Recent developments  

The Rorschach Performance Assessment System (R-PAS) is a revision of the Exner Comprehensive System. The selection of CS variables to be included was mainly based on a large meta-analys by Mihura and Meyer that was published in 2013. It also includes new variables not from the Comprehensive System including Complexity, Space Integration, Space Reversal, Oral Dependency Language, the Mutuality of Autonomy scale, the Ego Impairment Index, and Aggressive Content. New composite scores have been introduced, and terminology has changed in many respects to become more user friendly. A significant difference is the way in which the number of responses is limited (see below).

R-PAS is, of course, not uncontroversial.
See Fontan & Smith 2018 for a recent response from the CS community. The majority of the world's Rorschach practitioners still use the CS, and it would take a major effort on their part to change habits – if sufficient evidence was presented to them that it would be worth the effort.

The author of these pages welcomes the R-PAS initiative since it is more open to influences from other schools than the CS. However, my suggestion below about the administration procedure is also relevant for the CS,
if that system becomes more flexible in the future (and there are signs to that effect).

Differences between Bohm and R-PAS

On the previous page I listed six ways in which CS differs from Bohm's system. Something very like the five first points hold for the comparison between Bohm and R-PAS too, and I will not repeat them since the problems they pose can rather easily be overcome. Above all, they do not hinder proper comparisons between protocols from the different traditions. Just one point: noting response time and reaction time can easily be added to the R-PAS (or CS) administration procedure. See next page for a reason to do it.

Here are the more problematic issues:

6. Real contradictions — for example, conflicting rules for scoring movement, and (even worse) incompatible administration routines.

The R-PAS rules for scoring M are more allowing than Rorschach and Bohm: "M includes all types of human activity, experience, sensation, and emotion, including /.../ "dreaming," "feeling sad," "thinking,"/.../". So the coupling to kinaesthetic engrams as hypothesized by Rorschach is very loose. But this fact does not make it impossible to compare R-PAS and classical protocols. You just have to re-score one of them with respect to M.

With the "R-optimized" procedures for administration, R-PAS has distanced itself even further from classical systems such as Bohm's. The following is a quote from the paper by Meyer and Eblin that summarizes the R-PAS manual: "When CS administration guidelines are used, the respondent is able to give either very few responses (14 is a minimum) or a large and unwieldy number of responses (e.g., 60 or more). /.../ Using R-Optimized procedures, examiners initially tell the respondent they would like them to give two or maybe three responses for each card. If the respondent then goes on to provide only one response on a card the examiner prompts for a second (but does not require one to be given) and, if the respondent spontaneously provides four responses to a card, the examiner thanks them and asks for the card back. In both instances, the examiner also provides a reminder of the instructions. /.../ Using R-Optimized administration, examiners can expect a typical minimum of 17 responses and an absolute maximum of 40 responses, though the latter would be very unusual".

These rules were not introduced without reasons. "Too few responses causes concerns about the sensitivity of the protocol to detect problems /.../ and too many responses can lead to an excess of administration and scoring time and potential overpathologizing of respondents /.../; both extremes lead to lower stabilityin protocols"

Here are some disadvantages. Cutting R at 40 and aiming at not more than 4 responses per card may among other things hide a person's pathologically raised productivity either generally or on certain cards. 

More importantly: the main drawback of not allowing R under 17 is that low R is as such a polyvalent sign of pathology. It can for example signal organic disorder, schizophrenia, or affect shyness of phobic or other origin. Specifically, "R = 15 or below" is an important sign of organicity in Piotrowski's and Bohm's system (and is valid as such according to my own research). The same holds by the way for long response and reaction times.

The present author's suggestion for a remedy is to change the R-PAS R-optimized procedure into a Doubly R-optimized procedure as follows:

1) Administrate the test once according to the essence of Bohm's rules. I.e. just prompt very gently, do not abort the procedure if the subject rejects a card, and do not stop the subject before some 10 responses have been given on a card. Then we have a spontaneous Rorschach as Rorschach envisaged it.

2) Re-administer the test according to the R-optimized procedure. Then we also have a Rorschach that lends itself better to certain kinds of mathematical and statistical procedures, including pooling data from different Rorschachers, and so is more scientific in a narrow but legitimate sense.

This is of course not going to happen in my lifetime, but in the said lifetime it is how I am going to do R-PAS.


P. Fontan & J.S. Smith (2018), A Critical Review of R-PAS, Symposium conducted at the Society for Personality Assessment 2018 Annual Convention (SPA 2018), Washington DC, USA.

Meyer, G. J., Viglione, D. J., Mihura, J. L., Erard, R. E. & Erdberg, P. (2011). Rorschach Performance Assessment System: Administration, coding, interpretation, and technical manual. Toledo: Rorschach Performance Assessment System.

G. Meyer & J. Eblin, (2012),  An Overview of the Rorschach Performance Assessment System (R-PAS). Psychological Injury and Law 5, 107121.

Mihura, J. L., Meyer, G. J., Dumitrascu, N., & Bombel, G. (2013). The validity of Individual Rorschach Variables: Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the comprehensive system. Psychological Bulletin 139 (3), 584–605.

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