THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE INTERPRETER'S NEEDS TO THE ANALYSIS OF THEMATIC APPERCEPTION TEST PROTOCOLS: AN ANALOGUE STUDY (PROJECTIVE TEST)

RICHARD F HEATH, Fordham University

Abstract

The present study explored the effects of interpreter personality upon the interpretation of the Thematic Apperception Test. Although successfully demonstrated in other clinical situations, this type of bias has been difficult to identify using the TAT. Personality effects were conceptualized in terms of complementary, noncomplementary, and conflicting interpersonal needs; the amount of interpretive content was also examined to assess any facilitation of interpreter bias in sparse protocols.^ This study was an assessment analogue using as interpreters 60 advanced undergraduate psychology majors and first-year graduate students with no previous training with the TAT. Interpreter personality was measured by the Affiliation, Aggression, Autonomy, Nurturance, and Succorance scales of the Personality Research Form E. A primarily qualitative scoring approach emphasizing main character identification and theme intensity and frequency was employed in teaching TAT interpretation. Subjects formally interpreted two practice protocols and three preselected experimental protocols containing either sparse or rich interpretive content.^ Most of the hypothesized effects of interpreter personality upon protocol rating were not supported by the data. Only two relationships involving interpreter autonomy were significant, one in the direction opposite to expectation. Supplementary analyses, however, lent indirect support to the presence of interpreter personality bias primarily related to autonomy and succorance. The significant relationships suggest that bias occurred in various forms: projection as assumed similarity, the defensive projection of incompatible needs, and the attribution of characteristics in justification of one's own needs.^ Sparse interpretive content was not found to facilitate interpreter bias. There was qualified evidence that, in some instances, protocols rich in interpretive material might have enhanced bias. Content did affect the magnitude of autonomy and succorance ratings; additionally, sparse interpretive content was associated with the perception of TAT authors in psychological treatment.^ It was concluded that, for the TAT, interpreter personality bias is a complex phenomenon not easily demonstrated through simple comparisons of personality traits. The pattern of results suggests that future research might focus upon the simultaneous interaction of different personality characteristics; moreover, the evaluation of personality in terms of conflicts and issues rather than traits or needs may be more relevant to interpreter bias. ^

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

HEATH, RICHARD F, "THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE INTERPRETER'S NEEDS TO THE ANALYSIS OF THEMATIC APPERCEPTION TEST PROTOCOLS: AN ANALOGUE STUDY (PROJECTIVE TEST)" (1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8615729.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8615729

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