Projective Techniques Used in Children's Assessment: Theoretical Implications and Case Studies

Projective Techniques Used in Children's Assessment: Theoretical Implications and Case Studies

Mihai Elena Claudia
Copyright: © 2024 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/979-8-3693-0956-8.ch006
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Educators, researchers, and psychologists often find themselves in situations where they must assess the causes of children's many unwanted or unusual behaviors to take the appropriate intervention measures. Especially at an early age, psychometric tests cannot offer accurate or detailed answers in order to clarify all the questions. This is due to the lack of or reduced possibility of the children to investigate themselves or analyze their reactions. Their responses to various situations are habitually emotional, not rational. Because of these considerations, the investigative approach becomes difficult and also the therapeutic intervention. Projective techniques, although they do not replace standardized tests, are proving their utility, especially in this situation. This chapter aims to describe the importance of using projective techniques in children's assessment. It also explains the particularity of these techniques and presents a few illustrative case studies – the use of the Rorschach test in the psychological assessment of children.
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2. Use Of Projective Techniques In The Children’S Assessment – Benefits And Limits

Children are often brought to the psychologist by parents. Especially small children are not motivated to participate in the psychological evaluation. This endeavor depends on the behavior and tolerance of parents, their knowledge, and their perception of the child and about his behavior (Mitrofan, 2003).

Deciding what is normal and what is not normal in children's development is often a difficult process.

A peculiarity of children, especially of the small ones, is reduced verbal expression skills. Thus, the psychologist or the pedagogue specialist must find various methods to understand and assess the children’s features and difficulties.

Projective tests, unlike those that heavily involve the skills and ability to reason and decide, distract the subject from himself, reducing defense and embarrassment. Thus, they are particularly useful for children, illiterate people, or people with disabilities or speech impairments. They are less susceptible to falsifications because their real purpose is not visible and the subject does not know the method of interpretation.

Projective techniques have been controversial because of their characteristics. The main limits of the projective techniques, underlined by various researchers (Piotrowski, 2015; Lilienfeld et al., 2000; Minulescu, 2000), are: reduced degrees of standardization, norming, fidelity, and validity of evidence, thus various degrees of subjectivity in the application and interpretation process, susceptibility for faking, highly controversial, using norms often reduced, poor or misleading.

Key Terms in this Chapter

The Rorschach Test: A test based on the work of Hermann Rorschach, a Swiss physician and psychoanalyst. The book “Psychodiagnostics”, released in 1921, presents the work of the author, using inkblot images ( Rorschach, 2014 ). Its subtitle is “Methodology and results of an experiment perceptive (the meaning of random forms)”. The test contains 10 inkblot plates. The subject must respond to each plate, formulating an interpretation of what could it be/what can be seen in that image.

Projection: Thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings that cannot be accepted as one's own are placed in the outside world and attributed to someone else (Freud). Psychological contents unaccepted by the ego are split off and placed in another person.

Thematic Apperception Test: ( TAT ): A projective psychological test developed during the 1930s by Henry A. Murray and Christiana D. Morgan at Harvard University . The test includes ambiguous pictures of people. The subject is asked to create narratives about each image, revealing their underlying motives, concerns, and the way they see the social world.

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