ISSB - Thematic Apperception Test

The intention of the test is to ask the subject to give an appreciation of his own qualities without being conscious to it. But in its wider sense, it means attributing to the external world any quality of the self. The difference between the intelligence test and the projective test is that in the former each problem has a single definite answer, but in the latter every question has more than one possible answer. The answers selected by a particular individual are distinctive expression of his own personality. There are several projection techniques in current use, of which the Rorschach Ink Blot test and Murray’s Thematic Apperception test are well known.

The Rorschach test consist of a set of ten ink blots which are shown to a person one by one. His responses are recorded on a form. A personality picture of the respondent is constructed on the basis of the kinds of responses which are recorded. Whether the response was made to the whole of the blot or to a part of it, whether the response is to coloured spots or to black patches, whether animal forms are seen or anatomical shapes, moving objects or something else — all these are taken into a count in making the personality assessment. The Thematic Apperception Test consists of a series of standard pictures, which are shown to the subject, one by one. He is then asked to write a story on each picture, stating what people are doing what led to the situation and what the outcome will be. From the stories produced by the subject, an assessment s made of the personality slants of an individual. The responses expressed in the form of stories provide valuable clues to the candidate’s emotional attitude and temperamental make-up. The aim is to find out the individual’s fantasies formed around the object-relationship. It brings to the surface fear, guilt, frustration, complex if any (e.g., inferiority complex), ambitions, interests and group tendencies.

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At the CSS, about 10 to 12 vague or unstructured slides are shown to the candidates in quick succession. Each slide is held for view for half a minute only. Then the candidate is given three minutes to develop and write a story on what he saw and perceived. The lights are switched off when the slide is shown and they come on when the half minute limit is over. Then the candidate is asked to write the story. When three minutes are over, the light will go off again and the next slide will be on view. Thus one after another in continuous succession all the 10 or 12 slides will be exhibited to the candidates. Where facilities do not exist for the exhibition of slides, maps containing the pictures will be displayed in similar manner. The TAT or picture-story writing forms the backbone of the psychological tasks. The main evaluation of the candidate is done by the psychologist, on the basis of the individual’s particular attention to its task.

  • Observe the picture or slide carefully and made a mental note of the essentials. If there are any written passage or words in the picture, do remember them. The situation revolves around a person or persons. Therefore make a special study of the individuals appearing in the picture and grasp the activity in which they are engaged. Next, pay attention to the background - where the activity takes place, whether indoor or outdoors, whether in the office or in town and so on. Thus by systematic observation you, must get a mental image of what is happening in the picture. witsihin a few seconds of your perceiving it.
  • Next, you must develop a story around the scene you have witnessed in the picture. The scene you perceived represents the present happenings if the story. You must imagine a past which has led to the present scene. Then you must think of an ending or future developments for your story. Thus, from the present scene, you must imagine a past and think of an appropriate future to produce a complete story. It will now be clear to you that the story basically revolves around the scene you have witnessed in the picture.
  • You will find that every story will mainly center around one individual, who may be termed its hero or heroine. The other characters, if any, in the scene will be only related to this main character in someway. To avoid confusion and to write quickly, you may give a suitable name to this main character. Always choose a short name; it. is easy to write and easy to remember, e.g ., Javed , Akmal, Akbar, Abid, Qamar. Sohail etc. You must avoid referring to the characters by impersonal names like Mr. X, Mr. ‘Y, etc., as they tend to deprive the story of its realism. Event he other characters in the story can be given suitable flames, if you have to refer to them often. 4. Build up a simple plot or them. Do not go in for complicated situations. Remember OU are writing a story in just three minutes time. You cannot afford to go in for detailed explanations. In three minutes time, an average candidate can write about half a page, say, 12 lines and approximately 80 words. Therefore, you must learn to condense the past .Present and future aspects of the story roughly about four tines each.
  • There is a tendency on our part to describe at length the scene we have witnessed. You must keep this tendency in check while writing the story. Firstly, such detailed description of the scene is not required. It is only too welt known to everyone. Secondly, the picture being kept purposely vague, you are likely to come up with a lot of doubts when you begin such detailed description. Therefore it is advisable to refer to the scene you have witnessed only incidentally, in passing, in course of the narration of your story.
  • There must be a healthy, positive, confident and happy trend underlying the theme of your story; Negative, pessimistic and defeatist approaches should be avoided. Anti-social behavior, fear, guilt or inferiority complexes, tendency to give way under stress, strain or in face of difficulty or in the presence of danger, etc., should be kept out. On the other hand the characters in the story should reveal courage, confidence, determination, enthusiasm, co-operative attitude and other such nobler qualities. In other words, there must be cheerful and confident under-current running through the plot.
  • Besides the contents of the story, the power of expression also carries considerable weight. Your sentences may be simple and short but they must be complete and not sketchy. Telegraphic language is not acceptable. Since this is a narrative, the candidate should not resort to listing of points in a serial order. In brief, the individual’s ability to express his ideas and communicate himself adequately by written words, is also judged here.
  • You must practice this art of story writing thoroughly and correctly. Adequate number of illustrations and exercises have been provided in this chapter. But you must develop the ability to write a brief story on almost any scene that you may witness.. Everyday as you walk in the street, you come across so many common scenes. Or, as you look out from the window of your house, you perceive several situations taking shape in the street. Try writing a story on each such scene. Very soon, you will find that you can write a good story, revolving round the ordinary scenes you have noticed. Please remember that this picture story writing exercises from the key test in the psychological tasks. Therefore, you must not spare any effort to master this art thoroughly.
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