Thematic Apperception Test


is form of personality test that isapplicable to children aged 10 years and above. The test involvespresenting a series of 32 photos to children and asking them todescribe what is going on in the situations they see (Bellak &ampAbrams, 2012). This test has been used for psychological tests fordecades in areas such as dreams and the choice of mates. It is testthat seeks to assess the emotional responses of people, theirpersonality, attitudes, observational capacity and a person’spattern of thought (Bellak &amp Abrams, 2012). It is abundantlyclear that this is a simple test that children aged 10 years andabove can master quickly and tell a story regarding the pictures withease. It is therefore an appropriate test for children.

This test does not normally take a long time with each sessiontaking utmost one hour. This implies that the test can be best suitedfor assessing the personality of children who may not be attentivefor a very long time. Additionally, it is evident that children willgive honest answers in such situations hence the test would depictthe true personality of the child (Bellak &amp Abrams, 2012).Although the examiner of the test is not supposed to offer guidanceto the child, it is clear that the test allows the examiner to guidethe child. This is an extremely useful method since it would ensurethat the children do the right thing and provide the proper results.

Lastly, the test can be effective for children since the pictures inthe cards present common social situations (Bellak &amp Abrams,2012). The drawings on the cards are mainly those of humans andanimals in situations which the child is already familiar with. Thisis an indication that the test is designed for people of all ages. Itis a simple and direct test which children will tackle appropriately.


Bellak, L., &amp Abrams, D. M. (2012).&nbspThe ThematicApperception Test, the children`s apperception test, and the senior apperception technique inclinical use. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Thematic Apperception Test

ThematicApperception Test

ThematicApperception Test

ThematicApperception Test (TAT) is a projective psychological measure meantto evaluate an individual’s patterns of attitudes, thought,observation capability, and emotional responses to vague testmaterials. This kind of a test is one of the most widely applied,researched and taught tests in history. In the TAT evaluation, thevague materials comprise of a set of cards which exhibit humanfigures in different settings and situations (Shneidman,2013).The individual being tested is presented with one card at a time, andexpected to tell the examiner an explanation regarding each card onvarious elements including the event portrayed on the card, what hasresulted to the event, what the characters’ feelings and thoughtsas well as the outcome of the event.

Historyof TAT

TheTAT was initially developed by Christiana Morgan, Henry Murray,together with their colleagues in 1935 at Harvard PsychologicalClinic. The general consent regarding TAT is that it was developedfrom the idea of one of undergraduate students of Murray. The studenthad mentioned that her child had spent his tome recovering from anillness by cutting images off magazines and making up narrativesabout them (Shneidman,2013).The student was concerned if similar pictures could be applied intherapy to tap into the patient’s form of fantasies.


TheTAT is commonly administered to people in a serene room with nointerruptions. The examiner sits at one end of the table and thesubject at the other. Between 10 to 14 cards are shown to the subjecteven though Murray had advocated for 20 cards to be used (Shneidman,2013).Initially, the cards were divided into three sets, one for men, womenand another for both genders. The test usually takes one hour tocomplete. The participant’s story is usually recorded in a taperecorder as well as writing notes regarding the subjects non-verbalbehavior. Interpretations of results are done in regard to thesubject’s age, personality history, sex, education level, race,native language as well as occupation.


TheTAT is usually administered to people as part of a group or batteryof tests meant to evaluate the personality of a person. It isconsidered important in eliciting information regarding anindividual’s perception of the world and his or her attitudes onself and other people. As individuals undertaking the test proceedthrough the different event cards and tell stories regarding theimages, they exhibit their expectations of relationships withparents, peers, authorities, colleagues, and possible intimatepartners (Shneidman,2013).Besides evaluating the content of the narratives given by thesubject, the examiner assesses the participant’s manner,hesitations, vocal tone, posture and other signs of emotionalresponse to a certain story image. Individual application of TAT isdone to candidates for employment in areas requiring high level ofskill in dealing with others or the ability to deal with increaseddegrees of psychological stress like law enforcement, religiousministry, military leadership, diplomatic service, and education tomention a few (Shneidman,2013).In addition, TAT may be administered for forensic purposes inassessing the motivations and attitudes of individuals accused ofcrimes. Finally, the TAT can be administered repeatedly to a personas a way of assessing progress in psychotherapy or in certaininstances to help the therapist comprehend why the treatment seems tobe failing. The TAT is also used for purposes of research inparticular aspects of human personality mostly needs for success,fear of failure, interpersonal object relations hostility andaggression.

Conclusively,the TAT is a widely used form of test in various fields and itspopularity continue to improve with increased research. Althoughthere is some criticism of the test, it remains applicable untiltoday.


Shneidman,E. S. (2013). Thematictest analysis.Routledge.