The Rorschach Test & Nazi War Criminals

The Nazis who were tried at Nuremberg trials were all given a Rorschach Inkblot test.  These test protocols were scored by a computer version of the Exner Scoring system.  The Exner system is considered to be the most empirically defensible RIT scoring system.

Not to give away trade secrets, but there is a ratio of determinant scores that reveal, according to research, a person’s problem solving preferences.  These preferences are 1) “I’ll go ask someone I trust”, and 2) “I’ll take a walk and think this over.”  In other words, the former uses other people to help solve problems and the latter is a method of relying on internal resources to solve problems.  Empirically, both are perfectly useful ways of solving problems.  According to Exner and the research, it is just important that a person has a problem-solving style preference.  For those who don’t have a problem solving style preference, they can thrash about trying to figure out how to respond to a problem.

The one very uniform finding from the Rorschachs done on the Nazis was that they did not have a problem solving preference – which could have conceivably led to them having a “just following orders” predilection.

Personally, I think psychology might find that when it abandons the Rorschach Test, it will have matured to a degree.  It is a fascinating test, though.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Rorschach Test & Nazi War Criminals

  1. fnord

    From my Quotes of the Day — this one is for you, Iggy.

    “When dealing with the insane, the best method is to pretend to be sane.”
    Hermann Hesse (1877 – 1962)

  2. iggydonnelly

    I like that fnord! That advice almost works for me. 🙂

    Just want to clarify the above post. The Exner scoring system was developed in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s – it continually undergoes research, revision, and improvements. So, this was a type of modern technology that was used to study the minds of long dead Nazis using testing records that were obtained at the time.