projective test

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Any of a variety of personality tests in which the respondent gives free responses to a series of stimuli such as inkblots, pictures, or incomplete sentences. Such tests are based loosely on the psychoanalytic concept of projection (1), the assumption being that respondents project unconscious aspects of their personalities on to the test items and reveal them in their responses. Among the best known projective tests are the Blacky pictures, Draw-a-Person test, Holtzman Inkblot Technique, House-Tree-Person Technique, Make-a-Picture-Story Test, Rorschach test, Rosenzweig Picture-Frustration Study, sentence completion test, Szondi test, TAT, and word-association test. Also called a projective technique or a projective method. The term projective method first appeared in print in the title of an article in the Journal of Experimental Education in 1938, where the authors attributed it to the US psychologist Lawrence K. Frank (1890–1968), who published an article entitled ‘Projective Methods for the Study of Personality’ in the Journal of Psychology in 1939 and later published a book entitled Projective Methods (1948) in which he suggested that projective tests provide X-ray images of the unconscious mind. See also motivational research.

Subjects: Psychology.

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