The impact of American Sign Language, a four-dimensional language on Rorschach responses

Billie Dawn McNealey (1996)

The purpose of this study was to examine how the use of American Sign Language (ASL) impacts on Rorschach responses compared to the use of spoken English. The first portion of this study examined the reliability among scorers in the coding of Rorschach protocols obtained through ASL and spoken English. The second portion of this study, contingent on finding reliability between scorers in the first part, looked at similarities and differences between Rorschach protocols administered to the same individuals, in the 2 different modalities. It was hypothesized that ASL Rorschach responses would produce a lower level of inter-rater agreement than would spoken English responses and that ASL Rorschach responses would present significantly different patterns in the use of Movement, Depth and Texture. Six subjects were administered the Rorschach Inkblot Test under the 2 conditions. All 12 protocols were transcribed and scored by 2 individuals fluent in spoken English and ASL with extensive experience working with the deaf. The results of this study indicate an excellent level of inter-rater agreement, demonstrating equally valid Rorschach protocols regardless of the communication modality used. Significant differences were noted between the ASL and spoken English protocols for the occurrence of Movement. Depth and Texture responses did not show significant differences. The results of this study suggest that additional research may be necessary to validate the use of the Exner system with ASL communicators.