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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Sex, age and educational differences in responses to the M-B cards MacDonald, Marion


An investigation was undertaken to determine whether or not projection and identification occur when a subject responds to stimuli suggesting human figures. It was assumed that if identification were operative there would be a tendency to see an equivocal stimulus figure as a member of the subject's own sex. It was felt also that if projection occurs, subjects would ascribe feelings and motivations to figures which were ambiguous in these respects. A secondary aim contingent upon the demonstration of projection and identification mechanisms was the construction of a device which might be developed as a personality test. Two sets of twenty line drawings (the M-B cards) were made up to be used as a research instrument. The First Series contained single human figures and the Second Series two human figures in various positions. These drawings were intended to be ambiguous as to sex and movement, being less structured than the Thematic Apperception Test cards and more structured than the Rorschach cards. Subjects were asked to identify the sex of the figures and to say "what they are doing." The two sets of pictures were administered to 216 normal adults selected for sex, age and educational level. Responses given to the First Series were analysed as to communality and as to sex and emotion ascribed to the figures. Responses to the Second Series were analysed as to sex ascribed the two figures, indication of conflict and "popularity". Statistical comparisons were made of the performances of men and women, of grade nine subjects with university graduates, and of those aged 20 to 30 with subjects 40 to 50. Identification was not demonstrated. This might have been due to a weighting of the cards in the direction of maleness or to the rigidity of the instructions. Considerable variation was found with respect to projection of emotions into the figures of the First Series. Individual cards also showed great variation as to frequency with which they elicited an emotional response. It is suggested that these differences might have diagnostic value. In the Second Series men gave more "conflict" responses than did women. It is suggested that this might indicate differences in attitude toward aggression and hostility between the two groups. Certain cards in this series gave more conflict responses than other cards. A "popular"' response to a card was defined as one which occurred at least six times. It was found that both cards and subjects differed in the extent to which they elicited or gave popular responses. It was felt that these results might indicate differences in associational processes or in conventionality and spontaneity. The M-B cards appeared to meet two criteria of a useful projective test. They revealed individual differences between subjects and they permitted of an objective scoring system which served to identify these differences. With reference to future research it is suggested that the cards be redesigned to make them neutral with respect to sex and that the instructions be modified to allow freer expression on the part of the subject.

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