[Angol] The method of context analysis in a systems thinking approach

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1.2.1 Five components, seven interactions

Five components, seven interactions

After discussing the most important theoretical issues in the understanding of projective drawings and paintings, this chapter describes how to apply theory into practice. In order to find the true meaning of a pictorial feature (or observations on test behaviour), we need to construct a system. This should be as simple as possible and comprehensive at the same time.

In the previous chapter, the principle of multiple causality showed that the interpretation of a projective product requires the understanding of many interrelated factors. Pictures cannot be understood when they are isolated from their context: they are fragments of the totality of behaviour, and they need to be placed in a broader context.

The picture itself, the personality and present state of the subject, the demographic background, the test instruction, the latent factors of the test situation and the examiner’s personality and attitudes, all construct a network of factors and meanings.

This network is a complex system with a large number of components interrelated in an individual way, so a particular feature of a picture may be the effect of several different causes.

However, this complicated situation can be simplified without losing information. First, we must construct a system of factors. In the first step of the SSCA (context analysis), the examiner explores the contribution and interrelationship of contextual factors in relation to the psychological meaning of the picture. In other words, to understand a picture, one needs to contextualize (to place the picture in an individual context) as a starting point.

To accomplish this aim, the examiner must

  • explore the context of the system’s main components, i.e. the subject, the picture, the situation and the examiner himself, and then
  • explore the interactions of these components.

As mentioned before, this can be done only from a systems analysis point of view.

There is a practical technique described in chapter 1.2.3 “The phenomenological map” that makes it possible to overview the system in its totality. Ideally, context analysis produces a number of hypotheses that should be checked in the seventh step of the SSCA method. The final result is represented by a semantic map (for details, see chapter 7.2 “The semantic map”).

Context analysis in the SSCA originates from the brilliant works of Wolfgang Sehringer, Professor of Psychology, in Heidelberg. Sehringer’s works are incomparable. His essays and books present many original ideas, including theoretical concepts as the systems analysis approach to children’s drawings (Sehringer, 1989, 1992, 2000).

In his systems analysis approach, Sehringer distinguished four components of the interpretation of children’s drawings: the picture itself, the subject, the examiner and the general context. These four components enter into six types of interactions. Using these components, Sehringer described the network of the six interactions and illustrated them with children’s drawings. He emphasised the dynamic changes of the relationships of the components throughout the course of time (instead of in a snap-shot).

Due to the dynamics of the system, elements are activated in different ways, therefore, a general model does not work. The examiner must understand the six possible interactions of the four elements in an idiographic way.

The SSCA restructured Sehringer’s model in the following aspects: (1) the component “context” was replaced with “situation”, which changed the system’s meaning; (2) each component’s context was defined in detail; (3) the term “contextualization” was added to the model, which referred to the exploration of the context of each component in individual cases; (4) the interactions of the components were redefined as systemic interactions; (5) a fifth component, with a seventh kind of interaction, was introduced; (6) the model’s scope was extended to any pictorial production and (7) the model was adapted to pair, couple or group assessment situations.

Context analysis summarises all significant factors in seven kinds of bidirectional interactions pertaining to five main components. As Sehringer already stated, the components are the picture itself, the subject, the examiner and the situation (or context, according to Sehringer).

The fifth component is the other person, which is necessary if

  • more than one subject draws at the same time or
  • if other persons are present during the test situation, for example, the parent(s) of the child, the members of the subject’s family in a family therapy session, the partner of the subject in couple therapy or the observer(s) in a group setting.
  • An interesting extension of the concept of the fifth component is when it is an inner person.

The five components enter into seven kinds of bidirectional interactions.

They are listed below in the suggested order of exploring them:

  1. situation ⇄ subject interaction
  2. 2. situation ⇄ picture interaction
  3. 3. situation ⇄ examiner interaction
  4. 4. subject ⇄ subject interaction
  5. 5. subject ⇄ examiner interaction
  6. 6. picture ⇄ subject interaction
  7. 7. picture ⇄ examiner interaction

In this way, the model covers all essential factors (components, their context and their interactions). There is no sense in adding more than five components to the model— it remains essentially the same even if there are more than two subjects present in the test situation.

For example, when three subjects draw together, the interaction between the third subject and all the other components can be described in a way similar to the case of the second subject.

Figure 9
Context analysis in systems thinking
The SSCA approaches psychological significance from a systems analysis point of view. The basic components of the system interact with each other. The arrows in the picture represent bidirectional interactions*. For their detailed interpretation, see chapter 1.2.2 “Exploration of systemic interactions”.

The practical significance of the model is that it unfolds the hidden layers of the personality. Without the model, significant contextual factors and conclusions would remain unexplored. It can be used in individual testing, in couple, marital or family therapy, in art therapy or in group examinations.

Figure 10
Overview of context analysis
In the first step of the SSCA, the examiner explores the context of the basic components (contextualization), and then their relationship (systemic interactions), in the order shown in this figure (see figure 11 for details).

In the first step of the SSCA, the examiner explores the context of the components, then their interactions (see figure 10). It should be emphasised that exploration is always an idiographic procedure. Each component is a subsystem, consisting of individual factors. Not only are these factors idiographic, but their interactions are also individual and personalised. Some factors and interactions may be of key importance in one case, but irrelevant in another.

Besides the idiographic features of the context of components and their relationships, there are typical ones. A number of typical components and relationships are listed in chapter 1.2.2 “Exploration of systemic interactions” based on previous research (Vass, 2006).

* A four-component version of this diagram was first published by Sehringer (1989).


The two steps of context analysis

Context analysis consists of two steps: (1) contextualization and (2) the exploration of systemic interactions.


Figure 11
Contextualization of subject, situation, picture and examiner
In context analysis, the examiner explores the contextual factors that influence or modify the picture’s psychological meaning in an individual case.

Következő Contextualization: placing components in context

Contextualization of the subject

The examiner starts with the subject’s psychological, social and physical context.

Starting with the psychological context, the case history is disclosed, but only those facts that are relevant to the picture being examined or to the aim of the assessment. The exploration of case history is generally based on the subject’s self-report (see Appendix 2 for interview questions), or it may be completed with a heteroanamnesis (e.g. with the parents of the child).

During the interview, not only facts and data should be collected, but the examiner should also pay attention to the subject’s personal biases about certain topics, levels and degrees of verbal exaggeration, hidden interests and agendas, assumptions and facts and fictitious opinions or ideas. In the examination of the psychological context, moderator variables should always be carefully reviewed (age, sex, handedness, education, occupation, intelligence, manual dexterity, artistic skills etc.).

The significant factors of social context that may influence the picture’s interpretation are the number and impact of peers, colleagues, friends and the socio-economic status, milieu, culture and subculture of the subject with their shared experiences or ideologies.

The subject’s physical context generally includes present living conditions and current physical state.


Contextualization of the situation

The situation influences the picture with its physical, social and psychological context.

Physical context includes the place and time of the examination, as well as the equipment available. Place refers to the location of the assessment (e.g. the workplace, a clinic or hospital, a university and sometimes the home of the subject or the examiner), which may or may not be previously known to the subject.

The choice of place may have an impact on the demand characteristics, the time available and the other factors of the social and psychological context of the assessment.

Also significant are the objects and installations of the room (e.g. the size and position of the table and chairs, especially in couple-, family- and group assessments and in art therapy), the personal objects of the examiner or any pictures visible to the subject (e.g. art therapy objects, drawing tests by other subjects or any other suggestive images).

Environmental stimuli, such as noise, light and temperature, may be also disturbing, neutral or facilitating in terms of pictorial production, i.e. the time of the production (e.g. day of the week, part of the day, season of the year, period of art history etc.), and time context, i.e. the time available for the assessment.

Finally, the physical context includes the equipment available for the creation of the picture (e.g. the size, quality and quantity of the paper, the assortment of pencils, crayons or other tools, even the surface on which the drawing is made).

Social context is defined as the impact of other people on the subject or examiner.

Other people may be present in the assessment situation (e.g. other subjects, other examiners, observers, parents, peers etc.). The situation’s cultural environment also belongs to the social context, for example, the public opinion, attitudes and the preference or avoidance of projective testing among professionals in a given country.

Psychological context includes demand characteristics (cues that make subjects aware of the examiner’s expectations), for example, the labelling of the situation by the examiner (personality test or creativity assessment). It can also be labelled by the subject or by others who are significant to the subject. The wording of the assessment’s introduction may also influence the picture, as well as the suggestions related to the process of creating the picture, the choice of material, the expected drawing time or the quality, detailing, choice of themes and so on.

Another source of demand characteristics is when the examiner asks biased or leading questions.

The situation’s psychological context also includes the instructions (content and wording) and the aim of the testing procedure, which may or may not be the same as the examiner’s and the subject’s objectives.


Contextualization of the picture

Since the picture’s physical, social and psychological context generally overlap with the situation’s context, the key factor here is the pictorial context.

This primarily includes other pictures by the same subject, but pictures made by others may also be relevant to the product (see chapter 2.3.1 “The comparison of several pictures”).

Other pictures by the same subject are excellent sources of information. These pictures can be made during the same session or at other times before or after the present picture.

Pictures made at other times should be compared with the present picture in order to explore the similarities and the differences, either in a “miniature longitudinal study” (see chapter 2.3.2 “Comparing pictures made at the same time”) or by using the principles of Hárdi’s (1983, 2002) dynamic examination. Pictorial changes may reflect changes in personality or in the dynamism of defense mechanisms and personality functioning.

Pictures made by others can also be contrasted with the subject’s pictures. The differences in pictures similar to the present picture in theme or in title are always good starting points for the understanding of individuals.

Comparison to the pictures of others also makes it possible to evaluate the picture’s relationship in connection with developmental and other norms (e.g. screening examinations and Koppitz’s developmental and emotional indicators).

  • Does the developmental stage or sophistication of depiction (e.g. personality levels by Hárdi) match the subject’s age and expected level?
  • Does the projective drawing depict a recurring or a favourite motif of the subject, or is it a completely new motif, never drawn before by the subject?
  • Pictorial context: compare the picture with (a) other pictures by the same subject produced at the same time, (b) previous or subsequent pictures by the same subject and/or (c) other pictures by the subject that are similar to the picture in their theme or title. What are the individual differences? What do they say about the subject? (see chapter 5.2.4 “Style” and chapter 6.2.2. “Iconic analysis”).


Contextualization of the examiner

The examiner’s psychological context is often a neglected, but crucial factor in the understanding the picture’s psychological meaning.

Empirical data show that the personality characteristics of the examiner, such as age, sex, present mood, psychological state, expertise, practice, theoretical approach and interpretation methods, may influence the conclusion.

For example, Zians (1997) demonstrated that experts and non-experts may draw different conclusions from the same pictures as a result of their different methods.

The adequate method for interpreting pictures requires a careful examination of the examiner’s context through self-reflection and introspection or the supervision of a clinician trained in projective techniques.

Also relevant is the examiner’s cognition, point of view and approach to the interpretation of pictorial expression: a psychoanalytic, developmental or system analytical approach.

For expectations, preconceptions, prejudice and stereotypes see chapter 1.3.2 “Cognitive biases”.

Következő Exploration of systemic interactions

General considerations

The term “systemic interactions” refers to the interrelationship between components (i.e. subsystems) in the subject-product-examiner-situation system. The system consists of three types of interactions: situational, interpersonal and picture-person (see figure 10).

Systemic interactions should not be confused with pictorial interactions, which denote the semantic relationships between motifs drawn or painted. Pictorial interactions pertain to item analysis, and they are discussed in the sixth step of the SSCA.

Figure 12


Situation ⇄ subject interaction

This kind of bidirectional interaction refers to the situation’s impact on the subject and the subject’s impact on the situation. It also includes interactions between contextual factors (which were discussed previously).

After exploring the physical, social and psychological context of the subject and the situation, there are some typical questions to be asked. The following questions serve as good starting points and should always be viewed in light of what they reveal about the subject’s psychological functioning:

  • What effect did the assessment situation, the room and the time have on the subject?
  • What was the subject’s attitude toward the assessment situation?
  • How did the subject relate to the task or activity he was instructed to do? For
    example, does the subject like to draw in general?
  • What was the subject’s attitude toward psychological assessment in general?
  • What was the subject’s interpretation of the situation? For example, did he
    consider it to be a measure of his academic achievement, a personality test, an
    interesting challenge or child’s play?
  • What was the subject’s interpretation of the instruction?
  • What was the subject’s psychological impact on the situation? Examples are roles
    given by the subject to himself and to the examiner, a scene created by the subject’s behaviour and role reversal when the subject may begin to control and redefine the situation (see the examiner’s portrait phenomenon related to unusually dominant behaviour in which the subject draws a portrait of the examiner, demoting him to a model who is given a task by the subject).
  • In general, did any model reaction occur in the subject–situation interaction? What does this tell us about the subject’s general behaviour and attitude? (see chapter 2.4 “Observed behaviour as model reaction”).


Situation ⇄ picture interaction

This includes the situation’s impact on the picture and the picture’s impact on the situation.

The examiner explores how the picture refers to and how it is explained by the impact of the physical, social, psychological and pictorial context in which the picture is created.

Recommended questions are:

Impact of the physical context:

  • How did the place and time influence the picture?
  • How does the picture refer to and how is it explained by the broader physical environment and its influences? Examples are the place of residence in the house drawing or the season of the year, especially in tree drawings and free drawings. How much time was available for the assessment?
  • How was the time allotted for the assessment communicated? Does the quality and quantity of detail, the shading, the number of colours and the level of sophistication and elaboration justify the drawing time? If not, what does that say about the subject?
  • How did the tools at the subject’s disposal influence the picture? Was the subject allowed to choose the ones he preferred? Are there pictorial features that could be explained by the tools/utensils rather than the psychological factors? (see chapter 1.3.1 “Moderator variables”)

Impact of the social context:

  • How did the method chosen (individual or group assessment) and the other people present influence the process of creating the picture? Although the group assessment method is generally less personal, the subjects can react to it in a variety of ways. For example, some may find it easier to produce personal drawings under such conditions, while others may respond to the impersonal situation with impersonal drawings. The group situation may also provide a degree of anonymity and, hence, an opportunity for some subjects to express their resistance against drawing as a child-like activity or against psychological testing, psychologists, psychology or psychiatry in general (see figure 147, “I will not draw”).
  • How are the chosen motifs and the title explained by the current social influences? Examples are characters in cartoons and films, the motifs of adverts, fashionable toys, stickers, comic books and the impact of rock bands on teenage subcultures.

Impact of the psychological context:

  • How did demand characteristics (e.g. biased or leading questions, verbal and nonverbal suggestions regarding the choice of material, the expected drawing time, quality, detailing, the choice of motifs etc.) influence the picture?
  • Does the picture agree with the instruction? If not, how does it differ?
  • How is the theme or process explained by the psychological impact of current events? Examples are Christmas, Easter and birthdays.

Impact of the pictorial context:

  • In a series of pictures (e.g. HTAPPF), how did the previous pictures influence the present one?
  • Does the picture depict a recurring or favourite motif of the subject, or is it completely new, never drawn before?
  • How is the present picture explained by the later ones? For example, in the HTAPPF series, the free drawing may elaborate the previous motifs in detail (see figures 267 and 278). In art therapy, the meaning of the present picture often becomes clearer in light of the later products produced by the subject.
  • As a general rule, always compare the picture with (a) other pictures by the same subject produced at the same time, (b) previous or later pictures by the same subject and/or (c) pictures by other subjects similar to the present picture in theme or title. What do the pictorial differences and similarities disclose about the subject? (see chapter 5.2.4 “Style” and chapter 6.2.2 “Iconic analysis”)


Situation ⇄ examiner interaction

This kind of bidirectional interaction refers to the examiner’s influence on the assessment situation and, vice versa, the situation’s influence on the examiner’s behaviour.

To understand these factors, the examiner should reflect on the situation from a broader point of view and have the capacity to exercise self-reflection, self- examination and introspection.

Physical factors:

  • How did the physical factors of the assessment situation (e. g. place and time) influence the examiner’s behaviour?
  • How did he react to the impact of the physical environment consciously or not consciously?
  • How did his reactions influence the subject or the picture as a consequence?
  • How did the examiner influence the situation through physical factors? Examples are the choice of date, the time and physical place of the assessment (e.g. hospital, workplace, home, art therapy studio), the physical and social environmental stimuli, the undisturbed or hurried nature of the room, the installation of the room, the size of the table, the position and direction of the chairs and so on.

Psychological factors:

  • How did the psychological factors of the assessment situation influence the examiner?
  • How did he consciously or not consciously react to the overt and covert psychological factors? Examples are expectations, preconceptions, prejudice, stereotypes and cognitive biases.
  • How did the examiner influence the assessment situation, directly or indirectly, through psychological factors? Examples are the examiner’s age, sex, his relationship and attitude towards the subject, the roles played, implicit expectations, nonverbal suggestions and questions asked or comments made during drawing.
  • How was the testing situation introduced by the examiner? There are always demand characteristics (cues that make subject aware of what the examiner expects to find or how subject is expected to behave) that influence the subject and the picture indirectly through the situation.


Subject ⇄ subject interaction

Subject–subject interactions are examined in multi-person situations when more than one subject makes a picture at one time.

This is frequently seen in art therapy (see Waller, 1993), family therapy or couple therapy (conjoint drawings, group drawings and drawing together methods; see Appendix 1).

Although many authors reported the use of multi-person drawing or painting methods (e.g. Elfriede Höhn, 1952; Hanna Kwiatkowska, 1975; Helen Landgarten, 1981), the first comprehensive and systematic method of evaluation was published by a Hungarian research group (see “Drawing together method”: Viola Nagy, 2007, 2008; Viola Vass and Zoltán Vass, 2009).

They provided coloured pencils, crayons, felt-tip pens and an A3 sized paper to two subjects and larger sheets for more subjects with the following instruction: “Everyone draw something in 15 minutes, please”. After finishing the picture, they told the subjects to “Give it a title and write it on the picture”.

Through 600 video recordings, the authors analysed subject–subject interactions in a number of different populations (e.g. hyperactive and normal children with their mothers, family members, adult couples). As a result of that research, the authors made a distinction between global multi-person evaluations and specific multi-person behavioural reactions. A total number of 61 global behavioural reaction items and 68 specific reaction items were defined and interpreted in an objective coding system.

According to Vass and Vass (2009), the analysis of subject–subject interaction consists of (1) a global evaluation, (2) specific reactions, (3) communication analysis and (4) an interaction dynamics approach.

  1. Global evaluation includes the examination of the finished picture, physical and psychological space, leading and following, relationships, emotional involvement and analogies.
  2. Specific reactions are grouped together according to the three phases of the creative process: (a) preparation, (b) the process of creating the picture and (c) the entitling of the picture. A distinction is made between verbal and nonverbal reactions, as well as positive, negative and neutral (other type) reactions.
  3. The communication analysis approach corresponds to the method described in chapter 7 “Communication analysis”.
  4. The interaction dynamics approach focuses on the following dimensions: activity (quantitative achievement), interactivity (the ability to interact), the positivity of the interaction, dominance (vs. submission), the propensity for cooperation, the emotional temperature of the interaction, initiative, construction (vs. destruction) and the need for contact. (For details, see Appendix 1, no. 39.)


Subject ⇄ examiner interaction

This interaction primarily refers to interaction dynamics, transference and countertransference (the unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another). The factors may be crucial to the validity of the drawing test or pictorial expression.

The examiner should always consider how these factors influence the meaning conveyed by the picture.

  • How do they know each other? What is their relationship like? How does it influence the authenticity of their self-expression? In the case of a disturbing emotional involvement, the examination should be repeated by another, emotionally neutral examiner.
  • Review the reactions occurring during the assessment situation as they relate to the interaction of the subject and the examiner. How did they influence the picture?
  • To what extent is the subject sincere and genuine with the examiner in a (a) verbal,
    (b) nonverbal and (c) pictorial way?
  • Does the subject like to talk about the picture, or does he refuse to do so? Can this be explained by the nature of their relationship, their emotional rapport or the subject’s personality?
  • What were the subject’s direct and indirect, conscious and not conscious aims and intentions towards the examiner? For example, the subject may want to please the examiner and conform to his expectations, or the picture may be a “cry for help” directed at the examiner (see figures 33 and 218).
  • What type of transference reactions occurred? Typical examples are displacement of authority complex, rage, hatred, mistrust, parentification, dependence or even the placement of the examiner in an omnipotent status. Do not forget that transference is common and characteristic of all interpersonal relationships; only in an inadequate form or intensity can transference be described as a pathological issue. If possible, use transference to understand the unresolved conflicts the subject has with figures from his childhood.
  • Does the examiner recognise any emotional entanglement with the subject? Countertransference interferes with objectivity and limits the examiner’s effectiveness. However, it can be a diagnostic and therapeutic tool when used to sort out who is doing what and the meaning behind interpersonal roles. From this point of view, countertransference is considered as a “jointly created” phenomenon between the examiner and the subject: the subject pressures the examiner through transference into playing a role congruent with the subject’s internal world. Having understood the dynamics behind transference and countertransference, the examiner may gain insight into the most significant aspects of personality dynamics.


Picture ⇄ subject interaction

This kind of bidirectional interaction consists of the picture’s impact on the subject (described as “dynamic interactivity” in the SSCA) and the subject’s impact on the picture.

The latter includes the process of creating the picture, the model reactions observed, the post-drawing interview, any spontaneous, verbal comments made about the picture, the title of the picture and any text written on it.

The examiner should consider the following aspects:

  • How did the subject relate to his picture before making the picture? For example, how did the subject prepare, what tools did he select, was there any conscious planning involved or any questions or comments?
  • What were the most significant factors during the making of the picture? This includes the observed reactions during the process of creating the picture and test behaviour (see chapter 2 on process analysis).
  • How did the subject relate to his picture after making the picture? Examples are additions or corrections made to the picture immediately after having finished it or during the course of the interview, but also at the next session or later (for example, redrawing the theme at home, dreaming about it, discussing it with someone or reading up on the theme). Note that verbal comments, the title and any text in the picture are often model reactions (see chapter 2.4 “Observed behaviour as model reaction” and “Writing in the picture and the title of the picture” in chapter 6.3.2).
  • Especially revealing are the subject’s own explanation and interpretation of the picture, as well as the model reactions that occurred. The examiner always asks himself: what do the model reactions uncover about the subject’s general behaviour and attitude?
  • The process of creating the picture should be examined in detail. What did the subject intend to depict? What do the depiction decisions and production strategies reveal about their personality? Differences between the drawing aim and the movement program should be interpreted during the production. A typical example is when the subject draws an animal different from the one he originally intended.
  • How does the subject relate to the significant parts and motifs of the picture? Which parts of the picture are the best and the worst? If more than one human figure is present, who is the most pleasant and who is the least pleasant person? What is good and bad about them? After each response, the examiner must ask why.
  • What is the significance of the picture as a whole in relation to the subject? The examiner may also ask the subject to tell a story about what is happening in the picture, what the individual figures were doing before the action depicted, what they will do afterwards, what they feel, what they wish for and what they need the most.
  • What is the subject’s attitude towards his picture? Does he like it? If the subject could change the picture, what would he change? Note the model reactions.
  • How did the subject’s social context (socio-economic status, milieu, culture, subculture, shared experiences or ideologies) or physical context (present living conditions, present, physical state) influence the process or content of the picture? (see chapter 1.3.1 “Moderator variables”)
  • Dynamic interactivity: the dynamic, mutual and continuously changing process in which the subject’s personality structure and picture are engaged. What does its intensity and quality tell us about the subject?
  • Are the subject’s behaviour and verbal communications congruent with the graphic communication? For instance, figure 408 presents a case in which the markedly dominant social behaviour of a police officer is incongruent with the subject’s micropsic drawings. For further examples of theatrical drawings, see figures 48, 135, 143, 144 and 294, and for dissimulation, see figures 32, 225 and 406.


Picture ⇄ examiner interaction

The picture–examiner interaction refers to the picture’s impact on the examiner and the examiner’s impact on the picture.

Starting points for disclosing the meaning of the picture are listed below:

  • For the examiner, to what extent is the picture ‘readable’ and interpretable? To what extent is it open to analysis? In other words, how expressive is it for the examiner? Although pictures contain a different amount of psychological information (see chapter 7.4.2 “The psychodiagnostic interpretation of the information quantity of projective pictures”), the examiner should find an interpretative method that matches the picture’s “individual language”.
  • What is the examiner’s point of view or approach to the interpretation of the pictorial expression? Does he use a psychoanalytic, developmental or system analytical approach? The perceived meaning of the picture may be influenced by the examiner’s knowledge, theoretical approach and/or practical methods (see Zians, 1997).
  • How does the examiner’s context influence the attributed meaning of the picture? The psychological characteristics of the examiner, for example, may play a significant role in his understanding of the picture (e.g. present mood and state, personality traits etc.).
  • What is the personal relationship of the examiner to the picture? Does he like it or not? Does he find it pleasant and interesting, or boring, disturbing, provocative and incongruent? Does the picture have parts that the examiner likes or dislikes more than other parts, or have especially pleasant or disturbing to him? Does it remind the examiner of another picture? Analogies may be useful or misleading. How does it modify the psychological meaning attributed to the picture by the present examiner?
  • What is the official and unofficial (personal) aim of the examiner with the picture? The two objectives may be different. Examples are diagnosis, therapy, the establishment of a rapport or to “prove” preconceptions. How does the examiner’s aim distort the objective evaluation?