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The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing
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The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing


The captivating, untold story of Hermann Rorschach and his famous inkblot test, which has shaped our view of human personality and become a fixture in popular culture

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Damion Searls draws on unpublished letters and diaries, and a cache of previously unknown interviews with Rorschach’s family, friends, and colleagues, to tell the unlikely story of the test’s creation, its controversial reinvention, and its remarkable endurance—and what it all reveals about the power of perception. Elegant and original, The Inkblots shines a light on the twentieth century’s most visionary synthesis of art and science.

Title:The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:405 pages
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    The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing Reviews

  • Will Byrnes
    Apr 26, 2017

    In principle, then, the Rorschach test rests on one basic premise: Seeing is an act not just of the eye but of the mind, and not just of the visual cortex or some other isolated part of the brain bu...

  • Fran
    Dec 09, 2016

    The Rorschach Test is an open-ended test used to explore how one's mind works. It consists of 10 inkblots, some black and white, others in color. By utilizing his talents as a psychiatrist and amateur...

  • Vicki
    May 23, 2017

    The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing was a powerful book. It allowed you into the heart and mind of the creator of the famed inkblot tests and it also shed light o...

  • Clif Hostetler
    Apr 08, 2017

    This book is part biography, part history. The first half of this book is a biography of Hermann Rorschach a Swiss psychiatrist who developed the "Rorschach test" that utilizes a standardized set of i...

  • BAM The Bibliomaniac
    Mar 05, 2017

    A great thank you to Crown Publishing, Damion Searls, and netgalley for sharing a copy of this book for an unbiased review.It's imperative to note that the Rorschach test is the one psychological test...

  • Nana Steph
    Dec 16, 2016

    It wasn't too long ago that I almost exclusively read only fiction, and as a new steady reader of the genre, I can be hard to please. While anything but a well researched book won't do, I loathe the s...

  • Marjolein
    Mar 15, 2017

    Read all my reviews on This title immediately interested me, even though I've always been skeptical about the Rorschach test. I've however never taken one, and I h...

  • Caidyn (BW Book Reviews)
    Mar 02, 2017

    I apparently won this giveaway. Hm....

  • Oreoandlucy
    Feb 24, 2017

    More reviews are available on my blog:http://reviewsofbooksonmynightstand.b...I really thought that this book would be right up my alley. I have a degree in psychology and have studied Rorschach's ink...

  • Jane
    Feb 26, 2017

    Interesting, sometimes even fascinating dual biographies about Dr. Hermann Rorschach, Swiss psychiatrist and developer of the eponymous inkblot test and also about the test itself: its creation and la...