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Honoring Our Past

An article, “The Rorschach Test,” was published in the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association (BMLA) in 1953 [1]. This personality test was created and developed by Swiss physician Hermann Rorschach and introduced to the United States in 1924 by child psychiatrist David Levy. It was unlike any other personality test and became extremely popular in this country. It was frequently called the “inkblot test,” because the psychiatrist used ten white cards, each imprinted with an inkblot representing an animal, person, flower, or other object. The images selected by the individual were scored and interpreted to furnish a picture of the person’s psychological tendencies in relationship to themself and to others.

Rorschach used the term “apperception” to describe the three-fold process of perceiving, recalling, and matching in the mind of the person who is matching their associations and memories to the inkblot. How these apperceptions were related to the individual’s personality traits was Rorschach’s contribution to psychology and psychiatry. It is interesting that the name of the article’s author appears with no indication of title or institutional affiliation. Charen is the author of many articles in psychiatric journals, but I find it puzzling that this article was published in a medical library journal.

While the Rorschach test continues to be used today, there are many questions regarding its validity.


  1. Charen S. The Rorschach test. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1953 Jul;41(3):208–14.

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