Projective assessment differs in style from ability, trait and type assessments. There are many kinds available including the Rorschach Test and the Thematic Apperception Test. The image used in our module home page is derived from the Rorschach Test. The pictures below are used in various versions of the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) some of which have relevance to careers work. The TAT was originally developed by Christiana Morgan and Henry Murray (both contemporaries and associates of Carl Jung). The purpose is to see how individuals reveal parts of their own personalities while looking at a series of ambiguous pictures. We will briefly discuss an example that relates to career development.
The image labelled TAT1 features people in what appears to be a laboratory. An individual might be asked to write a complete story about the picture with a beginning, middle, and an end. S/he would be asked to portray who the people might be, what they are feeling, thinking, and wishing; and what led to the situation depicted and how everything might turn out in the end.
This version of the TAT was designed to determine the degree to which people write about themes relating to achievement, affiliation, and power. For example, some people emphasize the nature of the experiment or scientific discovery (reflecting the writer's interests in achievement and success); others may focus on the nature of the friendship between the two people (interests in affiliation); yet others may focus on the status differences of the two (reflecting the writer's concerns with status and power).
Projective testing does not feature strongly in Level A or MBTI training and there are specialised training courses required for professional use. It is nonetheless useful to briefly discuss it in this module as it is a further form of psychometric assessment. You are asked to consider the similarities and differences with ability, trait and type measures.
You can find out more about Henry Murray, Christiana Morgan and the TAT in the Schultz & Schultz (2008) chapter in the further reading list.