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Rorschach Assistance Program



Determinant coding is one of the most complex feature of scoring the Rorschach. The examiner must consider all of the possibilities that contribute to why an object that is reported actually looks like that to the subject. What visual stimuli in the blot make it look like that?

There are 6 broad categories of determinants, each reflects some aspect of mental processing that has been involved in formulating the response. Some have sub-categories to note different ways in which a determinant element has been used in the answer. Some responses will involve more than one determinant.

All the symbols for coding determinants, with linked criteria for application, are shown in the table.










Used for responses based exclusively on the form feature of the blot.

"Shape of..."
"These are the wings, and the body, and the tail."
"This is the head and here are the legs and this is the tree trunk."
"It's just all black like a rain cloud"= C'
"It's all narrow at the top like rain clouds"= F

F primary vs. secondary

Response -"A very pretty flower"

Inquiry-"It's red like a rose and this would be the petals, and the stem is here" = CF or FC.  (use coder judgment and other clues in the record.)
["I’m not sure I see it as you do"]

"It's just looks like a rose, see the petals and the stem"= FC
or "It's just so pretty, like a white and red rose"= CF (re-emphasized coloring not form.)

Form is subsumed in M, FM and m, therefore F symbol will not be included if the codes M, FM or m are the only ones assigned to an answer.

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Form based dimensional

Impression of depth, distance, or dimensionality is created by using the element of size and/or shape of contours.

No use of shading is involve.


Responses that involve impressions of depth, distance, or dimension that are not based on shading features.

Usually, size differentiation is contributing element:
"The feet are so much bigger than the head, he must be lying down"
"It's so small, it must be way off in the distance"

"It looks like it's in perspective, like I'm looking up at him"

In some responses, the absence of some features of the object are translated to indicate depth or dimensionality:
"I can only c the leg and part of the arm, so it must be behind this..."

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Pairs & Reflections

Like pair (2) responses, reflection responses (rF, Fr) includes symmetry and identical objects.  In addition, they also specified as being reflected or as a mirror image.

The reflection must be based on symmetry and the objects are identical (by word or implication). 

"Someone looking in the mirror"

"An animal seeing its reflection in the lake"
"This is all being reflected in the mirror"

A pair is not recorded when the refection determinant is scored.

Pair is recorded separately, to the right of the determinant coding, while reflections (rF, Fr) codes are included in the determinant segment of the coding.

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Pair response

2 identical objects are reported, based on the symmetry of the blot. The objects must be equivalent in all respects.

The objects must not be identified as being reflected or mirror images.

Any response that used the symmetry of the blot to specify 2 identical objects.

"There are two..."

"A couple of..."
Plural "Bears", "Dogs", "People"
R- "This looks like a dog:
I- "There is one on each side" = (2)

If the objects are differentiated in any way (This one is bigger, fatter, darker, etc.) the pair is not coded.

R- "This looks like 2 people"

I- "It looks like a man and a woman"
Not coded as pair.

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The blot or blot area is reported as a reflection or mirror image, because of the symmetry of the blot.

The object has no specific form, as in clouds, landscape, shadows, etc.

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The blot or blot area is reported as a reflection or mirror image, because of the symmetry of the blot. 

The object reported has a specific form demand, and the substance of the response is based on form features.

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Movement code indicates response that included any kinesthetic activity or movement. There are 3 codes for movement: human, animal and inanimate movement. In some instances the movement is static. The second coding that assigned to all movement responses is a code that notes whether the movement is active or passive.

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Human Movement

Used for responses involving kinesthetic activity of a human, or of animal, fictional character and inanimate objects in human-like activity. 

Fighting, jumping, lifting, sawing, etc. (active)

Thinking, sleeping, pondering, leaning, looking, etc. (passive)

Human like activity:
"2 birds playing poker"
"2 insects arguing"
"A happy tree"

Sensory and emotional experience (including formless abstracts):
"That just remind me a gloom"

"It looks like love to me"
"When I look at this I hear a loud sound."

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Animal Movement

Used for responses involving kinesthetic activity of an animal.
The movement must be congruent with, and common to the species.

Animal's movement not common to their species should be coded M.

"Bears playing poker"

"2 insects pushing a wheelbarrow"
"A fish standing next to a tree"
"There is a butterfly flying over here"

All scored M because the type of movement is not common to their species.

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Inanimate Movement

Movement of inanimate, inorganic, or objects.  Or an object in an unnatural tension state.

"Cloud rising"
"A waterfall"
"A flag flaying in the breeze"
"A bullet smashing through something"
"Flames leaping up"

Unnatural tension:

"A coat hanging on a post"
"A skin stretched out to dry"
"A rug laying on the floor" will not be scored m because there is no unnatural tension state.

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a, p, a-p
Active-Passive Movement

Active and/or Passive code must be assigned to all movement responses.

"Talking" (Benchmark: beyond = a)




Static  movement - the object, or the scene reported is described as an abstract, a caricature, a painting, or a picture. = p (regardless of the description  of the movement reported)

"An abstract of fireworks" = mp
"A painting of 2 dogs fighting" = FMp

2 or more objects are described in movement and at least one is active and one passive.

"2 people dancing (active) around a person standing (passive) in the middle." = Ma-p

The determinant M is entered as a single frequency, but both a and p are counted when tallying the frequency of a and p.

a-p assign to a single M only when more than one object is involved in the movement.  

"A dog sitting here (passive) howling at the moon (active)" = FMa (Only the active movement is coded.)

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Chromatic Color

Answers that are involved chromatic color features of the blot.

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Chromatic Color

Answers based exclusively on the chromatic color feature of the blot.
No form is involved.

"This red, it's looks like blood"
"It's blue so it could be water"
"Just a lot of different colored paint"
"It's blue, like ice get blue sometimes"  
R- "The orange there cb fire"
I- "It's the way that you see the orange flames when u look at  the fire."

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Chromatic Color-Form

Answers that are formulated primarily because of the chromatic color features of the blot.
Form features are used, but are of secondary importance.

R- "A pretty flower"

I- "It's a beautiful orange w green leaves & this is the stem"

R- "A very exotic butterfly"
I- "It's a beautiful red, unusual in its color, the leafs are out"

R- "Eggs fried in a butter"
I- "They’re yellow, like fried in butter, c the yoke in the cntr"

R- "It's a forest of some sort"
I- "It's all deferent colored plants and tree"
(in contrast if I was - "U can c the shapes of some trees & bushes and this might be a road running down the middle." = F)

"The red must be blood, it's on these bears that are fighting each other" 

(Whereas red blood typically be coded C, the coding here is stepped down because of proximity to a form dominated object.  If the blood was not on the bears but in the background, the coding will be C.)

Minimal form:

"The red looks like blood, running down"
"Like fireworks exploding outward"

"The pink reminds me of strawberry ice cream, 2 scoops"

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Chromatic Color

Mainly because of form, chromatic color are secondary.

"There are 2 people leaning each other, they have red hats"

"These are 2 little pink mice, they r pink when they are first born, c their little legs and a head & a tail"
"Red Hats"

Clarification (in contrast to some CF examples):

R- "A pretty flower"
I- "Here is the stem, these r the leaves, this is the flower, its in a pot"
[U said it is pretty?]

"Yes, it has an orange flower"

R- "A very exotic butterfly"
I- "It's has a very unusual wings, like a very rare butterflies, I think they are red, like this one."

R- "Eggs fried in a butter"
I- "It has an irregular shape, like egg does after you break it, and this is the yoke"
[U said fried in butter?]

"Well, thyr sort of yellow so I thot they might be fried in butter"

R- "The orange there cb flames"
I- "They are darting upward, burning evenly creating a symmetrical impression" (In spite the fact that the color was mentioned first, the overall emphasis is on form.)

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Color naming

The colors of the blot are identified by name, and given as a response.

Examples: "Red", "Green", "Yellow".

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Achromatic Color

Achromatic color responses are less frequent than chromatic.

Mostly FC'.

Same reasoning for scoring applicable to both chromatic and achromatic responses.

Key word:



"Light" and "dark" can also be used to indicate the use of shading rather then achromatic color.

"It's all dark like at night" = C'
"It's all dark, like it's deeper here. = Vista

"It's lighter up here like at the top of a cloud" = Diffuse Shading

All of the key words above can be use to note location:
"This white part looks like..." or "This dark area could be..." 

Achromatic and chromatic color should be score only if the subject intention is clear and unequivocal.  If the intent of the key words is not clear, a code of shading is more appropriate.

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Pure Achromatic Color


Answers based exclusively on the gray, black, or white feature of the blot, when they are clearly used as color.

"It's just all black like a rain cloud."
"It's white like a snow."

No form is involved.

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Achromatic Color -Form

Answers that are formulated primarily because of the gray, black, or white feature, clearly used as color.

Form features are used, but are of secondary importance.

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Form-Achromatic Color

Mainly because of form, achromatic color are secondary.

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Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between texture, diffuse and vista shading.

"It's looks rough because the lines make it look like there are indentations there, like bumpy" - shading used for depth or vista.

Similarly, "This looks like the brain, c the way the lines go here, it looks very bumpy" = vista {because shading is used (the way the lines go) and there is no implication for tactical impression (it looks very  bumpy).}

If "It looks like it would feel very bumpy if you touch it"

Or "This area looks cold because there are deferent shades of blue, like ice get when it's really cold" - shading used for diffuse response.

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The shading features used to create a tactile impression as in:

"It looks like it feels soft"

"It looks like it would feel hot if you touched it"
"Rough sandpaper"

R- "A piece of fur"
I- "Because it's all irregular around the edges" = F

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Pure texture

Shading components are translated to represent a tactual response.
No form is involved.

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Shading features are interpreted as tactual, and form is used secondary (usually for purposes of elaboration and /or clarification.)

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Mainly because of form.  Shading features are translated as tactual, but are of secondary importance.

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The shading features used to create the impression of depth or dimensionality.

"It's all dark, like it is deeper here"
When shading is used in conjunction with:
"It's down in"

"It's behind"
"It's rounded at the edges"
"It's higher than"
"It's an aerial view of..."
"Mountain range (line)"

Distinguish whether dept or dimension is based on the shading or is created because of the size or the contour features of the blot.  
When the latter occurs, the coding is FD and not vista.

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Pure Vista

Shading features are interpreted as depth or dimensionality.
No form is involved.

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Shading features are interpreted as depth or dimensionality.
Form features are included, but of secondary important.

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Based on form features.  Shading interpreted to note depth and/or dimensionality but are secondary.

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Clarification: Any shading response that is not texture or vista.

Key words:

Not clearly implying achromatic color response.

Sometimes, indicating a contrast to color or coloring.  Like:
"The different pinks make it look rotten"
"It has different grays in it, like during the storm"
"The way the coloring comes together gives the impression of dried blood"

"These dark wavy lines make it look furry."
It is the
diffuse shading (
dark wavy lines) that create the tactile impression.

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Pure Shading

Responses that are based exclusively on the light-dark features of the blot that are completely formless and do not involve texture or dimension.

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Responses that are based primary on the light-dark features. Form features are included, but are secondary.

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Based on form features.  Light-dark features are included, but are secondary.

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