Thematic apperception test
Thematic Apperception Test

Thematic Apperception Test: 2 Benefits, Procedures, and How It Works

Thematic Apperception Test, abbreviated as TAT, is a projection technique, used to reveal personality dynamics, which manifest themselves in interpersonal relationships and in perceptions (or meaningless interpretations) of the environment. With this technique an adept interpreter can uncover dominant emotional impulses, sentiments, complex and personal conflicts.

There are various projection techniques used as personality tests. Among the ranks of this type of test, TAT gained a second level after the Rorschach Test. Some experts suggest using both of these tests (TAT and Rorschach) to reveal personality in full. The Rorschach test (hereinafter referred to as Ro) which is formal in nature and uses perception analysis, is the best test among formal expressive tests on the path of mind and emotional organization.

Because generally Ro tests are emphasized in the quantitative proportion analysis, content analysis. With the Ro test is estimated the magnitude of anxiety and the presence of needs. While TAT can be proposed working hypotheses on matters of concern and hierarchy of need that test have.

Thematic Apperception Test Benefits

  • TAT is useful in studying the overall personality of a person, so it can interpret abnormal behavior, psychosomatic diseases, neurose and can be used for children as young as 4 years old if possible. There is a special TAT enhancement for children that is a CAT.
  • Special benefits of TAT. As a preliminary interview therapy and is the first step in psychoanalysis.

Read also:
Histrionic Personality Disorder Test, Symptoms, Causes, and How to treat it

How thematic apperception test works?

The Thematic Apersception Test, or TAT as it is often called, involves showing respondents images of ambiguous people and asking them to come up with an explanation for what happened at the scene. The purpose of this test was to learn more about the respondents’ thoughts, concerns, and motives based on the stories they created to explain the cryptic and often provocative scenes depicted in the images.

The subject is asked to tell a story that explains what happened in the image, including the events leading up to the scene, what happened in the scene, what each character thought or felt, and what happened next.

The full version of TAT includes 32 picture cards depicting various scenes depicting possible characters, including men, women, children, and no human subjects at all. The scene explores a number of themes including those related to se**xuality, aggression, failure, success, and relationships.

Murray initially recommended using about 20 cards and choosing people who depicted characters similar to the subject. Many practitioners currently use between 8 and 12 cards, often chosen because the examiner feels that the scene suits the client’s needs and situation.

This format allows practitioners to use their best judgment when choosing scenes to determine which ones are most likely to obtain useful information from respondents.

Thematic apperception test procedure

TAT is known as an image interpretation technique because it uses a standard set of provocative yet ambiguous images about which subjects are asked to tell stories. Subjects are asked to say as dramatic a story as they can for each image presented, including the following:

  • What leads to the show being shown?
  • What’s happening at the moment?
  • What the character feels and thinks?
  • What’s the result of that story?

If this element is omitted, especially for children or individuals of low cognitive abilities, evaluators can ask the subject about them directly.

There are 32 picture cards in the form of standard TAT. Some cards feature numbers that are male, female, some both male and female characters, some of ambiguous genders, some older persons, some children, and some showing no human figures at all. One card is completely blank.

Although the cards were originally designed to match subjects in terms of age and gender, any card can be used with any subject. Most practitioners choose a set of cards of about ten, either using cards that they generally find useful, or that they believe will encourage the expression of emotional conflict subjects relevant to specific histories and situations.


Last Updated on September 3, 2021 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team


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