Blotted copybook

April 18, 2003

The Rorschach inkblot test has not been discredited as you report ("This test 'makes everyone look sick'", THES , April 4). Most reviews are favourable. Critical ones have resulted in further research.

There are now large databases for forensic and clinical populations and new norms are being collected. Interest in the Rorschach is resurging in the UK and a number of forensic research papers have been presented recently at conferences.

All psychological assessment has to be sound and defensible, but no single psychological test alone can be used to deprive an individual of liberty. I doubt that many qualified psychologists would use the Rorschach solely as a diagnostic tool and/or would ever use it as a stand-alone assessment as you suggest.

The article states there were "few Rorschach enthusiasts in Britain" in the 1950s and 1960s. Sir Cyril Burt is dismissed for "his inexhaustible affinity for dodgy data".

US psychologist Arthur Jensen is quoted as an anti-Rorschach reference. But Jensen's statistical analyses are also under scrutiny. They were used in support of his controversial findings that the IQs of American blacks were lower than those of whites due to inherent and unchangeable intellectual differences between the two races.

The deepest cut of all, however, was the reproduction of a Rorschach test card. This violates the security of the test. My verdict: a blot on The THES copybook.

John P. Donnelly
Consultant forensic clinical psychologist
The State Hospital, Carstairs

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