Wikipedia has become involved in a row with psychologists after a Canadian doctor posted Rorschach test answers. The test is designed to give psychologists a window into the unconscious mind, but some now fear patients will try to outwit them by memorising the answers. The test, developed in 1921 by Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach, comprises 10 inkblot images, which patients must look at and describe. In some cases, focusing on tiny details around the edges of the images is seen as evidence of obsessive behaviour.
In fact, they’re only partly about seeing images – their larger purpose, it turns out, is to match the frequency of certain points within the blots.
Advocates reckon the test can reveal mental issues that patients aren’t aware of, but critics say it’s out-of-date. It’s no longer used in the UK. Dr James Heilman from Saskatchewan posted all ten inkblot plates on Wikipedia alongside the most common responses given to each. He uploaded the images after becoming frustrated by a web-debate about publishing a single inkblot.
The move brought condemnation from psychologists who signed on to complain. “Making images available on the internet will make it obsolete and we will have lost a helpful tool,” said one. What worries me more is the idea of a psychiatrist relying on an almost century-old test anyway.