- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 15 hours and 41 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: February 21, 2017
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01MUW0A94
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing Audiobook – Unabridged
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Different people see things differently. The various avenues of inquiry with regard to these differences requires an examination of the subject’s unconscious. An unstructured and non-objective test can reveal a subjects unconscious needs and motivations which contribute to the manner in which he responds to the question, “Tell me what you see”. The subject’s responses are evaluated according to the quality and coherence of his thought processes.
The assumption of the test is that we are not passive recipients of stimuli; nor are we passive with regard to the way we interpret facts. The manner and logic of responses constitute the overall strength or weakness of a subject’s organizing ability. According to the projective hypothesis there is a back and forth process whereby one projects himself while concurrently internalizing his world. In other words, our reactions rest on the manner in which we associate our ideas.
Most insightful, I believe, is Rorschach’s emphasis on the process of empathy. We gain the ability to connect with the world by exercising our capacity for empathy. The counter pole to empathy is defined as “abstraction”. “Abstraction”, is described as “an urge to turn one’s back or pull away from a connection with the world.”
Searls goes on to explain the two poles of logical synthesis, deduction and induction. Details of the blot once identified can be further integrated in accordance with the reality of the blot. Cognitive coherence and cognitive complexity go hand in hand with our ability to remain reality oriented.
This is a fascinating book, both for its range of information and its focus on detail. I thoroughly enjoyed Searls’ emphasis on the human dimension of personality. After all, the personality is a fascinating topic for not just psychologists and an effort to understand ourselves is always an endeavor worth pursuing.
Author Damion Searls plumbs the backstory of Rorschach’s life - his humble and tragic early child and young adulthood, to his productive but hardly high-profile life as a psychiatrist in a Swiss asylum. Though not as well-placed, famous, published or prolific as Freud or Jung, Rorschach’s inkblots have survived the most important test of all – that of time. The inkblots aren’t introduced until Chapter 10, but their gestation is amply documented by Searls through Rorschach’s letters, notes from his wide travels – as far as Russia - and his work on sects and the thoughts of the mentally ill. His spectacular drawing talent, combined with his curiosity and playful personality, perfectly positioned him to capture the unconscious mind in a visual way.
"Psychodiagnostics," his landmark psychological study with the 10 disarming and indistinct inkblots (five color; five black and white), was published in 1921. Sadly, less than one year after publication, Rorschach dies of a burst appendix at age 37.
Searls writes a fascinating and thoroughly researched story. The first half of the book explores the influences and timing that led to the inkblots, while the second half covers worldwide use of this startlingly original and fantastical concept from the Nuremberg Trials to basic screening of US Army recruits. Rorschach believed, writes Searls, that his visual images produced mental states that “awaken an idea.” That idea – all 10 of them - continues to capture the public’s imagination.
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In part, that's due to Rorschach dying young, his book with inkblots and explanation just having been published...Read more