The Thematic Apperception Test

  • George C. Rosenwald


Since its design in the mid-thirties, the TAT has risen to a preeminent postition among instruments of assessment. It has been used more widely than any other projective technique in the scientific investigation of motivation, and clinicians continue to rely on it heavily in coping with diagnostic problems of everyday practice. It has held its own so well in competition with the Rorschach test and the many other tech niques described in this book for several reasons. Perhaps the foremost is that the manifest material yielded by the TAT is not mysterious in appearance. The comparatively untrained person can appreciate fabricated stories and fantasy tales; he needs no acquaintance with technical symbols and test scores to obtain at least a superficial feeling for the moods and perspectives of the subject who produced the stories, and even the experienced tester profits from this property which differentiates the TAT from other tests.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Atkinson, J. W., (Ed.). Motives in Fantasy, Action, and Society. Princeton, N.J.: Van Nostrand, 1958.Google Scholar
  2. Atkinson, J. W., Heyns, R. W., Veroff, J. The effect of experimental arousal of the affiliation motive on thematic apperception. J. abn. soc. Psychol., 1954, 49, 405–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Atkinson, J. W., Walker, E. L. The affiliation motive and perceptual sensitivity to faces. J. abn. soc. Psychol, 1956, 53, 38–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Balken, E. R., Masserman, J. H. The language of fantasy: III. The language of the fantasies of patients with conversion hysteria, anxiety state, and obsessive-compul sive neurosis. J. Psychol, 1940, 10, 75–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bellak, L. The concept of projection. Psychiatry, 1944, 7, 353–370.Google Scholar
  6. Bellak, L. The Thematic Apperception Test in clinical use. In L. E. Abt L. Bellak (Eds.). Projective Psychology. New York: Knopf, 1950.Google Scholar
  7. Bellak, L. The TAT and CAT in Clinical Use. New York: Grune and Stratton, 1954.Google Scholar
  8. Clark, R. A. The projective measurement of experimentally induced levels of sexual motivation. J. experim. Psychol, 1952, 44, 391–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cook, R. A. Identification and ego-defensiveness in thematic apperception. J. proj. Tech., 1953, 17, 312–319.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cronbach, L. J. Essentials of Psychological Testing, Second edition. New York: Harper, 1960.Google Scholar
  11. Dana, R. H. An application of objective TAT scoring. J. proj. Tech., 1956, 20, 159–163.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Davison, A. H. A comparison of the fantasy productions on the TAT of sixty hospital ized psychoneurotic and psychotic patients. J. proj. Tech., 1953, 17, 20–33.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Epley, D., Ricks, D. R. Foresight and hindsight in the TAT. J. proj. Tech., 1963, 27, 51–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Eron, L. D. A normative study of the TAT. Psychol. Monogr., 1950, 64, no. 9.Google Scholar
  15. Eron, L. D. Responses of women to the TAT. J. consult. Psychol, 1953, 17, 269–282.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ervin, S. M. Language and TAT content in bilinguals. J. abn. soc. Psychol, 1964, 68, 500–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fenichel, O. On the psychology of boredom. In The Collected Papers of Otto Fenichel. New York: Norton, 1953. (originally published in 1934).Google Scholar
  18. Freud, S. Some character types met with in psychoanalytic work. In S. Freud, Collected Papers, vol. IV. London: Hogarth Press, 1924. (originally published in 1915).Google Scholar
  19. Goldman, R., Greenblatt, M. Changes in TAT stories paralleling changes in clinical status of schizophrenic patients. J. nerv. ment. Dis., 1955, 121, 243–249.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Harrison, R. Studies in the use and validity of the TAT with mentally disordered patients. II. A quantitative validity study. III. Validation by the method of “blind” analysis. Character and Pers., 1940, 9, 122–133, 134-138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Henry, W. E. The TAT in the study of culture-personality relations. Genet. Psychol. Monogr., 1947, 35, 1–134.Google Scholar
  22. Henry, W. E. The Analysis of Fantasy. New York: Wiley, 1956.Google Scholar
  23. Holt, R. R. The TAT. In H. H. Anderson G. L. Anderson (Eds.). An Introduction to Projective Techniques. New York: Prentice-Hall, 1951.Google Scholar
  24. Holt, R. R. Formal aspects of the TAT: A neglected resource. J. proj. Tech., 1958, 22, 163–172.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Holt, R. R. The nature of TAT stories as cognitive products: A psychoanalytic ap proach. In J. Kagan G. S. Lesser (Eds.). Contemporary Issues in Thematic Apperception Methods. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C Thomas, 1961.Google Scholar
  26. Kagan, J., Lesser, G. S., (Eds.). Contemporary Issues in Thematic Apperception Methods. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C Thomas, 1961.Google Scholar
  27. Kagan, J., Mussen, P. H. Dependency themes on the TAT and group conformity. J. consult. Psychol., 1956, 20, 29–32.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kenny, D. T., Bijou, S. W. Ambiguity of pictures and extent of personality factors in fantasy responses. J. consult. Psychol., 1953, 17, 283–288.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Klein, G. S. Perception, motives, and personality. In J. L. McCary (Ed.). Psychology of Personality. New York: Logos, 1956.Google Scholar
  30. Leary, T. A theory and methodology for measuring fantasy and imaginative expression. J. Pers., 1956, 25, 159–175.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lesser, G. S. Conflict analysis of fantasy aggression. J. Pers., 1958, 26, 29–41.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lindzey, G. TAT: Interpretive assumptions and related empirical evidence. Psychol. Bull, 1952, 49, 1–25.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lindzey, G., Bradford, J., Tejessy, C, & Davids, A. TAT: An interpretive lexicon for clinician and investigator. J. clin. Psychol. Monogr. Suppl, 1959, no. 12.Google Scholar
  34. Lindzey, G., Newburg, A. S. TAT: A tentative appraisal of some “signs” of anxiety. J. consult. Psychol., 1954, 18, 389–395.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lindzey, G., Tejessy, C. TAT: Indices of aggression in relation to measures of overt and covert behavior. Amer. J. Orthopsychiat., 1956, 26, 567–576.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lindzey, G., Tejessy, C, Zamansky, H. TAT: An empirical examination of some indices of homosexuality. J. abn. soc. Psychol., 1958, 57, 67–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Matarazzo, J. D. An experimental study of aggression in the hypertensive patient. J. Pers., 1954, 22, 423–447.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Morgan, C. D., Murray, H. A. A method for investigating fantasies: The TAT. Arch. Neurol. Psychiat., 1935, 34, 289–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Murray, H. A. Thematic Apperception Test. Pictures and manual. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1943.Google Scholar
  40. Murray, H. A. Uses of the TAT. Amer. J. Psychiat., 1951, 107, 577–581.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Murray, H. A., et al. Explorations in Personality. New York: Oxford University Press, 1938.Google Scholar
  42. Murstein, B. I. Theory and Research in Projective Techniques (Emphasizing the TAT). New York: Wiley, 1963.Google Scholar
  43. Piotrowski, Z. A. The TAT of a schizophrenic interpreted according to new rules. Psychoan. Rev., 1952, 39, 230–251.Google Scholar
  44. Pittluck, P. The relationship between aggressive fantasy and overt behavior. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Yale University, 1950.Google Scholar
  45. Poser, E. G., Lee, S. G. Thematic content associated with two gastrointestinal disorders. Psychosom. Med., 1963, 25, 162–173.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Rapaport, D., Gill, M. M., Schafer, R. Diagnostic Psychological Testing, Volume II. Chicago: Year Book Publishers, 1946.Google Scholar
  47. Ritter, A. H., Eron, L. D. The use of the TAT to differentiate normal from ab normal groups. J. abn. soc. Psychol., 1952, 47, 147–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rorschach, H. Psychodiagnostik. Berne: Hans Huber, 1921.Google Scholar
  49. Rosenzweig, S., Fleming, E. E. Apperceptive norms for the TAT: II. An empirical investigation. J. Pers., 1949, 17, 483–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Saltz, G., Epstein, S. Thematic hostility and guilt responses as related to self-reported hostility, guilt, and conflict. J. abn. soc. Psychol, 1963, 67, 469–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Schafer, R. How was this story told? J. proj. Tech., 1958, 22, 181–210.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Schwartz, B. J. The measurement of castration anxiety and anxiety over loss of love. J. Pers., 1955, 24, 204–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Schwartz, B. J. An empirical test of two Freudian hypotheses concerning castration anxiety. J. Pers., 1956, 24, 318–327.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Shneidman, E. S., Joel, W., Little, K. B. Thematic Test Analysis. New York: Grune and Stratton, 1951.Google Scholar
  55. Silver, A. W. TAT and MMPI Psychopath Deviant Scale differences between delinquent and nondelinquent adolescents. J. consult. Psychol., 1963, 27, 370.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Silverman, L. H. Ego-disturbance in TAT stories as a function of aggression-arousing stimulus properties. J. nerv. ment. Dis., 1964, 138, 248–254.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Singer, J. L., Opler, M. K. Contrasting patterns of fantasy and motility in Irish and Italian schizophrenics. J. abn. soc. Psychol., 1956, 53, 42–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Strieker, G. The construction and partial validation of an objectively scorable apperception test. J. Pers., 1962, 30, 51–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Thompson, C. E. Thompson Modification of the Thematic Apperception Test. Cam bridge: Harvard University Press, 1949.Google Scholar
  60. Tomkins, S. S. The Thematic Apperception Test: The Theory and Technique of Interpretation. New York: Grune and Stratton, 1947.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Weiss, P., Emmerich, W. Dependency fantasy and group conformity in ulcer patients. J. consult. Psychol., 1962, 26, 61–64.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Weisskopf, E. A. A transcendence index as a proposed measure in the TAT. J. Psychol. 1950a, 29, 379–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Weisskopf, E. A. An experimental study of the effect of brightness and ambiguity on projection in the TAT. J. Psychol., 1950b, 29, 407–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Welch, B., Schafer, R., Dember, C. F. TAT stories of hypomanic and depressed patients. J. proj. Tech., 1961, 25, 221–232.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wyatt, F. The scoring and analysis of the TAT. J. Psychol, 1947, 24, 319–330.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zubin, J., Eron, L. D., Schumer, F. An Experimental Approach to Projective Tech niques. New York: Wiley, 1965.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • George C. Rosenwald

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations