At such times, projective techniques can provide information about the covert aspects of an individual’s personality (Gregory, 2004).
Projective techniques like the Rorschach’s Inkblots or the Thematic Apperception Test use ambiguous stimuli that need to be interpreted by the individual. There are no limits to the kind of interpretations possible; and thus, the test allows the clinician to understand aspects of the individual’s personality that may not be accessible to them otherwise (Anastasi, 1997). The more ambiguous the test material, the more likely it is to elicit honest responses that reflect latent aspects of personality. This is because when the test material is ambiguous, it is difficult for the individual to predict how a response would be interpreted (Gregory, 2004).
Projective techniques are often criticized as having less reliability as compared to objective techniques. This criticism comes from the fact that there are many different interpretations of a response, and subjective evaluation can play a strong role in this process (Gregory, 2004). The validity of these tests is also difficult to verify as the motivations they measure are unconscious ones. In order to counter these criticisms, many clinicians have published means of standardizing the interpretations and research that helps in accepting them as valuable clinical tools (Anastasi, 1997). Projective techniques are useful in assessing personality as a global construct and to identify latent anxieties and attitudes (Anastasi, 1997). These tests provide valuable information about factors that the individual is unable to tap directly; and can help in bringing together the results of other objective tests (Gregory, 2004). The one concern is that over exposure to the test material can reduce the efficacy of these tests; and that the interpretations are best used when supported or complimented by data from other more objective