Take a Rorschach Test, Courtesy of Google

Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 8 2013 11:54 AM

Take a Rorschach Test, Courtesy of Google

Swiss psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach would have turned 129 today if he had freakishly good genes, and, for the occasion, Google has concocted one of their cleverest doodles in a while.

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Rorschach is best known for his highly influential (and also controversial) inkblot test. While versions of the test had existed beforehand—Swiss psychiatrist Szyman Hens used inkblot cards on patients for his studies of fantasies several years prior—Rorschach was the first to apply the method to patients’ projections of meaning onto “seemingly random stimuli.”

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His study of 300 mental patients and 100 control subjects was published in his 1921 book Psychodiagnostics, and was developed to measure schizophrenia. In 1918, he had concluded that schizophrenia patients and “normal” people interpreted inkblots in vastly different ways. By 1939, however, the Rorschach test was adapted as a personality measurement, and entered the pop cultural realm of movies and television in that usage. The psychoanalyst himself had been wary of this sort of application, but he didn’t live long enough to see it come to pass—he died in 1922, at the age of 37, just one year after publishing his massively influential study.

You can take your own Rorschach test on Google’s homepage, and share your results, as I did. (See below.) Enjoy.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.