THEMATIC APPERCEPTION TEST. ORIGIN & METHOD. T.A.T is the most widely used constructive projective technique. This test was developed in American university unlike Rorschach, it has its roots in America. It has been developed by Murray & Morgan in 1935, 1943 in Harvard University.
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T.A.T is the most widely used constructive projective technique.
This test was developed in American university unlike Rorschach, it has its roots in America.
It has been developed by Murray & Morgan in 1935, 1943 in Harvard University.
It is a popular technique to measure personality, it is equally popular in personality research.
Along with Rorschach & WAIS, TAT forms the test battery to evaluate a client in a precise & accurate manner.
It is more structured than Rorschach & less structured than WAIS.
In assessing the personality, the content of the story provide us the base to assess patient.
The TAT is sometime described as a test of personality.
It includes 31 cards, 1 blank & others show scenes related to inter personal events.
In the 1st card boy is shown in a pensive mood towards violin(a musical instrument) put before him.
In a recommended administration 20 cards used, they are selected on the basis of sex & age of patient.
Cards are administered in two sessions.
In usual practice less than 20 cards are used in 1 hour long session.
Instructions are given to the testee.
A series of pictures will be shown to the testie & he/she will have to make story for each one. The story should be dramatic & imaginative.
In that story there must be 3 factors which are:
1. What is happening in the picture
2. What led up to it
3. What will be the outcome
Further, for the blank card the subject is asked to draw a picture & describe it or unite a story about it.
To encourage the flow of story, the examiner asks. Some non leading questions like: What happens then?, How does it turn out?
At the end, the examiner asks the source of the stoty whether they are from personal experience, movies, novels, TV serial or whether they were just “made up.”
Stories are to be recorded as such the way it has been told including the examiners problems/questions.
To evaluate TAT there are many accepted systems of TAT scoring & interpretation. While scoring the emphasis is on
1. Major themes
2. Feelings expressed
3. Nature of outcome
4. Frustrations expressed
6. Major needs
7. Defense mechanisms used
All the qualities of story are characterized & then its meaning is drawn
While evaluating the stories, the examiner has to read and re read the stories many times. While doing so clinician or examiner note down the type of stories written, repetitive themes & a characteristic traits & behaviour of the hero of the story. (Usually the hero represents the subject himself)
The clinician also takes help of whatever knowledge he has about the patient because that will provide him the base line & the guiding hypothesis regarding the need & conflicts of the patients.
In doing the analysis of TAT stories the clinician’s main task is to construct a set of hypothesis which can explain the stories as well as the person behind it.
The skilled interpreter or the clinician takes help of the stories written by others against which he compares stories in hand.
The stories which have unusual plots are of particular importance to the clinician.
Stories intensely told with visible signs of emotions, with repetition & which provides little justification to the picture shown to the subject.
The clinician also note down how the subject differs from others. He’s quick to note deviations; e.g., the patient has written all the stories with happy endings. This shows blank optimism.
The clinician also note failures & frustration expressed by the patient & it becomes more important if they become the base for distinguishing the qualities of the patient with others.
He also notes down if the patient show conflict only in the presence of older & stranger males.
It is important to note down functional relationship between stories & the examiner is more interested in the implicit behaviour rather than explicit.
In the process of interpretation examiner use his perception, statistical inference & also the conclusions based on stories.
Examiner has to read & re read stories without or minimal preconception.
Stories are also judged in comparison with past evidence also.
Clinician also take help from frame work of personality theory. The way the stories reveal the different aspect of personality.
These inferences can be possible only if it is being done by skilled clinician.
How the stories are told as well as what they contain.
Information regarding subject can be attained by the way he tells story, degree to which he follow instructions, his manners & language. How he perceives or misperceives the picture material & how the stories are organized in literally point of view.
All these points tell us about subjects characteristics behaviour ego processes & his motivational aspects also.
We all know TAT stories requires imagination. So we have to see stories are original or creative or they are banal or trite, stories are dramatic or engrossing or dull or limited.
It is also seen that subject cling closely to story & it seems it is a description of a card rather than story.
While writing some subjects reveal, creative intelligence & his capacity for imagination on the other hand, he also reveal his inability to detach himself from concrete reality of picture, this shows his limited intelligence & imagination.
There is emphasis on 3 points, what led upto this situation what happen & what going on. Subjects who limit there story uniting to the present show that they have minimal time perspective.
The subjects who cover the extended time including past, present & future create the stories in an integrated way & it seems to be well turned novel.
Depressed patient emphasized the past with little concern for the present & no concern for the future.
Repressive people such as hysterical patients stay primarily in the present & they predict vague & artificially happy events in the future.
Schizophrenics shifts between past, present & future events almost quite often.
In analyzing the story not only the time perspective but the organization of sequences which is known by the name of means, ends, relationship is also analyzed.
Here is an example of minor government official who while telling the stories TAT reflected his characteristic approach to life & work task. Each story was written in identical numbered & labeled paragraphs such as:
Will happen next
This shows a meticulous & dull man at work.
The other important aspects of patient behaviour include:
Clarity of verbal expression
Overall behaviour during testing & reactions to his own stories
Sequence analysis reveals coping patterns over time & under scores interpretations based on single stories. E.g., after telling the harsh & aggressive story the patient defensively hide his hostile feelings by making the next story simple & optimistic.
The major elements of the story includes:
The needs, strivings & characteristics of the hero.
The environmental forces acting on him.
The themes(press need outcome combination)
Affective tone of the story & of the major actors.
The “hero assumptions” is pivotal, in that the subject identifies with the central figure & represents in him, directly or symbolically, his own needs, values & expectations.(Lindzey, 1952)
The study is more complex than the Rorschach test. In one of the pioneering studies Shendman, 1951 Gaul the story of one patient to 15 TAT authorities. None of there knew patient & Shendman presented each psychologist report along within work notes, scores & analytical considerations it is really important to read the entire book because it shows lots of differences in opinion yet there are number of areas where psychologists agree with each other especially those who were working in the same general conceptual environment.
Harrison 1965 collected the findings of almost hundred studies of inter judge, reliability where some sort of quantitative rating was made.
In 62 studies the correlation was observed many of there showed .80 to .90 reliability but there were few studies which reported low coefficients also.
It was observed that reliability can be quite high if the examiners are well trained & share the same conceptual system.
As reported by Tunekins 1947 that in Murray Group reliability of TAT comes out to be .90
Other approaches are also there to study reliability such as split half & retest methods. In these reliability findings are less convincing but such methods are application or not is itself questionable.
To ask whether a person will tell the same story when retesting is some what like asking whether someone will laugh again when same joke is retold(Tomskin 1961). Though Tomskin found that the major theme of the stories were almost as they were in the first administration.
VALIDITY: The validity of TAT is complex. It includes contradictory opinions & findings. TAT is a test in which it is very important to check on the method of analysis, criteria & experimental conditions that are inappropriate. Moreover the clinician in TAT is inseparable part of the test. It is more of a test of a tester.
So the assessment of TAT depends upon skill, knowledge & self constrain of the clinician. Similarly important is the fact to discriminate between the real personality traits & the traits which has been aroused situationally means the examiner has to distinguish between traits of personality & the state personality
There are a few personality traits affected by age, sex, occupation, cultural groups etc. The examiner must know that the personality include both state & trait variable, momentary an enduring traits which are determined due to social factors.
For e.g., The stethoscope is not invalidate because the patient arrive breathlessly at the doctor’s office & his pulse is abnormally high. The hard, but necessary task of physician is to confirm what is situationally determined & what might be a symptoms of heart condition. Similarly the psychological clinician has able to judge what is tested related, situation related & psycho socially determined. As well as what reflects the individual personality, only then we can consider TAT to be valid & reliable test of assessing the personality.