Projective Methods: An Historical Introduction

  • A. I. Rabin


Methods of personality assessment that were to become known as projective techniques developed gradually over a long period of time. It is even tempting to paraphrase Ebbinghaus’ remark about psychology (Boring, 1929), that projective techniques have a “long past but a short history.” The penchant of man for imposing his own ideas and inter pretations upon unstructured stimuli was noted, and occasionally re corded, centuries ago. For example, Leonardo da Vinci reports in his Introduction to the Painter concerning the associative experiences possible as a result of viewing a blot made by a sponge upon the wall: “... various experiences can be seen in such a blot, provided one wants to find them in it-human heads, various animals, battles, cliffs, seas, clouds or forests and other things . . .” (quoted in Zubin, et al, 1965, p. 167). Also mentioned by Leonardo is the possibility of “hearing” words when a bell is ringing. The stimuli are, therefore, not restricted to any one sensory modality as to their potential to evoke the associative experiences.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1968

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  • A. I. Rabin

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