Apophenia – the ability of the human mind to recognise patterns in seemingly random information
Human perception is ruled by the ability to find patterns, even when there might be none. And this exact tendency is the basis of the Rorschach Test.
In this test, you are shown an image made by putting blots of ink on one side of a paper and then folding that paper to get a symmetric image. (Because of the ink blots, this test is also popularly known as the inkblot test.)
Then you have to look at the image and tell what you see in it. Because of apophenia, you will perceive a familiar shape in the random inkblots. The aim of this test is to understand the underlying thought processes behind your response.
The credibility of this test is yet in doubt, but it has shown to be an excellent tool in the detection of schizophrenia. ( a psychological disorder that involves symptoms like confused thinking, abnormal social behaviour and a detachment from reality)
Herrman Rorschach, a Swiss psychiatrist invented the technique in 1921. As a child, he enjoyed making pictures with inkblots. While still a medical student, he experimented with the test by showing inkblots to children and recording their responses. He then graduated in 1909 and in 1921, published a book called ‘Psychodiagnostik‘ in which he described in detail the process of the Rorschach test.
In The End
The Rorschach test is a fairly simple test and is cheaper than most. All you need is ink and a paper – and also a willing participant. Its credibility is still in debate but I think under most situations, a lot can be said about the thoughts of a person by interpreting his responses to the test.
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