Monday, July 20, 2009

Publishing the Rorschach inkblot test

The NY Times reports:
Yet in the last few months, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia has been engulfed in a furious debate involving psychologists who are angry that the 10 original Rorschach plates are reproduced online, along with common responses for each. For them, the Wikipedia page is the equivalent of posting an answer sheet to next year’s SAT.
So now that the NY Times has reported on the controversy in Wikipedia, the Wikipedia article can report on the controversy also. That is how Wikipedia works.

The Wikipedia article is not the first to publish the Rorschach test. The black and white images have long been available here, and an interactive test is here. (Whoops, that latter one is a joke.) Anyone can find the test with Google, whether Wikipedia publishes it or not. You might have thought that the Rorschach inkblot test was obsolete, but Wikipedia says that it is still used by about 80% of psychologists and schools doing assessments.

My concern about these tests is that they are used for child custody evaluations for the court. The American justice system is based on parties to a case being able to examine and challenge all of the court evidence. If a super-secret psychological test is used for child custody decision, then how can the parties challenge the evidence? A psychologist would be able to give arbitrary or biased recommendations, and hide behind a secret bogus test.

The psychologists say that it is unethical for a psychologist to disclose the test to the public. They want to protect the test and their research, they say. But the truth is that there is no research showing that these tests have any applicability to child custody decisions anyway.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rorschach test with accurate results is also here