The Inkblots


The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and The Power of Seeing - Damion Searls

This title immediately interested me, even though I’ve always been skeptical about the Rorschach test. I’ve however never taken one, and I hold a degree in neither psychiatry nor psychology. But I’m a scientist, so the parts where Rorschach is optimizing his test (stating he needs many more subjects both healthy and diseases, blind interpretation of tests and a standardized form of scoring good and bad answers) were among my favorites, as it seemed quite far ahead of his time.

The book however, is more of a dual biography of Rorschach but especially his test. I liked the first part (also see above) which focused on Rorschach as he’s developing his test. After his untimely death in the 1920s (which is only halfway through the book) the focus changes to what happened to the test afterwards.

This latter part had great trouble to hold my interest. It seemed to contain a series of always new people quarreling about who is the new Rorschach. It is here that the test starts to falter in the hands of people who all want to prove themselves (some trying to standardize it but resulting in over diagnosis of most everyone), although I was quite shocked to find out it can be used as evidence in court (since it is not an unquestioned test). This part is also filled with quite a lot of other test and terms from personality testing, not all of it is explained well enough that it is not confusing.

All in all, I really enjoyed the biography of Rorschach, I didn’t quite like the one about his test as much.

Thanks to Blogging for Books and Edelweiss for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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