One of the oldest and most accepted forms of analysis, Thematic Apperception is used in Psychology, A test (more preferably called a technique) is usually associated with the term so it is often referred to as the TAT (Thematic Apperception Test). The TAT is a projective measure, which means that the test involves the subject looking at a picture and then describing the events and emotions generated by the image. It is a way to measure and then assess the subjects patterns of thought, what attitudes are attached, how detailed they can describe the possible events and how they are affected emotionally by their own imagination. Commonly the TAT uses a number of cards that have images of random characters in various situations. The subject is asked to describe the events that led up to the point of the image being taken and then to imagine and put forward a description of what the viewer imagines the characters to be thinking and feeling, then the subject is asked to predict what happens next. All of this is a method of finding out the subjects own mental and emotional state through the subject applying them to the situation they are describing.
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The interpretation of the Thematic Apperception Technique falls into two categories:
Nomothetic interpretation usually involves the establishment of set measures for certain answers to certain levels, related to age, gender, racial, or education. The subjects story is then considered against the established levels.
Idiographic interpretation sets out to measure how unique the subjects views and story line are. It may include unusual features concerning events, emotions and relationships. These are of interest because it is usually a projection of the subjects view of the world.
The preferred methodology would seem to be recognized as the idiographic interpretation. The results are usually formed around the content of the story that the subject tells; the emotions used within the story and the subjects own reactions. The resultant structure and setting of the story usually represents the emotions and views of the subject and beneath whether they have an underlying attitude of optimism or pessimism.