Wartegg test: what is it and how is this projective test used

Psychological assessment is a ubiquitous process in almost all areas of application of this discipline: clinical and health, sport, staff selection, academic guidance, etc.

From there, we can extract important information from the person after having previously set a clear goal, which will serve as a guide through the process and set other variables that can be measured. This task contemplates a very wide variety of different procedures: from interviewing to self-reports, including systematic observation of a phenomenon and objective measurements.

In this article we will describe the Wartegg test, An evaluation tool cataloged as a projective test, its use is widespread in the field of organizational psychology.

    What is the Wartegg test

    The Wartegg test is a projective test, Like Roscharch’s iconic and well-known test (in which they have to interpret a set of inkblots on white sheets to construct a coherent image from a stimulus of great ambiguity, which would allow the assessor to infer basic aspects of personality).

    Its use stems from theoretical models that see the human being as part of the construction of his reality, and can make sense of everything that happens to him through perceptual processes that unite experience and individuality. Thus, faced with a situation of remarkable indefinite, people would articulate a unique perceptual result from which they could infer their desires and fears, abilities and aspirations.

    Below we will introduce what this well-known benchmark test looks like. Its application is generally carried out as part of the personnel selection process, often subject to pre-established criteria and requirements. It requires the drawing of eight different figures for which the technical quality is not valued; if not the implicit meaning of the lines, the use of space and the integration of certain graphic elements.

    What is the Wartegg test

    The Wartegg test physically consists of a single page, which brings together a set of items that the test subject will need to complete during the process. First of all, all the basic identifying data (full name, age, gender, date of completion, college education, and occupation) are listed at the top.

    After filling in this information, the actual test begins. We will access a rectangle crossed by a horizontal line and three vertical lines, which divide it into 8 spaces of the same size (squares), where they will then have to draw the free drawings. Each of them contains a series of strokes inside, lines or curves. In a position adjacent to each of the paintings, a small white rectangle is also noticeable.

    In the second half of the folio, there are 8 numbered lines under the heading “titles of the drawings”, Which must be completed by assigning a sentence describing the content of each of the eight previously generated illustrations. At the end of this part, we access four questions. They explore the designs considered to be favorites, as well as the degree of difficulty of their line.

      How the Wartegg test is performed

      This test takes between 25 and 35 minutes to complete; which includes the identification, the realization of the drawings and the answer to the various questions. The part that takes the most time is drawing up the drawings, which can be tackled in the order in which it is deemed appropriate, but clearly identifying the sequence that has been chosen (write a number from 1 to 8 in a small rectangle, adjacent to the squares where it is drawn).

      Each of the images contains a series of simple shapes (lines, curves or figures) which serve as a preliminary indication, and from which a drawing must be drawn to integrate them into its composition. 4 of these squares (1, 2, 7 and 8) have curves on the inside, while the others (3, 4, 5 and 6) have straight lines. Thus, the former will facilitate the development of organic designs (such as landscapes or animals) and the rest will offer more artificial-looking content.

      After making these drawings, the person is asked to give them a title.. It is not necessary that it is through a statement that he needs to describe its content, but he can also opt for more poetic or metaphorical elaborations. In any case, it should represent how the person perceives his eight works, summarizing in a simple way how he sees them.

      Finally, you must indicate whether one of the images drawn during the drawing phase is particularly easy or difficult, as well as their preference for one of them. That much the personal assessment that emerges from the development of the test is explored, Which also provides relevant information for its proper interpretation. After this step, the exercise can be finished.

      How the Wartegg test is interpreted

      This test explores the essential aspects of personality using the precepts of the psychodynamic model. It includes the management of emotions, interpersonal relationships, expectations or ambitions, the solidity of the life project, the analysis of situations and values.

      One of the first things to consider is the degree to which the person integrates the pre-established line or curve with the design they subsequently drew, As there are topics that oversize their relevance and others that virtually neglect their presence, suggesting some tendency towards lawlessness or firm adherence to the rules (respectively).

      The author of this test (Ehrig Wartegg, 1930) considered that the structure of each of the contents to be processed (lines or curves) was a meeting point with executive problems to be solved, grappling with their physical properties. could suggest to the person assessed: lightness, weight, rigidity, chaos, order, tension between opposites, trifles, centrality, etc.).

      We present each of the eight fields and a brief overview of how they are interpreted.

      field 1

      It only shows a point, of small dimensions, in the center of the space on which the drawing should be made. It represents individuality, the way the person feels the environment around him. The wide white margins surrounding the tiny dot represent the whole exterior, which is different from the person themselves, while it highlights the identity immersed in the environment.

      field 2

      It shows a subtle curved line in the upper left quadrant of the field to fill, Similar to the comma of “ñ”. This part explores the affective component of relationships, that is, how the person shows himself emotionally to others. Depending on the respect of the spaces reserved for the symbol, the positive or negative valence of the links that develop in the social domain will be interpreted.

      field 3

      It represents three lines located successively and parallel, of increasing length, in the left left quadrant of this field. It alludes to ambition and the desire for growth. The way in which the person takes advantage of each of these lines, as well as the solution of continuity that he proposes for the progression (to follow it or to interrupt it), will inform about the way in which the expectations are projected in the personal challenges.

      field 4

      It is a small black square, arranged in the upper right quadrant of the field. This figure explores the relationship with the unconscious and the ability to develop deep cognitive content at the level of the imagination. The way this small geometry fits into the design suggests emotions of anguish or tranquility, as well as maturity or immaturity. in strategies for dealing with emotional issues.

      field 5

      These are two separate diagonal lines, located in the lower left quadrant, the convergence would form an ics. It values ​​energy regulation and the tendency to act. The way the drawing is done may suggest tendencies towards overt hostility or aggressiveness, Act or heterodirected. When the characters are properly preserved, they evoke a dynamic person with an appropriate sense of initiative.

      field 6

      It consists of two small straight lines, one horizontal and the other vertical, located in the upper half of the frame. Both forms seem to suggest a certain feeling of spatial continuity, which the person can take advantage of to seek a complete closure of the figure. In this case, the reasoning and the role of the intellect for the evaluated subject are valued. It also embodies the ability to synthesize and distinguish the relevant from the unnecessary.

      field 7

      It shows a linear succession of points that make up a crescent with an opening in its upper region, located in the lower right quadrant. Explore the subtlest aspect of sensitivityEven basic eroticism. It envisions dedication, openness to others and aesthetic values, as well as the tendency to show attitudes of social concern in interactions with others. How punctuation is respected or not will suggest kindness or harshness.

      field 8

      It consists of a long, sharp curve, which runs transversely and occupies a large part of the upper half of the frame. It assesses the tendency to seek protection, as well as the relationship that the individual has with his parents and the tendency to seek protection in the group. The drawing generated from this omission will indicate how the person feels about their ability to transcend adversity.

      final considerations

      The Wartegg test it is subjected to constant tests of reliability and validity, Including the inter-rater modality, to determine if its use can provide useful information for understanding personality structure.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Crisis, A. and Dental, F. (2016). Wartegg’s drawing completion test: agreement between criteria and criterion validity of three new scoring categories. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 16 (1), 85-92.
      • Soilevuo, J. and Gronnerod, C. (2012). Wartegg Zeichen test: a review of the literature and a meta-analysis of reliability and validity. Psychological assessment, 24 (2), 476 – 489.

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