Internet search giant Google has given the Rorschach inkblot the Google Doodle treatment today, in honour of the 129th anniversary of the birth of its creator, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach.
The Rorschach inkblot test is a projective test designed to reflect unconscious parts of the personality that ‘project’ onto the stimuli. In the test, individuals are shown 10 inkblots, one at a time, and report what objects or figures they see in each blot.
Today’s black-and-white Google Doodle, a stylised Google logo on Google’s homepage, depicts hands holding up ink blots, which users can cycle through by hovering their cursor on the blot and using the arrows on either side of the blot. The Doodle also lets users share what they see in the blots via a link below each image.
In one of the blots, Google has cheekily inserted what obviously resemble Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaurs playing with footballs.
In the background of the Doodle sits a psychoanalyst in an office, with the letters of the word ‘Google’ spelled out via picture frames on the wall, a plant and a window.
Hermann Rorschach himself was born on 8 November 1884, in Zurich, Switzerland. His friends had nicknamed him ‘Klecks’, or ‘inkblot’, since he enjoyed making pictures out of inkblots.
Rorschach later studied medicine and graduated from the University of Zurich in 1909. He went on to study under psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, at a time when psychoanalysis sparked excitement in intellectual circles. Rorschach began to think about his childhood inkblots and why different people saw completely different things in the images. So, while still a medical student, he began to show inkblots to children and analysed their responses.
In July 1914, Rorschach took on the role of assistant director at the regional psychiatric hospital in Herisau, Switzerland, and seven years later he wrote the book Psychodiagnostik, which came to form the basis of the inkblot test.
Rorschach was only 37 when he died on 1 April 1922, probably from a ruptured appendix.