(your contributions are welcome!)

Does asssessment matter?: Perhaps our most pressing need is to demonstrate how personality testing makes a difference to treatment and/or diagnosis. While our own experience may be sufficiently convincing for us, our clients, and our referral sources, it is not sufficient in today’s world of ever-increasing scrutiny of health care. We need hard data to determine if having the information gained from testing is beneficial in itself (therapeutic assessment), shortens psychotherapy, makes treatment more efficient or effective, or aids in making prognoses. Because we have just begun to focus on these basic and essential questions, even gathering subjective judgments of the effects of testing would be extremely valuable. Limited pilot studies need not be beyond the scope of the typically unfunded researcher.

Local norm groups: Many legitimate questions arise when we attempt to generalize from Exner’s original norm groups. This is especially difficult when our client is a member of a clearly identified subgroup in which we suspect the "normal" personality of that subgroup is significantly different in important ways from those found in Exner’s samples. There is a need for research targeted at identifying those differences for many subgroups, whether ethnic, regional, or national. The published data often identify important adjustments to be considered when applying Rorschach findings to a specific or local population. However, it is usually the case that the client you are working with is a member of a subgroup or culture or nationality that has not been systematically studied.

Projects such as these can range from the very ambitious to the very circumscribed. While some may have the resources and energy to establish norms even more globally representative than Exner’s own multitude, it is a simpler matter to generate data relevant to a particular population of interest. Research on narrow target groups can be quite helpful and feasible in many settings. You just need some of the group members, some reliable CS coders, some time to administer and code the test, and some statistical workup – and voila! – you have established a more appropriate norm group than you started with.

WANTED: subgroup bibliography!

Relevant to the above, I am compiling a bibliography of published research targeted at identifying Comprehensive System scores which may be culturally sensitive. Source material is scattered, difficult to locate, and may be in languages other than English. If you know of such research, please send me the specific reference so I can catalog it. When I have accumulated a useful listing, I will post the references on this web site. To contribute, you need not have translated, critically reviewed, nor even read the article. Please send me the reference or list of references in a message and I will do the rest. Thank you for any and all leads!

Prior blot exposure: People often speculate about the potential effects of a person’s having seen the inkblots before taking the test. Does seeing Card I on TV or in a magazine or a web site effect subsequent test performance? My guess is probably not but that wouldn’t hold up in court against a ferocious attorney out to annihilate you. What is needed is a simple piece of research in which people get to view a Card, wait a while, and then take the test – or even just one Card from the test. Compare the scores on that Card with another group who looked at something else, and see if there are significant differences. Do that one and your work (not you) will be cited in many a courtroom.

Typing the protocol: This is another simple and basic practical question, this time about administration. Does it matter whether an examiner types or writes responses? Not a very exciting question, but one that should be answered in light of the increasing number of psychologists who use laptops to type out the response verbalizations and the Inquiry.

Co-arcted people: That means people who come up with EB = 0:0; no M, no C. What is this strange shutdown? Can we differentiate the extremely defensive from the neurologically-impaired from the psychologically shut-down from the extremely depressed from the Jack Webb types? They are a little hard to find, these shut-down folks, but some of you are working with them and may be in a position to investigate whether other variables can help refine this probably mixed group of people. Dull Rorschachs, but easy to score and very valuable if you can tease out some differentiators.