Psychobook: Games, Tests, Questionnaires, Histories (Princeton Architectural Press), edited by Julian Rothenstein
Aug. 30, 2016
Psychological testing emerged by the start of the 20th century as psychologists and psychiatrists tried to impose scientific precision on the complex universe that is each human subject. As duly noted in Psychobook, a slightly creepy coffee-table book with full-page reproductions of questionnaires and visual exams, the sheer arbitrariness and culturally based assumptions were initially part of a racist, eugenicist project of classifying humankind based on heredity. While few in the psychological profession adhere to those assumptions nowadays, a glance at a recent “Attitude Inventory” raises questions about the impossibility of measuring an individual through yes and no responses. Many of the visuals remain intriguing, especially the full color Rorschach inkblots.