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Rorschach Assistance Program


Special Scores

The final task of coding the Rorschach response is to decide if the answer has features that require the addition of one or more Special Scores. Like most other categories, special scores are codes, rather than numerical scores, that signal the present of unusual features in the response.

There are 15 special scores. 6 concern unusual verbalizations, one is used for preservations, 4 involve special features of content, 2 are used to differentiate responses containing human representations, one is used when the answer is personalized, and one identifies a special color phenomenon.

Some special codes (DV, DR, INCOM, and FABCOM) are further differentiated to: Level 1 or Level 2 responses, when Level 2 indicates uncommon and bizarre responses. In case of doubt score Level 1 (conservative stance). However, variables such as culture Background, age, or education should not be considered in making the differentiation between level 1 & 2.

The interactive table shows the Special Scores areas and codes, with links for further clarification and application.

Coding Multiple Special score

It is not uncommon for a response to meet the criteria for more than one special score and, usually, when that occurs all the special scores that apply should be included in the coding. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Thus, if a CONTAM has been scored, none of the following will be scored (DV, DR, INCOM, FABCOM, or ALOG).

The same wording, or the same instance of cognitive confusion, should never be used as a source for which to code more than one of the six unusual verbalization special scores. The decision should be made on whether they occur discretely or not. For example, "2 pink bears climbing the sides of an ice cream con" contains both an INCOM1 (pink bears) and a FABCOM2 (climbing on an ice cream con). These are discrete instances, thus both special scores should be coded.       










Unusual Verbalization Clarification:
Unusual Verbalization pertain to 3 categories of cognitive slippage: Deviant Verbalization (DV and DR), Inappropriate Combination (INCOM, FABCOM, CONTAM), or Inappropriate Logic (ALOG).

Some codes (DV, DR, INCOM, and FABCOM) are further differentiated to:
Level 1 or - A mild or modest instance of fluid and peculiar thinking is present.
Level 2 - A moderate or severe dissociated and illogical thinking is present. Level 2 responses are very unusual and bizarre.

To differentiate between the Levels, the coder should estimate if the cognitive failure represent a casual form of cognitive slippage, or is it the result of strained, disrupted, inappropriate thinking that departs rather noticeably from reality.

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Deviant Verbalization There are 2 codes for Deviant Verbalization (DV and DR). Both refers to expression that reflects impair in the ability to communicate clearly.

DV identify responses with inappropriate word selection, while DR identify responses with inappropriate phrases and fluent elaboration.

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Deviant Verbalization
a. Neologism
Use of incorrect word, or neologism, in place of an appropriate word.

"Bacteria under telescope" = DV1
"A fly plopping" = DV1

"Spiders trying to squish each other" = DV1
"It's a pencil, this is the pointy part" = DV1
"A woman with a disrethal air about her" = DV2
"The public arch of somebody" = DV2

b. Redundancy

Identifies twice the nature of the object(s).

"A tiny little bird" = DV1
"Dead corpse" = DV1
"It's empty, like a hollow void" = DV1
"The two twin lips of a vagina" = DV2
"A trio of three people" = DV2

Used specifically for the content of x-ray and may include either skeletal or organs.
When Xy is coded, An is not included as a secondary code.

A response that includes content that do not fit into one of the standard content categories.
The unique content should be written.

Example: "2 men picking something, I don't know what it is" = H,Id

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Deviant Response
Reflects detach from task by using phrase that is not relevant to the task, or by inappropriate elaboration.

DR is not necessarily bizarre.

If a response contains also a DV, only DR is coded.

a. Inappropriate Phrases
Irrelevant Phrases

"It could be oysters but I guess they're out of season" = DR1
"It might be a cat, my father always hated cats" = DR1
"A vagina, whoever made these was preoccupies" = DR1
"It's some kind of bug that no one has ever seen" = DR2
"It looks like the face of Reagan if you're a Republican" = DR2
"A bird, but I was hoping to see a butterfly" = DR2

b. Circumstantial Responses
Inappropriate, fluid, and rambling elaboration. In distinguish from appropriate elaboration, DR tends to wander off target, and may never return to the initial object.

"It's like a chicken, like you get from KFC, but my
mother makes it better, I think I must be getting hungry" = DR2
"Maybe 2 snakes, I always hated snakes, my brother used to tease me about it" = DR1
"It looks like some trees on a peaceful hill, like a place
hat you would want to go to get away from everything" = DR1
"Maybe animal nose, like in that play that was so filled with passions and drama. I saw it twice. Yes, the nose of a horse" =DR2
"It's look the map of Ireland, maybe of someplace else. I
don't know much about Ireland but I know about Mexico" = DR2
"It looks like oil on water and garbage too, just a lot of pollution that filthy people have thrown into the environment. People really are filthy, they ought to make laws to force them to wallow in their own filth" = DR2

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Inappropriate Combinations There are 3 codes for Inappropriate Combinations (INCOM, FABCOM, CONTAM). The codes used to identify responses in which the objet received improbable attributes, implausible relationships between objects, implausible activities are attributed to objects, or an inappropriate condensation of impressions occurs in a manner that violate reality.

INCOM and FABCOM are also differentiated as Level1 or Level 2.

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Incongruous Combination
Inappropriate merging of blot areas or images into a single object.

"Red bears" = INCOM1

"A man with yellow eyes" = INCOM1
"A bat, here are the wings, body and these are his hands"
An animal engaged in some kind of human activity = NCOM1
"A frog with 4 testicles" = INCOM2
"A woman with the head of a chicken" = INCOM2

"A marvelous penis with wings" = INCOM2

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Fabulized Combination
Impossible relationship imposed between 2 or more objects identified in discrete areas of the blot.
Also, impossible transparencies (always coded as Level 2.)

"2 chickens holding basketball" = FABCOM1

"2 ants dancing" = FABCOM1
Two or more animals
jointly engaged in some
human activity =
"2 woman attacking a submarine" = FABCOM2
"Rabbit head, with smoke come out of his eyes" = FABCOM2
"Big man sitting. You can see his heart pumping" = FABCOM2

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Bizarre fusion of 2 impressions to a single blot area.
Often include neologism.

If CONTAM is coded no other score for unusual verbalization (DV, DR, INCOM, FABCOM, ALOG) should be included in the scoring.

"A face of a bug-fox" (Card I, W. Fused face of a bug and a fox)
"A butterflower" (Card III, center red D3. Fused of butterfly and flower)
It looks like blood, and an island, must be a bloody island"
"It looks like fire and it looks like mountain so it is a fire mountain"

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Inappropriate Logic This coding represents a loose thinking and a very flawed judgment. It is assigned whenever the person, without prompting, uses strained and unusual reasoning to explain the response.

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Inappropriate Logic
Spontaneously use of unconventional reasoning to justify the answer. Some feature of the object is used, in a very illogical manner, to justify the response.

"It must be the north pole
because it's at the top of the card"
"It is a giant because he's got those huge feet"
"He must be a coal miner because he's all black"
"It a lettuce because it's next to this rabbit"
"It's a giant bird because it takes up all of it [the card]"
"This cat must be dead because you can’t see his eyes"
"That is a face of a sad man" [U said it's a sad man]
It has to be, his mustache droops"

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Perseveration There are 3 kinds of Perseveration. One is when two or more almost identical responses are given to the same card. A second reflect instances in which a previously given response is alluded to again when the person is responding to a different card. The third is when the person redundantly gives the same response across several cards.

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a. Within Card PSV
Consecutive responses in which the same location, DQ, determinant(s), FQ, content category, and Z score, if assigned, appear in both answers. (The specific content may change slightly, but content category remains the same)
Special scores do not have to be the same.

Most common example, Card V, "Bat" (=Wo Fo A P 1) and then "Bird" (=the same, except it is not popular)

b. Content PSV
The participant identifies new objects as being the same one reported in an earlier response.
The coding need not to be the same.
Mostly occurs between cards.

Example: The subject may report 2 people fighting on one card, and then "There are those people again, but they are not fighting now"

c. Mechanical PSV
The subject mechanistically reports the same object again and again.

Example: Card I- "A bat", II- " Bat", III- "Another bat", etc.

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Special Content Characteristics There are 4 codes for Special Content Characteristics, Abstract Content, Aggressive or Cooperative Movement, and Morbid Content.

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Abstract Content
The subject articulates a clear and specific symbolic            representation.

Distinguish from Hx (Human Experience) that use to note human emotion or sensory experience.

Abstract painting are not unless a specific symbolic representation included.

"A statue representing communist tyranny"

"It just reminds me of depression"
"A modern dance representing the beauty of women"
"It's just a horrible smell, please take it back"
"A mask that represents evil"
"A poster showing dancer from the musical "Rent"
"A black painting of man's struggle for purity"
"An abstract of the star of the Ice Follies"

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Aggressive Movement


Any movement (M, FM, m) that is clearly aggressive in nature.
Fighting, Breaking, Arguing, Angry look, Look angry.
The aggression must be occurring.

"2 animals fighting"

"A bullet smashing through something"
"A piece of paper that is being torn"
"2 people arguing"
"2 insects trying to knock down this post"
"It looks like a man glaring right at you"

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Cooperative Movement
Any movement (M, FM, m) involving 2 or more objects in which the interaction is clearly positive or cooperative.

Looking or talking are not scored COP.

"2 man lifting something up"

"2 insects trying to knock down this post"
"2 people leaning toward each other, sharing a secret"
"3 people doing a dance together"
"A bird feeding her young"
"2 children playing on a see-saw"
"2 wolves attacking some other animal"

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Morbid Content
The object is identified by either:
a. As dead, destroyed, ruined, spoiled, damaged, injured, or broken

"A broken mirror"
"A dead dog"
"A worn out pair of boots"
"A bear that is injure"
"A wound"
"A torn coat"
"A decaying leaf"

b. The object attributed with dysphonic feeling or characteristic.

"A gloomy house"
"A sad tree"
"An unhappy person"
"A person crying"

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Human Representational Responses Human Representational Responses are defined as those responses which meet any of the following criteria:

1. Responses that contain any Human Content coding [H, (H), Hd, (Hd), Hx].
2. Responses Which contain the determinant M.
3. FM responses that have COP or AG special scores.

Human representational responses are identified by the other cods that have been assigned to the response, and then differentiated, using "good" (GHR) or "poor" (PHR) as special score.

If any of the criteria above is met, the coder should determined which of the two special scores, GHR or PHR, is appropriate by using the sequence of steps that is shown in the table below. These steps should followed in order until a coding decision is made.

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Good or Poor Human Representational Responses
Follow the steps below if the response met any of the above criteria for human presentational response:

Score GHR for answers containing a Pure H coding that also have all of the following:

  (a) Form Quality of FQ+, FQo, or FQu
  (b) No Unusual Verbalization special scores except DV
  (c) No special scores of AG or MOR

Score PHR for answers that have either:

  (a) FQ-, or FQnone (no Form) or
  (b) FQ+, FQo or FQu and have an ALOG, CONTAM, or any Level 2 Unusual Verbalization special score

Score GHR for any remaining human representational answers that have the special score COP, but do not have AG as special score


Score PHR for answers for any remaining human representational answers that have either:

  (a) The special scores FABCOM or MOR
  (b) The content score An

Score GHR for any remaining human representational answers to cards III, IV, VII, and IX that are coded popular


Score PHR for any remaining human representational answers that have any of the following:

  (a) The special scores AG, INCOM, or DR
  (b) An Hd coding [not (Hd) coding]

Score GHR for all remaining human representational answers



Card Resonse Coding GHR/PHR
I Do Fo H GHR -Step 1
II Do Fo Hd PHR -Step 6
III D+ Ma.FYo 2 H,Cg P 3.0 FABCOM  PHR -Step 4
VII D+ Ma.mpo 2 Hd,Art P 3.0 DV GHR -Step 5
VIII W+ FMa.FCo 2 A 4.5 COP, ALOG PHR -Step 2
IX DSo FC'o (Hd) GHR -Step 7

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Personalized Responses Many responses contain personal pronounces like I, me, or we. Most are used naturally such as "It looks like a bat to me," or "I think that it looks like two bears." However, there are instances in which these forms of self references are used as part of the justification for an answer. When that happens a special score of personalized response is required.

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Personal Response
The subject refers to personal knowledge or experience as part of the basis for justifying and /or clarifying a response.
(Usually with personal pronoun, I, me, my or we)

"We had one like that once"
"I see them all he time in the yard"
"I used to make them like that"
"They make you wear one like that in the army"
"My father show me some once"
"If you ever took biology you know they look like that"
"I bought one like it to my daughter"

"They used them a long time ago"
"I've never seen one but I think they are like that"
"I don't like them"

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Color Projection These are rear responses in which an achromatic blot area is identifies as being chromatically colored.

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Color Projection
Subject identifies the present of chromatic coloring in the achromatic blot area.

V- "Oh, what a beautiful butterfly" [Beautiful?] "It has a pleasant purple coloring" 

Usually using the shading features of the blot, thus requiring a determinant coding for diffuse shading (FY, YF, Y).

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