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Attorneys' Perceptions of the Rorschach Inkblot Method

25 July 2008


The Rorschach is a testing tool with a long history of contributions to the field of personality assessment. Despite its strong psychometric properties and unique attributes with regard to assessing personality traits and pathology, it may not be used as frequently in court contexts as it might be given its utility. To the extent that psychologists' and/or attorneys' perceptions of the test as unreliable, invalid, too subjective, or otherwise suspicious may have affected the frequency of its use, the Rorschach may be underutilized. Insufficient training in graduate programs may also be contributing to psychologists' hesitance to administer and interpret it in forensic settings. In turn, psychologists may communicate those misperceptions to attorneys either through explicit disapproval of the test, or tacitly, by neglecting to incorporate it into their assessment batteries. If psychologists lack expertise and training in scoring and interpreting the Rorschach results, they may Wlderstandably forego opportunities to administer it. A pilot study consisting of a sample of 5 attorneys' responses to questions regarding their perceptions about the Rorschach was conducted. Several themes were identified, including perceptions of the test as too subjective to withstand scrutiny Wlder cross-examination and misperceptions regarding how Rorschach results are interpreted. Limitations of this pilot study are identified and potential research directions pertaining to discovery of attorneys' perceptions of the Rorschach are proposed.


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