"What future for the Comprehensive System?"

Anne Andronikof

Conference at the III rd Congress of the Coprehensive System International Rorschach Association (CSIRA/ARISI)

Paris, September 6,2019

Today, due to the recent surge of critics undermining the validity of the Comprehensive System, we, practitioners of this method, are bound to reflect on the scope and scientific basis of those critics. The questions are: Has the Comprehensive System (CS) lost its validity? As ethical professionals, must we discard it and move to another system? And in general, is the Rorschach still a valuable tool of assessment?

We will here offer our thoughts and conclusions on these important issues.

"The Importance of Lambda to the Generalizability of Rorschach Findings Reported in the Literature"

Carl Giacomo

SIS J. Proj. Psy. & Ment. Health (2019) 26: 104-106


In several articles, my colleagues and I have addressed concerns regarding methodological issues with the recent RIM research (see Cunliffe et al., 2012; Gacono, Loving, &Bodholdt, 2001; Smith et. al., 2018). In many studies, the impact of these issues is frequently hidden, masked in a description of statistical procedures and shrouded by the umbrella of a meta-analysis. Findings from these flawed studies influence conclusions that may appear “controversial” but are in actuality an artifact of the individual studies’ inadequate design. Alarmingly, such method-related practices negatively impact the scholarly perception of the Rorschach and are frequently cited by editors for rejecting submitted Rorschach studies for publication, based largely on the presence of “controversy” which does not exist. In this brief commentary, the importance of Lambda to the generalizability of Rorschach findings is discussed.

"A Scientific Critique of Rorschach Research

Revisiting Exner's Issues and Methods in Rorschach Research (1995)"

Jason Smith, Carl B. Gacono, Patrick Fontan, EnnaE. Taylor, Ted B. Cunliffe, Anne Andronikof

Rorschachiana (2018), 

39(2), 180–203

Hogrefe and Huber Publisher.


Exner’s (1995a) Issues and Methods in Rorschach Research provided a standard of care for conducting Rorschach research; however, the extent to which studies have followed these guidelines has not been examined. Similarly, meta-analytic approaches have been used to comment on the validity of Exner’s Comprehensive System (CS) variables without an evaluation as to the extent that individual studies have conformed to the proposed methodological criteria (Exner, 1995a; Gacono, Loving, & Bodholdt, 2001). In this article, 210 studies cited in recent meta-analyses by Mihura, Meyer, Dumitrascu, and Bombel (2013) were examined. The studies were analyzed in terms of being research on the Rorschach versus research with the Rorschach and whether they met the threshold of validity/gener- alizability related to specific Rorschach criteria. Only 104 of the 210 (49.5%) studies were research on the Rorschach and none met all five Rorschach criteria assessed. Trends and the need for more stringent methods when conducting Rorschach research were presented.

"Complexity, Pseudoscience and Rorschach Performance Assessment System"

Patrick Fontan and Anne Andronikof

Clinical and Experimental Psychology (2016 ) 3 1


Objective: Complexity is one of the most important components of the Rorschach Performance Assessment System, R-PAS (the equivalent of general intelligence for IQ test). However Complexity is problematic on conceptual grounds and the objective of this research is to assess the scientificity of this notion. 

Method: The Belgian adult non-patient reference sample of the RCS was used in this study. (A) Data were analyzed according to R-PAS procedures, (B) protocols were randomly rescored and analyses were repeated; (C) analyses were compared. 

Results: Complexity main results were replicated with both real and random protocols. In addition, the Complexity of real and random protocols are highly correlated (r=0.82). 

Conclusions: Complexity is a pseudoscientific notion and the use of the R-PAS in clinical practice is questionable. The nature of the problem of R is discussed, and means to address it are proposed. 

"Exneriana – II –
The Scientific Legacy of John E. Exner, Jr."

Anne Andronikof

Rorschachiana (2008)

29, 81-107. Hogrefe and Huber Publisher.


Based on an analysis of John Exner’s peer-reviewed published work from 1959 to 2007, plus a brief comment for an editorial in Rorschachiana, the author draws a comprehensive picture of the scientific work of this outstand- ing personality. The article is divided into three sections: (1) the experimental studies on the Rorschach, (2) the clinical studies using the Rorschach, and (3) Exner’s “testament,” which we draw from the last paper he saw published before his death (Exner, 2001/2002). The experimental studies were aimed at better understanding the nature of the test, in particular the respective roles of perception and projection in the response process. These fundamental studies led to a deeper understanding of the complex mechanisms involved in the Rorschach responses and introduced some hypotheses about the inten- tions of the author of the test. The latter were subsequently confirmed by the preparatory sketches and documents of Hermann Rorschach, which today can be seen at the H. Rorschach Archives and Museum in Bern (Switzerland). Exner’s research has evidenced the notion that the Rorschach is a perceptive- cognitive-projective test.

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