O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith

A Helpful Guide to Rorschach Inkblots

Did you know that there’s a bit of a kerfuffle brewing among psychologists because images of the famed Rorschach inkblot tests have now been posted on Wikipedia, along with the most common responses for each image?

Mental-health professionals, as you might have seen on TV or in the movies, often use a person’s interpretation of the inkblots as one of many methods of gauging a test subject’s psychological state. Hours and hours of research have gone into developing a standard that links a person’s responses to certain psychological conditions. But what if you just use Wikipedia to memorize the correct (i.e. non-psychotic) responses to these images? Couldn’t you “game” the system? Could a fully insane psychopath come across as normal because he studied Wikipedia the night before his Rorschach test?



It also occurs to me that someone wanting to get attention by appearing clinically crazy might also memorize the “right” answers and then endeavor to not give anything even close to the right answer. This interests me — a sane person trying to appear insane is a difficult trick to pull off — so I’d like to offer helpful suggestions on a few of the inkblots.

Inkblot #1:

Most common responses: Bat, butterfly


Marginally insane response: Two chihuahuas ripping apart a beetle that has pincers extruding from its head.

Clinically crazy response: Two baby elephants using their tusks to tug apart two robed monks who are each hugging the other, each with one hand in the air being used as a hand puppet to reenact scenes from old Garfield comic strips. The monk on the left appears to be playing the part of Jon. The one on the right is Garfield. (You do see that, too, don’t you?)

Inkblot #2:


Most common responses: Two human figures

Marginally insane response: Two mountain gorillas encountering each other in the grasslands of Uganda and falling in love, as illustrated by the shared hearts floating between them. Also they are making soup in a large cauldron.

Clinically crazy response: The black, bug-like eyes and pointy black and white ears of the alien overlord who appeared in my room last night and stole my gallbladder, which he then suspended above his head between the tips of his ears so that he could communicate via mind-meld with my other organs, telling them to slowly shut down their regular functioning because I am convinced that my body is conspiring against me. Also, they are making soup.


Inkblot #3:

Most common responses: Animal hide or skin

Marginally insane response: Hide or skin of Animal, the Muppet drummer.

Clinically crazy response: A head-on view of Glenn, the talking warthog with a handlebar mustache who lives under my bed. He’s harmless, though, because he has been domesticated by the family of Gypsies who also live under my bed and occasionally keep me up at night with their tambourine renditions of Peter, Paul and Mary songs.


Inkblot #4:

Most common responses: Human faces

Marginally insane response: Great scott! That’s the Decepticon logo!

Clinically crazy response: Great scott! That’s a degraded photo of me giving a double thumbs-up after leaving my first viewing of the film BioDome! That stuff at the bottom is kinda thick, but I imagine it’s a reflection of the light off the handcuffs I was wearing at the time, but I totally should NOT have been arrested because how was I to know that Chad was going to light up that funny cigarette right there in the theater, or that he was going to dump his extra large tub of popcorn on the theater manager’s head when he came to ask us to leave, or that he was going to assume the Mr. Miyagi crane stance right before attempting to kick the arresting officer in the head? Stupid Chad.


What do you see in the inkblots above? (Or, more importantly, what can you deduce about me psychologically based on what I was able to see in the inkblots above?)

Comments read comments(9)
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Brad Ruggles

posted August 12, 2009 at 2:36 pm

lol…genius! Great post. I think I fall somewhere between marginally and clinically insane. I could totally see all those things you pointed out.Time to get fitted for my straight jacket.

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Jim Bob

posted August 12, 2009 at 3:51 pm

I dunno. All I see is a bunch of skeletal pelvises. Pelvii. Pelvic regions of skeletons (chickens, deat cats found beside the road, that kind of thing). Though one of them reminded me a lot of a whimsical 1950's couple in love– very Astaire/Rogers, ya know? Maybe it was Fred Astaire's skeletal pelvis? Could be.

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S. Kyle Davis

posted August 12, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Jim Bob, I am right there with you. That's exactly what I see (well, I don't know about Fred Astaire's pelvis specifically, but otherwise, I agree). What does that say about us?

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posted August 12, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Funny that you should mention Animal in #3 because I saw a demented Gonzo in #1. I would’ve never admitted that if I were being evaluated by scientists though, mentioning the word demented cannot be good for your psych assessment. After reading your analysis I could totally see the Chihuahuas ripping apart a beetle though. Speaking of, did you know the Taco Bell Chihuahua died last month? R.I.P Taco Bell dog.Also, I randomly came across your blog a couple days and have become a big fan. I think I am going to pick up a pocket guide or two this weekend.

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Jason Boyett

posted August 12, 2009 at 5:01 pm

I can totally see the demented Gonzo, now that you mention it, Scott.Thanks for (potentially) grabbing a Pocket Guide or two!

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posted August 12, 2009 at 7:48 pm

I may sometimes lack imagination but in #3 I see poor puff the magic dragon practicing yoga to relieve the stress of missing little jackie paper.

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posted August 13, 2009 at 9:44 am

I totally see all three of your examples in the first one. Although I thought it was a moth on my first take. The two chihuahuas were the funniest.#2 does look like two people dancing. But I don't know what to make of the floating hearts and flaming guitars.#3 Kind of looks like a cross between Mount Doom (from Lord of the Rings) and Castle Grey Skull (from He-man). It also kind of looks like Sauron (from the Lord of the Rings) in a giant black cloak riding a giant monster-beast. Yeah…In #4 I still can't see the faces, but I can definitely see a person hi-fiving himself; except without the handcuffs.

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posted August 13, 2009 at 10:30 am

In each of these inkblots, I see the opportunity to ridicule mental illness to great comedic effect. Except for number three. That one just looks like the alien from Predator.

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Travis Thompson

posted August 13, 2009 at 11:12 am

Add this one to the large list of posts that made me laugh out loud…

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