Hermann Rorschach

Hermann Rorschach ( born November 8, 1884 in Zurich, † April 2, 1922 in Herisau ) was a Swiss Freudian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. He developed the Rorschach test, an " inkblot test", which can be used as an aid to differential diagnostic investigation in the medical history of psychopathological syndromes.


The Hermann, born in 1884 in Zurich and grew up in Schaffhausen Rorschach wanted to be an artist initially. Finally, he studied in Zurich but medicine with the goal of becoming a psychiatrist. He heard, inter alia, Lectures by Eugen Bleuler to the general and special psychiatry and psychiatric clinic and Carl Gustav Jung on the psychopathology of hysteria. After semesters in Zurich, Bern and Berlin Rorschach graduated in 1909 from the medical state examination. A year later he married his fellow student Russian Olga Stempelin, by whom he had two children. Trying to make a living as a couple doctors in 1913 in Russia, failed. After that he worked among others to the psychiatric hospitals in Munsterlingen, Bern ( Waldau ) and Herisau.

For many years his main interest was psychoanalysis. He became a proponent of the then new psychoanalytic technique in medical circles Switzerland. In 1919 he was appointed Vice- President of the Swiss Society for Psychoanalysis. His work " Psychometrics " was released in 1921.

After a late -treated appendicitis he died on 2 April 1922 in Herisau at the age of 37 years at a peritonitis.

Rorschach Test

Rorschach discovered in 1917 the work of Szymon Hens, who studied the imagination of his subjects and used there inkblot cards. A year later he began his own experiments with 15 random inkblots. In his view, it allowed the subjective responses to draw conclusions about perception to draw intelligence and emotional characteristics of the subjects studied.

The Rorschach test is based on an alleged Rorschach human tendency to project interpretations and feelings onto ambiguous incentives, in this case inkblots. Experienced observers are then supposed to be able to define deeper personal traits and impulses of the subjects accurately. Rorschach published the results of his studies of 300 mental patients and 100 "normal" subjects in psycho- diagnostics. His method has since been used as a tool for psychological evaluation and diagnosis.

The Rorschach test is controversial. His supporters see in him a quality test procedure that allows an in-depth assessment of the overall personality. His critics say the test, the lack of reliability against.


In Schaffhausen, where he spent his childhood and youth, the Hermann Rorschach street was named after him. His name and the Rorschach pattern occurred in the film Watchmen.



  • About "Reflex hallucinations " and related phenomena, Journal of the whole Neurology and Psychiatry 13, 1912, pp. 357-400
  • Reflex hallucinations and symbolism, Zentralblatt für psychoanalysis 3, 1912, pp. 121-128
  • Horse theft in the twilight, Archives of Criminal Anthropology and Criminology 49, 1912, pp. 175-180
  • An example of unsuccessful sublimation and a case of forgetting names, Zentralblatt für psychoanalysis 2, 1912, pp. 403-406
  • For pathology and operability of tumors of the pineal gland, contributions to clinical surgery 83, 1913, pp. 451-474
  • About the choice of the neurotic friend, Zentralblatt for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy 3, 1913, pp. 524-527
  • Analysis of a schizophrenic drawing Zentralblatt for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy 4, 1913, pp. 53-58
  • Analytical remarks about the painting of a schizophrenic, Zentralblatt for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy 3, 1913, pp. 270-272
  • Association experiment, free association and hypnosis in the service of raising a amnesia, correspondence sheet for Swiss doctors 47, 1917, pp. 898-905
  • Something about Swiss sects and sect founder, Swiss Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry 1, 1917, pp. 254-258
  • More about Swiss sparkling formations Swiss Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry 2, 1919, pp. 385-388
  • A murder of superstition, Swiss Folklore 10, 1920, pp. 39-43
  • About a perceptually diagnostic experiment, Swiss Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry 6, 1920, pp. 360-361


  • Psychodiagnostics. Methodology and results of a perceptual diagnostic experiment ( interpreting Let random shapes ), Ernst Bircher, Bern 1921


  • Emil Oberholzer (ed.): To evaluate the form interpretation test for psychoanalysis, Journal of the whole Neurology and Psychiatry 82, 1923, pp. 240-274
  • Two Swiss champagne Stifter ( Binggeli and Unternährer ), Imago 13 ( Special Issue ), 1927, pp. 395-441
  • Christian Müller, Rita Signer (ed.): correspondence, Hans Huber, Bern 2004, ISBN 978-3-456-84044-4