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Maureen C. Kelley Psy.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Intelligence (IQ)
Eduational: (Learning Disorders, Gifted Placement)
Personality Projective Measures: (Diagnostic, Treatment Planning)
Personality Objective Measures: (Diagnostic, Treatment Planning)
Personality Projective Measures: (Diagnostic, Treatment Planning)

A projective test, in psychology, is a personality test designed to let a person respond to ambiguous stimuli, presumably revealing hidden emotions and internal conflicts. 


Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

The Thematic Apperception Test, or TAT, is a projective measure intended to evaluate a person's patterns of thought, attitudes, observational capacity, and emotional responses to ambiguous test materials. TAT consists of a set of cards that portray human figures in a variety of settings and situations. TAT is an example of a projective instrument— that is, it asks the individual to project his or her habitual patterns of thought and emotional responses onto the pictures on the cards— I prefer not to call it a "test," because it implies that there are "right" and "wrong" answers to the questions. I consider the term "technique" to be a more accurate description of the TAT and other projective assessments.


The House-Tree-Person (H-T-P) developed by John N. Buck, is one of the most distinguished and widely used projectives. The H-T-P is popular not only because it yields abundant clinical information, but also because it saves time and is easy to use. The H-T-P can be administered to anyone over the age of 3 and consists of the individual creating three basic drawings- of a house, a tree, and a person. Then he or she is given the opportunity to describe, define, and interpret these drawings. 

Drawing can reduce tension in testing situations; the H-T-P is often administered as the first in a battery of psycho diagnostic tests. It is an ideal way to assess personality in individuals who are culturally different, educationally deprived, developmentally disabled, or non-English-speaking. H-T-P drawings are highly sensitive to the presence of psychopathology--early in its development. The H-T-P is a nonthreatening way to obtain clinically useful information.

Family Kinetic Drawing

The Kinetic Family Drawing, developed in 1970 by Burns and Kaufman, requires the test taker to draw a picture of his or her entire family. Children are asked to draw a picture of their family, including themselves, "doing something." This picture is meant to elicit the child's attitudes toward his or her family and the overall family dynamics. The KFD is sometimes interpreted as part of an evaluation of child family dynamics.

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