Clarifying Sound and Suspect Use of the Rorschach in Forensic Mental Health Evaluations: A Response to Areh et al. (2022)

Corine de Ruiter, Luciano Giromini, Gregory J. Meyer, Christopher M. King, Benjamin A. Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Areh et al. (Psychiatry, Psychology and Law 29:183–205, 2022) recently commented on what standards should be applied to determine whether a test is appropriate for psycholegal use and concluded that the Rorschach does not meet their proposed standards. Accordingly, they concluded that psychologists should not use it in legal contexts. However, Areh et al.’s (2022) claims are based on a significant misunderstanding of how the Rorschach task works, relative neglect of the last 20 years of Rorschach research, unrealistic psychometric standards for assessing the reliability and validity of a psychological assessment measure, and a single European legal case in which a forensic expert used the Rorschach inappropriately. Our article seeks to clarify and correct some of their errors and misleading assertions. First, we clarify how the Rorschach task works according to more recent and widely accepted conceptualizations. Then, we show that Areh et al.’s (2022) position that Rorschach task data do not meet acceptable validity standards, especially when compared to medical tests, is empirically untenable. Next, we provide a detailed and nuanced account of what the Rorschach has to offer as a performance-based assessment method for forensic evaluators and the legal system, with attention paid to the anecdotal legal case Areh et al. (2022) highlighted. Finally, we provide four reasons why the Rorschach can be a useful tool for forensic mental health assessments when using the Rorschach Performance Assessment System (R-PAS).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-176
Number of pages19
JournalPsychological Injury and Law
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Keywords

  • Admissibility
  • Assessment
  • Forensic
  • Legal
  • Performance-based assessment
  • R-PAS
  • Rorschach

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