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Inkblot Test

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What do you see? And no, Rorschach is not the answer.

"He said pepul see things in the ink. I said show me where. He said think. I told him I think a inkblot but that wasnt rite eather. He said what does it remind you—pretend something. I closd my eyes for a long time to pretend. I told him I pretend a fowntan pen with ink leeking all over a table cloth."
Charlie Gordon, Flowers for Algernon

The inkblot test, commonly known as the "Rorschach test" after its most famous iteration, is a psychiatric tool where a patient looks at a blot of ink and says what they see. This will supposedly reveal the workings of the patient's subconscious and show the audience what they're really thinking. Almost all inkblot tests will be symmetrical, meant to imitate (if not actually be) a puddle of ink on a folded sheet of paper, replicating the pattern on each side.

On TV, it matters very much what specifically the patient sees in the inkblot. If he sees a butterfly, he's innocent; if he sees a corpse, he's guilty. If he's obsessed with something or someone, that's what he sees. If he sees something naughty, it proves Freud Was Right. In some comedic situations, the inkblot will be created spontaneously, with a sheet of folder paper and whatever ink or ink-like substance may be handy; the results are no different. In very comedic situations, the inkblot will spontaneously form a perfectly clear image of whatever the patient is meant to see.

In Real Life, the Rorschach test is controversial, considered kind of outdated, and admitted to be limited in nature. Unlike on TV, psychiatrists who administer the test aren't looking for what the patient sees so much as how they see it — how long did it take them to come up with something, how novel or common is their interpretation, how much does the inkblot actually resemble it, are they focusing on the colour or the shape of the inkblot, is the patient deliberately being obtuse — things like that. Psychiatrists also rely on something called the "Exner scoring system" so that they don't have to use their personal judgment to interpret the results, unlike what you'd see on TV. And even with all of this, scientific criticism since the 40s has increasingly doubted the general usefulness of the Rorschach test, sometimes even purporting that almost none of its supposed personality correlates really holds up in careful research, which further explains why it's kind of disfavoured.

Incidentally, most inkblots seen on TV are not "real" Rorschach tests. The easy way to tell is that on TV, almost all inkblots are black on white paper, whereas actual Rorschach blots can be multicoloured. But more interestingly, there are only ten "real" Rorschach inkblots which are not spontaneously created like on TV. The American Psychiatric Association actually tries to keep them a secret, so that people can be shown the blots without having seen them before on TV and thus come up with a more spontaneous response. But they're easily found on the Internet if you're curious.


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  • A Pepsi commercial from The '90s featured Michael Richards as a psychoanalyst administering one of these to a young man.
    Doctor: What do you see?
    Patient: A cool, refreshing Pepsi.
    Doctor: What do you see here?
    Patient: A cool, refreshing Pepsi.
    Doctor: What do you see here?
    Patient: A cool, refreshing Pepsi.
    Doctor: What do you see here?
    Patient: It's my mother. She's browbeating me. She's making me take accordion lessons! I wanna play the drums!
  • A car ad has a psychiatrist/psychoanalyst sitting with a patient conducting this test. After he gives quite extraordinary (nature-based) responses to each blot, the psych concludes, "You bought a Jeep."
  • This commercial has superstars being tested when WWE SmackDown was returning to Thursdays.
  • In a commercial for the Seattle Mariners baseball team, an opposing pitcher sent to therapy over psychological trauma from having to pitch to Ken Griffey Jr. is shown a variety of inkblots, and sees Griffey in all of them.
  • One commercial for The American Dairy Commission has a man being given a Rorschach inkblot test see the usual odds and ends, but the psychiatrist sees different types of cheese in all of them.

    Anime and Manga 
  • A Rorschach test featured prominently in Tokyo Mew Mew a la mode. The villain started using the regular tests on Berii's classmates, then moved to the "special tests" - blindingly obvious pictures of the Quirky Miniboss Squad's namesake items - to mind control them.
  • An antagonistic duelist in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds used a monster called Symmetry Rorschach, which essentially looked like a living ink blot. After summoning it, he asked Ruka what she saw; she saw a fairy, while Rua saw a butterfly, and Yanagi saw a crystal skull. After that, while the POV made it look like a fairy, it turned demonic and attacked.
  • Yuuutsu-kun to Succubus-san: Chapter 7 features a variation called the Baum Test. Rather than the standard inkblot, the test involves the patient drawing a tree, usually a baum per the name of the test, and determining information about the patient from the drawing. Yuu draws a bare stump. Just as Sakuma is lamenting that she can't work anything out about Yuu from that, she notices something on the horizon line: two small dots that, on closer inspection, are Yuu and Sakuma holding hands. She declares the drawing perfect.

    Comic Books 
  • In Kid Eternity, Kid is given the test by Dr. Pathos. Pathos doesn't question it but grows very frustrated when Kid claims that he sees every blot as "a man being swallowed by a giant vagina".
  • Watchmen:
    • Rorschach is given an inkblot test at one point, though not with the normal Rorschach images. What the cards suggest to him is revealed by flashbacks, and it is wildly divergent from the lighthearted carefree images he tells the psychiatrist he sees (example: the image that causes him to flash back to the severed head of a dead dog is said to be "a butterfly"). It's implied that the psychiatrist knows Rorschach is lying but is playing along in the hopes that Rorschach will eventually open up towards him. After a while, the psychiatrist shows Rorschach the first one again and asks what he actually sees, leading Rorschach to describe his first outing as a vigilante.
    • Naturally, given his name, the character of Rorschach is heavily inspired by the Rorschach test. Most obviously, he wears a white mask with black "inkblots" that constantly shift into different symmetrical patterns. This symbolizes not only his Black-and-White Insanity but also his philosophy that the world has no more meaning than what people choose to impose on it — much like how people look at a blot of ink and see a pattern in it.
  • Early on in Doomsday Clock, it's revealed that Bruce Wayne has been forced to take one every year by his board of directors due to his eccentric behavior (the board, not realizing he's Batman, think he's just unstable and have taken out Critical Personnel Insurance on him in case he checks out of reality). He uses the opportunity to polish up his Idle Rich persona by saying that each and every blot looks to him like a yacht.
  • While on Batman and inkblots, in an issue of Animaniacs where the Warners were on an ER parody, the Dr. Ross copy showed a blot resembling Batman's symbol to Yakko and asked what he saw. Given it's George Clooney and it was 1997, Yakko responds "You".

    Fan Works 
  • In chapter 11 of The Utonium Trials, the Powerpuff Girls are each given the Rorschach inkblot test individually. Blossom already knows the answers from using the internet, Bubbles can barely make out the test with her poor vision, and Buttercup just sees blotches of ink.
  • In chapter 10 of Proper Discipline, D.W. takes the inkblot test at her first therapy session. She sees three butterflies on one of them.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Problem Child, the prison psychiatrist is giving a Rorschach test to the Bow Tie Killer, only the "inkblots" are actually bloodstains left by his victims. While the warden is in the room he lies, saying he sees things like butterflies and bunnies hopping across fields. This enrages the warden, and the psychiatrist forces him to leave. Once the warden leaves, the psychiatrist continues the test, and the Bow Tie Killer says he sees blood, and kills the psychiatrist, puts on his clothes and drives out of prison. Why no one was watching what was going on from behind a two-way mirror is anyone's guess.
  • In Take the Money and Run, Woody Allen's character's troubled youth is highlighted when he interprets an inkblot drawing as "Two ostriches making love to a glee club."
  • Parodied in Blank Man, which injects an upper chest into the set of blots. Even better, Damon Wayans' character has no idea what the obvious breasts are, even when the man administering the test holds the card against his own chest as visual reference.
  • Truth in Television for quite a long time, as shown in Let There Be Light (1946). The inkblot test is part of the therapy that psychiatrists used with the deeply damaged PTSD victims at the hospital.
  • A viral ad for Prometheus takes the form of a Weyland Industries advertisement for the David 8 model of Artificial Human. This includes David taking a futuristic version of the test; subverted in that his bland corporate-approved responses give no indication of his true nature as revealed in the movie and its sequel.
    Narrator: David, what do you think about?
    David: I think about anything. [test images] Children playing... angel... the universe... robots...
  • Watchmen: The vigilante Rorschach naturally gets the Rorschach test after his arrest. He responds with Blatant Lies about what he's seeing in the images, when they actually remind him of his Dark and Troubled Past.
    Psychiatrist: Tell me what you see.
    Rorschach: [flashback of dog with head split apart] A pretty butterfly. [witnessing his mother prostituting herself] Some nice flowers. [biting a school bully's face open] Clouds.
    • Later, after Rorschach forces the psychiatrist to give him his mask back:
      Rorschach: Your turn, Doctor. Tell me... [pulls on mask] What do you see?
  • The roughnecks in Armageddon (1998) receive one of these to see if they are mentally stable enough to fly into space. Instead it proves that Rockhound sees breasts everywhere and A.J. constantly sees Harry Stamper's disapproval of him.
  • Europe '51: Irene does not think much of them while she's in the asylum, describing a couple but then pronouncing them all meaningless blobs and refusing to look at any more.
  • Short Circuit: Newton does an impromptu test with some soup and gives it to Number 5 to analyze. He first gives the contents of the soup...and then gives what it resembles, meaning the robot can do spontaneous interpretations.
  • One of the Visual Puns in Airplane II: The Sequel. While on The Bridge, one of Commander Murdock's men shows him the result of some tests he's ordered. The man's name is Rorschach and they're inkblot tests.
  • The Dark Mirror: Dr. Elliot administers the inkblot test to twins Terry and Ruth Collins. Terry's answers are just a little bit off, a little bit weird—turns out she's the Evil Twin and The Sociopath.
  • Boris and Natasha: When Boris and Natasha defect, a physiatrist shows them some inkblots. They see a bomb explosion, a machine gun attack at a small embassy, and a little puppy with floppy ears...carrying a letter bomb into a small embassy.
  • Batman Forever: When Bruce Wayne breaks into Dr. Chase Meridian's office because he mistakenly thought she was being attacked, he attempts to change the subject by turning attention to her various psychiatric tools. This backfires when he asks why she has a picture of a bat hanging on her wall, only for Chase to answer that it's an inkblot.
    Bruce: Do you have a thing for bats?
    Chase: That's a Rorschach, Mr. Wayne. People see what they want to.
    Chase: I think the question would be, do you have a thing for bats?
  • In Magic in the Water, Wanda shows Jack a piece of paper and asks what he sees. Jack says that he sees thousands of children and that one of them is missing, and asks Wanda, "Did you draw this yourself? Because this is really good." The paper shows only a tiny ink dot.

  • A very old joke involves a man being shown a set of inkblots, and interpreting them all as pictures of people having sex. When the tester announces that he's clearly obsessed with sex, he says, "Me? You're the one with the collection of dirty pictures."

  • In Robert Pirsig's novel Lila, Phaedrus claims that the true purpose of the Rorschach test is to gauge the subject's imaginative ability, such that if the person says "I don't see anything," or "I see an inkblot," that's allegedly a potential sign of severe mental illness. It should be noted that there is no evidence to support this claim. At most, such responses would indicate a lack of creativity.
  • Played dead straight in Alex Rider, when Alex is being assessed for suitability as an assassin. Most applicants saw a man lying in a pool of blood. Alex saw a guy with a bookbag.
  • In Flowers for Algernon, Charlie is given a Rorschach early on, and to highlight his severe mental retardation, he's unable to understand the concept, thinking that he's supposed to find some sort of hidden picture. A few weeks later, he's given the test again, and gets angry because he thinks they changed the test on him. He's given a third one after he concludes that he will eventually lose his intelligence, and realizes to his horror he can't remember what he's supposed to do.
  • Big Secrets by William Poundstone had black-and-white illustrations of each blot, with full descriptions, including colors. Published 1985.
  • The Silence of the Lambs : Rorschach is mentioned in passing as one test Billy likely took while seeking gender-reassignment. A whole scene is devoted to describing "House, Tree, Person."
  • In Gravity Falls: Journal 3, after the events of "Not What He Seems" and "A Tale of Two Stans", Ford gives Mabel an inkblot test. Her responses:
    Inkblot that looks like a skull: Bunny.
    Inkblot that looks like an explosion: Lollipop.
    Inkblot that looks like a dagger: Friendship wand.
  • The Tribe: In the second book, "Camp Cannibal", Spencer is given an inkblot test near the beginning of the book. He thinks the first inkblot looks like a butterfly, but he describes it to the doctor as a teenage kids holding protractors lined with X-ACTO razors. He thinks the second one looks like a long-eared rabbit, but he describes it as Sully Tulliver about to shoot him with her slingshot.
  • Ronald from Eye of a Fly eagerly describes how his analyst gave him a Rorschach test, which showed him that he sees the world as a giant breast. Harry mutters, "You need an analyst to tell you that?"
  • In Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World, autistic savant Karen Nieto is brought into a Quantitative Psychology class so the students can study her. The professor gives her an inkblot test, and she describes what she sees: inkblot, bigger inkblot, two inkblots, several inkblots.
  • In Our Wives Under the Sea, Miri and Leah undergo an inkblot test during couples therapy. Leah just sees eyes. Miri responds with a series of random objects, stopping in the middle to remind the counselor that she's pretty sure the test was widely discredited in the 60s before continuing anyways.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One episode of The Addams Family had Cousin It administer inkblots as part of an intelligence test. He gives a series of odd answers (like a sunset over Phoenix), and the tester is astonished that It "got them all correct".
  • The titular character in Sledge Hammer! received one, where he identified each picture as some violent scene... except for the last, which he claims is, "A duck handcuffing a naked woman". The psychologist remarks, "Funny, I've never seen the duck."
  • On The Golden Girls, Sophia is taking an inkblot test in an attempt to become a nun. She identifies all the blots as increasingly elaborate religious imagery: an angel, a dove perched upon the throne of God, the Blessed Virgin smiling as she pours love upon the hearts of the righteous, until Dorothy interrupts exasperatedly that the blot is obviously "John Forsythe lying naked in a pool of honey." The nun administering the test agrees.
  • A doctor attempts to give Vala one on Stargate SG-1, but abandons it when she keeps claiming to see abstract concepts like courage in the blots.
  • On Empty Nest the Lothario Charley finds Carol's inkblots and asks why she has pictures of naked women, (before putting them in his pocket for later.)
  • Stephen Colbert blames his therapist for giving him inkblots that all look like the same thing - either a butterfly in bondage, or a mushroom cloud. He sees the same things in the outlines of countries (except for Italy, which doesn't look like anything at all, and Canada, which is Shaped Like Itself).
  • In one Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank invent "erotic Rorschach blots": they look just as indistinct as regular inkblots, but they suggest Filth. Things get awkward when one of them reminds Frank of his mom.
    • During the abstract credits of The Leech Woman:
      Crow: Ah, it's a Rorschach test.
      Mike: I see a lot of spilled ink, congealing in random patterns.
      Servo: That means you're a sexual predator.
  • Parodied and then some in Scrubs where Turk asks his marriage counselor if the image hanging above him is one of those psychological inkblot things, because if it is, then Turk sees a duck. Cut to a view of the image, and it's actually a perfectly normal portrait of a duck.
  • The Drew Carey Show: Drew sees a psychologist ("Bring out the inkblots but I can tell you right now, they're all gonna be vaginas.") who tells him that he has low self-esteem.
    I don't have any self-esteem issues...[sees an inkblot] hey, where'd you get this picture of my mom making fun of me?
  • Parodied in Spaced; as part of his psychological evaluation to re-enter the Territorial Army, Mike is administered an inkblot test... and identifies everything (including a card that clearly represents two people having sex) as being related to war, killing, guts and / or guns. Except for the last one, which he associates with a butterfly, until the disapproving look he gets from the panel inspires him to amend it to "Butterfly with a bomb!" Needless to say, this demonstration of psychological maladjustment makes him perfect material for the TA, and he is re-admitted.
  • Big Wolf on Campus had this rather humorous example-
    Merton: (Looking at the ink blot tests) Bat....bat....A lonely boy who failed to please his father at every turn...
    Giger: Oh, sorry, that one was upside down.
  • Parodied in an episode of The Detectives
    Dave: Well, it's upside down... but that's Greater Manchester, that is.
  • An episode of F Troop had an Indian acting as a psychiatrist give Corporal Agarn the "Roaring Chicken" or "Roar-Chick" test.
    Agarn: I see a beautiful Indian girl in a short skirt bending over a campfire.
    Roaring Chicken: (grabbing the paper and staring at it) Where?! Where?!
    Agarn: (who'd looked past the paper, points) Right over there.
    Roaring Chicken: I like your ink blot better than my ink blot.
  • In Peep Show, Mark is subjected to an inkblot test after being sent to therapy for pissing on his employer's desk.
    Doctor: What do you see?
    Mark (thinking): A hairy twat. A hungry, devouring twat.
    Mark: A kitten
  • In The Amanda Show, Penelope Taynt is seeing a psychiatrist about her obsession with Amanda, and when given an inkblot test, she answers all of them as "Amanda", except the last one as "Judge Trudy"- much to the psychiatrist's relief until Penelope mentions that it's a character played by Amanda.
  • On Barney Miller episode "The Psychiatrist", a psychiatrist has the squad look at inkblots. Yemana sees an elephant wearing a hat. "Now turn the picture upside down and tell me what you see." "An elephant standing on his head. Wearing a hat."
  • One episode of The A-Team had Hannibal, B.A, and Murdock intentionally get arrested and thrown in prison. The prison psychologist gives Murdock one of these while psychoanalyzing him. At first, Murdock can't see anything until the psychologist explains how the test works and he immediately sees something. He's shown the next inkblot and identifies it as a "trash bag". The next time we see him, he's repeatedly chanting "I want my trash BAGS!"
  • The class from Head of the Class was given a group psychoanalysis in one episode. Afterwards, Mr. Moore takes it himself. When they get to the inkblots...
    Mr. Moore: door.
    Psychologist: Why a screen door?
    Mr. Moore: Too many flies.
  • Played with in a The Big Bang Theory episode "S03E08 The Pants Alternative" - when Leonard is counselling Sheldon (as a part of collective effort to overcome Sheldon's stagefright), Sheldon almost immediately says: "If it will help speed things along, uh, my answers to the standard Rorschach ink blot test are A, a bat, B, a bat, C, a bat, and D, my father killing my mother with a hypodermic needle."
  • An episode of Eureka has Fargo undergo a periodical evaluation by a psychiatrist sent by the DoD. Unfortunately, this episode also involves Freaky Friday Flips. As the psychiatrist is administering the inkblot test, Carter, who is currently in Fargo's head, starts to answer in the typical manner, seeing ordinary things. The psychiatrist is about to fail his evaluation, when Carter and Fargo flip back, and Fargo answers in his own manner, involving some deeply scientific concepts. The psychiatrist passes him, although it's likely that the issue here was that "Fargo"'s original answer didn't fit his typical personality, making the psychiatrist suspicious.
  • Citizen Smith: At one point, Tucker is having marital problems, and for some reason the others deduce that he is becoming mentally unstable. They borrow a psychoanalysis book from the library which has some inkblot tests in it. Tucker reports that all the cards remind him of sex.
    Tucker: Well, what d'you expect when you keep showing me dirty pictures?
    Wolfie: They're not dirty pictures, they're inkblots! [Looks at the card] Sex? Looks more like a spider with antlers!
    Ken: [Reading from book] A profound tendency towards megalomania.
    Wolfie: You see, Tucker? Megalomania! You are warped, son, warped!
    Ken: No, that's for if you see a spider with antlers.
  • In the Get Smart episode "All in the Mind," Maxwell Smart is given this test and sees every picture as a man and a woman either hugging or kissing. When called on this, he gives the "You're the one with the dirty pictures" response.
  • Home Improvement: In one episode, Tim and Al are considered for a guest ride on a space shuttle. As part of the NASA testing, Al is shown being given an inkblot test. Unsurprisingly, every single one looks like his mother to him, except the last one, which he says is "a beautiful summer's day... ruined by mother!"
  • Discussed and denied by Col. Potter in an episode of M*A*S*H. Dr. Sidney Freedman has been called in to help Potter with a bout of depression and Potter tells him to not bother with the Rohrschach Test as all the inkblots look like horses to him.
  • Frasier: When Daphne is sent to court-mandated anger management for causing a traffic accident the therapist starts the session by administering this test. Her answers use violent imagery ("two bunnies clawing each other to death" and "a woman skinning a pigeon with a hatchet") which hint at her conflicting feelings for Niles and her fiance Donny.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In a Dilbert Story Arc, the Pointy-Haired Boss put Alice in the company's drug rehab program, despite her not having a drug problem, so that he would look productive. The doctor gives her an inkblot test at one point, the image on the first card clearly being a profile of the Pointy Haired Boss.
  • Gary Larson did a The Far Side cartoon in which a hulking individual is being given the test, and all the blots look like a silhouette of him strangling the tester.
  • A Gahan Wilson cartoon has the patient addressing a weird blobby shape— "No, doctor, the resemblance is amazing!"
  • A cartoon in Reader's Digest had an insect interpreting a big splotch: "Windshield."
  • Madam & Eve :
    • An early weekend strip had the characters watching a television interview with white supremacist spree killer Barend Strydom after he was released from prison as part of F. W. De Klerk's 1992 amnesty:
      Interviewer: I have here some Rorschach ink-blot tests. Would you mind taking a look and tell me what you see?
      Strydom: For sure. No problem. Let me see... I've got it! It's a picture of a white man beating up a black man.
      Interviewer: Uh-huh... and this one?
      Strydom: ...I would say this is a black man flattened by a steamroller... and this one is a dead black man surrounded by butterflies... Got any more?
      Interviewer: Well, Barend, I think you have a serious problem.
      Strydom: ME?!! You're the one showing me all these racist pictures!
    • This strip has Former SABC executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng interpreting inkblots into a self-aggrandizing reality.
      Hlaudi: That's me receiving the Nobel Prize for genius!

  • In the video for Poets of the Fall's "Lift," Poet County Jail inmate and Mad Dreamer Mark thinks he sees a highly defined image of a pinned moth in an inkblot during his psych screening. The video's final seconds confirm we've been looking Through the Eyes of Madness, as the image resolves into an ordinary inkblot with a very dissimilar shape.
  • The video for Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" revolves around those, fitting the title.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • During TNA's Paparazzi Championship Series, when the X-division guys were made to jump through all sorts of comedic hoops, Kevin Nash administered an inkblot test, browbeating Sonjay Dutt by suggesting the images reminded him of steroids, and reacting with incredulity when resident obsessed martial artist Senshi saw every blot as being a warrior.
  • On an episode of WWE Raw, Daniel Bryan is given this test, and goes berserk when he sees a blot that clearly looks like a goat (people tease him by calling him GoatFace).

  • Parodied in the Adventures in Odyssey episode "Eggshells", where Jared, a middle-schooler convinced of his own psychiatric prowess after a health class, becomes convinced that one of the main characters is in denial after a last-minute breakup. He starts with something that is clearly a hand-drawn "broken heart" symbol (interpreted as "a heart-shaped cookie") and they get more... overt from there.
    "That's... a garbage dump."
    "'Dump'... very interesting. Next?"
    "A dead flower... a bird with an injured wing... (incredulously) a chainsaw cutting through a wedding cake... an engagement ring that's been run over by a steamroller — Jared, what are you doing?"

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • A classic Emo Philips routine:
    Doctor: What do you see?
    Patient: I see a horrible, ugly blob of pure evil that sucks the souls of men into a vortex of sin and degradation.
    Doctor: No, the inkblot's over here; that's a picture of my wife you're looking at.
    Patient: Was I far off?

    Video Games 
  • In the adventure game Sam and Max: Culture Shock, Sam can get an inkblot test from Sybil Pandemik. Depending on the answers he gives, Sybil will diagnose him with an obsession with money, fame, violence, cars, or animals. This later forms part of a puzzle, where you have to get Sam diagnosed with the fictional psychosis Artificial Personality Disorder.
  • Heavy Rain has Ethan see 4 blots. During each blot, you get to choose what image out of 3 option you choose. The first 3 are innocent, while the last one is all death related options.
  • In the tutorial/character creation part of Fallout: New Vegas, inkblots are one of the tests Doc Mitchell gives the player character in order to determine your tag skills, along with a word association test. He freely admits that he has no professional training in how to analyze your answers, and you're given the chance to change your tag skills afterwards.
  • Parodied in Obsidian, where one of the offices in the cubicle maze has a vidbot psychiatrist who shows you a picture of a dog twice, but with different fixed answers to choose each time (such as "Does this remind you of A) Shiny blades of grass covered with the blood of a strangled witch, or B) A freshly baked scone laced with poison frosting?"), and a straight inkblot slide where the answers are "Nothing" and "Not sure", to which said psychiatrist tells you to leave for not seeing that it's a dog.
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum one of the Joker's interview tapes has him receiving one of these:
    Joker: "Do you want me to look at the ink blots again? The first one is a kitten I had when I was a child, the second is, hmmm let's see... a dead elephant."
  • A variation occurs in one of the psych tests in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. The player is given a selection of ink blots and asked to sort them into two piles: sexual images and non-sexual images. After this is done, the psychiatrist reveals that each image has a second meaning: death.
    • Which really speaks to how much he's 'helping' in that they ALL contain this second meaning so no matter what you pick he can claim you're making that association. And if you select none of them he just thinks you're being difficult on purpose.
  • Dead Space 2: Although the test is never given inkblot symbolism is rife in the games start up and promotional materials.
  • A couple of these happen to lie on a table in 2012 in The Silent Age. If they're examined by the player, Joe comments that apparently someone has spilled ink, but the blot reminds him of his mother for some reason.
  • Maze 3: Nightmare Realm has a hidden-object scene where you need to pick the item which most resembles an ink blot in a book.
  • Paper Chase: The psychologist shows you some inkblots on paper and asks what they suggest to you.
  • The tutorial mission in Prey (2017) has you sit down for a personality quiz followed by an inkblot test. Except that the inkblot test is just the game developers tricking you into looking down so you don't notice a Mimic walking in front of you and disguising itself as a scientist's coffee mug before attacking him.
  • During Hitman 2's DLC level in New York's Milton-Fitzpatrick Bank, one extended method of getting past the security measures is to get legitimately hired there, and in a crucial part of the interview process, you're given a series of inkblot tests to determine your personality and where you'll fit in. This is surprisingly important as there's a correct series of answers to give that will get you the highest-level clearance, and they're actually hidden in plain sightnote . Nonetheless, whichever ones you pick, Agent 47's interpretations are... interesting.
    47: [I see] a carcass. The scene is reflected in a pool of blood flowing from the body. It's a vulture, feeding on someone else's kill.
    Interviewer 1: That's... very graphic, Mr. Thomas.
    47: Yes. Brutal, even.
    Interviewer 1: Riiiiight...
    Interviewer 2: Hm, very interesting observation, Mr. Thomas. Not what we expected, but that's perfectly fine!

    Visual Novels 
  • Therapy with Dr. Albert Krueger has this as the final therapy segment. The images start out normal, but suddenly become blood-splattered nightmare faces with the regular multiple-choice answers (e.g. "mask", "butterfly") changing into disturbing words (e.g. "slaughter", "suffering") when moused over.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in Drawn Together, where a test of this kind is applied to Xandir. All the things he says he sees are homosexual innuendo, but all the "blots" of ink are also figurative representations of those Double Entendres. For example, he is shown a picture of a chinese man to which he answers "Wang".
  • Parodied on 101 Dalmatians: The Series, where a dog "actor" is given such a test. His response is "The destructive power of all mankind" (or something similar); the ink blot looks almost exactly like a daisy.
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command:
    • Used several times: XL (While pretending to be his brother XR) sees several types of explosives (including a fluffy bunny- holding a ticking bomb).
    • Earlier in the same episode, XR himself was subjected to an impromptu test with the help of Booster rubbing his face on a dirty serviette. All XR sees in that test are Sirenian Snake Dancers, including his teammate Mira as one, which Mira herself calls out XR for being "A Sexist Pig."
    • In another episode, the titular character sees Big Bad Zurg in every ink blot, then at the end of the test the administrator of it holds up a picture of a teammate, leading to one of the best lines of the series:
      Buzz: That's Mira. She's happy. Cuz we got Zurg's pen.
  • Animaniacs pokes fun at the inkblot test often enough given that Dr. Scratchansniff fits into the role of the stereotypical psychologist. The first episode "De-Zanitized" has him giving Dot the test. When Dr. Scratchansniff gives the test to Yakko, every picture looks like "girls". (Except the last one, a completely black page that reminds him of "The next cartoon!")
    Scratchansniff: YOU ARE OBSESSED WITH GIRLS!
    Yakko: Hey, you're the one showing me all the sexy pictures.
  • Captain Black of Jackie Chan Adventures is given this test after being exposed to the supernatural. All he sees are "Demon. Demon. Demon. Socks...worn by a really big demon."
  • This happens on The Simpsons, where Homer is believed to be insane at one point. His first few answers are somewhat normal ("The devil with his fly open... uh, a spill on the floor with bugs going after it, they're gonna eat it...") before seeing one that looks very much like Bart, making him act hostile ("Let's see, it's...THE BOY!").
  • In the VeggieTales silly song "I Love My Lips", Dr Archibald applies the inkblot test to Larry. The first two slides are pictures of lips. Then every slide after that is an obvious picture of something completely unrelated (a flower, an airplane, Avogadro's Number, a photo of Sonny Bono, etc) yet Larry invariably identifies these as lips as well.
  • In an episode of Duckman, the titular detective accidentally gets a Rorschach-like stain on his chest:
    "A picture of me and Vanna White frolicking naked with a tribe of pygmies!"
    "..Synchronized swimmers crocheting mittens in a pool filled with truffles.."
    "..A drag queen on a Shetland pony licking a flaming banjo.."
    "..Me, a rabbi, and six drunken longshoreman rolling around on a rubber bed.."
  • The 2 Stupid Dogs episode "A Quarter" has the two dogs doing an inkblot test. The first few blots are consistently identified as a ball (Little Dog) and food (Big Dog). The final image, which was actually a picture of a ball and food, completely stumped them.
  • Lampshaded on Invader Zim, which combines this with a career aptitude test:
    Dib: What does identifying ink blotches have to do with determining our future careers?
    Ms. Bitters: Oh you poor, doomed child.
    • And naturally Dib puts everything down as a supernatural creature, and Zim puts everything down as "Human slave". Though for some reason the last blob stymies him for a while.
  • Daria has its iconic scene from the first episode: Ms. Manson shows her and Quinn a silhouette of two people, and asks them to make up what they're discussing. Daria, however, treats this like an inkblot test and insists that she sees "a herd of beautiful wild ponies, running free across the plains." When the psychologist insists that she do the test right, Daria claims that the people are talking about "a herd of beautiful wild ponies, running free across the plains."
    • A tie-in book also includes a questionnaire that Ms. Manson gave them, which includes an actual inkblot. Quinn says it makes her think of how hard it is to get stains out of silk; Daria says it's either the darkness within or a butterfly contemplating the darkness within.
    • This gets a Call-Back in the show's final episode (not counting the Grand Finale movie): as a little girl, Daria gets an actual inkblot test from a different psychologist, who lists "herd of beautiful wild ponies" as one of the things Daria could imagine. Daria, however, is confused and insists that they don't look like anything.
  • An episode of Beavis and Butt-Head had the boys looking at some inkblots and constantly hinting that it looked like a guy masturbating. When shown a photo of a male singer holding a microphone in a suggestive manner, Butt-Head says "Uh...that's like, just a bunch of shapes."
  • ReBoot: Phong gives Bob one of these and asks him what he sees. Bob sees Dot with the haircut she used to have when they first met and she's smiling. Then Phong takes another look at it and says "Oh now I see."
  • Used briefly in Hey Arnold! during Helga's session with a child psychologist in "Helga On The Couch". After seeing Arnold in three inkblots, she grabs all the papers and frantically throws them out a window. Admittedly the ones she sees as Arnold are pretty hard not to see as Arnold.
  • Used in an episode of Doug where Skeeter is given one after scoring very high on one of those Myers-Briggs type tests. He is given the option to skip ahead to college, but chooses not to, because he doesn't fit in with the college crowd, who smoke and aren't fond of his air guitar.
  • Even Johnny Bravo got in on this. To the first four images he just calls them a "blob", and the final image reminds him of "Timmy, the little guy who lives in my mouth".
  • The Venture Brothers: When Hank and Gary/21 need to get committed to Dunwich Asylum, they break into a bank, immediately surrender and demand a psych evaluation as licensed supervillains. When they undergo Hank keeps up his villain identity Enrico Mattasa. 21 is mocking his former boss, The Monarch, so he tells the doctor all he sees are butterflies.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Words", Mr. Small uses the inkblot test on Darwin to figure out why he suddenly becomes a brutally honest Jerkass. Darwin tells him that he sees a very sad middle-aged man wearing sandals, which is what the inkblot actually looks like (it is shown on-screen), but it angers Mr. Small because he is a (very sad) middle-aged man wearing sandals.
  • In the Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "Sleep Spells", Marco gives this test to Star. Star says it's an inkblot. Marco explains the test involves what the blots remind you of. Star says the first blot is a fat porcupine and the second is a little alien guy in a gnome cap. The third blot is just a little black dot, but Star says it reminds her of her overbearing mother.
  • Dave is subjected to one of these during a psych evaluation in Code Monkeys. Of course, Dave being Dave, comes up with some rather... bizarre answers.
    Dave: "Two turds hugging, no, fighting, no, just arguing, wait, no, they're definitely having sex, but it's angry sex."
    Dave: "Oh, that's easy: penis in a blender, or a turtle driving a pickup truck. Dealer's choice."
    Dave: "Oh, that's easy, it's a reggae band of ants, and bad news: the drummer, he sucks."
    Dave: "Hmm... Ooh, the two of us having dinner tonight. No, wait, having sex, and then you buy me dinner, and let me eat it off your ass."
    Dr. Masterson: "Absolutely not."
    Dave: "I thought there were no wrong answers!"
  • Batman: The Animated Series. In "Joker's Millions", a psychiatrist is shown giving this test to the Joker, but the cards just show the Batman and Robin symbols. He's implied to be a hack that the Joker bribed to give him a clean bill of mental health.
  • The Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue! episode "Cruisin' for a Bruisin'" has Dr. Phibes being shown inkblots by his moronic henchman Agent 2. Phibes identifies every inkblot as either "dog" (Scooby) or "hippy boy" (Shaggy).
  • In The Hair Bear Bunch episode "Love Bug Bungle," Arnie the lovesick gorilla is getting checked by a psychiatrist who applies the inkblot test on him. Arnie turns the sheet around and says he sees Gloria, a gorilla at the zoo with whom he's in love.
  • In the end credits of one episode of American Dragon: Jake Long, Spud is given an inkblot test as part of his enrollment into a prestigious school. He sees the first two images as a monkey riding a unicycle, but when the third image looks exactly like one, he's stumped, much to the professor's frustration.
  • The last episode of Xavier: Renegade Angel has Xavier infiltrate a mental hospital. He's subjected to an inkblot test, and ends up driving the inkblot insane. When it gets given the test, the inkblot is a picture of Xavier, sending it into a breakdown. The very end of the episode further reveals that the entire series is the result of Xavier - who's actually a human - hallucinating while being given an inkblot test.


Video Example(s):


Dr. Scratchansniff and Yakko

From the results of the inkblot test, Dr. Scratchansniff concludes that Yakko is obsessed with girls.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / InkblotTest

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