect that you may give one or more responses. You may even reject a card without telling any reason.

In most of the cases, you are given an opportunity to correct your responses previously given. But that change shall also play an important role in analyzing your inner self.

Scoring System of the Ink Blot Psychology

inkblot personality tests

Rorschach images were initially tested in the clinical atmosphere. The use of ink blot psychology upon mental retardates, normals, artists, scholars and other persons of the known characteristics has provided very important data.

The controlled studies gave birth to categories of responses in various psychiatric syndromes and resulted in numerous scoring systems. However, most of them have location, determinants, content and popularity as their major categories.


When you respond to Rorschach images, you may focus on any of the following areas:

1- The whole areas of the inkblot pictures (W)

2- The common details of the Rorschach images (D)

3- The unusual details of the inkblot pictures (Dd)

4- White spaces of the inkblot pictures (S)

Whatever location you focus upon, counts differently for your personality analysis.


The determinants of your responses to the Rorschach images include:

1- Use of Shape or Outline of the Inkblot Picture (F)

2- Excellent Match of percept and the inkblot image (F+)

3- Poor Match of percept and the ink blot picture (F-)

4- Movement (M)

5- Color (C)

6- Texture (T)

You know there are no movements in the cards themselves but you perceive such movements in your imaginations. Furthermore, you may visualize movements of animals, humans or abstract things.


The handling of content varies from one scoring system of the ink blot psychology to another. However, there are still some common features amongst all of them. The broad scoring categories include:

1- Human figures (H)

2- Body parts of the human figures (Hd)

3- Animal figures (A)

4- Animal details (Ad)

5- Plants (P)

6- Maps (M)

7- Clouds (Cl)

8- Blood (B)

9- X-Rays (Xy)

10- Sexual Objects

11- Symbols

12- Anatomical diagrams etc


Popularity, in the ink blot psychology, means how many people given the same kind of responses in any given session. When you give the same kind of responses, your answer is considered popular and is expressed with ‘P. However, when you give original, imaginative and creative responses, your answers are weighed in the section ‘O’.

Once the entire protocol is coded, the ink blot psychologist computes a number of summary scores that form the basis for your personality analysis. For example, when F+ percentage falls below 70%, there is possibility of severe brain impairment or intellectual deficit. Some psychologists consider it an index for ego strength.

Normalization for Rorschach Inkblot Test

The normative data of the Rorschach Inkblot Test was originally derived from a large number of adult groups. However, in an attempt to expand the usage of the ink blot psychology, Ames, Metraux, Rodel and Walker collected and published Rorschach norms on children between the ages of 2 and 10 years, on adolescents between the ages of 10 and 16, and on older person from 18 to the age of 70. Now they are considered suitable for pre-school children as well as for the adults ranging up to the age of 70 years.

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