Includes bibliographical references (pages 327-387) and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Introduction: Tea leaves -- All becomes movement and life -- Klex -- I want to read people -- Extraordinary discoveries and warring worlds -- A path of one's own -- Little inkblots full of shapes -- Hermann Rorschach feels his brain being sliced apart -- The darkest and most elaborate delusions -- Pebbles in a riverbed -- A very simple experiment -- It provokes interest and head-shaking everywhere -- The psychology he sees is his psychology -- Right on the threshold to a better future -- The inkblots come to America -- Fascinating, stunning, creative, dominant -- The queen of tests -- Iconic as a stethoscope -- The Nazi Rorschachs -- A crisis of images -- The system -- Different people see different things -- Beyond true or false -- Looking ahead -- The Rorschach test is not a Rorschach test -- Appendix: The Rorschach family -- Hermann Rorschach's character / Olga Rorschach-Shtempelin.
In 1917, working alone in a remote Swiss asylum, psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach devised an experiment to probe the human mind. For years he had grappled with the theories of Freud and Jung while also absorbing the aesthetic of a new generation of modern artists. He had come to believe that who we are is less a matter of what we say, as Freud thought, than what we see. Rorschach himself was a visual artist, and his test, a set of ten carefully designed inkblots, quickly made its way to America, where it took on a life of its own. Co-opted by the military after Pearl Harbor, it was a fixture at the Nuremberg trials and in the jungles of Vietnam. It became an advertising staple, a cliché in Hollywood and journalism, and an inspiration to everyone from Andy Warhol to Jay-Z. The test was also given to millions of defendants, job applicants, parents in custody battles, workers applying for jobs, and people suffering from mental illness -- or simply trying to understand themselves better. And it is still used today. Damion Searls draws on unpublished letters and diaries, and a cache of interviews with Rorschach's family, friends, and colleagues, to tell the story of the test's creation, its controversial reinvention, and its endurance -- and what it all reveals about the power of perception.