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Psychol Bull. 2015 Jan;141(1):236-49. doi: 10.1037/a0036005.

A second look at the validity of widely used Rorschach indices: comment on Mihura, Meyer, Dumitrascu, and Bombel (2013).

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Department of Psychology, University of Texas at El Paso.
Psychological Research Service, Joint Base San Antonio.
Department of Behavioral Health, William Beaumont Medical Center, Fort Bliss.
Department of Psychology, Emory University.


We comment on the meta-analysis by Mihura, Meyer, Dumitrascu, and Bombel (2013), which examined the validity of scores in Exner's Comprehensive System (CS) for the Rorschach. First, we agree there is compelling evidence that 4 categories of cognitive scores-the "Rorschach cognitive quartet"-are related to cognitive ability/impairment and thought disorder. We now feel comfortable endorsing the use of these scores in some applied and research settings. Second, we conducted new meta-analyses (k = 44) for the 4 noncognitive Rorschach scores with highest validity in the Mihura et al. findings. Unlike Mihura et al., we included unpublished dissertations (although we did not attempt to exhaustively unearth all unpublished studies), calculated correlations instead of semipartial correlations, and used the Rorschach International Norms for a larger proportion of comparisons. Our validity estimates for the Suicide Constellation and Weighted Sum of Color were similar to or even higher than those of Mihura et al., although we concluded that support for the Suicide Constellation is limited and that Weighted Sum of Color probably does not measure its intended target. Our validity estimates for Sum Shading and the Anatomy and X-ray score were much lower than those of Mihura et al. We conclude that their meta-analysis accurately reflects the published literature, but their exclusion of unpublished studies led to substantial overestimates of validity for some and perhaps many Rorschach scores. Therefore, the evidence is presently insufficient to justify using the CS to measure noncognitive characteristics such as emotionality, negative affect, and bodily preoccupations.

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