Dr. Lorandos Interviewed on Larry King Live
 
 
About The Author

Demosthenes Lorandos is an attorney, forensic psychologist, lecturer and author.  He is in constant demand across the country for his authoritative and tireless advocacy on behalf of the falsely accused.   In defense of his clients Dr. Lorandos brings to bear his extensive expertise in the science of coerced confessions, shaken baby syndrome, battered women’s syndrome, parental alienation syndrome, recovered memories, false accusations, repeated question effects, interviewer bias, behavioral indicators of abuse and other related subjects.  Dr. Lorandos is a member of the California, Michigan, New York, Tennessee and Washington, D.C. bars, and a member of the bar of the United States Supreme Court.   He is also the co-author of such works as Cross Examining Experts in the Behavioral Sciences, Benchbook in the Behavioral Sciences and The International Handbook of Parental Alienation Syndrome. Dr. Lorandos may be recognizeable from his appearances on The Today Show, The View, Larry King Live and Court TV, and from his extensive online catalog of free legal advice videos.

 
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The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance, and continuation of the educating and raising of the child in its religion or creed, if any.
Posted On March 23rd, 2015  By admin  

Effective parents respond to their children in an “authoritative” manner as opposed to “authoritarian” or “permissive” styles.[1] Authoritative parents establish clearly defined expectations and limits for their children. These parents consistently enforce those expectations and limits with sanctions when necessary. Research shows that these parents encourage open and honest two way communication, and relate to their children with an awareness of each child’s capabilities. At Falsely-Accused.net we believe that obviously, then, a custody evaluation must assess the degree to which each parent approximates the ideal of an authoritative parent.

To the extent that custodial parents accept their divorce, their children exhibit a better post divorce adjustment.[2] ,[3] Conversely, custodial parents who did not want a divorce find it more difficult to assume the responsibilities of a single parent when they never sought them. Divorced spouses who feel overwhelmed by a sense of betrayal and abandonment can find it difficult to respond effectively to their children. At Falsely-Accused.net we feel that Consequently, a custody evaluation must often weigh this sense of betrayal as a factor. There is no available research examining the effects of religious training on how well children adjust to divorce.[5]

Custodial mothers and custodial fathers exhibit different strengths and weaknesses.[6] Custodial mothers encounter greater problems with behavior control and assigning household tasks. Custodial fathers experience more problems with communication and monitoring the activities of their children. Custodial mothers and fathers relate to younger children with equal warmth and nurturance.[7]

Approximately one quarter to one third of adolescents in divorced families, compared to 10% of adolescents from intact families, become disengaged from their family unit.[8] This disengagement results in adolescents avoiding interactions, activities, and communication with their families. The incidence of disengagement is greater for boys in divorced families, and for girls in stepfamilies. When this disengagement is associated with identification with a delinquent peer group, antisocial behavior and academic problems frequently occur.

The capacity and disposition of competing parties to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of the state in lieu of medical care and other material needs.

Sudden decreases in a family’s standard of living attributable to the financial difficulties of divorce create difficult adjustment problems for children.[9],[10],[11] Related data indicate that when income is held constant, children of divorce exhibit no more behavior problems than children from intact households.[12],[13],[14] Strained economic resources influence the custodial environments of children via multiple factors. These economic circumstances can alter the quality of parent child relationships, disrupt daily routines (see factor D), and uproot children from their familiar surroundings (see factor E).[15] Therefore, we at Falsely-Accused.net emphasize that the economic dislocation frequently associated with divorce requires that a custody evaluation consider these.

The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity and the permanence as a family unit of the existing or proposed custodial home.

Because factors D and E parallel each other along important dimensions, they will be considered jointly. Stable, day to day living routines enhance the effectiveness with which children adjust to divorce.[16], [17]To the extent that unpredictability and chaos characterize the custodial environments of children, they can feel overwhelmed by life circumstances which seem beyond their control.[18],[19] Consequently, an appropriate custody evaluation must address the potential stability of the proposed custodial environments.

It is also necessary to distinguish between the stability and continuity of custodial arrangements, as opposed to the stability and continuity of a child’s physical environment. For young children (ages 1 7), their psychological dependence on the primary parental care taker recommends recognizing stability and continuity in the custodial arrangement over stability in the physical environment (place of residence, school system, access to peers).[20] For older children (ages 8 and up), their desires for continuity in their physical environment which may be expressed via the child’s stated preference assume increasing significance.[21]

Custodial and noncustodial parents view the desirability of maintaining existing custodial arrangements differently. Custodial parents typically rate their children as better adjusted, and less disturbed, than noncustodial parents.[22]


 

[1]Maccoby, E. & Martin, J. (1983). Socialization in the context of the family: Parent-child interaction. In P. Mussen (Ed). Handbook of child psychology. (4th Ed.). New York: Wiley.

[2]Biller, H. (1974). Paternal deprivation: Family, school, sexuality and society. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath.

[3]Santrock, J. & Warshak, R. (1979). Father custody and social development in boys and girls. Journal of Social Issues, 35,112-125.

[4]Kopf, K. (1970). Family variables and school adjustment of eighth grade father-absent boys. Family Coordinator, 19, 145-150.

[5]Schutz, B., Dixon, E., Lindenberger, J., & Ruther, N. (1989). Solomon’s sword: A practical guide to conducting child custody evaluations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

[6]Furstenberg, F.F. Jr. (1988). Child care after divorce and remarriage. In E.M. Hetherington & J.D. Arasteh (Eds.), Impact of divorce, single parenting, and stepparenting on children. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

[7]Warshak, R.A. (1986). Father custody and child development: A review and analysis of the psychological research. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 4, 185-202.

[8]Hetherington, E.M. & Jodl, K. M. (1994). Stepfamilies as settings for child development. In A. Booth & J. Dunn (Eds.), Stepfamilies: Who benefits? Who does not? Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

[9]Boike, M., Ginter, E., Cowen, E., Felner, R., & Francis, R. (1978). The
relationship between family background problems and the competencies of young normal children. Psychology in the Schools, 15, 283-290.

[10]Nelson, G. (1981). Moderators of women’s and children’s adjustment following parental divorce. Journal of Divorce, 4, 71-83.

[11]Pett, M. (1982). Correlates of children’s social adjustment following divorce. Journal of Divorce, 5,25-39.

[12]Adams, D. & Horovitz, J.(1980). Psychopathology and fatherlessness in poor boys. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 10, 135-143.

[13]Colletta, N. (1983). Stressful lives: The situation of divorced mothers and their children. Journal of Divorce, 6, 19-31

[14]MacKinnon, C., Brody, G. & Stoneman, Z. (1982). The effects of divorce and maternal employment on the home environments of preschool children. Child Development, 53, 1392-1399.

[15]Felner, R. & Terre, L. (1987). Op cit.

[16]Felner, R. (1984). Vulnerability in childhood: A preventive framework for understanding children’s efforts to cope with life stress and transitions. In M. Roberts & L. Peterson (Eds). Prevention of problems in childhood: Psychological research and applications. New York: Wiley – Interscience.

[17]Wallerstein, J. (1977). Responses of preschool children to divorce: Those who cope. In M. McMillan & S. Henao (Eds). Child Psychiatry: Treatment and research. New York: Bruner/Mazel.

[18]Felner, R., Farber, S., Ginter, M., Boike, M. & Cowen, E. (1980). Family stress and organization following parental divorce or death. Journal of Divorce, 4, 67-76.

[19]Stolberg, A. & Anker, J. (1983). Cognitive and behavioral changes in children resulting from parental divorce and consequent environmental changes. Journal of Divorce, 6, 23-41.

[20]Thompson, R. (1983). Op cit.

[21]Wallerstein, J. & Kelly, J. (1980). Op cit.

[22]Ash, P. & Guyer, M.J. (1991). Biased reporting by parents undergoing child custody evaluations. Journal of the American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 30, 835-838.

 
 
Statutorily Defined Criteria
Posted On March 16th, 2015  By admin  

Child custody evaluations necessitate that evaluators recognize and respond to statutorily defined criteria regarding the best interests of the child.[1] The appropriate standard of practice for custody evaluators also requires that they respond to research data. At Falsely-Accused.net, we teach that expert testimony premised upon empirical evidence can assist a trier of fact because it provides reliable information that typically falls outside the domain of common knowledge.[2]

Appropriately conducted custody evaluations, therefore, make recommendations based on relevant data responding to statutorily defined criteria. Neglecting these considerations frequently leads to custody recommendations that rely more on theoretical assumptions reflecting the idiosyncratic values of the evaluator.[3]Unfortunately, we at Falsely-Accused.net feel that custody evaluators too often overlook statutorily defined criteria regarding the best interests of the child, and they also disregard the relevant research. We at Falsely-Accused.net feel that evaluators who commit these kinds of errors should be cross examined in the following manner.

Cross Examination Regarding Relevant Criteria

1.  Dr. X, did you know that criteria regarding the “best interests of the child” are statutorily defined in this state?

2.  In your written report, however, you never referred to these statutorily defined criteria Correct?

3.  But you say, your evaluation and subsequent recommendations addressed the “best interests” of these children Correct?

4.  But we do not know what criteria you used to define the “best interests” of these children Correct?

5.  The criteria you used to define the “best interests” of these children could simply correspond to your idiosyncratic values Correct?

6.  And the written report corresponding to your evaluation expresses a number of opinions Correct?

7.  There are many research reports published in peer reviewed journals addressing the effects of divorce on parents and children Correct?

8.  But your report does not cite so much as a single research study Correct?

9.  Without citing so much as a single research study, your recommendations may rely primarily on untested theoretical assumptions Correct?

10.  And untested theoretical assumptions will not assist this court in making its custody decision in this case Correct?

Statutorily Defined Criteria and Relevant Research

This chapter next reviews statutorily defined criteria corresponding to the “best interests of the child”. In particular, we at Falsely-Accused.net review the research evidence relevant to the eleven criteria of Michigan’s Child Custody Act. These criteria, or closely related variations, are also utilized by numerous other states. Though not exhaustive, the following literature review summarizes the published data related to these criteria.

The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the competing parties and the child.

Despite earlier work to the contrary,[4] more extensive studies concluded that there is no well defined relationship between the age of children and how well they adjust to parental divorce.[5],[6] Nevertheless, the potential trauma that divorce poses for pre school children indicates awarding their custody to the parent who has been their primary care taker.[7] This is the parental figure to whom the pre school child turns for emotional support under circumstances of stress and turmoil.[8] We at Falsely-Accused.net feel that consequently, an effective custody evaluation assesses which parent has related to their child as the primary care taker.[9]

The immediate effects of divorce on children can include loneliness, vulnerability, fear of abandonment, and powerlessness.[10] There are other data, however, indicating that while divorce subjects children to some adjustment problems, the magnitude of those problems often border on the “trivial.”[11]

When close and mutually affectionate relationships between children and custodial parents survive the buffeting stresses of divorce, children adjust more effectively to their parents’ separation.[12] This consideration necessitates that custody evaluations identify which parent will most likely relate to their children as the primary care taker on a post decree basis. Because of the profound changes in life circumstances that divorce creates for both parents, post decree parental effectiveness is not always predicted by pre decree effectiveness. Effective parents also avoid relating to their children via remote psychological distance at one extreme, and oppressive psychological smothering at the other.[13] Thus, an appropriate custody evaluation considers this dimension of parent child relationships.


 

[1]Grisso, T. (1990). Evolving guidelines for divorce/custody evaluations. Family and Conciliation Courts Review, 28 (1), 35-41.

[2]Campbell, T.W. (1992). Child custody evaluations and appropriate standards of psychological practice. Michigan Bar Journal, 71 (3), 278-283.

[3]Expert testimony offered by mental health professionals is considered by some to be especially susceptible to bias. One commentator cited this proclivity to bias as a cause of poor public opinion of forensic mental health professionals. See: Norman Sidley, N. (1980). Presidential Address, 8(l) Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law iv. Furthermore, unconscious distortion has also been cited as a potential source of bias in the expert testimony of mental health professionals. See, e.g.: Zusman, J. & Jesse Simon, J. (1983). Differences in Repeated Psychiatric Examinations of Litigants to a Lawsuit, 140 American Journal of Psychiatry 1300; Otto, R.K. (1989). Bias and Expert Testimony of Mental Health Professionals: A Preliminary Investigation, 7 Behavioral Science and the Law 267; Beckham, J.C.,Annis, L.V. & Gustafson, D.J. (1989). Decision Making and Examiner Bias in Forensic Expert Recom¬mendations for Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity, 13 Law and Human Behavior 79.

[4]Wallerstein, J. & Kelly, J. (1980). Surviving the breakup: How children and parents cope with divorce. New York: Basic Books.

[5]Farber, S., Primavera, J., & Felner, R. (1984). Parental separation/divorce and adolescents: An examination of the factors mediating adaptation. American Journal of Community Psychology, 13, 171-185.

[6]Felner, R. & Terre, L. (1987). Child custody dispositions and children’s adaptation following divorce. In L. Weithorn (Ed). Psychology and child custody determinations: Knowledge, roles, and expertise. Lincoln, NE: U of Nebraska Press.

[7]Rohman, L., Sales, B. & Lou, M. (1987). The best interests of the child in custody disputes. In L. Weithorn (Ed). Psychology and child custody determinations: Knowledge, roles, and expertise. Lincoln, NE: U of Nebraska Press.

[8]Thompson, R. (1983). The father’s case in child custody disputes: The contributions of psychological research. In M. Lamb & A. Sagi (Eds). Fatherhood and social policy, Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

[9]Probably the single most significant principle involved in expert testimony is that the opinion cannot be based on either an inadequate history or a mistaken assumption as to the facts. Expert and Opinion Evidence 31 Am. Jur. 2d ’86 (1989).

[10]Wallerstein, J.S. (1985). The overburdened child: Some longterm consequences of divorce. Social Work, 30 (2), 116-123.

[11]Amato, P.R. & Keith, B. (1991). Parental divorce and the wellbeing of children. Psychological Bulletin, 110 (1), 26-46.

[12]Hetherington, M. (1979). Divorce: A child’s perspective. American
Psychologist, 34, 851-858.

[13]Fisher, S. & Fisher, R. (1986). What we really know about parenting. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.

 
 
Child Custody Evaluations and Appropriate Standards of Psychological Practice
Posted On March 10th, 2015  By admin  

1994 guidelines of the American Psychological Association indicate that child custody evaluations should respond to the best interests of the children as the issue of ultimate importance.[1] In pursuing the best interests of the children involved, these guidelines recommend assessing: (1) the parental capacities of the competing parties, (2) the developmental status of the children including consideration of their needs and preferences when appropriate, and (3) what custody arrangement approximates the best fit between parental capacities and children’s needs.[2]

When addressing these three questions, custody evaluators must recognize the daunting task facing them. We at Falsely-Accused.net emphasize that in particular, custody evaluators need to appreciate the complexity of the issues associated with these evaluations. Profound changes in life circumstances provoke profound changes in how people behave and divorce surely qualifies as a profound change in life circumstances. As a result, custody evaluations on a pre decree basis typically involve the difficult task of assessing a situation that does not yet exist how each parent will function as a single parent. We at Falsely-Accused.net feel that consequently, custody evaluators are obligated to assess: (1) the pre decree characteristics of existing parent child relationships, (2) the situational demands each parent will encounter as a single parent, and (3) how pre decree parental effectiveness will combine with the status of single parent to influence post decree parental effectiveness.

Divorce and Changing Family Dynamics- Assessment Issues

Assessing post decree parental effectiveness is further complicated by the inevitable behavioral changes exhibited by children as they grow and mature. A recently recommended standard “the approximation rule” overlooks the profound changes associated with child growth and development. The approximation rule advocates that subsequent to divorce, custody arrangements should approximate, as much as possible, the child rearing circumstances that existed prior to divorce.[3] The approximation rule, however, assumes a degree of stability in the needs of children that, in fact, do not exist. As children grow and mature, their relationships with their parents inevitably change.

Compromised parental effectiveness frequently corresponds to reduced emotional sensitivity, decreased parental attentiveness, and parental unavailability. These parental characteristics increased unavailability, deceased attentiveness, and reduced sensitivity are common responses to the stress of divorce.[4] Fortunately, these characteristics progressively resolve themselves over time as parents adjust, and reorganize their lives in response to divorce.[5]

It is taught at Falsely-Accused.net that custody evaluators must also appreciate the inordinate stress associated with marital dissolution and divorce. These situational considerations are so powerful that they frequently influence reactions to divorce more than the personality characteristics of the litigants. A 1997 article examining responses to the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory 2 in custody evaluations emphasized:

“With few exceptions, child custody litigants represent a normal population undergoing a psychologically agonizing experience in their family life.”[6]

Custody evaluators who overlook these considerations are at risk for committing the “fundamental attribution error” discussed in Previous Posts. This error leads custody evaluators into overemphasizing the personality characteristics of competing parental parties, and underemphasizing the significance of the situational circumstances confronting them.[7]

Cross Examination Regarding Divorce and Changing Circumstances

1.  Dr. X, you would agree that profound changes in life circumstances provoke profound changes in how people behave Correct?

2.  And you would also agree that divorce qualifies as a profound change in life circumstances Correct?

3.  A custody evaluation in a case like this is an exceedingly difficult task Correct?

4.  A custody evaluation in this case is an exceedingly difficult task because you are attempting to assess a situation that does not yet exist Correct?

5.  For example, you have attempted to assess how these litigants will function as single parents Correct?

6.  But in fact, neither one of them is a single parent at this point in time Correct?

7.  Therefore, you were faced with the task of assessing how the reactions of these
parents to the stress of divorce will influence their parental effectiveness Correct?

8.  Considering the needs of the children involved, we know that their needs will change as they grow and mature Correct?

9.  Parental behaviors that are effective at this point in time, may not be effective in the future as result of changes in their children’s behavior Correct?

10.  And the stress of divorce can temporarily compromise parental effectiveness Correct?

11.  And with the passage of time, most people recover from the devastating effects of divorce Correct?

12.  Adjusting to the stress of divorce assists most people to function more effectively as parents Correct?

13.  But, you do not know whether one, or both, of these parents will remarry Correct?

14.  And if one or both of these parents remarry, you don’t know how the remarriage will influence their parental effectiveness Correct?

15.  And you do not know what kind of peer group influences these children will
encounter in the future Correct?

16.  In other words, there are many future developments that will transpire in the lives of these parents and children which you cannot factor into your current recommendations Correct?

17.  The value of your evaluation is therefore limited because of all the future events in the lives of these children, and their parents, that you cannot accurately forecast Correct?


 

[1]For one of the more interesting statements on the children’s best interests, see:Parham v J.R., 442 U.S. 584 (1979) [Did the parents act in the child’s best interests in committing the child to a mental institution.]

[2]American Psychological Association (1994). Guidelines for child custody evaluations in divorce proceedings. American Psychologist, 49, 677-680.

[3]Scott, E.S. (1992). Pluralism, parental preference, and child custody. California Law Review, 80, 115-172.

[4]Hetherington, E.M., Bridges, M., & Insabella, G.M. (1998). What matters? What does not?: Five perspectives on the association between marital transitions and children’s adjustment. American Psychologist, 53, 167-184.

[5]Wallerstein, J.S. & Lewis, J. (1998). The long-term impact of divorce on children: A first report from a 25-year study. Family and Conciliation Courts Review, 36, 368-383.

[6]Bathurst, K., Gottfried, A.W., & Gottfried, A.E. (1997). Normative data for the MMPI-2 in child custody litigation. Psychological Assessment, 9, 205-211 (p. 209).

[7]Fundamental attribution errors and the mis-emphasis of particularities in a divorcing circumstance are endemic to the court’s search for information. See, i.e.:Rohman, Sales, and Lou, (1990). The Best Interests Standard in Child Custody Decisions. In David Weisstub (Ed.), Law and Mental Health: International Perspectives (Volume 5) 40; Sales, Manber, Rohman,(1992). Social Science Research and Child Custody Decision-Making. 1 Applied and Preventive Psychology: Current Scientific Perspectives 23.

 
 
The Bender Gestalt Test
Posted On March 2nd, 2015  By admin  

Subjects taking the Bender Gestalt are asked to reproduce geometric designs by drawing them on a plain sheet of paper. Though this test was originally designed to assess neurological deficit, it is also often used projectively. At Falsely-Accused.net we know that the relevant data, however, do not support popular assumptions regarding drawing characteristics and personality features. In particular, Holmes and his colleagues concluded their 1984 study indicating:

“… the results of this study are not supportive of using clients’ Bender Gestalt drawing style as a basis for inferring personality traits …”[1]

Unfortunately, however, many professionals continue to engage in unwarranted interpretations of the Bender Gestalt despite the data clearly contraindicating their doing so.

Cross examining the Bender Gestalt

1.  Your assessment work in this case obligates you to comply with the 1999 Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing Correct?

2.  Please consider Standard 4.1 of the 1999 Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing which states:

– [ read ] –

“Test documents should provide test users with clear explanations of the meaning and intended interpretation of derived score scales, as well as their limitations.”

Now my question: Despite Standard 4.1, there is no generally recognized and accepted method for scoring the Bender Gestalt Correct?

3.  Therefore, you did not obtain any objective scores for the Bender Gestalt in this case Correct?

4.  Professionals reviewing Bender Gestalt responses for indications of personality characteristics are forced to rely on speculation and conjecture Correct?

5.  Without a generally recognized and accepted scoring procedure, problems of inter rater reliability undermine the value of the Bender Gestalt Correct?

6.  In other words, two or more professionals could review the same Bender Gestalt responses but interpret them very differently Correct?

7.  And as a result, another professional reviewing the Bender Gestalt in this case could have interpreted it quite differently than you Correct?

[USE THE 22 FOUNDATIONAL QUESTIONS FROM PREVIOUS POSTS
IF YOU HAVE NOT YET DONE SO]

8.  The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology is a generally recognized and accepted, peer reviewed journal in your field Correct?

9.  And a 1984 study by Holmes and his colleagues published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology titled “Reassessment of Inferring Personality Traits from Bender Gestalt Drawing Styles” might be relevant to your opinions in this case Correct?

10.  Please consider how Holmes and his colleagues concluded their study:

– [ read ] –

“… the results of this study are not supportive of using clients’ Bender Gestalt drawing style as a basis for inferring personality traits …”

Now my question: If the results of peer reviewed data contraindicate using the Bender Gestalt, your relying on it could misinform and mislead this proceeding Correct?

11.  You have not published anything in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider the findings of Holmes and his colleagues Correct?

12.  You cannot cite anything published in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider the findings of Holmes and his colleagues Correct?

13.  Without the availability of peer reviewed data necessitating reconsideration of the findings reported by Holmes and his colleagues, then your profession generally recognizes and accepts that the Bender Gestalt should not be used for inferring personality traits Correct?

14.  Please consider Standard 2.02 (a) of the 1992 Ethical Code for psychologists addressing “Competence and Appropriate Use of Assessments and Interventions” which states:

“(a) Psychologists who develop, administer, score, interpret, or use psychological assessment techniques, interviews, tests, or instruments do so in a manner and for purposes that are appropriate in light of the research on or evidence of the usefulness and proper application of the techniques.”

Now my question: Your work in this case obligates you to comply with this standard Correct?

15.  If the available data do not support using Bender Gestalt drawing style as a basis for inferring personality traits, your relying on the Bender Gestalt neglects Standard 2.02 (a) of your ethical code Correct?

16.  Because if the available data do not support using Bender Gestalt drawing style as a basis for inferring personality traits, you cannot use the Bender Gestalt in a manner that is “appropriate in light of the research on or evidence of the usefulness and proper application of the technique” Correct?

17.  Also please consider Standard 2.02 (b) of the 1992 Ethical Code for psychologists addressing “Competence and Appropriate Use of Assessments and Interventions” which states:

– [ read ] –

“(b) Psychologists refrain from misuse of assessment techniques, interventions, results, and interpretations and take reasonable steps to prevent others from misusing the information these techniques provide. This includes refraining from releasing raw test results or raw test data to persons, other than to patients or clients as appropriate, who are not qualified to use such information.”

Now my question: Your work in this case obligates you to also comply with this standard Correct?

18.  If the available data do not support using Bender Gestalt drawing style as a basis for inferring personality traits, your relying on the Bender Gestalt also neglects Standard 2.02 (b) of your ethical code Correct?

19.  Because if the available data do not support using Bender Gestalt drawing style as a basis for inferring personality traits, you are at risk for misusing this “assessment technique” and its “interpretations” Correct?

Conclusions regarding Projective Techniques

At Falsely-Accused.net we note that in the fifth edition of her definitive text Psychological Testing Anne Anastasi perceptively summarized the major problems undermining the reliability of projective tests:

“… the final interpretation of the projective test responses may reveal more about the theoretical orientation, favorite hypotheses, and personality idiosyncrasies of the examiner than it does about the examinee’s personality dynamics.”[2]

Mental health professionals attempting to support their expert testimony with projective test data should be confronted with Anastasi’s cogent observations.


 

[1] Holmes, C.B, Dungan, D.S. & Medlin, W.J. (1984). Reassessment of inferring personality traits from Bender Gestalt drawing styles. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 40, 1241 1243. At page 1243

[2] Anastasi, A. (1982). Psychological testing (5th ed.). New York: The Macmillan Co., (p. 582).

 
 
The TAT SCORS System
Posted On February 23rd, 2015  By admin  

At Falsely-Accused.net we note that a 1999 article reported the development of the SCORS scoring system for the TAT.[1] The acronym SCORS corresponds to “Social Cognition and Object Relations Scale.” The SCORS system scores TAT stories in terms of eight categories:

(1) the complexity of representations of people,
(2) the affective quality of representations,
(3) emotional investment in relationships,
(4) emotional investment in values and moral standards,
(5) understanding of social causality,
(6) experience and management of aggressive impulses,
(7) self esteem, and
(8) identity and coherence of self.

It is rare, however, that this scoring system is used in clinical practice. For example, we have never encountered a TAT protocol scored via the SCORS system.

This same article claims acceptable levels of inter rater reliability when using the SCORS. We at Falsely-Accused.net emphasize that as with the Rorschach, however, it is necessary to distinguish between the “research” reliability and the “field” reliability of the SCORS system. Research teams working diligently, with specialized training in a research setting, may realize acceptable levels of inter rater scoring consistency for a procedure such as the SCORS. Concluding that acceptable levels of research reliability translate to acceptable levels of field reliability is mistaken. Compared to research psychologists, clinicians practicing in the “field” do not have the time necessary to learn the intricacies of a system such as SCORS.

Cross Examining Regarding the SCORS System

[USE THE 22 FOUNDATIONAL QUESTIONS FROM PREVIOUS POSTS IF YOU HAVE NOT YET DONE SO]

1.  The Journal of Personality Assessment is a generally recognized and accepted, peer reviewed journal in your field Correct?

2.  And a 1999 article by Ackerman and his colleagues published in the Journal of Personality Assessment titled “Use of the TAT in the Assessment of DSM IV Cluster B Personality Disorders” might be relevant to your opinions in this case Correct?

3.  Please consider the comments of Ackerman and his colleagues regarding a scoring system for the TAT known as SCORS:

– [ read ] –

“… which is made up of eight variables: Complexity of representation of people, Affect, Relationships, Morals, Understanding of social causality, Aggression, Self esteem, and Identity and Coherence of Self.”

Now my question: In using the TAT in this case, did you rely on the SCORS procedure?
[If the psychologist answers “Yes,” go to question #12]

4.  Please consider these additional comments by Ackerman and his colleagues regarding the SCORS procedure:

– [ read ] –

“Each variable on the latest version is scored on 7 point anchored rating scale ranging from 1 (pathological) to 7 (healthy).”

Now my question: Your use of the TAT in this case neglected to score the variable “Complexity of representation of people” on a 1 7 scale Correct?

5.  And your use of the TAT in this case neglected to score the variable of “Affect” on a 1 7 scale Correct?

6.  And your use of the TAT in this case neglected to score the variable of “Relationships” on a 1 7 scale Correct?

7.  And your use of the TAT in this case neglected to score the variable of “Morals” on a 1 7 scale Correct?

8.  And your use of the TAT in this case neglected to score the variable of “Understanding of social causality” on a 1 7 scale Correct?

9.  And your use of the TAT in this case neglected to score the variable of “Aggression” on a 1 7 scale Correct?

10.  And your use of the TAT in this case neglected to score the variable of “self esteem” on a 1 7 scale Correct?

11.  And your use of the TAT in this case neglected to score the variable of “Identity and Coherence of Self” on a 1 7 scale Correct?

12.  Your assessment work obligates you to comply with the 1999 edition of the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing Correct?

13.  The 1999 Testing Standards specifically state:

– [ read ] –

“The applicability of the Standards to an evaluation device or method is not altered by the label applied to it (e.g., test, assessment, scale, and inventory)”

Now my question: Given the statement I just cited from the 1999 Testing Standards, those Standards apply directly to your assessment work in this case Correct?

14.  Please consider Standard 2.10 of the 1999 Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing which state:

– [read ] –

“When subjective judgment enters into test scoring, evidence should be provided on both inter rater consistency in scoring and within examinee consistency over repeated measurements.”

Now my question: Your work in this case obligates you to comply with this standard Correct?

15.  Evidence of inter rater consistency in scoring also refers to what is generally recognized and accepted in your field as inter rater reliability Correct?

16.  Psychologists using the SCORS system for the TAT may claim that this system has resolved the problems of inter rater reliability Correct?

17.  For research purposes, we know that the TAT can potentially be scored in a reliable manner Correct?

18.  But that outcome corresponds to what we might call the research reliability of the TAT Correct?

19.  The psychologists participating in those research studies underwent specialized training to reach acceptable levels of inter rater reliability Correct?

20.  You have not undergone the specialized research training, in a research setting, for using the SCORS Correct?

[The vast majority of psychologists have not undertaken this kind of training. Prior to cross examination, check the psychologist’s c.v. for post doctoral training in the TAT]

21.  And the “field reliability” of the TAT SCORS system refers to how practicing psychologists such as yourself use it Correct?

22.  You cannot cite any data published in a peer reviewed journal reporting the field reliability for the SCORS system Correct?

23.  In other words, the extent to which practicing psychologists carefully comply with the SCORS scoring procedures remains unknown Correct?

24.  If the extent to which practicing psychologists carefully comply with the SCORS scoring procedure remains unknown, we do not know how carefully you complied with that scoring procedure Correct?

25.  And if you resorted to your own idiosyncratic scoring method, your interpretations of the TAT in this case could be mistaken Correct?

26.  Other than accepting your claims, we have no way of knowing if you scored the TAT accurately in this case Correct?

27.  And if you scored the TAT inaccurately, you could misinform and mislead this proceeding Correct?


 

[1]Ackerman, S.J., Amanda, J.C., Weatherill, R. & Hilsenroth, M.J. (1999). Use of the TAT in the assessment of DSM IV Cluster B Personality Disorders. Journal of Personality Assessment, 73, 422 448.

 
 
Thematic Apperception Test
Posted On February 16th, 2015  By admin  

The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) was developed by Murray and his colleagues in 1938, and it became quite popular by the 1940s. The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) asks subjects to make up stories in response to standardized pictures of people involved in various activities. At Falsely-Accused.net we note that, in fact, however, the designation Thematic Apperception Test is a misnomer. It does not qualify as a test because there is no generally accepted procedure for scoring it. In their 1985 article reviewing the TAT, Polyson and his colleagues indicated:

“A renewal of interest in TAT research will probably require a synthesis of various scoring and interpretation methods.” [1](p. 28).

In her authoritative text on psychological testing, Professor Anne Anastasi discussed the TAT indicating: “… most clinicians rely heavily on subjective norms built up though their own experience with the test …” [2]Therefore, psychologists using the TAT typically resort to entirely impressionistic and totally unsubstantiated interpretations. Commenting on this issue, Rossini and Moretti emphasized:

“…the TAT should never be called the Thematic Apperception Test unless a quantified scoring is used and appropriate normative data are publically available. The contemporary TAT is more akin to a highly specialized projective interview technique than a psychometric test.”[3]

Rossini and Moretti also point out that the TAT is rarely scored in any objective or systematic manner.

“… both traditional and contemporary applications of the TAT in practice have largely abandoned a psychometric approach to interpretation as well as any attempt to use an objective scoring system.”[4]

Rossini and Moretti’s overview of current TAT use is less than a ringing endorsement of this instrument.

“It appears that both competence and expertise in TAT interpretation are self conferred and follow from heterogeneous course work, predoctoral practicum experience, the internship, and whatever clinical work experience avails. It seems unlikely that psychologists engage in serious continuing education or skill development in peer supervision with respect to the TAT. The common attributions of ‘seat of the pants’ or highly anecdotal interpretations of TAT narratives may be closer to the mark than many in our profession would care to admit.”[5]

In their 1985 study, Sharkey and Ritzler found that the standardized TAT pictures are unusual in their characteristics. We at Falsely-Accused.net note that as a result, their atypicality prompts subjects to respond in ways that can be interpreted as pathological. Sharkey and Ritzler specifically commented that TAT responses may be:

“… determined as much by the stimulus demands of the pictures as by the personality characteristics of the respondent” [6](p. 406).

Cross examining the TAT

1.  Your assessment work in this case obligates you to comply with the 1999 Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing Correct?

2.  Please consider Standard 4.1 of the 1999 Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing which states:

– [ read ] –

“Test documents should provide test users with clear explanations of the meaning and intended interpretation of derived score scales, as well as their limitations.”

Now my question: Despite Standard 4.1, there is no generally recognized and accepted method for scoring the TAT Correct?

[USE THE 22 FOUNDATIONAL QUESTIONS FROM PREVIOUS POSTS
IF YOU HAVE NOT YET DONE SO]

3.  The Journal Professional Psychology: Science and Practice is a generally recognized and accepted, peer reviewed journal in your field Correct?

4.  And a 1985 study by Polyson and his colleagues published in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice titled “The Recent Decline in TAT Research” might be relevant to your opinions in this case Correct?

5.  Please consider the following statement from Polyson and his colleagues:

– [ read ] –

“A renewal of interest in TAT research will probably require a synthesis of various scoring and interpretation methods.”

Now my question: If there are “various scoring and interpretation methods” for the TAT, then we can conclude that there is no one scoring and interpretation method that is generally recognized and accepted in your field Correct?

6.  You have not published anything in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider the position of Polyson and his colleagues Correct?

7.  You cannot cite anything published in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider the position of Polyson and his colleagues Correct?

8.  Consequently, your using the TAT in this case neglected Standard 4.1 of the 1999 Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing Correct?

9.  In particular, you did not obtain any objective scores for the TAT in this case Correct?

10.  Psychologists reviewing TAT responses are therefore forced to rely on speculation and conjecture Correct?

11.  You previously acknowledged that the journal Professional Psychology: Research and Practice is a generally recognized and accepted, peer reviewed journal in your field Correct?

12.  And a 1997 article by Rossini and Moretti published in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice titled “Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) Interpretation: Practice Recommendations from a Survey of Clinical Psychology Doctoral Programs Accredited by the American Psychological Association” might be relevant to your opinions in this case Correct?

13.  Please consider Rossini and Moretti’s comments regarding the TAT:

– [ read ] –

“…the TAT should never be called the Thematic Apperception Test unless a quantified scoring is used and appropriate normative data are publically available.”

Now my question: If the TAT should never be called the Thematic Apperception Test unless quantified scoring and appropriate normative data are available, you used the TAT inappropriately Correct?

14.  You used the TAT inappropriately because you referred to this instrument as a “test” Correct?

15.  You have not published anything in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider the 1997 position of Rossini and Moretti Correct?

16.  You cannot cite anything published in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider the 1997 position of Rossini and Moretti Correct?

17.  Please consider these additional comments expressed by Rossini and Moretti in 1997 article:

– [ read ] –

“… both traditional and contemporary applications of the TAT in practice have largely abandoned a psychometric approach to interpretation as well as any attempt to use an objective scoring system.”

Now my question: If contemporary applications of the TAT have largely abandoned any attempts at using an objective scoring system, that means there is no objective scoring system available to you for scoring the TAT Correct?

18.  You have not published anything in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider the 1997 position of Rossini and Moretti in this regard Correct?

19.  You cannot cite anything published in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider the 1997 position of Rossini and Moretti in this regard Correct?

20.  In other words, your profession generally recognizes that there is no generally accepted, objective scoring system for the TAT Correct?

21.  Please consider these additional comments expressed by Rossini and Moretti in their 1997 article:

“It appears that both competence and expertise in TAT interpretation are self conferred and follow from heterogeneous course work, predoctoral practicum experience, the internship, and whatever clinical work experience avails.”

Now my question: If both competence and expertise in TAT interpretation are self conferred, then your field relies on unsubstantiated claims regarding who can interpret the TAT Correct?

22.  You have not published anything in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider the 1997 position of Rossini and Moretti in this regard Correct?

23.  You cannot cite anything published in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider the 1997 position of Rossini and Moretti in this regard Correct?

24.  Please consider these further comments expressed by Rossini and Moretti in their 1997 article:

– [ read ] –

“The common attributions of ‘seat of the pants’ or highly anecdotal interpretations of TAT narratives may be closer to the mark than many in our profession would care to admit.”

Now my question: “Seat of the pants” TAT interpretations refer to intuitive and subjective impressions Correct?

25.  And if you resorted to “seat of the pants” methods in your interpreting the TAT in this case, you pose a risk of misinforming and misleading this proceeding Correct?

26.  You have not published anything in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider the 1997 position of Rossini and Moretti in this regard Correct?

27.  You cannot cite anything published in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider the 1997 position of Rossini and Moretti in this regard Correct?

28.  In other words, your profession generally recognizes that TAT interpretations amount too often amount to intuitive and subjective impressions Correct?

29.  You are familiar with the concept of inter rater reliability Correct?

30.  You agree that inter rater reliability refers to whether two or more psychologists independently reviewing the same test data reach the same conclusions Correct?

31.  And without a generally recognized and accepted scoring procedure, problems of inter rater reliability inevitably undermine the value of the TAT Correct?

32.  In other words, two or more psychologists could review the same TAT responses but interpret them very differently Correct?

33.  And as a result, another psychologist reviewing the TAT in this case could have interpreted it quite differently than you Correct?

34.  The Journal of Personality Assessment is a generally recognized and accepted, peer reviewed journal in your field Correct?

35.  And a 1985 study by Sharkey and Ritzler published in the Journal of Personality Assessment titled “Comparing the Diagnostic Validity of the TAT with a New Picture Projective Test” might be relevant to your opinions in this case Correct?

36.  Please consider Sharkey and Ritzler’s comments regarding how responses to the TAT may be:

– [ read ] –

“… determined as much by the stimulus demands of the pictures as by the personality characteristics of the respondent.”

Now my question: If a subject’s TAT responses can simply correspond to the characteristics of the pictures, then interpreting TAT responses becomes very difficult Correct?

37.  In other words, TAT responses can correspond as much to the characteristics of the pictures, as to the personality of subject taking the TAT Correct?

38.  You have not published anything in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider the findings of Sharkey and Ritzler Correct?

39.  You cannot cite anything published in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider the findings of Sharkey and Ritzler Correct?

40.  Please consider Standard 2.02 (a) of the 1992 Ethical Code for psychologists addressing “Competence and Appropriate Use of Assessments and Interventions” which states:

– [ read ] –

“(a) Psychologists who develop, administer, score, interpret, or use psychological assessment techniques, interviews, tests, or instruments do so in a manner and for purposes that are appropriate in light of the research on or evidence of the usefulness and proper application of the techniques.”

Now my question: Your work in this case obligates you to comply with this standard Correct?

41.  If TAT responses can correspond as much to the characteristics of the pictures, as to the personality of subject taking the TAT, your relying on the TAT neglects Standard 2.02 (a) of your ethical code Correct?

42.  Because if TAT responses can correspond as much to the characteristics of the pictures, as to the personality of subject taking the TAT, you cannot use the TAT in a manner that is “appropriate in light of the research on or evidence of the usefulness and proper application of the technique” Correct?

43.  Also please consider Standard 2.02 (b) of the 1992 Ethical Code for psychologists addressing “Competence and Appropriate Use of Assessments and Interventions” which states:

– [ read ] –

“(b) Psychologists refrain from misuse of assessment techniques, interventions, results, and interpretations and take reasonable steps to prevent others from misusing the information these techniques provide. This includes refraining from releasing raw test results or raw test data to persons, other than to patients or clients as appropriate, who are not qualified to use such information.”

Now my question: Your work in this case obligates you to also comply with this standard Correct?

44.  If TAT responses can correspond as much to the characteristics of the pictures, as to the personality of subject taking the TAT, your relying on the TAT also neglects Standard 2.02 (b) of your ethical code Correct?

45.  Because if TAT responses can correspond as much to the characteristics of the pictures, as to the personality of subject taking the TAT, you are at risk for misusing this “assessment technique” and its “interpretations” Correct?


 

[1]Poylson, J., Norris, D. & Ott, E. (1985). The recent decline in TAT research. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 16, 26-28.

[2]Anastasi, A. (1982). Psychological Testing (5th ed.). New York: The Macmillan Co., (p. 582).

[3]Rossini, E.D. & Moretti, R.J. (1997). Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) Interpretation: Practice recommendations from a survey of clinical psychology doctoral programs accredited by the American Psychological Association. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 28, 393 398.

[4]Id. at page 393.

[5]Id.

[6]Sharkey, K.J. & Ritzler, B.A. (1985). Comparing the diagnostic validity of the TAT and a new picture projective test. Journal of Personality Assessment, 48, 245-254. Page 406.

 
 
Popular Assumptions Re the DAP
Posted On February 9th, 2015  By admin  

Chapman and Chapman’s 1967 study of the DAP reported that paranoid personality features are not necessarily associated with drawings emphasizing elaborate eye detail. At Falsely-Accused.net we note that Nonetheless, legions of psychologists continue to assume that pronounced eye elaboration on the DAP corresponds to paranoid personality characteristics. Chapman and Chapman indicated:

“For example, the clinicians who use the DAP often report observing that those patients who show paranoid behavior clinically show in their drawings more elaboration of the eye. Yet four separate studies have failed to substantiate this observation by a counting of the relevant phenomena … In the light of the massive negative experimental evidence, how can one account for the consistent agreement between different clinicians as to the clinical correlates of DAP performance? The highly reliable but invalid nature of such observations clearly suggests a systematic error.”[1]

Kokonis’ 1972 study found no relationship between sex role identification, and the gender of a subject’s first drawing.[2] Clinical lore related to the DAP has long assumed that the gender of a subject’s initial drawing is quite significant. Once again, however, the empirical evidence fails to support these clinical impressions.

At Falsely-Accused.net we emphasize that despite the accumulated data clearly underscoring the many shortcomings of the DAP, psychologists continue to inappropriately use it while indulging in unbridled conjecture. In their 1995 study, for example, Smith and DuMont reported the willingness of experienced psychologists to make the following ill advised DAP interpretations:

(1) “Well its a rather big man with a lot anxiety. Short hands that are stiffly held down, I would say an inadequate, anxiously depressed person with identity problems.”

(2) “There are indications of dependency, lots of buttons and buckles.”

(3) “Looks [like] a bit of transparency there. Belt with a buckle, button: dependency. There seems to be some sexual problems, certainly that’s what the manual would say.”

(4) “Large, big shoulders; somebody who stands firm. But [he] has his head [inclined] like maybe a child or somebody who is not social.”

(5) “His eyes are strange and overemphasized. I think he may have problems with men, with some paranoid suspiciousness … The belt buckle would tend to fit in with my suspicions that he’s not comfortable in his role as a man.”[3]

Smith and DuMont continued to indicate:

“… research spanning four decades has failed to provide any compelling evidence in support of the validity of human figure drawings in assessing personality, behavior, emotion, or intelligence … In spite of these findings, it has remained one of the most popular assessment techniques used by clinicians.”[4]

Smith and DuMont concluded their study by emphasizing:

“The gravity of the clinical consequences to clients of a casual use of poorly validated instruments should not be exaggerated. It would seem that therapists tend to find in projectives that they use whatever they are already disposed to find, with greater or lesser accuracy, through other means.”[5]

Cross examining Popular Assumptions Re the DAP

[USE THE 22 FOUNDATIONAL QUESTIONS FROM PREVIOUS POSTS IF YOU HAVE NOT YET DONE SO]

1.  Psychologists frequently assume that pronounced eye detail on the DAP is associated with paranoid personality characteristics Correct?

2.  And do you also endorse this assumption? (If the psychologist answers “No,” proceed to question #8)

3.  The Journal of Abnormal Psychology is a generally recognized and accepted, peer reviewed journal in your field Correct?

4.  And a 1967 study by Chapman and Chapman published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology titled “Gensis of Popular But Erroneous Psychodiagnostic Observations” might be relevant to your opinions in this case Correct?

5.  Please consider Chapman and Chapman’s comments regarding eye detail and the DAP:

– [ read ] –

“For example, the clinicians who use the DAP often report observing that those patients who show paranoid behavior clinically show in their drawings more elaboration of the eye. Yet four separate studies have failed to substantiate this observation by a counting of the relevant phenomena…”

Now my question: If the available data do not support your assumptions about eye detail and the DAP, then your assumptions could misinform and mislead this proceeding Correct?

6.  You have not published anything in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider Chapman and Chapman’s position in this regard Correct?

7.  You cannot cite anything published in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider Chapman and Chapman’s position in this regard Correct?

8.  Psychologists frequently assume a relationship between sex role identification, and the gender of a subject’s first drawing Correct?

9.  And do you also endorse this assumption? (If the psychologist answers “No,” proceed to question #16)

10.  The journal Perceptual and Motor Skills is a generally recognized and accepted, peer reviewed journal in your field Correct?

11.  And a 1972 study by Kokonis published in Perceptual and Motor Skills titled “Choice of Gender on the DAP and Measures of Sex Role Identification” might be relevant to your opinions in this case Correct?

12.  Did you know that Kokonis found no relationship whatsoever between sex role identification, and the gender of a subject’s first drawing?

13.  If there is no relationship between sex role identification and the gender of a subject’s first drawing, your assumptions to the contrary could misinform and mislead this proceeding Correct?

14.  You have not published anything in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider Kokonis’ findings? Correct?

15.  You cannot cite anything published in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider Kokonis’ findings Correct?

16.  The journal Professional Psychology: Research and Practice is a generally recognized and accepted, peer reviewed journal in your field Correct?

17.  And a 1995 study by Smith and DuMont published in Professional Psychology: Science and Practice titled “A Cautionary Study: Unwarranted Interpretations of the Draw a Person Test” might be relevant to your opinions in this case Correct?

18.  Please consider Smith and DuMont’s comments regarding the DAP:

– [ read ] –

“… research spanning four decades has failed to provide any compelling evidence in support of the validity of human figure drawings in assessing personality, behavior, emotion, or intelligence.”

Now my question: If four decades of research have failed to support the DAP for assessing personality, behavior, emotion, or intelligence, then your relying on the DAP could misinform and mislead this proceeding Correct?

19.  You have not published anything in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider Smith and DuMont’s findings Correct?

20.  You cannot cite anything published in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider Smith and DuMont’s findings Correct?

21.  Without the availability of other data necessitating reconsideration of Smith and DuMont’s findings, we can conclude that your profession generally recognizes and accepts that the DAP does not accurately assess personality, behavior, emotion, or intelligence Correct?


[1]Chapman, L.J. & Chapman J.P. (1967). Genesis of popular but erroneous psychodiagnostic observations. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 72, 193 204.

[2]Kokonis, N.D. (1972). Choice of gender on the DAP and measures of sex role identification. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 35, 727 730.

[3]Smith, D. & Dumont, F. (1995). A cautionary study: Unwarranted interpretations of the Draw a Person test. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 26, 298 303.

[4]Id. at 301.

[5]Id. at 301.

 
 
Projective Drawings
Posted On February 3rd, 2015  By admin  

The Draw a Person (DAP) was originally developed by Karen Machover in 1949. The (DAP) requests that subjects undergoing assessment draw a picture of a person on a plain, white sheet of paper. Like the Rorschach, the DAP procedure is a projective technique. Psychologists who use it assume that subjects project various personality characteristics onto their drawings. Machover, herself, suggested:

“The human figure drawn by an individual who is directed to `draw a person’ relates intimately to the impulses, anxieties, conflicts, and compensations characteristic of the individual. In some sense, the figure drawn is the person, and the paper corresponds to the environment.”[1]

Persuasive as these assumptions may seem, at Falsely-Accused.net we know that a review of the relevant research demonstrates that the DAP test is as flawed as the Rorschach technique.

Sharply critical reviews of the DAP were published as far back as 1957.[2] Swenson’s 1957 review was published in Psychological Bulletin. It summarized the results of more than 80 studies related to the DAP and available at that time. Swenson concluded: (1) Assumptions regarding the diagnostic utility of the DAP were not supported by empirical evidence. (2) Because of a limited number of cases in which it yielded dramatic results, psychologists continued to rely on the DAP. (3) Some evidence suggested that the DAP procedure could be considered a rough screening device, serving as a “gross indicator” of overall adjustment.

Swenson further stated:

“The evidence presented in this paper does not support Machover’s hypotheses about the meaning of human figure drawings. More of the evidence directly contradicts her hypotheses than supports them.”

At Falsely-Accused.net we note that in a 1969 study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Wanderer obtained DAP drawings from different groups of subjects including normals and schizophrenics.[3] Twenty well recognized DAP “experts” were asked to identify the diagnostic group corresponding to each drawing. The experts identified the drawings of mentally retarded individuals with considerable accuracy. Nevertheless, the accuracy with which they identified other diagnostic groups including normal and schizophrenic subjects did not exceed what would be expected from random guessing.

Adler reported additional data regarding the DAP in a 1970 issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.[4] Adler found that the scoring procedures for the DAP were not used consistently by different psychologists. This same study also demonstrated that the DAP failed to accurately discriminate between different diagnostic groups. Adler’s article concluded in part with the following comments: “The literature is generally pessimistic about the validity of drawings for personality and diagnostic evaluation.”[5] Adler continued to indicate:

“More diagnostic errors in the use of drawings probably stem from the failure to distinguish between cognitive immaturity and psychopathology than from any other cause.”[6]

At Falsely-Accused.net we emphasize that without the availability of peer reviewed data supporting the validity of the DAP, using it neglects Standards 2.02 (a b) of the 1992 ethical code for psychologists. Those standards addressing “Competence and Appropriate Use of Assessments and Interventions” state:

“(a) Psychologists who develop, administer, score, interpret, or use psychological assessment techniques, interviews, tests, or instruments do so in a manner and for purposes that are appropriate in light of the research on or evidence of the usefulness and proper application of the techniques.”

“(b) Psychologists refrain from misuse of assessment techniques, interventions, results, and interpretations and take reasonable steps to prevent others from misusing the information these techniques provide. This includes refraining from releasing raw test results or raw test data to persons, other than to patients or clients as appropriate, who are not qualified to use such information.”

Cross examining General Considerations RE the DAP

[USE THE 22 FOUNDATIONAL QUESTIONS FROM PREVIOUS POSTS IF YOU HAVE NOT YET DONE SO]

1. The journal Psychological Bulletin is a generally recognized and accepted, peer reviewed journal in your field Correct?

2. And a 1957 article by Swenson published in Psychological Bulletin titled “Empirical Evaluations of Human Figure Drawings” might be relevant to your opinions in this case Correct?

3. Please consider Swenson’s comments from regarding the DAP:

– [ read ] –

“The evidence presented in this paper does not support Machover’s hypotheses about the meaning of human figure drawings. More of the evidence directly contradicts her hypotheses than supports them.”

Now my question: If more evidence contradicts the use of the DAP than supports it, your relying on the DAP could misinform and mislead this proceeding Correct?

4. You have not published anything in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider Swenson’s position in this regard Correct?

5. You cannot cite anything published in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider Swenson’s position in this regard Correct?

6. The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology is also a generally recognized and accepted, peer reviewed journal in your field Correct?

7. And a 1969 study by Wanderer published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology titled “Validity of Clinical Judgments Based on Human Figure Drawings” might be relevant to your opinions in this case Correct?

8. Please consider the following 4 steps in Wanderer’s study:

[Consider printing these four steps on a piece of paper you can hand to the witness]

(1) Wanderer obtained DAP drawings from different groups of subjects including normals and schizophrenics.

(2) Twenty well recognized DAP “experts” were asked to identify the diagnostic group corresponding to each drawing.

(3) The experts identified the drawings of mentally retarded individuals with considerable accuracy.

(4) The accuracy with which they identified other diagnostic groups including normal and schizophrenic subjects did not exceed what would be expected from random guessing.

Now my question: If Aexperts” cannot accurately discriminate the DAPs of normal and schizophrenic individuals, then your relying on the DAP in this case could misinform and mislead this proceeding Correct?

9. You have not published anything in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider Wanderer’s findings Correct?

10. You cannot cite anything published in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider Wanderer’s findings Correct?

11. We have already established that the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology is a generally recognized and accepted, peer review journal in your field Correct?

12. And a 1970 study by Adler published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology titled “Evaluation of Human Figure Drawing Technique” might be relevant to your opinions in this case Correct?

13. You knew that Adler found that the scoring procedures for the DAP were not used consistently by different psychologists Correct?

14. And if the scoring procedures for the DAP are not used consistently by different psychologists, the variations in scoring can lead to inconsistent conclusions when two or more psychologists evaluate the same drawings Correct?

15. And inconsistent conclusions relying on the DAP could misinform and mislead this proceeding Correct?

16. You have not published anything in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider Adler’s findings regarding inconsistent conclusions premised on the DAP Correct?

17. You cannot cite anything published in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider Adler’s findings regarding inconsistent conclusions premised on the DAP Correct?

18. Adler further indicated:

“The literature is generally pessimistic about the validity of drawings for personality and diagnostic evaluation.”

Now my question: If “the literature is generally pessimistic about the validity of drawings for personality and diagnostic evaluation,” then your relying on these drawings could misinform and mislead this proceeding Correct?

19. You have not published anything in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider Adler’s position in this regard Correct?

20. You cannot cite anything published in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider Adler’s position in this regard Correct?

21. Please consider Standard 2.02 (a) of the 1992 Ethical Code for psychologists addressing “Competence and Appropriate Use of Assessments and Interventions” which states:

– [ read ] –

“(a) Psychologists who develop, administer, score, interpret, or use psychological assessment techniques, interviews, tests, or instruments do so in a manner and for purposes that are appropriate in light of the research on or evidence of the usefulness and proper application of the techniques.”

Now my question: Your work in this case obligates you to comply with this standard Correct?

22. If “The literature is generally pessimistic about the validity of drawings for personality and diagnostic evaluation,” your relying on the DAP neglects Standard 2.02 (a) of your ethical code Correct?

23. Because if “The literature is generally pessimistic about the validity of drawings for personality and diagnostic evaluation,” you cannot use the DAP in a manner that is “appropriate in light of the research on or evidence of the usefulness and proper application of the technique” Correct?

24. Also please consider Standard 2.02 (b) of the 1992 Ethical Code for psychologists addressing “Competence and Appropriate Use of Assessments and Interventions” which states:

– [ read ] –

“(b) Psychologists refrain from misuse of assessment techniques, interventions, results, and interpretations and take reasonable steps to prevent others from misusing the information these techniques provide. This includes refraining from releasing raw test results or raw test data to persons, other than to patients or clients as appropriate, who are not qualified to use such information.”

Now my question: Your work in this case obligates you to also comply with this standard Correct?

25. If “The literature is generally pessimistic about the validity of drawings for personality and diagnostic evaluation,” your relying on the DAP also neglects Standard 2.02 (b) of your ethical code Correct?

26. Because if “The literature is generally pessimistic about the validity of drawings for personality and diagnostic evaluation,” you are at risk for misusing this “assessment technique” and its “interpretations” Correct?

27. Adler further indicated: “More diagnostic errors in the use of drawings probably stem from the failure to distinguish between cognitive immaturity and psychopathology than from any other cause.”
Now my question: If psychologists neglect to distinguish between cognitive immaturity and psychopathology when using the DAP, your relying on the DAP could further misinform and mislead this proceeding Correct?

28. You have not published anything in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider Adler’s position in this regard Correct?

29. You cannot cite anything published in a peer reviewed journal necessitating that we reconsider Adler’s position in this regard Correct?


 

[1]Machover, K. (1949). Personality projection in the drawing of the human figure. Springfield, Il: C.C. Thomas, (p. 5).

[2]Swenson, C.H. (1957). Empirical evaluations of human figure drawings. Psychological Bulletin, 4, 431 468.

[3]Wanderer, Z.W. (1969). Validity of clinical judgments based on human figure drawings. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 33, 143 150.

[4]Adler, P.T. (1970). Evaluation of figure drawing technique. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 35, 52 57.

[5]Id. at 56.

[6]Id. at 57.

 
 
Admissibility of the Rorschach in Legal Proceedings
Posted On January 26th, 2015  By admin  

A 1998 article by McCann argues that the Rorschach satisfies evidentiary standards for admissibility in legal proceedings. McCann acknowledges that “The Rorschach is not a direct measure of any legal or forensic issue …”[1] Nevertheless, McCann contends that the Rorschach assesses personality characteristics related to legal questions.

“… the Rorschach is a personality assessment instrument and it is likely to have some relevance when any forensic issue can be connected in some way to the participant’s personality.”[2]

McCann’s position necessitates reconsidering issues discussed in prior sections related to theories of personality. In fact, there are numerous theories of personality; and the very term “personality theory” reflects its basic thrust. Above all else they are theories; and as such, they are long on rhetoric and short of evidence. We at Falsely-Accused.net feel that ultimately, then, McCann advocates relying on the Rorschach for assessing poorly defined theoretical concepts. [The reader is referred to the Section for cross examining personality theories.]

McCann further indicates, “… it is up to the mental health professional to establish the relevance of the Rorschach data to the issue being litigated.”[3] McCann’s position obviously leads to asking, what legal issues can Rorschach data legitimately address? As pointed out in other posts, the Rorschach cannot assess parental effectiveness. We at Falsely-Accused.net feel that consequently, it is not appropriate for child custody evaluations. Without well-developed validity scales for identifying attempts at under reporting or over reporting psychopathology the Rorschach is not appropriate for evaluating legal competency, criminal responsibility, or personal injury cases.

We at Falsely-Accused.net note that McCann acknowledges the unavailability of well developed validity scales allowing the Rorschach to identify attempts at malingering: “Essentially, the results suggest that there are trends in Rorschach data that may be indicative of malingering, but no definite patterns emerge.” [4]McCann further acknowledges that the Rorschach does not accurately identify attempts at dissimulation (faking good):

“In general, the studies conducted on dissimulation and the Rorschach have established trends in structural summary data that are suggestive of biased responding. However, no clear diagnostic cutoffs or operating characteristics have been established. Therefore, it is important to integrate other data sources when arriving at conclusions related to the possibility that a particular participant is dissimulating.”[5]

McCann’s recommendation “to integrate other data sources” when assessing dissimulation merely creates additional problems. This recommendation leads back to the problem of using supplementary information for Rorschach interpretations. As pointed out in prior sections, relying on supplementary information reduces the Rorschach to an ideographic instrument undermined by substantial variations in selecting supplementary data. [See the Section for cross examination regarding supplementary information.] Ultimately, identifying malingering and dissimulation amounts to a near impossible task when using the Rorschach.

McCann further argues that the levels of inter rater reliability for Exner’s system support using the Rorschach in legal proceedings. Unfortunately, McCann neglected to distinguish between the issues of “research reliability” and “field reliability.” The research reliability of the Rorschach refers to how consistently it is scored, by trained researchers, in research settings, for research purposes. The field reliability of the Rorschach refers to how consistently it is scored by practitioners in the community. As we at Falsely-Accused.net pointed out in prior sections, there are no peer reviewed data demonstrating that the field reliability of the Rorschach reaches acceptable levels.
McCann advises against relying on psychoanalytic theory for interpreting the Rorschach.

“Problems arise when Rorschach data are utilized to provide explanations about unconscious processes and psychoanalytic hypotheses that are more difficult to subject to empirical testing.”[6]

Given the extent to which the Rorschach embraces psychoanalytic theory whether explicitly or implicitly McCann’s recommendation rejects the Rorschach’s theoretical legacy. McCann also indicates:

“Other Rorschach systems have not been as well documented and it is therefore recommended that any forensic application of the Rorschach rely primarily on the Comprehensive System.” (Exner’s system)[7]

Cross Examining Admissibility of the Rorschach in Legal Proceedings
[USE THE 22 FOUNDATIONAL QUESTIONS FROM PREVIOUS POSTS IF YOU HAVE NOT YET DONE SO]

1. The Journal of Personality Assessment is a generally recognized and accepted, peer reviewed journal in your field Correct?

2. And a 1998 article by McCann published in the Journal of Personality Assessment titled “Defending the Rorschach in Court: An analysis of Admissibility Using Legal and Professional Standards” might be relevant to your opinions in this case Correct?

3. Please consider McCann’s remarks regarding the use of the Rorschach in legal proceedings:

– [ read ] –

“… the Rorschach is a personality assessment instrument and it is likely to have some relevance when any forensic issue can be connected in some way to the participant’s personality.”

Now my question: Mental health professionals rely on various theories of personality Correct?

4. And theories of personality are fundamental to your work as a mental health professional Correct?

5. Most approaches to psychotherapy are based on a particular theory of personality Correct?

6. The field of child growth and development relies to a considerable extent on one personality theory or another Correct?

7. And the field of abnormal psychology relies to a considerable extent on one personality theory or another Correct?

8. And the differences between various theories of personality are sometimes quite striking Correct?

9. Freudian theorists advocate that we live most effectively via the pursuit of insight allowing us to resolve unconscious conflicts Correct?

10. Humanists advocate introspection and awareness of feelings for increased self acceptance Correct?

11. Cognitive Behavioral theorists advocate that we rationally examine the assumptions fundamental to our thinking Correct?

12. Which of these theoretical persuasions do you subscribe to?

[If the expert claims an “eclectic approach,” considering the merits of all three theoretical positions, ask: “In other words, you recognize that we don’t know which one of these theories is correct?”]

13. So we have theories that emphasize unconscious conflicts Correct?

14. And we have theories that emphasize awareness of feelings Correct?

15. And we have theories that emphasize rational thought correct?

16. But we don’t know which theory is most accurate Correct?

17. And therefore, we most certainly do not know which theory is most applicable to this case Correct?

18. Would you agree that personality theories can be regarded as innumerable theorists engaged in many speculations resulting in minimal consequences?

[USE THE 22 FOUNDATIONAL QUESTIONS FROM PREVIOUS POSTS
IF YOU HAVE NOT YET DONE SO]

19. The various editions of Hall and Lindzey’s personality texts are generally recognized and accepted as authorities in the field Correct?

20. In the 1970 edition of their text Theories of Personality Hall and Lindzey wrote:

– [read] –

“The fact of the matter is that all theories of behavior are pretty poor theories and all of them leave much to be desired in the way of scientific proof …”

Now my question: Scientifically, you would agree with that assessment Correct?

21. In this same 1970 edition of their text, Hall and Lindzey wrote:

– [read] –

“Consequently the psychologist must select a theory he intends to follow for reasons other than those of formal adequacy and factual evidence.”

Now my question: Your theoretical preferences cannot be defended on the basis of their formal adequacy or factual evidence Correct?

22. In the third edition of their personality text, published in 1985, Hall and Lindzey wrote:

– [read] –

“We have seen that although there are similarities and convergences among theories of personality, the diversities and disagreements remain striking.”

Now my question: In other words, there were no dramatic improvements in theories of personality between 1970 and 1985 Correct?

23. In the 1985 edition of their text, Hall and Lindzey wrote:

– [read] –

“It is evident that there are many points where the theories are in flat disagreement.”

Now my question: Chaos continues to characterize the field of personality theory Correct?

24. Given the substantial differences between personality theories, would you agree that one of three conclusions are available to us:

(1) Some theories of personality are riddled with profound inadequacies Correct? -or-

(2) many theories of personality are partially inadequate Correct? -or-

(3) Both conclusions (1) and (2) are correct. B Right?

Cross Examining Admissibility of the Rorschach in Legal Proceedings and Malingering

[USE THE 22 FOUNDATIONAL QUESTIONS FROM PREVIOUS POSTS
IF YOU HAVE NOT YET DONE SO]

1. Please consider McCann’s remarks regarding the Rorschach and the identification of malingering:

– [ read ] –

“Essentially indicative of malingering, but no definite patterns emerge.”
Now my question: If there is no definite Rorschach pattern associated with malingering, then using the Rorschach to identify malingering is ill advised Correct?

2. Please consider McCann’s remarks regarding the Rorschach and the identification of dissimulation faking good:

– [ read ] –

“In general, the studies conducted on dissimulation and the Rorschach have established trends in structural summary data that are suggestive of biased responding. However, no clear diagnostic cutoffs or operating characteristics have been established.”

Now my question: If there are no clear diagnostic cutoffs or operating characteristics for identifying dissimulation on the Rorschach, then using the Rorschach to identify dissimulation is ill advised Correct?

[Regarding McCann’s claims of inter-rater reliability for the Rorschach, use the questions from Section II-H of this chapter]

[Regarding McCann’s recommendations regarding psychoanalytic theory and interpreting the Rorschach: Use the questions from Section II D of this chapter.]


 

[1]McCann, J.T. (1998). Defending the Rorschach in court: An analysis of admissibility using legal and professional standards. Journal of Personality Assessment, 70, 131.

[2]Id.

[3]Id. at 138.

[4]Id. at 140.

[5]Id.

[6]Id. at 139.

[7]Id. at 140.

 
 
Overview of the Rorschach
Posted On January 19th, 2015  By admin  

Irving Weiner, who has written extensively regarding the Rorschach, contends that it endures unwarranted criticism. Weiner insists:

“Current literature reflects a persistent inclination in some quarters to denigrate the Rorschach Inkblot Method as an invalid and useless instrument for assessing personality functioning. Although perhaps warranted to some extent in years past, such harsh criticism of the Rorschach runs counter to abundant contemporary data demonstrating its psychometric soundness and practical utility.”[1]

There are some data demonstrating the Rorschach’s psychometric soundness. A 1999 study, for example, found that the validity coefficients of the Rorschach and the MMPI 2 are approximately equal.[2] These data, however, do not necessarily support Weiner’s claims of “practical utility” for the Rorschach. The 1999 study reviewed Rorschach data obtained from studies published in peer reviewed journals. As we at Falsely-Accused.net pointed out in prior sections, without satisfactory levels of inter rater scoring consistency, peer reviewed journals will not publish Rorschach research.

Research teams working diligently to achieve satisfactory levels of Rorschach scoring consistency can succeed in doing so. Extrapolating from these data to how practicing psychologists score and interpret the Rorschach is ill advised. As we at Falsely-Accused.net also pointed out in prior sections of this Blog, it is necessary to discriminate between the “research” utility of the Rorschach, and its “field” utility. Compared to research psychologists, practicing psychologists typically do not have sufficient time available to hone their Rorschach scoring skills. We at Falsely-Accused.net feel that consequently, the “field utility” of the Rorschach most certainly does not even approximate its “research utility.” Claiming otherwise is tantamount to the first author contending that because we use the same make of clubs, his golfing prowess equals that of Tiger Woods!

Psychologists using the Rorschach may claim that their specialized training with this technique allows them to administer, score, and interpret it accurately. Supporting these claims would necessitate training that uses a criterion level for certifying Rorschach competence. A criterion level would define how sample Rorschach responses should be scored and interpreted. After reaching a predetermined level of scoring and interpretive accuracy, a psychologist could claim Rorschach competence. To the best of our knowledge, there are no Rorschach training programs designed to bring trainees to a defined level of accuracy. Claims of accuracy for scoring and interpreting therefore amount to totally unsubstantiated claims.

Cross Examining the Clinical Use of the Rorschach

1.  You claim that there are numerous studies published in peer reviewed journals supporting your use of the Rorschach Correct?

2.  Without satisfactory levels of inter rater scoring consistency, peer reviewed journals will not publish Rorschach research Correct?

3.  And we know that research teams working diligently to obtain satisfactory levels of Rorschach scoring consistency can succeed in doing so Correct?

4.  Compared to the research psychologists who publish Rorschach data, practicing psychologists do not have the time available to hone their Rorschach scoring skills Correct?

[THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS ARE TAKEN FROM PRIOR SECTIONS]

5.  The psychologists participating in Rorschach research studies underwent specialized training to reach acceptable levels of inter rater scoring consistency Correct?

6.  What specialized training have you undergone to assist you in scoring the Rorschach in an acceptable manner?

[The vast majority of psychologists have not undertaken this kind of training.
Prior to cross examination, check the psychologist’s c.v. for post doctoral
training in the Rorschach]

7.  And the “field reliability” of the Rorschach refers to how practicing psychologists such as yourself use it Correct?

8.  You cannot cite any data published in a peer reviewed journal reporting the field reliability for the TRACS Correct? [or whatever other system the professional used].

9.  In other words, the extent to which practicing psychologists carefully comply with the TRACS scoring procedures [or any other scoring procedure] remains unknown Correct?

10.  If the extent to which practicing psychologists carefully comply with the TRACS scoring procedure remains unknown, we do not know how carefully you complied with that scoring procedure Correct?

11.  And if you resorted to your own idiosyncratic scoring method, your interpretations of the Rorschach in this case could differ from another professional Correct?

12.  Because assumptions about the interpretive accuracy of the Rorschach assume that it was scored properly and interpreted in a uniform manner Correct?

13.  Other than accepting your claims, we have no way of knowing if you scored the Rorschach accurately in this case Correct?

14.  And if you scored the Rorschach inaccurately, you could misinform and mislead this proceeding Correct?


[1]Weiner, I.B. (1996). Some observations on the validity of the Rorschach inkblot method. Psychological Assessment, 8, 206 213 (p. 206).
[2]Hiller, J.B., Rosenthal, R., Bornstein, R.F., Berry, D.T.R. & Brunell Neuleib, S. (1999). A comparative meta analysis of Rorschach and MMPI validity. Psychological Assessment, 11, 278 296.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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