Kevin Meehan Recently Interviewed by The Atlantic

Jan 07, 2015

In January, Kevin Meehan, Ph.D., a former graduate alumni and current associate professor at Long Island University, was interviewed and quoted in The Atlantic for his knowledge of the Rorschach Inkblot test. The Rorschach is one of the most frequently used projective tests in Japan, as it gives the patient the ability to answer questions in a very open manner, leading away from methods that utilize right or wrong answers. It is a tool that mental health specialists are trained to use consistently in therapy. Japanese use of the Rorschach has a long history which dates back to 1925, and the acceptance of the Rorschach test among the Japanese is so popular that 52 percent of the International Rorschach Society is Japanese. However, in the United States, the test has been criticized and viewed as unreliable by many mental health professionals. Meehan provides some explanation of the Rorschach: "The reason patients would be given the Rorschach, as part of a larger assessment battery, is if it's not clear why they’re struggling." Patients typically use emotional self-evaluations in therapy, Meehan explains: "With the Rorschach, you have no idea if you’re giving a 'good' or a 'bad' response. I could imagine that that test would be more appealing in a culture where there’s a greater need for social desirability." Social desirability is important when trying to have a patient express his/her true feelings. Japan's cultural behavior emphasizes less emotional expression, making the Rorschach a good test for reading a patient's emotions. There is some speculation about the Rorschach's validity due to cross-cultural differences in perception. Even with cross-cultural perspectives, the Rorschach is not necessarily about what you see, but how you see it. Meehan explains: "It's not really what they say; it’s more about how they pull together the image. And the how is very cross-culturally stable."