Symmetry in the Rorschach Test


The Rorschach (pronounced “roar-shack”) test is a well-known though controversial psychoanalytic test developed by its namesake Hermann Rorschach back in the early 1900s. The test consists of symmetrical images of inkblots on paper, which are shown to patients to evoke some kind of reaction for the psychologist to interpret.

You might be wondering, if he wanted to draw reactions from his patients, why opt for symmetry? Hermann Rorschach himself explained when he published his work:

“Asymmetric figures are rejected by many subjects; symmetry supplied part of the necessary artistic composition. It has a disadvantage in that it tends to make answers somewhat stereotyped. On the other hand, symmetry makes conditions the same for right and left handed subjects; furthermore, it facilitates interpretation for certain blocked subjects. Finally, symmetry makes possible the interpretation of whole scenes.”

We may conclude that Rorschach made his inkblot images symmetric to accommodate different predispositions and ways of thinking in people.

Trivia (makaka-relate yung mahilig sa superhero movies) : The Rorschach test’s inkblot images were used as a basis for the mask of one of  Watchmen’s (2009) characters, a ruthless vigilante conveniently named Rorschach.