BASIC INTERPRETATION OF MACHOVER FIGURE DRAWING TEST
Karen Machover’s figure drawing test is another type of projection test like Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Test but the difference is that Machover figure drawing test is basically designed for children because it is a very manageable task and it is fun, children can easily relate and enjoy such test. The process involved is simple; the subject (usually children) will be ask to draw a person of a man a woman and themselves the picture will be interpreted according to the following the head and its size, the position of the arms and legs etc.. In Rorschach and Thematic Apperception the subject will be the one to identify the images while in Machover figure drawing test the subject will be the one to draw the images.
Although there are flexibility and diversity in interpretation basically the most features that are interpreted is the aggressiveness of a child, the sexual preferences, and their relationship to their family and peers (Machover 1949) the draw me a test is an adaptation of Florence Goodenough (1926), a child psychologist. He developed this kind of test to prove the children are worthy to assess their age and experience of maturity and drawing can be an effective tool in progress.
Machover has done a lot of to reinvent the process so as to be able to use it with children and also adults for she thought that the drawing is similarly varied and applicable in underlying measures including personality traits and other determinants she then using qualitative approach in the interpretation of the drawing. But during few more years (in 1965 by Murstein) there are also quantitative determinants to be included in the test to create a wider variety of drawings including trees, house, plants, and others to extend a deeper meaning and interpretation. This is called the House, Tree and Person drawing test (HTP) and the Kinetic Family Drawing Test (KFD). According to psychology all this involvement makes the test easier to administer because it has a wider interface and format, it can assess communication block behavior and it goes beyond races.
Karen Machover during 1949 considered the following variables in coordination to the drawing of the subject she stated that the first thing that needs to figure out is the size of the drawing and how it was placed on the sheet. The distances of the arms and body whether it is drawn in any other view means that it is the subject of personal representation. The proportion of the basic parts of the body is also given consideration, the erasure of the lines and the facial expression is also shown and emphasized and many other basic considerations for interpretation analysis have been included by machover during her first attempt of reinvention.
In a more detailed consideration the size and figure of an object when place on a certain side of the sheet may shows that a certain person is seeking help and support, if the size of an object is wide and occupying the whole space may see the subject as glamorous and famous in their projection while feeling of inadequacy is shown on a smaller size of the object. However the feeling of adequacy may show in the size of the arms or if the arms reaches out for something may show extremity towards his own worth, most importantly the facial expression shows the awareness and social behavior of the subject, the mouth may shows independence or dependency or receptiveness, Lacking of eyes mean self absorption while wariness is expressed in the eyes.
The presentation of the clothing can express a socialized behavior of the subject if they are simple means they are less sociable while extreme glamorous clothes may show more sociability while other unknown and different clothing may express and show their cultural pattern. Extreme erasure may show several projection including psychosexuality abuse and confusion or conflicts while erasure and reinforcement may mean a problem of attitude the size of buttocks and hips may show homosexuality. The shaded area of the object may show solidity while blots may show anxiety. Tiny little feet may show insecurity, body projection and other peculiarities may vary or it may show various expression of resentment or hostility. But all this is just a basic part of it and there is a deeper interpretation in HTP and KFD.
All this has been a part of the technique used in both Machover and other theory of figure drawing test although there are also numbers of criticism that they have faced in developing the theory. The test is still exercised and used widely in school from all elementary to college as personality determinants, in industry it is used by human resource personnel as part of their examination in hiring employees and mostly it is used in clinical institutions for interpretation and projective examination of their patients. Largely they have been very successful about their goal of identifying characteristic and projective behavior of the subjects using this figure drawing test.