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Psychological Basis of the Relationship Between the Rorschach Texture Response and Adult Attachment

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 1312 words Published: 18th May 2020

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Textured Response Meaning in Rorschach Administration

  This article examined the working hypothesis that a textured or tactile response on the Rorschach is indicative of issues related to attachment style. Within the older examination methodology designed initially to score the Rorschach during administration, was based upon the notion that a textured response would yield personality information that could be interpreted for understanding their need for attachment or avoidance thereof (Exner, 2003). This conceptualization of what a textured answer is indicative of was a fundamental component of the older “CS” system that had predominately been used in administrative or interpretative procedures. Theories proposed focused upon the abnormality of a textured response given that no three-dimensional stimulus item is provided on the test measure; this is thought to indicate more profound psychological distress that would appear over relationship attachment. It was found by earlier researchers that promoted this concept, that individuals that had attachment related disorders would improve during treatment and demonstrate this by having less frequency in their response type related to texture.

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 Similarly, the newer researchers that focused upon the understanding of why texture response was given and whether they were genuinely related to attachment issues. The study conducted had a relatively low sample size N = 35, and a homogenous ethnic group with no substantial matters identified with attachment related disorders. Information gathered to form the study was able to demonstrate a correlative pattern that emerged regarding the mental priming of textured responses; indicating that texture is not representative of attachment based issues but rather the availability of mental constructs that can easily be elicited. The individual that was primed with a textured image before administration were more likely to report a response which would warrant a textured code. This study was unusual in that it was not able to prove the working hypothesis that related attachment disorder. However, a primary goal for the research team was to find out the mechanisms for why textured response occur in higher frequency for some individuals — concluding their study with the identification of priming at the main factor that would contribute to the rate of response types given by the participant.

  An issue that should be taken with this research would be that of affirming the consequence and drawing certain information on correlative data; no specific causal mechanism was indeed identified. When discussing “affirming the consequence,” it is essential to seriously evaluate the methodology of the research, how and why specific factors were chosen to be studied, and the empirical basis for the conclusions which will be drawn. Researchers typically fall victim to producing this experimental error, as they become fixated on believing that a specific factor is causal; the resulting researcher will then be conducted and be used to affirm their original prediction. It would appear that this research team did not discover the mechanism for why textured response were given but was able to affirm the consequence of providing an advanced stimulus before testing administration; this would have an impact on the observed frequency and type of responses that were given by participants.

 Furthermore, the article did not present information which could conclusively be drawn as the causal factor due to the correlative nature of their work. The research team did not discover an underlying mechanism for why textured response were given; they did notice a correlative pattern that emerged. Although the correlation in interesting and potentially beneficial for future research applications, to attempt to generalize the data or conclude with any certainty that it is factual does not seem to be responsible. The results of research studies demonstrated that a positive correlation existed between individuals primed with a textured image, and their response types were also coded to have a textured nature. Although the results may demonstrate a strong correlation, this in no way will prove causation.

  Additionally, the article lacked a high level of evidence-based / empirical evidence that could explain why this behavior is observed. Using a correlation to determine the cause of any response is considered to be weak research and should not be taken as-as an accurate result. No new information was added to the field that would help in understanding the personality linkage to that of textured response coding; it can not be stated with any certainty that attachment theory or avoidance are genuinely related to whether an individual will give a textured reply.

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 For future research implications, the authors of the research to write about the limitations of their research findings and draw upon the previously stated information involving the low sample size, issues with generalizability, and that the hypothesis regarding attachment theory was not able to be demonstrated. However, the author believes that the information provided will help future researchers in understanding the clinical utility of the Rorschach and aid in developing a finite definition of how/why textured responses should be coded. Despite this added disclaimer by the authors of the research study, many of the issues with the overall theoretical concept were not addressed. Individuals that wish to understand how clinical researchers concluded the meaning of texture will be disappointed; no added information on the topic was able to be provided by the inclusion of this newer research study. It was unable to provide a rationale that would support the concept of textured responses in interpretive settings of personality functioning. 

 In furthering future research on this topic, clinical providers should try to answer the question of what textured response mean as far as an individual’s unique psychopathology. A basis of understanding for the mechanisms at play will be needed, before making conclusive research results on the utility and function of a textured response type. At present, the article provided an alternative view of how a textured response can be derived; it does not establish a correct linkage of causation between priming. The researchers noticed that an event transpired following the introduction of a particular stimulus; this does not aid in understanding the clinical utility of having textured response be interpretive for personality assessment. Lastly, the inclusion of data sets by Exner devalued the argument to some extent to this reader; based upon the information regarding his unethical behaviors it would not seem appropriate to have him utilized as such a reliable source, despite the contributions that were arguably made to the field. Until further knowledge can more clearly establish an accurate causal linkage or provide generalizable data; it may be better to weigh the results of textured response less than more established coding procedures with stronger relationships or clinical understanding.


  • Exner, J. E. (2003). The Rorschach: A comprehensive system. Vol. 1: Basic foundations and principles of interpretation (4th ed.). New York, NY: Wiley.
  • Iwasa, K., & Ogawa, T. (2015). Psychological basis of the relationship between the Rorschach texture response and adult attachment: The mediational role of the accessibility of tactile knowledge. Journal of Personality Assessment, 19. doi: 10.1080/00223891.2015.1099540


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