Friday, January 29, 2010

Personality Tests Published Online

Last year, as part of Wikipedia's entry on the Rorschach Inkblot test (, Dr. James Heilman, an emergency-room physician in Canada, posted all ten inkblots along with the most common responses to each. A controversy erupted from the posting. Many felt, not only were copyright laws violated, the integrity and validity of the test had been compromised. During the uproar, Dr Heilman was investigated for unprofessional behavior by his local medical association.

If you go to you will find a posting for a discussion group on in which the person listed the first 75 questions of the MMPI-2. Here, too, questions of ethics and copyrights can be raised.

While I am not advocating the use of these items in your classroom, that is a question for each teacher to individually answer, I am suggesting both postings can make for a very interesting class discussion on testing, copyrights, ethics, keeping things confidential in the internet age, etc.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From a psychological standpoint Dr. James Heilman's rationale for posting the inkblots is itself an interesting topic. The inane and irrational comments he has posted are somewhat amusing.

Comparing not publishing the inkblots as being tantamount to communist China witholding information on the Tianmenn Square massacre is not rational.

His opinions, irrational behavior and factual disinformation are plastered all over Wikipedia. He re-posted a picture of an overweight child on the article for childhood obesity that someone else took surreptiously. Someone actually staked out a school playground to take the picture and then posted it to Wikpedia. A normal person deleted it he put it back. Most parents or anyone with common sense and decency would find that disturbing, freaks staking out kids and posting their pictures online. The fact that it is of the girl's back is irrelevant she knows who it is as do her playmates.

This is the link to the Wikipedia anorexia nervosa article for which Dr. James Heilman gave his tacit approval as he did nothing to correct it. Included is this passage in the "Treatment" section which refers to cognitive behavioral therapy, then references a study on cognitive remediation therapy;

"A pilot study into the effectiveness on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy reduced perfectionism and rigidity in 17 out of 19 participants[54] although further evaluation is needed."

This is the link to the Wikipedia anorexia nervosa Talk page, where he displays his implicit desire to include the image of an anorexia nervosa victim, "not nude, but at least with arms and rib cage visible" (sic);

This is the subsequent version written by a New Yorker with a ninth grade education in reponse to his egregious errors and harmful information;

If people didn't actually read these articles it would be pretty funny, but they do, and the rank disinformation they contain can be harmful;

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2009 Jul-Aug;16(4):471-9. Epub 2009 Apr 23.
Seeking health information online: does Wikipedia matter?