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The categorization of perceptual reactions to the thematic apperception test Harvey, Evelyn May

Abstract

The primary purpose of this study was to formulate critical categories to adequately reflect the categorization or perceptual reactions of normal individuals to the picture stimuli of the cards of the Thematic Apperception Test. An additional problem investigated was the comparison of the categorization reactions obtained from a "normal" sample in this investigation with those obtained from a "disturbed" sample in a parallel research conducted by Long (I960). In order to form the critical categories and to compare the perceptual reactions of the "normal" group with those of the "disturbed" group, categorization reactions to twenty-six cards of the TAT were obtained from forty-Vancouver Vocational Institute students. Following the empirical development of the categories, a comparison of the differences in frequency count of the categorization reactions of the two groups was explored utilizing a chi square statistic. A total of two hundred and sixteen categories were obtained for the twenty-six cards. In a comparison of the frequency distribution of the categorization reactions for the "normal" and "disturbed" groups, insignificant differences were found on one hundred and ninety-seven categories suggesting that the perceptual reactions of the two groups do not vary greatly. However, compared with the "normal" group, the "disturbed" group showed a marked tendency for restricted transcendent production as indicated by a majority of "disturbed" persons giving purely descriptive responses on twenty-four of the twenty-six cards. This difference was found to be significant on eight of the cards. An additional, comparison was made, employing a chi square statistic, of the differences between the two groups in the frequency distribution of subjects giving nil-single or multiple perceptual responses. On twenty-five of the cards, more "normals" than "disturbed" subjects gave multiple responses. This variance was found to be statistically significant on nine of the cards. Nineteen of the two hundred and sixteen categories were found to produce statistically significant differences in the frequency distribution between the two samples. The "Description" category accounted for eight of these differences and various transcendent categories accounted for the remaining eleven. Fourteen cards produced one or more categories showing a reliable variation in distribution between the "normal" and "disturbed" groups. Of this number, eleven cards showed significant differences in one category, one card in two categories and two cards in three categories.

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