Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

TAT series on Flickr

In 2006/2007 I conducted my first in-depth, but non-scholarly, “research” project through art by creating an installation of screen prints inspired by the Thematic Apperception Test. I wanted to acknowledge differences of individual experiences and interpretations.

The process:

First, and foremost, I was inspired by the children I worked with as a teaching assistant in a private elementary school in Lawrence, KS. It was my first experience working with children in a professional setting. However, I remained for three semesters, because the children I worked with triggered a playful imagination I had lost touch with. Being an art student, and I must say I knew very little about art therapy at this point, I always encouraged creating. The story-telling that took place while my students were drawing was fascinating. Also, they’d comment or elaborate on each others images.

After some preliminary story collecting, some in-depth research on projective tests, and a few months later, I had created my own TAT series with five screen printed images for participants to respond to. I didn’t record the number of participants, but the ages ranged from 5- to 45-years-old. This piece was displayed at the University of Kansas in 2007.

Sample Response from an 8-year-old female: "Her ear hurts, and she is calling someone to get the doctor, and she's astonished because her cat is going potty in the wrong place."

Tat series - card 4 by you.

Sample Response from a 20-year-old female: "The girl is feeling desperate, because she thinks she may be pregnant. She's too scared to take a test, so she smokes a cigarette to ensure in her mind that she is not pregnant. Her boyfriend said he would be there for her for anything, but he hasn't called her since she told him that she hadn't had her period for two months."

Tat series - card 3 by you.

Sample Response from a 5-year-old male: "Is that God? Because gods look like that. He's wearing a dress like gods do. I think he must be sad because he misses his friend."


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