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back to article Doctor investigated for posting inkblots to Wikipedia

A doctor is under investigation for misconduct after publishing 10 inkblots used by psychologists to get insights about a subject's frame of mind. James Heilman told told The New York Times he posted the Rorschach test images in an attempt to demystify the psychological profession. At least two psychologists didn't appreciate …

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FAIL

Utter Nonsense

I was talking to a psych friend of mine the other day about how much of a farce these tests are. They are the equivalent of a lie detector - very dubious scientifically, but if people believe in the supposed power of these tests then they will answer honestly.

So now they will just have to invent some new mumbo jumbo to take advantage of the placebo effect. There is no rocket science involved at all

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So they're

pissed ff because he's copied their blotter book?

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Alien

They're not a medical profession though, are they...

They're not psychiatrists, they're psychOLOGISTS. You know, like scientOLOGISTS. Given the parallels in their pretending to be something they're not (e.g. science / religion), and their resitance to openness and transparency, one might say that the similiarity in the name is hardly surprising.

AC, because I don't want all the nutjobs coming after me.

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Pirate

@ asiaseen

Thanks ;-)

I spilt some tea and it now has taken on the resemblance of Christ screwing my mother.

Can the nut-doctors advise?

Anything that blows thier cabal apart by removing the 'witch doctor' effect is fine by me.

Is there really any difference between this and the entrails of chickens or goats?

(apart from the blood, guts and goat curry afterwards) or chucking twigs in the air or tarot cards?

'Pirate' as they are only after your money - "You need a course of sessions etc. etc.)

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Coat

"What do make of these Captain?"

"It's a bird, a cow, a horse with a hat on."

- William Shatner in Airplane II

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Alien

Tests?

Really are these any more scientific than Phrenology?

It's so subjective you might as well judge character with a handshake.

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Joke

Is it just me?

Or does that second one look like two sysadmins high-fiving as they're run over by a Pizza truck....

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FAIL

Let me tell you about my mother...

I find stupid questions from inane people provoke an immedaite stress response, usually involving violence. And they *ALL* look like your insides.

Mines the one with straps on the back.

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Am I reading this wrong

But are these the first people to claim some sort of copyright over vagueness?

To quote Douglas Adams.

"We demand clearly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty."

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FAIL

If these really worked then they could just make more

These tests have been provent to be biased culturally but let's ignore that for now.

Consider this situation: two mentally healthy people both see the same thing in the same inkblots. Then a madman comes along and STILL sees the same thing... Does that mean they're all mad? Does it mean the madman has read Wiki? No!

The only use for the entire thing may be cold-reading. I couldn't possibly comment. I certainly can't see any science at work here...!

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It looks like....

bollocks to me.

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Bronze badge

Security by obscurity?

Isn't that, like, no security at all?

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Grenade

Astrology next...

Another type of woo bites the dust.

If your test doesn't work if people know about it then it doesn't work full stop.

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FAIL

Quacks!!

Its a bloody inkblot. It doesn't MEAN anything except what you see in it, therefore there cannot be any right or wrong answers. If psychologists are worried about revealing the 'inner workings' its because they'll be exposed as charlatans. Its friggin' unbelievable that such quacks have the power to lock someone up just on their say-so

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Coat

Never mind that..

tell me about your parents!!!

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M7S
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Stop

They be regretting the revelation of other medical trade secrets then - like leeches

Interpret that how you wish.

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@asiaseen

"So they're pissed off because he's copied their blotter book?"

Oh, very good. There can't be many opportunities to use that pun, but well done for finding one.

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What does this image look like to you?

Well doctor, I think it looks like a Rorschach ink blot test.

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Anonymous Coward

Who would have thought

Penises come in so many different different shapes and colours!

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Anonymous Coward

Bring Back Phrenology!

I briefly shared an office with a psychologist who announced her belief in the importance of the Rorschach. I almost burst into laughter thinking she was being ironic.

That aside, I don't know any psychologists who think the Rorschach test has empirical value. (And their history is politically suspect if you consider the way they were used to 'diagnose' homosexuality.) I suppose you might conceivably use one to stimulate discussion with a client, but I'm pretty dubious.

There are some psychological inventories which are closely guarded for reasons ranging from the commercial to the clinical. In those instances disclosure would damage their usefulness. But I'm talking about tests standardised on thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of people that actually have a high degree of reliability.

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FAIL

Ever heard of blind testing?

Bind testing eliminates the possibility that a subjective response to a test has not been influenced by outside factors, some test subjects do not know why they're being tested or what for and sometimes not even those administering the tests know their purpose either.

This guy explaining in graphic detail what the inkblots mean will result in patients coming in and giving an answer they think the docotr wants to hear, thus making the test completely useless. Sounds like he's in need of his own medicine if he perceives some head-shirnks secret society closely guarding the eternal secret of the inkblots.

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Happy

Rorschach tests are fun!

I did a test once as part of a leadership course ( big joke - we did a graphology test as well ) and amused myself by filling pages with the stuff I could 'see'. I could explain all the objects to the psycho as well, which worried her a little.

Rorschach tests belong on a fecking fairground...

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Butterfly with a bomb

Winy puh-psychologists.

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Anonymous Coward

Quack Quack

If this was a science it would progress beyond the few blobs he made in the 1930s, but it seems to be quackery, trading on the mythology of a dead guru and not a science.

Are you seriously telling me that they can't make an infinite set of ambiguous blobs representing things, and that set of things never changes since the 1930s???

If I said that ink blot on the Wikipedia page, looks like the 'Y' in Yahoo, how would you interpret that using a 1930s book that was written before Yahoo, before TVs, before computers, before Jetplanes?

The second from last looks like Emu from Rod Hull and Emu, does that have a cultural reference in his book from the 1930s? No?

The 'bat' one, you understand that bats are very rare now, and animal skins have been replaced by synthetics???? Almost nobody will ever see an animal skin in their life now, yet they are still using the normal response to one of the blobs as an animal skin?????

What about countries where bats don't exist? Is there one set of blobs for all cultural references? Eskimos are expected to see 'bats'? Athiests are expected to see angels?

I call quackery on this. This is a cult of people who believe in guru Rorschach, and the blobs should be exposed, because there appears to be pseudo science behind them.

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A bit like the magic circle

and with about as much science.

Oh, and I'm not clicking on that link to the tests and being followed around, you're not going to catch me that easily. Paranoid? Not at all because it's not really me writing.

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Oh dear...

I've just had a look at the 10 prints on wiki, and although I did match up with a few of the obvious bat, bird, people answers, some of my other interpretations weren't even on the charts!

Some of their guideline interpretations seriously depend on particular social backgrounds. One of them has a suggested interpretation of "animal skin", now I can't remember the last time I saw an animal skin, so it's hardly likely to be the first thing that comes to mind. It does however look like my table cloth after I spilt my coffee on it yesterday!

To me number 10 looks like a carnival by the Eiffel tower!

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Happy

Magic?

miffed coz they're exposed as not scientific

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WTF?

Guide

I thought the whole thing about the ink blots was not to come up with some definite description of something but to use it as a guide to see the patient's thinking processes. So it doesn't matter if the inkblots have been published (and I'm sure I've seen them published before) as everyone will come up with different results.

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What's the fuss

This information is publicly available in any decent bookstore or library where they have a section for med/psych students, so maybe there is a copyright violation, but by no means the Doc revealed a "Secret"

Rob.

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Can't remember where this came from...

...they all look like shrimp to me.

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Big Brother

dig out...

Dig out an old copy of William Poundstone's "Big Secrets" if you want to know how to cheat the Rorschach test.

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Paris Hilton

Bugger I got....

Zero right.. none of the answers said matress stains!

Because She knows a good blot or two

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@barfridge - placebo effect?

Sorry, but in what way is a placebo effect involved? A Rorschach inkblot test is not a cure nor in fact is it intended to have any effect whatsoever on the patient. It is an assessment tool (of dubious worth in my opinion but that's by the by) like a stethoscope or a thermometer.

If you're going to critique something on scientific grounds, it's a good idea to understand the scientific terminology you use.

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Joke

What...

You mean they didn't name the inkblots after that character in Watchmen?

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Alien

Simple...

If you're ever presented with this test, just answer 'breasts' for each one. Variations are allowed (big breasts, floppy breasts, etc)

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WTF?

Public domain

They have been in the public domain in Hermann Rorschach's native Switzerland, since at least 1992 (70 years after his death), according to Swiss copyright law.

Alright, it wouldn't be the first time wiki has been wrong, but if they ARE public domain then WTF are they complaining about?

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FAIL

Er.. what is the difference..

... between an inkblot test and a CoS e-meter test?

Nothing.. as both are pseudo science.. (though I prefer the common term "bullshit" better as a far more apt description).

In fact, many years ago, had to do these inkblot tests in order to get the "appropriate security clearance" on a government project. At the time, I thought it the safest to call each blot a butterfly, bird or flower..

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@Graham Marsden

claiming prior art here - Airplane

Steve McCroskey: Johnny, what can you make out of this?

[Hands him the weather briefing]

Johnny: This? Why, I can make a hat or a brooch or a pterodactyl...

Dog Bless cut'n'paste

D

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Joke

Old ones are best ones

As shrink shows each card, patient enthusiastically shouts "Sex!". Shrink concludes: "I'm sorry to have to tell you that you have an obsession with sex". Patient: "ME!? - who's been showing all those disgusting pictures?"

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How can they show people this filth?

Dirty old men call themselves doctors!

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FAIL

inblot B.S.

I had the inkblot test when I was a kid (6th grade - US). At the time, as a 12 yr old, I thought it was utter rubbish and stupid. I still do, in my middle age. As a kid, I knew how to game the images. It is rather simple. You can see multiple images in the inkblot, just like looking at clouds. Depending upon what you want to project, choose the interpretation appropriately.

It was a way for the psychologist to come up with 'results' without doing much real work. Listening and working through a patients views, phobias etc.. takes time. The inkblots give an 'instant' result.. however erroneous it is. There is no science to it.. just a whole bunch of preconceptions on the part of psychologists.

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Paris Hilton

@asiaseen

I saw that, what you did just there.

Paris, cos if she issued a sentence it would be nicely corrupted too.

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Joke

WHERE'S MY FACE!?

n/t

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Coat

Heh...

That cat's out of the bag.

And they're crazy on VI, IT'S A DRAGONFLY SITTING ON A TREE STUMP!

IV is my rat terrier looking at me expecting a treat!

Ah haa haa!

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Anonymous Coward

May I be the first to say

what a TwatBlotter.

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They are a joke

They have been a joke for years with real scientists.

The trouble is that the 'expert' gets to interprete your answers.

If you see a 'naked women' - does that mean you are a violent potential rapist or are a caring family man?

If you see an 'angel' are you a schizophrenic who thinks god talks to them, or a peaceful religious person, or just a fan of medieval art ?

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Taken out of context, truth value increases:

'if Heilman were a psychologist, it would be "viewed as serious misconduct,"'

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Egads, Brain!

Egads, Brain, this means head shrinkers will have to TALK to their patients to gain insight into their minds. Oh, the horror!

Seriiously, these "professionals" are just upset because people might actually realize that you DON'T need to pay a psychologist or psychiatrist (tens of) thousands of dollars to help you solve your problems or deal with things. You just need someone willing to listen and help when they can. Back in my day, we referred to them as "friends", but that word doesn't carry much weight nowadays, especially since the arrival of MySpace and FaceBook.

Psychiatrists and psychologists think (and want you to think) that they're the only ones who can help people mentally just because they've paid fees for education and licenses. They're as protective of that illusion as the Church is of the illusion that you need to go to church in order to be a good Christian (if God is always listening, and always watching, then why do you need to visit a specific building at a specific time?).

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Happy

PeePower

When I took the test, age 14, all I saw were sex organs.

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