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What Are Projective Tests?

Miriam Galindo

Dedicated psychologist and social worker Miriam Galindo, PsyD, divides her time between clinical work in private practice and child custody work for Orange County Superior Court. Possessing more than 20 years of experience, Dr. Miriam Galindo has trained in such things as projective tests, a psychological evaluation designed to reveal traits of someone’s personality.

Unlike objective psychological tests, projective tests have no correct or incorrect answers. Instead, they present people with an ambiguous scene, image, or word, and that person is asked to share his or her first response with the evaluator. Based on the responses, evaluators glean internal traits, behavior patterns, and attitudes held by the person being tested, thus allowing them to get a better idea of the individual’s personality.

Projective tests came about based on the belief that people have unconscious desires, feelings, and conflicts that are hidden from their conscious mind. Through these types of tests, those unconscious thoughts and feelings are revealed, thereby positioning mental health professionals to help people better. According to research, projective tests are quite popular and one of the top five tests used by 50 percent of practices across 28 surveys.
There are several types of projective tests that mental health professionals may use, including the Rorschach Inkblot test, which consists of 10 different cards with ambiguous inkblots, and the Draw-A-Person test. The House-Tree-Person test and Thematic Apperception test are two additional examples of projective tests.

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