Before You Begin: Take the MBTI here, and take a Rorschach inkblot test here. Think about the following questions:

  • What do these tests say (or not say) about you?
  • Think about the process of taking the tests. Does the structure of the test shape your answers?
  • Are you able to interpret the results of the test for yourself or do you need an expert to do it?
  • Does your answer to the previous question shape how you feel about each test? Do you think tests you can interpret for yourself are more or less trustworthy?

Unit-Wide Questions:

  • What is the purpose of testing? What is it useful for? What’s it not useful for? Can these kinds of psychology tests tell you something about yourself? Can your self be quantified?
  • When and why were these tests developed? Does that tell us something about their purpose?
  • Why does the general public embrace some tests, despite psychologists rejecting those tests?
  • Does testing require an oversimplification of theories and people? Can a test encompass all the facets that go into intelligence or personality?
    • Is this problem made better or worse by projective tests? What about structured, supposedly empirical ones? What’s the trade off here?

September 25: IQ

Read: “Science, Ideology, and Ideals: The Social History of IQ Testing”

Optional reading:


  • What is intelligence? Do we have to define it in order to measure it?
  • What did historical IQ tests measure? What about contemporary IQ tests?
  • What are IQ tests good for? Think not just about what they measure, but how they can be used in practice.
  • What do biases in historical IQ tests mean for contemporary tests? Are contemporary tests unbiased, or should we be concerned that biases still exist?

September 30: Psychoanalytic and Projective Testing


Optional reading: “Has Wikipedia Created a Rorschach Cheat Sheet?”


  • Are unstructured projective tests valid? If not, why not?
  • Should Norris’ inkblot results have been used to keep him from being hired?
  • Both the MBTI and the Rorschach inkblot test employ psychoanalytic theories, yet are structured and used in completely different ways. Why is that? Does one type of test make more sense as an expression of psychoanalytic theory, or are both equally valid?
  • Does the MBTI strictly follow Jungian theory? How do these things morph over time? Is this product of testing itself?
  • Compare Hermann Rorschach’s idea of how the inkblot test should work with online tests (examples here and here.) Are these online tests valid? In what sense? What does this say about how specialist knowledge can (or should) be disseminated online?

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