rorschach and consciousness

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The goal of the presentation is detection of consciousness as it appears in Rorschachs Inkblot Test. Hermann Rorschach described basic form of respondents conscious activity in terms of apperception. He understood apperception as a specific kind of perception with the conscious assimilative effort. For Rorschach, apperception is the most important mental function that the respondent employs for interpretation of inkblots. Early direction of Rorschachs research is probably closest to the modern concept of consciousness such as theory of neural correlates of consciousness. We can explore location, developmental or form quality and determinants as a part of visual awareness. Inkblot test can be also considered as specific decision-making task and so as a test of executive functions. However, consciousness may take other representation in the test. Perhaps, it may be detected in the content or in specific phenomena as a function of aesthetic consciousness. All these phenomena point to consciousness even if we are not dealing with them in common usage of inkblot test.


RORSCHACH AND CONSCIOUSNESSJan Bazant Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Kralove, Charles University

Definition of consciousness


Meanings of consciousnessConsciousness


waking state experience mind

proneness to embarrassment self-detection

self-recognitionawareness of awareness self-knowledge

Adapted by ZEMAN, A. (2001). Consciousness. Brain, 124, pp. 1263-1289.

Interpretation of the chance forms

Rorschach we

conclude that there must be a kind of threshold beyond which perception (assimilation without consciousness of assimilative effort) becomes interpretation (perception with consciousness of assimilative effort).

RORSCHACH, H. (1981). Psychodiagnostics. Bern: Hans Huber Publisher.


MINIATURIST, French . (Active c. 1380 in Paris). Narcissuss spring in Roman de la Rose (Guillaume De Lorris, c1230-35). Decoration of manuscript. Bodleian Library, Oxford.

Seeing is believing



enactive paradigm construction of reality depends on perceiving subject, but structure of perceiving subject is formed by reality




structure is object of consciousness consciousness is caught in perceiving body and interlaced with world


Principle of homologyContent-based approach

Cognition-based approach

emphasis on symbolic thinking projection-centered symbolic description of life events, relationships, etc.

emphasis on decision making and problem solving perception-centered impact of cognition on life events, relationships, etc.

Embodied consciousness


structure of mind is characterized by cognitive models, which are embodied cognitive models are in systematic connection with embodied terms human being requires a functioning human brain, in living human body, interacting with complex physical, social, and cultural environments, in an ongoing flow of experience


Dissociative disorder

impaired or lost conscious and selective control over psychical and behavioral function loss

of identity lost integrity of memories loss of sensation or perception lost control of body movement

Dissociation in Rorschach

Amstrong and Loewenstein (1990), Brand et al (2006), Leavitt and Labott (1996), Wagner et al (1974, 1983, 1986), Scroppo et al. (1998) intellectualized, reflective coping style characterized by non-emotional introspection with tendency to emotional restraint ROR s stimuli could trigger trauma contents

Psychical distance

Bullough It

is a difference of outlook, due to the insertion of distance. This distance appears to lie between our own self and its affection, using the latter term in its broadest sense as anything which affect our being, bodily or spiritually. aesthetic consciousnessBULLOUGH, E. (1912). Psychical distance as a Factor in Art and as an Aesthetic Principle. British J. of Psychology, 5, pp. 87-117.

Morgenthalers examination

selecting and sorting of tables by pleasantness and unpleasantness or by degree of pleasantness or unpleasantness

Arrangement of tables




Uniqueness of Rorschach