Every day psychiatrists and clinical psychologists must make vital decisions:
What is his problem? Should he be committed to a mental hospital? Is he a suicide-risk or a homicide-risk? Is this patient well enough to be discharged from the hospital or should he stay?
For help with their decisions the clinicians almost always use psychological tests.
According to a survey by Norman Sundberg, the two most widely used tests of any kind are the Rorschach inkblot test and the Draw-a-Person test (DAP). Both are projective tests, based on the premise that a person projects part of his personality when he responds to an ambiguous, unstructured situation. For example, since there are no objective shapes in an inkblot, anything a person sees in one presumably reflects his own drives, conflicts and personality. Similarly, when one draws a picture of a person on a blank sheet of paper, he is thought to project a bit of himself into his creation.
Our recent research suggests that the Rorschach and DAP may be projective tests in more ways than one. In interpreting the results of these tests, the average clinician may project his own preconceptions and assumptions into his description of the patient.
Our first studies in this area were with the Draw-a-Person test, in which a clinician gives the subject a pencil and a blank sheet of paper and asks him to draw a person. Karen Machover published the test in 1949.