Models vs. Experts #2: Rorschach interpretation

Models vs. Experts #2: Rorschach interpretation

May 3, 2013 Research Insights, Behavioral Finance
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(Last Updated On: January 18, 2017)

Unsuccessful differential diagnosis from the Rorschach

  • Armitage, S. G., & Pearl, D.
  • Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21. 479-484
  • A version of the paper can be found here.
  • Want a summary of academic papers with alpha? Check out our free Academic Alpha Database!


The consistency with which individual or group diagnostic categorization can be predicted from the Rorschach was investigated in two ways; one was an objective statistical approach and the other a subjective judgmental approach. In the first, an attempt was made to relate statistically either single or patterned Rorschach determinants to previously made diagnostic judgments. The results failed to uncover any useful means of arriving at a diagnosis. The judgmental approach was found to be equally unsuccessful in achieving consistent diagnostic predictions.


Can Rorschach be an effective diagnostic tool?


Alpha Highlight:

I’m not a psychologist, but my read on the paper is that protocol = judgement, psychogram = mechanical, and combined = both tools combined. Looks like for neurotic diagnosis the model wins, for paranoid schizophrenia humans win. Overall, there it seems like a bunch of noise and no machine or human can figure it out.


Strategy Summary:

Sounds like the Rorschach test is bunk…of course, this study was done in 1957.

Thoughts on the paper?

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About the Author

Wesley R. Gray, Ph.D.

After serving as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, Dr. Gray earned a PhD, and worked as a finance professor at Drexel University. Dr. Gray’s interest in bridging the research gap between academia and industry led him to found Alpha Architect, an asset management that delivers affordable active exposures for tax-sensitive investors. Dr. Gray has published four books and a number of academic articles. Wes is a regular contributor to multiple industry outlets, to include the following: Wall Street Journal, Forbes,, and the CFA Institute. Dr. Gray earned an MBA and a PhD in finance from the University of Chicago and graduated magna cum laude with a BS from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.