Inkblot test pioneer Hermann Rorschach gets a Google Doodle

Today's Google Doodle celebrates the 129th birthday of psychiatrist and Freudian psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach. Mr. Rorschach is best known for the Rorschach test, a series of inkblot images used to diagnose schizophrenia.

Screen shot of Google.com
Hermann Rorschach, the early 20th century psychiatrist and Freudian psychoanalyst, gets his own Google Doodle. The black and white doodle pays homage to the famed inkblot test, aka the Rorschach test.

An unusual name can be a curse, but it can also be a blessing - hit a professional highpoint while sporting a memorable, unusual name, and you may attain the sort of immortality enjoyed by psychiatrist and Freudian psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach.

Mr. Rorschach – probably best known in current culture as "that inkblot guy" – is the subject of today's Google Doodle, recognized for his contribution to the art of personality analysis. Rorschach's method, which has echoed down from his era (the early 20th Century) to our own, is simple enough in theory: show a subject a series of inkblots and see what, if anything, they project onto the images when prompted. In practice, the test is notoriously difficult to "score" – while there are guidelines for how to evaluate answers given for the various pictures, it takes skilled, well-trained interpreters to tease any kind of diagnostic value out of the experience.

Depending upon who you ask, Rorschach tests are either a clever (if somewhat subjective) tool for analysis and detection of underlying thought disorders, or generally a pseudoscientific waste of time akin to cold reading. The test is reasonably easy to administrate, and the fact that it revolves around 10 standard inkblots helps guide those who must interpret the test but can also give crafty subjects a chance to study the blots and the criteria and "cheat" the exam.)

It is, in fact, entirely likely that Rorschach himself would be skeptical of his test as it is often used and interpreted – he didn't intend his test to be a general gauge of personality – he was skeptical of such tests, and developed his inkblot test to diagnose schizophrenia specifically.

The Rorschach doodle puts the pioneering psychoanalyst in good standing among other intellectual honorees from the 20th Century – other Doodles have honored Friedrich Nietzsche, Albert Camus, and Erwin Schrödinger.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Inkblot test pioneer Hermann Rorschach gets a Google Doodle
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Family/Modern-Parenthood/2013/1108/Inkblot-test-pioneer-Hermann-Rorschach-gets-a-Google-Doodle
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe