Holtzman Ink Blot Test

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Holtzman Ink Blot Test


The Holtzman Inkblot Technique (HIT) is a projective personality assessment test for persons ages five and up.


The HIT is used to assess the personality structure of a test subject. It is sometimes used as a diagnostic tool in assessing schizophrenia, depression, addiction, and character disorders.


Psychometric testing requires a clinically trained examiner. The HIT should be administered and interpreted by a trained psychologist, psychiatrist, or appropriately trained mental health professional.

Some consider projective tests to be less reliable than objective personality tests. If the examiner is not well-trained in psychometric evaluation, subjective interpretations may affect the outcome of the test.


The HIT, developed by psychologist Wayne Holtzman and colleagues, was introduced in 1961. The test was designed to overcome some of the deficiencies of its famous predecessor, the Rorschach Inkblot Test.

Unlike the Rorschach, the Holtzman is a standardized measurement with clearly defined objective scoring criteria. The HIT consists of 45 inkblots. The test administrator, or examiner, has a stack of 47 cards with inkblots (45 test cards and 2 practice cards) face down in front of him or her. The examiner hands each card to the subject and asks the test subject what he or she sees in the inkblot. Only one response per inkblot is requested. Occasionally, the examiner may ask the test subject to clarify or elaborate on a response. The Administration of the HIT typically takes 50-80 minutes. The HIT is then scored against 22 personality-related characteristics.

The HIT can also be administered in a group setting. In group testing, 30-45 inkblots are projected onto a screen and test subjects provide written responses to each inkblot.

The 1997 Medicare reimbursement rate for psychological and neuropsychological testing is $58.35 an hour. Billing time typically includes test administration, scoring and interpretation, and reporting. Many insurance plans cover all or a portion of diagnostic psychological testing.

Normal results

Because of the complexity of the scoring process and the projective nature of the test, results for the HIT should only be interpreted by a clinically trained psychologist, psychiatrist, or appropriately trained mental health professional.



American Psychological Association (APA). 750 First St. NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. (202) 336-5700. ttp://www.apa.org.


Projective personality assessment A test in which the subject is asked to interpret ambiguous stimuli, such as an inkblot. The subject's responses provide insight into his or her thought processes.

Standardization The process of determining established norms and procedures for a test to act as a standard reference point for future test results.

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