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  1. 1. Thematic Apperception Test1/9/2012 1
  2. 2. What is Personality?1/9/2012 2
  3. 3. Personality is the particular combination of emotional, attitudinal, and behavioral response patternsof an individual. While there are many different theories of personality, the first step is to understandexactly what is meant by the term personality. A brief definition would be that personality is made upof the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors that make a person unique. Inaddition to this, personality arises from within the individual and remains fairly consistentthroughout life.Some of the fundamental characteristics of personality include:Consistency - There is generally a recognizable order and regularity to behaviors. Essentially, peopleact in the same ways or similar ways in a variety of situations.Psychological and physiological - Personality is a psychological construct, but research suggests thatit is also influenced by biological processes and needs.It impacts behaviors and actions - Personality does not just influence how we move and respond inour environment; it also causes us to act in certain ways.Multiple expressions - Personality is displayed in more than just behavior. It can also be seen in ourthoughts, feelings, close relationships and other social interactions.There are a number of different theories about how personality develops. Different schools of thoughtin psychology influence many of these theories.Thematic Apperception is one of the PersonalityTheory.1/9/2012 3
  4. 4. Thematic apperception test (tat)Introduction:The Thematic Apperception Test, or TAT, is a projective measure intended to evaluate a personspatterns of thought, attitudes, observational capacity, and emotional responses to ambiguous testmaterials. In the case of the TAT, the ambiguous materials consist of a set of cards that portray humanfigures in a variety of settings and situations. The subject is asked to tell the examiner a story about eachcard that includes the following elements: the event shown in the picture; what has led up to it; whatthe characters in the picture are feeling and thinking; and the outcome of the event.Because the TAT is an example of a projective instrument— that is, it asks the subject to project his orher habitual patterns of thought and emotional responses onto the pictures on the cards— manypsychologists prefer not to call it a "test," because it implies that there are "right" and "wrong" answersto the questions. They consider the term "technique" to be a more accurate description of the TAT andother projective assessments. 1/9/2012 4
  5. 5. Thematic apperception test (tat)History:The TAT was first developed in 1935 by Henry Murray, Christiana Morgan, and their colleagues at theHarvard Psychological Clinic. The early versions of the TAT listed Morgan as the first author, but laterversions dropped her name. One of the controversies surrounding the history of the TAT concerns thelong and conflict-ridden extramarital relationship between Morgan and Murray, and its reinforcementof the prejudices that existed in the 1930s against women in academic psychology and psychiatry.It is generally agreed, however, that the basic idea behind the TAT came from one of Murraysundergraduate students. The student mentioned that her son had spent his time recuperating from anillness by cutting pictures out of magazines and making up stories about them. The student wonderedwhether similar pictures could be used in therapy to tap into the nature of a patients fantasies.1/9/2012 5
  6. 6. Thematic apperception test (tat)Purpose:Individual Assessments:The TAT is often administered to individuals as part of a battery, or group, of tests intended to evaluatepersonality. It is considered to be effective in eliciting information about a persons view of the worldand his or her attitudes toward the self and others. As people taking the TAT proceed through thevarious story cards and tell stories about the pictures, they reveal their expectations of relationshipswith peers, parents or other authority figures, subordinates, and possible romantic partners. In additionto assessing the content of the stories that the subject is telling, the examiner evaluates the subjectsmanner, vocal tone, posture, hesitations, and other signs of an emotional response to a particular storypicture. For example, a person who is made anxious by a certain picture may make comments about theartistic style of the picture, or remark that he or she does not like the picture; this is a way of avoidingtelling a story about it.The TAT is often used in individual assessments of candidates for employment in fields requiring ahigh degree of skill in dealing with other people and/or ability to cope with high levels of psychologicalstress— such as law enforcement, military leadership positions, religious ministry, education,diplomatic service, etc. 1/9/2012 6
  7. 7. Thematic apperception test (tat)Purpose:Research:In addition to its application in individual assessments, the TAT is frequently used for research intospecific aspects of human personality, most often needs for achievement, fears of failure, hostility andaggression, and interpersonal object relations. "Object relations" is a phrase used in psychiatry andpsychology to refer to the ways people internalize their relationships with others and the emotionaltone of their relationships. Research into object relations using the TAT investigates a variety ofdifferent topics, including the extent to which people are emotionally involved in relationships withothers; their ability to understand the complexities of human relationships; their ability to distinguishbetween their viewpoint on a situation and the perspectives of others involved; their ability to controlaggressive impulses; self-esteem issues; and issues of personal identity. 1/9/2012 7
  8. 8. Thematic apperception test (tat)Administration:The TAT is usually administered to individuals in a quiet room free from interruptions or distractions.The subject sits at the edge of a table or desk next to the examiner. The examiner shows the subject aseries of story cards taken from the full set of 31 TAT cards. The usual number of cards shown to thesubject is between 10 and 14, although Murray recommended the use of 20 cards, administered in twoseparate one-hour sessions with the subject. The original 31 cards were divided into three categories, foruse with men only, with women only, or for use with subjects of either sex. Recent practice has movedaway from the use of separate sets of cards for men and women.The subject is then instructed to tell a story about the picture on each card, with specific instructions toinclude a description of the event in the picture, the developments that led up to the event, the thoughtsand feelings of the people in the picture, and the outcome of the story. The examiner keeps the cards ina pile face down in front of him or her, gives them to the subject one at a time, and asks the subject toplace each card face down as its story is completed. Administration of the TAT usually takes about anhour. 1/9/2012 8
  9. 9. Thematic apperception test (tat)Administration:1/9/2012 9
  10. 10. Thematic apperception test (tat)Interpretation:There are two basic approaches to interpreting responses to the TAT, called nomothetic and idiographicrespectively. Nomothetic interpretation refers to the practice of establishing norms for answers fromsubjects in specific age, gender, racial, or educational level groups and then measuring a given subjectsresponses against those norms. Idiographic interpretation refers to evaluating the unique features of thesubjects view of the world and relationships. Most psychologists would classify the TAT as bettersuited to idiographic than nomothetic interpretation.In interpreting responses to the TAT, examiners typically focus their attention on one of three areas: thecontent of the stories that the subject tells; the feeling or tone of the stories; or the subjects behaviorsapart from responses. These behaviors may include verbal remarks (for example, comments aboutfeeling stressed by the situation or not being a good storyteller) as well as nonverbal actions or signs(blushing, stammering, fidgeting in the chair, difficulties making eye contact with the examiner, etc.)The story content usually reveals the subjects attitudes, fantasies, wishes, inner conflicts, and view ofthe outside world. The story structure typically reflects the subjects feelings, assumptions about theworld, and an underlying attitude of optimism or pessimism. 1/9/2012 10