Thematic Apperception Test
Similar to the Rorschach Inkblot Test, the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) is a highly visual projective technique. With 30 pictures portraying different subject matters and themes and 1 blank card, the assessment requires the test-takers to make up a story for each picture. The story may revolve around what events caused the event shown in the picture, what is the actual event portrayed in the picture or what the characteristics are doing. The examiner should take note of the test-taker’s response in the exact manner it was described by the examinee.
The Thematic Apperception Test was devised by Henry Murray, with the assistance of his colleagues at the Harvard Psychological Clinic. The test was rooted and founded on Murray’s personality theory, focusing on needs and press. The TAT measured 36 different needs and various aspects of press.
Murray stressed out that the test is highly imaginative. The test-taker is encouraged to speak everything that comes to his or her mind. Again, it uses the free association process. However, it becomes a disadvantage as examiners forget to emphasize imagination in the instructions given to the test-taker. The interpretation starts with the analysis of the main character or the protagonist. According to Murray, the protagonist or the main character is a personality with whom the test-taker identifies himself or herself. The main character reflects the dreams, aspirations, attitudes, needs and feelings of the examinee.
But, the danger comes with the great possibility of the examinee denying negative past experiences. The examiner should then be quick to explore these issues of denial. Researchers have likewise insisted that reliability of this assessment is questionable. The interpretation of this test is also based on concepts with fairly established reliability and validity. In response to this criticism, psychologists have also designed contemporary scoring and interpreting techniques to further strengthen the assessment’s psychometric foundation.