A while ago I asked everyone to tell me what they saw in a Rorschach inkblot. Personally, I had a lot of fun interpreting your answers, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. This was my way of demonstrating why the Rorschach is not a reliable tool to use. However, I did exaggerate a little bit, but not much. And I’m definitely not the only one who does not think highly of the Rorschach.
The Dutch Commission of Test Affairs (Commissie Testaangelegenheden Nederland – COTAN) shows us clearly why the Rorschach test sucks. They assess the quality of all available (Dutch) tests on eight criteria; basic principles of the test construction, quality of the test material, quality of the manual, norm groups, reliability, construct validity* and criterion validity**. As a psychologist (in training) I have access to this information online, this isn’t available to the public.
*Construct validity: refers to the extent to which operationalizations of a construct (e.g. practical tests developed from a theory) do actually measure what the theory says they do.
**Criterion validity: compares the test with other measures or outcomes (the criteria) already held to be valid.
Of the Rorschach, COTAN has the following to say (criteria are rated with insufficient, sufficient and good):
- Basic principles of the test construction: insufficitent – incomplete explanation of definitions, backgrounds and operationalization of the measured constructs.
- Quality of the test material: insufficient – poor standardization
- Quality of the manual: insufficient - A lot of information is not available for the test user and the information regarding scoring and interpretation is too complex.
- Norm groups: insufficient – The norm groups are too small and don’t represent the general population (and/or the representativity is not assessable)
- Reliability: insufficient - Only data regarding inter-rater reliability is provided and this is of mediocre quality
- Construct Validity: insufficient – no research
- Criterion Validity: insufficient – no research
Honestly, there are very few tests that are rated “good” on all criteria (an example is the SCL-90-TR – Symptom Checklist). But a test rated with “insufficient” on all criteria is just as rare.
That they recommend you to NOT use this test is an understatement. What they’re saying with these ratings is that they’d rather see this test buried alive. Or burned. Or ripped in a million pieces. All of them.
So if you ever go to a therapist who wants to do the Rorschach with you… Run as fast as you can. You’d be diagnosed with disorders you most likely don’t have (unless they just take the test for fun, like I did with you all, and uses other tests to do the actual diagnosing. It’s still a waste of your time, though).
So that, my friends, is why the Rorschach sucks.
However, if you’re curious to my interpretation of what you see in the inkblot in the previous article, don’t hesitate to share. I promise I’ll try to make you laugh .