THE VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY OF INTERPRETATION
FROM AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND THEMATIC APPERCEPTION TEST
Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) is psychological test that uses picture or images to interpret the personality of individual including their feelings and emotion. The interpretation of the subject must be recorded and analyze to identity their reaction. According to Murray and Morgan the authors of the TAT the subject or client is asked to identify a series of pictures and if they do; the traits, attitudes, needs and other feelings can be revealed accordingly. Or in other words it releases their emotions through pictures. They also added that the stimulus response is not just a fantasy but a reality in each life, the Rorschach and Thematic Apperception is correlated with each other and has been often used clinically.
The clients meets the demand they need to release their emotions and they can relate to the picture accordingly that they are able see to the situations in their life, they added that the particular pictures may show the clients resistance, anxiety and other behaviors when they can relate to the pictures. The proper way of using the test is one on one, personal and in a quiet room to eliminate distraction and interpretation.
Same with Rorschach theory of interpretation that uses inkblot and critically evaluated by psychiatrist to test its validity and reliability to the society, the Freudian principles of repression do not believe in the theory of TAT that it is not scientific nor cannot be measured and therefore should not be used in public because of its validity and reliability that is questionable in nature, lacking of resource and essence but merely a fantasies of individual. Some would say the interpretation is too much to be expected and therefore non- concrete and maybe deceiving or lacking in evidence and unreliable, but again this needs experimentation or evidence.
Helen Sargent of Winter Veterans Administration Hospitals in Kansas says that there is no subjective standard of evaluation the pictures are not necessarily an autobiography or part of life of the clients. This proves that it is hard to judge and there is no specification formulation standard of grading system that should include age, sex, nationality, culture etc. all these deficiencies may lead to erroneous interpretation. The large number of studies of psychiatrist and other social practitioner agrees to Helen since the TAT indicator does not include gender, cultural, historical and other issues concerning the client’s life therefore reliability and validity is once again questioned.
Race is the best questions of validity because the original Thematic Apperception Test picture used in 1935 involved purely Caucasian people and it would definitely influence the response of black and white people since they may not confide in its color. However in 2002 the new sets of pictures have already introduced various races and nationality of people to make it more credible in clinical examination approach and somewhat it has improved the set of TAT assessment.
There is also a question in scoring system that there is no normal standard in assessment of scores. Accordingly Murray’s scoring system they agreed that it may take time to interpret the clients and there should be a variable of accounts, for example what would be the determinant is it their gesture or their answer or both? Most importantly what if the cards are not available or what if the pictures are not in relation to the situations that are needed by the patients? How can it be interpreted? All these and more has been the most questioned and perceived unreliable in the study.
As early as 1964 the TAT version has been initially applied in computer versions to evaluate such responses but the response can only be answered with yes or no that may highly delimit its evaluation even more. Computers are delimited in recording the client’s expressions, tonality of voice, eye contact and body gestures of humans and therefore according to their critics are much more uncertain and unreliable in prediction and in observation, highly not recommended for evaluation.
Much has been said about its reliability and effectiveness, TAT has become one of the most controversial and one of the most highly used projective interpretation techniques it is often used by most clinical psychologist of today rather than Rorschach because the truth is, if they have used this technique religiously it has proven many times its worth for an individual to be effective rather than questioned. However this technique is not recommended to be used in group because of diversity and misleading interpretation. (American Psychological Association 2002)