These psychological tests from history will upset, amaze, and maybe enlighten you

Rorschach test inkblotCourtesy of Redstone PressThis is an original Rorschach inkblot. What do you see?

Psychological tests have always been controversial, yet today they’re more popular than ever.

Psychobook,” a book from Princeton Architectural Press, explores tests through history and invents some new ones too.

Keep scrolling to see some highlights.

This photo from Ellis Island around 1910 shows an immigrant taking an intelligence test involving shapes. Tests like these were used to justify pseudoscientific racism and eugenics.

Intelligence testing at Ellis Island, USA, ca. 1910

The Rorschach test, invented in 1921, aimed to understand people based on what they see in an ambiguous inkblot. This photo is from 1951. The test is still widely used today, though it has 'little validity as a diagnostic tool.'

Courtesy of Redstone Press
A patient taking the Rorschach inkblot test, USA, ca. 1951

Source: Journal of Clinical Psychology, 2000

The Thematic Apperception Test, invented in the 1930s, asked people to analyse what's happening in an ambiguous image. Here's a woman taking it in 1950.

Corbis
A psychologist and his patient, USA, ca. 1950

The Thematic Apperception Test is still used today. What do you think is happening here?

Redstone Press collection
from The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

The Szondi Test, invented in 1935, measured peoples' response to portraits of patients 'diagnosed' as homosexuals, sadists, epileptics, hysterics, catatonics, paranoids, depressives, and maniacs. It has been repudiated for a lot of reasons.

Courtesy of Redstone Press
The sinister-looking Szondi Test kit, with cards and analytic table. If your psychotherapist turns up with one of these, make an excuse and leave.

The Make a Picture Story Test, invented in 1942, asked subjects to place cut-out dolls in a scene and then come up with a story.

So many possibilities ...

The Feeling Test asks subjects to say who they identify with most in a scene filled cartoon figures. Widely used today, it's seen as a useful way to help people, often children, describe emotions.

unknown psychologist
'The Feeling Test' is excerpted from Psychobook: Games, Tests, Questionnaires, Histories edited by Julian Rothenstein with an Introduction by Lionel Shriver published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016)

The Family Relationship Test, created for 'Psychobook,' asks people to pick a drawing that represents their relationship to their family.

All drawings by Adam Dant
'The Family Relationship Test' is excerpted from Psychobook: Games, Tests, Questionnaires, Histories edited by Julian Rothenstein with an Introduction by Lionel Shriver published by Princeton Architectural Press (2016)

Answer Key: 1. Excluded 2. Commander 3. Time to move on 4. Burdened 5. Escaping 6. Unified 7. The boss 8. Well-balanced 9. Victimized 10. Held back 11. Feeling small 12. Outsider

Check out many more psychological tests in 'Psychobook.'

Princeton Architectural Press

'Psychobook: Games, Tests, Questionnaires, Histories'

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Scott Everett White/The CW
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