Thursday, 26 July 2012

Ink Blots

Fantasy Bob has wittered before about his fledgling career in psychology. As part of his studies he took a number of personality tests. He failed them all, for he has no personality.

Most such tests these days grandly title themselves psychometrics and are made up of multiple choice questions and are assessed by computers. However at one time they had a bit more style and one of the first and most famous tests is the Rorschach ink blot test, where conclusions are drawn about a person’s mental state from his or her descriptions of what they see in a series of ink blot shapes. The technique is celebrated in the following story where a subject consults his doctor about his sleep problems. The doctor shows the patient an inkblot and asks what he sees in it ‘People having sex’. He shows him another with the same question. ‘People having sex’. A third blot draws the same answer. The doctor says, ‘Well it’s obvious what your problem is, you’re obsessed with sex.’ ‘What do you mean,’ responds the patient, ‘it’s you who’s showing me all these dirty pictures.’

And that more or less summarises the problem with the inkblot test. How objective is any analysis of what any person reports as seeing in the pictures? Investigations into this issue have been inconclusive but some therapists continue to use inkblots and similar techniques. It is perhaps a stronger diagnostic for thought disorder rather than typing personality.

Fantasy Bob has trawled and hacked various archives and has found the notes taken many years ago when he undertook the test as part of his studies.  Do his interpretations of the blots still offer a valuable insight into his mental processes?

There are no empire biscuits in this picture. It looks like the last ball of the first ever tied test when Ian Meckiff was run out by Joe Solomon off the second last ball of the match. Australia had started the 8 ball over with 3 wickets in hand needing 6 to win. The over was bowled by Wes Hall.

There are no empire biscuits in this picture either.  But it looks like the 6th ball of the last over of the first ever tied test. Meckiff heaved the ball to mid-wicket. The batsmen attempted a third run which would have secured victory but Hunte's return from the fence was too good and Wally Grout was run out to leave the teams tied with 2 balls left.

There are no empire biscuits in this picture either.  But it is the 5th ball of the last over of the first ever tied test when Grout fended a bouncer Wes Hall in his follow through attempted the catch but got in Khanhai's way so the catch was missed and a single taken leaving three runs to win from three balls.

Inkblot 1


  1. The obvious conclusion to be drawn here is that FB is obsessed with empire biscuits and cricket. A triumph for the Rorschach Test over all that computer mumbo-jumbo.

  2. Indeed this diagnosis could never have been established without this technique.