Colors, InkBlots, Anxiety Theories

in day-to-day life, which do you prefer?

  • Bland Colors
  • Vibrant Colors
  • Bland and Vibrant Colors…Balance
  • Water Colors
  • Blacks and Whites
  • Pastels
  • Shades of Gray
0 voters

After plowing through a dozen or so of Dr. Rollo May’s case studies I kept coming back to this curiousity –

…does anyone know if there is any truth to the following:
according to the Rorschach or inkblot test, people who choose bland colors (throughout life…in whatever they do) are probably latent schizoids.

Also, what exactly would constitute a bland color?

Thanks in Advance!

Well, I don’t know about the latent thing…

but. bland colors: beige, tan, light grey… stuff like that…

I’m curious why you’re curious.

Perhaps sanity, like most other judgements, is a matter of taste.

Hehe, I’m just throwing out B*****t here but truly, who prefers the coluours of institutional walls besides the inmates and the employees (including the designers) of institutions. I see so much of institution in those about to be institutionalized that I could almost suspect a conspiracy for cheap rent.

edited for clarity

In that test it’s not choosing bland colors but not recognizing that they are there that counts. That may show that the person withholds their emotions a lot.

For instance, some of the blots are colorful and some aren’t and when a colorful card comes up and is ignored that is noteworthy. So, if a blot looks like a pink bat and the person just says that it looks like a bat, then the question is why are they holding back on the stimulatng emotion produced by the color. The conclusion would be that they tend to hold back emotion.

Meanwhile the term “schiziod” refers to an ultra-shy withdrawn person. It does not mean schizophrenic.


How about some feedback. Why did you ask in the first place?

What about muted or pastel colors, black or white, water colors – would they also fit into the bland category?

Sanity is the lot of those who are most obtuse, for lucidity destroys one’s equilibrium: it is unhealthy to honestly endure the labors of the mind which incessantly contradict what they have just established. [size=75]–Georges Bataille[/size]

Do you believe people who choose bland colors (throughout life…in whatever they do) are probably latent schizoids? It might be something worthy of looking into – from a lot of different aspects. Is Adler your field of interest? I’m beginning to toy with the idea that the Rorschach is seriously out of date…

I’m a huge fan of Adlerian Psychology and I do like the Rorschach as a method of finding clues abbout a person’s emotional life for the purposes of doing therapy. I think that’s it’s a very interesting test, but just like with all psychological tests it’s not conclusive. That’s important.

Anyway, being Schzoid is not just about one aspect of personality. It’s a whole set of behaviors. I can list them for you if that would help.

The color thing only has to do with the Rorschach itself. The test is kind of designed to put a person on edge and see what they do. The ink blots are not pictures but you are asked to make them so and that’s a kind of mental stimulation that is odd right there. Then the addition of color adds another wrinkle to the equation. The test is harmless so really a person could go wild with imagination. When you don’t that says something. Such ideas aren’t generalized to everything like what kind of clothes that you pick.

Personally, certain colors and patterns can give me a severe headache and so I tend to wear a lot of black and gray because those colors sooth me. However, in real life I am one of the most out-going people that you will ever meet. So, color choice may not mean only one thing.

Anyway, I’m really curious about why you are asking. Have you had some upsetting encounter?

Dear Katharena,

I agree with adlerian for the most part re. what he said here. One thing to keep in mind is how certain terms were used or continue to be used. For instance, many psychoanalysts use “psychotic” rather freely, and many people might feel uncomfortable hearing that (b/c they think it relates to “psycho” or “psychopath,” or some other horrible connotation, when in fact it simply means a (temporary) break from, or loss of contact with, reality). Similarly, when Freud (and subsequent (neo-) Freudians) referred to “perversions” he was not making the moral/value judgment inherent in how we use it today. He simply meant the behaviour was not of the norm re. sexuality (i.e., non-procreative).

Similarly, when I give the MCMI-III to clients (a personality test), one of the scales is “Schizoid.” When they have elevations on that scale, it doesn’t mean they necessarily have Schizoid Personality Disorder–they may simply be socially “awkward,” not in touch with their feelings, etc. If you go to, you can find a good description of Schizoid PD (and others).

As for the Rorschach, black and white are NOT “bland” colours but are the bulk of the blots (there are only three “colour” blots and only two of the remaining seven blots have a tiny bit of colour besides the black, white, and gray). Again, adlerian’s comments on the blots and colours were appropriate, but I wanted to add a bit: it’s not just recognizing that colours are there but seeing them in the less obvious places too. Also, as you may have inferred, some people OVER-react to the colours, or their responses start to “fall apart” with the colour blots, indicating that they get overwhelmed by emotions/emotionally stimulating material.

Finally, seeing or referring to only bland colours and ignoring the far more prevalent brighter ones would be indicative of “schizoid” PD in its LOOSEST sense, i.e., not necessarily a disorder but some traits, as adlerian (and I) described above, namely the emotional difficulties (e.g., being socially/emotionally withdrawn). But it’s not set in stone, and there are many reasons why people see or say certain things. For instance, seeing X-rays in the blots means quite a few different things for different people–and even then, there’s no guarantee that the interpretation is correct.

The blots are only ONE element of an assessment protocol that adds a few pieces to the puzzle, but the puzzle cannot be completed or understood without other information (e.g., one’s history is very helpful).

Also re. the Rorschach, the funny thing is that most of the people I give it to try to “lie” or not present an honest picture of themselves b/c they are being tested for legal or parenting issues. When I give it to patients who are being honest, my own interpretation of the test, along with a computerized analysis, as well as other “projective tests” such as the Thematic Apperception Test, and “objective” personality tests (like the MCMI-III and MMPI-II (the most common one) converge or overlap so well that I have full faith in its validity when used PROPERLY. In court, sadly, I have to emphasize the computer results and not the other scoring/interpretive systems we use, even though the computer results are probably the least reliable (the validity can be okay, though it produces many contradictory statements since it’s based on a bunch of formulae that are not perfect); the courts prefer the computer results b/c they are based on a system (Exner) that was normed on thousands of people with various disorders, personality styles, etc (there’s some controversy over this, however), the results are supposedly “objective,” as opposed to reflective of the examiner’s own baggage, blah blah blah.

On a side note, the Exner system doesn’t consider the CONTENT of people’s responses (it looks at the CATEGORIES, e.g., humans, animals, blood, etc., but not the actual content (e.g., bug vs. lion), which I find to be a huge weakness. That is, the CONTENT can be very telling if one interprets the blots PROPERLY. On the other hand, when I look at my old Rorschach books written by the masters of the blot, some of their interpretations of the content makes me shudder…some of the interpretations seem SOOOO outdated and almost everything (I’m exaggerating a bit) appears to be indicative of latent homosexuality or poor heterosexual adjustment :unamused: (though the better books DO report on actual RESEARCH that was done at the time, explaining that ABC kind of people tended to give XYZ responses to this card or that, as opposed to simply saying that psychoanalytic theory says that a response of “_" means "”).

Anyway, just a few little side notes for anyone interested in this kind of thing. I’ve been away for a while so I kind of exploded here…hope it wasn’t TOOOO “lecturery” (cheap excuse for my usual verbosity… :blush: ).

'tis true, the Rorschach is just a tool, but it seems so “iffy” to me. I will be getting back to my in-depth studies in psychology 1st qtr. 2006, and would like to add some of the Adler books to my growing collection of must-reads. Since you are a fan, perhaps (when you get a little time) you might like to recommend a few of his better (in your opinion) works.

I’m more interested in the bland color theory, at the moment. Thank you for offering, as one can imagine the list might be very interesting for “others” following this thread.

Why can the color thing not be used in everyday life? Say, perhaps, choosing bland colored vehicles (over and over) may denote latent schizoids and choosing vibrant colored vehicles (over and over) may denote latent psychopaths. But, if one chooses a bland colored vehicle one year and a vibrant colored vehicle the next…that person is mentally balanced.

Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions. --[size=75]Pablo Picasso[/size]

I’ve added a poll to the top post. Still looking for feedback on Colors, Inkblots and Anxiety Theories.

Thanks in Advance!

STILL looking? Did you ever ask that specific question?

I would like to provide some answers if you posed a specific question (re. the part right above), but the last time I did so (a few posts above) appears to have fallen flat, so don’t want to waste anybody’s time…


To really find good data on this kind of thing you have to find people that have been diagnosed as schizoid first, because that would be “proof” of what they are, then you could ask them about colors. From this you could figure out the percentage of people that responded according to your hypothesis. Anyway, you have to have a full set of symptoms to know the whole picture.

My favorite color is gray! I do not have one schizoid symptom, so it’s just chance that I like bland colors. Did you ever notice that a lot of rich people and Hollywood types always wear black? They aren’t much of a schizoid crowd.

Also, what does May mean by “latent,” as how can one have such a personality buried so to speak?

Anyway, it is all an interesting idea.

Didn’t you get shadow-banned, or something like that? Might be the reason, in the back of my mind, I didn’t comment on your post. I’ll copy it and get back with you — it was pretty informative, from what I remember.


psyque banned?

oh well… wouldn’t be the first time :unamused: :sunglasses:

Ahhhh, my friend Willem…The first time/place was totally unwarranted (and without warning) and the second time was…well, I’ll hold my tongue/fingers. :sunglasses:

i don’t need to know about the second time… i’m just glad you’re back :wink: