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Journal of Projective Psychology and Mental Health: Volume 29, Number 1, Jan 2022 Editorial

1. Editorial: Projective Techniques in Research: A Brief History and Current Update. Chris Piotrowski, Pages 1-3.

It is an interesting observation that of all the assessment methods, Projective Techniques seem to attract the predominance of rather heated criticism from the academic community (see Lilienfeld, 2000, for review). These criticisms center on lack of psychometric credibility, with the conclusion that such measures should not be used in clinical practice or in graduate training (Benson et al., 2019). In order to provide an objective evaluation regarding this onslaught of scholarly attacks, it would be informative to study the issue based on an objective analysis backed by data from scientific publications. One avenue to such an analysis is to conduct an empirically based bibliometric review of the extant literature (not on pro or con arguments) with a focus on actual use of and reliance on measures/tests by researchers which comprise investigatory designs reported in scholarly research. Such a study of the extant literature should provide a lucid picture regarding the utility of projective measures/assessment in the mental health field, across both basic and applied research.

Historically, several studies have reported on research trends regarding select projective techniques. Sundberg (1954), in an analysis of references citations in the Buros Mental Measurements Yearbook (MMY), found that the Rorschach and TAT ranked among the top 4 cited psychological tests from 1937-1951. Reynolds and Sundberg (1976) extended this analysis of the MMY through 1971 and reported that references for the Rorschach and TAT were actually increasing from 1940-1971. However, Polyson and colleagues (1985, 1986), in a bibliometric analysis of PsycINFO, found that through the mid-1980s, the volume of references on the TAT was declining whereas citations for the Rorschach saw a resurgence in the published research literature. Thus, a more updated bibliographic analysis of projective tests seems prudent.

To that end, I report the results of a bibliometric exercise based on a ‘Keyword’ search of specific projective tests noted in the ‘Abstracts’ of references in the database PsycINFO. In order to gauge usage of the contemporary literature, the search was limited to research indexed over the past decade (2011-2021). Hence, this approach reflects the recent body of scholarship. (Noteworthy, the general terms ‘Projective Techniques or Projective Tests’, during this time frame, produced the following bibliographic output: 238 journal articles, 57 books, and 22 dissertations).

2. Some Comments on the Idiographic Interpretation of Rorschach Findings, Carl B. Gacono & Jason M. Smith, pages 4-14.

The utility of the Comprehensive System Rorschach rests in the proven relationships between its variables/indices, personality functioning, and real-world behaviors. While the reliability and validity of Comprehensive System data (CS; Exner, 2003; also, CS-R; Fontan & Andronikof, 2022) is well established (Gacono & Evans, 2008), other supplemental Rorschach scoring systems also add to understanding our patients (Meloy, Acklin, Gacono, Murray, & Peterson, 1997). Previously, we discussed the importance of anchoring all Rorschach data within a nomothetic context (Gacono & Smith, 2021b). In this article, we discuss a strategy for interpreting the individual protocol.

3. The Case for Projective Techniques in the Clinical Study of the Adult Bully, Chris Piotrowski, pages 5-18.

A search of the mental health literature confirms the fact that while there is extensive extant research on children or adolescents who bully, there is limited investigatory focus on the adult bully. Two diagnostic domains that shed some light on adults who bully are the Dark Triad and the Adult Bully Syndrome, where personality features such as narcissism, Machiavellianism, sub-clinical psychopathy, callousness, and dominance inform the clinical profile. Based on this conceptualization, the current article proffers those projective measures are ideally suited in the assessment of intrapsychic dynamics and overt behaviors of adults who harbor bullying tendencies. The author presents bibliometric evidence and cites research studies which show that projective tests have the potential to tap the key personality features of adult bullies. Hence, projective assessment can guide both clinical research or psychological evaluation/treatment of the adult bully.

4. An Alternative Interpretation Hypothesis Regarding Color Projection, Sanae Aoki & Nobuo Kogayu, pages 19-28.

The appearance of Color Projection(CP) on the Rorschach test has been conventionally considered to signify the denial of unpleasant affection. However, this hypothesis has not been supported empirically due to lack of empirical evidence. This study investigated this conventional hypothesis quantitatively by examining verbal expressions of affection in explanations of CP responses. The participants included 37 adult Japanese psychiatric patients. The study was conducted between April 1995 and July 2017, and 68 CP responses produced by participants in the Rorschach protocol were examined. The results showed that 22% of the color projection (CP) responses were accompanied by pleasant affection only, as previously hypothesized. Furthermore, CP responses with unpleasant and negative affection or no affection at all were revealed. CP responses were classified into three by type of affective expression. While CP responses with only pleasant affective explanations were not accompanied by any special scores and often appeared in the form of multiple color projections in the gray area, CP responses, including negative affective explanations or no affective expressions at all, could be accompanied by special scores. The results suggest that while some CP responses may indicate a denial of unpleasant affection, as previously hypothesized, there may be CP responses that are reflecting cognitive integration deficits rather than affection.

5. The Effect of Boredom Proneness on Job Satisfaction: An Empirical Analysis John D. Watt, pages 29-38.

Personality characteristics play a salient role with regard to mental health and are a significant moderating factor in the work-life of individuals. Moreover, previous research findings confirm that there is a link between job satisfaction and both physical and psychological well-being. Boredom-prone individuals (i.e., those who have a greater tendency to experience boredom in all facets of their lives), however, appear to experience significantly lower job satisfaction and report diminished physical and mental health. Boredom proneness has been shown to be associated with a variety of important negative mental health and life outcomes, including depression, loneliness, anxiety, procrastination, drug and alcohol abuse, and life and job dissatisfaction. Although research suggests that boredom proneness may present significant problems at work (e.g., dissatisfaction, absenteeism, disengagement, counter-productive work behaviors), it remains an under-researched and poorly understood phenomenon, particularly as it relates to organizational work life and its implications for better understanding emotional, psychological, and social well-being. In the current study, a measure of trait boredom (i.e., boredom proneness) was predicted to moderate the relationship between job satisfaction and turnover. Results indicated that the job satisfaction-turnover relationship was significantly stronger among workers high in boredom proneness. The combination of high boredom proneness and low job satisfaction was associated with the greatest amount of voluntary turnover. Results, implications regarding mental well-being, and study limitations are discussed.

6. Trading Halls, Psychological Features, and Fund Manager Performance. Joachim Von Weissenberg. Pages 39-50.

According to findings in the field of environmental psychology, the architectural and social working environment have a significant impact on overall physical and psychological wellbeing and work performance. The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between architectural and social working conditions, psychological features, and work performance. The 5-year, risk-adjusted (Sharpe) investment performance of 40 Finnish professional fund managers was compared with the characteristics of their work environment and the psychological features of stress tolerance, complex problem solving and risk attitude. The results are in line with earlier findings that open-plan offices have negative consequences on the performance of cognitively demanding tasks. The number of people in the immediate vicinity (the same room and department) had the strongest negative effect on performance, especially because of decreased stress tolerance. These results should be considered preliminary because of the small sample size; further verification using a larger sample is needed.

7. Intervention using Somatic Inkblot Test in Sexual Deviance - A Case Study, Shubhika Singh & B. L. Dubey, pages 51-56.

The Somatic Imagery Test (online version) was administered to a 24-year-old male with complaints of guilt associated to child pornography surfing, porn dependence to fall asleep, depressive features and low self-esteem. The inkblot images were helpful to bring out high level of frustration, interpersonal conflict, sexual preoccupation, and body image issues which supported the client's report and aided the process of psychotherapeutic intervention.

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