Personal Problem-Solving Scoring of the TAT: Sensitivity to Training

George F. Ronan, Ann L. Date, Mitchell Weisbrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT; Murray, 1943) is one of the most frequently taught and administered projective instruments in the United States. Nevertheless, formal scoring systems are not often used when evaluating story responses; thus, the reliability and validity of response interpretations remain controversial. The sensitivity-to-training of a procedure that uses the TAT to assess personal problemsolving skills, namely the Personal Problem-Solving System (PPSS; Ronan, 1990), was evaluated. In Experiment 1, undergraduate students received either detailed (n = 30) or minimal (n = 29) training in the problemsolving skill of generating alternative solutions to personal problems and subsequently wrote responses to three TAT cards. In Experiment 2, subjects received either detailed (n = 22) or minimal (n = 22) training in a utility model of decision making and thereafter responded to the same three TAT cards. Subjects who received detailed training, when compared to their minimally trained counterparts, reported an increase in their knowledge of the relevant problemsolving skill, and this increased knowledge influenced their responses to the TAT cards as measured by the PPSS scores. Implications for the construct validity of the PPSS are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-131
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Personality Assessment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1995


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