Rorschach Test Scandal on Wikipedia and the Aftermath

The Rorschach test is used for examining the personality characteristics and emotional functioning of patients as their perceptions of inkblots are recorded and then analyzed. In 2009, the New York Times had a report about Dr. James Heilman who posted all 10 pictures on the site, along with research about the most popular responses to each. Of course, it led to a heated debate whether this information should be accessed on Wikipedia or not. Here are the details of this scandal.


Now, 2 years later, a study came out with the title “Challenges since wikipedia: the availability of rorschach information online and internet users’ reactions to online media coverage of the rorschach-wikipedia debate.“. The abstract:

In the first study, the authors conducted 2 Google searches for Web sites containing Rorschach-related information. The top 88 results were classified by level of threat to test security; 19% posed a direct threat. The authors also found Web sites authored by psychologists that divulged sensitive Rorschach information.

In the second study, 588 comments to online news stories covering the Rorschach-Wikipedia debate were coded as expressing favorable or unfavorable opinions regarding the field of psychology, psychologists, and the Rorschach. Eight percent of comments described unfavorable opinions toward psychology, 15% contained unfavorable opinions toward psychologists, and 35% portrayed unfavorable opinions of the Rorschach.

Common themes and popular misconceptions of the Rorschach contained in these comments are described. Implications and recommendations for practice are discussed. Limitations, including the second study’s narrow sample and self-selection bias, are also detailed.