Black leg test: what is it and how is this projective test used

In the psychological assessment, projective tests consider that there are certain tendencies in people who are repressed and who project their hidden mental processes by external stimulation (like a drawing).

In this article we will know the Black Leg Test, a thematic projective test applicable in particular in childhood, and which aims to explore the dynamic structure of the personality as well as to define the psychic organization of the person.

    Black Leg Test: features

    The Black Leg Test is a projective (psychodynamic) psychological evaluation test, of a thematic type. Thematic projective tests are characterized by the presence of visual material of different degrees of structuring that causes different emotions and memories in the person, from which the person has to make a story.

    The black leg test concerns one of the most widely used tests in the academic and clinical field to try to detect and interpret personality conflicts in children. It was developed by Louis Corman in 1979, although it is still widely used in the field of psychological assessment.

    Louis Corman (1901-1995) was a French psychiatrist, Considered the father of morphopsychology. He also created the family test. He has worked with children with different pathologies and communication difficulties.

      What is this for?

      The black leg test explores the dynamic structure of the personality, With particular emphasis on the mechanisms of the Self and instinctive tendencies.

      The test aims to identify (if any) deep personality conflicts, especially in the early stages of life.

      How it works?

      The black leg test it consists of 19 plates with scenes featuring piglets, Among which is the piglet “Black Leg” (protagonist).

      Use the free expression method based on perceptual stimuli (pig scenes, from which the examined subject will have to make a story and / or tell what is happening).

      That is to say that it is a verbal thematic perception test, Which uses perceptual stimuli as reactive material. According to Bellack, apperception is a meaningful interpretation that an organism makes of a perception.

      Preferences-identifications method

      The Black Leg Test also uses the “preferences-identifications” method, where the child separates the sheets he loves from those he doesn’t like, And then explain why; he also identifies the characters he would like to be.

      All this serves to show questions relevant to the development of the child according to psychoanalysis or psychodynamic orientation. These problems are certain such as orality, anality, sexuality, aggression and sibling rivalry, dependence-independence, guilt, sex reversal, the adoptive father and the ideal mother.


        The objectives of the Black Leg Test there are basically four:

        • Explore the dynamic structure of the personality.
        • Identify self-defense mechanisms.
        • Recognize the subject’s instinctive tendencies.
        • Define the psychic organization of the child according to his conflicts, his defenses and his significant psychosexual dimensions.

        Technical sheet

        There is currently a paper version of the Black Leg Test, with a variable administration time (approximately one hour). The age of application is between 4 and 15 years, Preferably.

        The areas in which it is applied, as we have seen, are mostly in clinical and school settings.

        Types of leaves

        Black legged pot plates are divided into four types:

        1. Frontispiece plaque (first)

        The characters are introduced (Consists of the first leaf).

        2. General sheets

        These are the 16 “intermediate” plates, which show the adventures of the Pota Negra piglet.

        3. Plate 18

        Shows the figure of a ladder.

        4. Closing sheet

        A fairy appears; the child is told that the fairy grants three wishes to Black Paw and he is asked to say what they are.

        Advantages and disadvantages

        Some of the benefits of the Black Leg Test are that it can be applied clinically and in research with children, adolescents, and even adults. It can also be applied to psychotic adults.

        As for its limitsWe note that it presents too many variables to analyze and that sometimes its interpretation can be somewhat “subjective”. In addition, all the criticisms directed towards the projective tests can be attributed to it, as the problem which makes it necessary to interpret in a systematic way the answers given by the evaluated subject.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Ballús, I., Cases, M, Virgili, C. and Pérez.Testor, C. (2015). Evaluation of triangular relations: Development and validation of an instrument based on the Black Leg projective test. Aloma: Journal of Psychology, 33 (2), 87-94.
        • TEA editions. (2019). Black leg test (c).
        • Zabaraín-Cogollo, S. (2011). Sexuality in early childhood: a current perspective of psychoanalysis at the stages of the sexual development of the child. Psychology of thought, 7 (13), 75-90.

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