X-Rays of the Soul: Rorschach and the Projective Test (2012)

Presentation Date: 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Rorschach lenticular

In 1911, Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach began experimenting with inkblots to probe previously inaccessible layers of the unconscious self. Rorschach’s success led to the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), created at Harvard in 1935 by lay psychoanalyst and artist Christiana Morgan along with psychologist Henry Murray. Instead of abstract blots yielding short responses, this new test centered on representational images that stimulated patients to tell stories. From the genesis of the tests in passionate personal relationships to the recent Wikipedia furor over posting the Rorschach images, this exhibition sought to capture the neglected history of these projective tests and their grip in science, hospitals, courts, popular culture, and art.

Staff curator assisting faculty guest curators Marla Eby, Peter Galison, and Rebecca Lemov.

X-RAYS of the Soul poster  Thematic Aperception Tests


See also: 2010s