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Edwin E. Wagner, Ph.D.


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"The Hand Test... may be especially useful when the diagnostic questions involve the prediction of acting-out behavior." Jack L. Bodden, Ph.D.
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Diagnostic Technique Contain pictures Of hands as a projective medium. Stimulus material consist of 10 unbound cards containing simple line drawings of hands in various position. The 10th card is blank

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Cards are presented one at a time. Examinee projects by telling what the hand is doing. Responses are recorded verbatim Initial response time per card and other relevant behaviour is also noted. Hand Test contain both quantitative and qualitative categories. Simple and easy to administer.
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The development began in later 1950s. Piotrowski (1957) was felt that a projective instrument was needed by its nature was designed to mirror attitudes and action tendencies which are close to the surface and apt to reveal the individuals behaviour. Responses to hands in ambiguous poses indicate these hierarchical and diagnostically useful scheme.
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Hand Test measures overt behavior. The research has shown that Hand Test scores are related to acting out behavior among juvenile delinquents. Hand Test can also measure actingout behavior among disruptive students, adult prisoners, schizophrenics, mental retardates, and alcoholics.
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The Hand Test can also predict workshop performance of mentally retarded subjects, occupational orientation in normal populations, and withdrawal from reality in braininjured versus non-brain-injured samples.

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This test cannot be used alone as it does not provide complete and concrete diagnosis. The test is short as compared to other projective techniques. It is fairly structured providing good or bad responses that may hinder its discriminatory ability.

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The test should not be considered complete in regard to the multidimensional possibilities of personality assessment as they are close to motor system therefore fantasy life, specific defence mechanism, intelligence can be partially discovered by hand test.

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The Hand Test is optimally sensitive to the examinees immediate psychological state. Expert examinee is required for the purpose of interpretation of hand test.

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Time required is 10 min including recording of responses but not the scoring. Before administering we have to establish rapport. Examiner and examinee should be seated at a table facing each other . Stimulus cards should be lined faced down on the table.

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The examiner show the cards to the examinee. Cards are always presented to the examinee right side up; that is, the card number on the reverse side of the card is in the upper right-hand corner. An examinee may turn the card as he wishes. When response to first card is finished next card is presented to the subject.
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In the last he will be shown the blank card(i.e. 10th card) and asked to imagine whatever come to mind. Responses should be copied verbatim. Initial time response for each response should be recorded. If the examinee cannot provide a scorable response to a card (i.e., produces a failure) no initial response time is recorded for that card.
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Instances include the following: If the examinee gives a short, response card, such as Its up, the examiner should prompt the examinee by asking, What is it doing? If the examinee gives only one response to the first card, the examiner should ask, Anything else? When an examinee fails a card the examiner says, Can u guess?.
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Recording Procedures

Booklet is designed for the ease of administration, recording and tabulation of responses. Comments, exclamations and other remarks made are recorded but not counted as scorable responses.

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Use Of Symbols
The recording of responses can be simplified by using the following scoring symbols. I. : Examinee turns card. II. <, >, v, : Examinee turns card from initial position to a position with the top margin of the card to the left (<), top margin of the card to the right (>), top margin of the card down (v), or if the examinee leaves the card in its initial position.
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(Q): Examiner has ask a question. (E): Examinee illustrates the position of the hand on the card with his or her own hand. (D): Examinee demonstrates with his or her own hand in order to illustrate his or her response.

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Record Form
Used to record responses of the client. Initial response time response is also recorded. Also rotations of cards are recorded in the record form as: <, >, ,

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Scoring Categories
Quantitative categories Qualitative Categories
Interpersonal (INT) Affection (AFF) Dependence (DEP) Communication (COM) Exhibition (EXH) Direction (DIR) Aggression (AGG) Environmental (ENV) Acquisition (ACQ) Active (ACT) Passive (PAS) Ambivalent (AMB) Automatic Phrase (AUT) Cylindrical (CYN) Denial (DEN) Emotion (EMO) Gross (GRO) Hiding (HID) Immature (IMA) Impotent (IMP) Inanimate (INA) Movement (MOV)
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Scoring Categories
Quantitative categories Qualitative Categories
Maladjustive (MAL) Tension (TEN) Crippled (CRI) Fear (FEAR) Withdrawal (WITH) Description (DFS) Bizarre (BIZ) Failure (FAIL) Oral (ORA) Perplexity (PER) Sensual (SEN) Sexual (SEX) Original (O) Repetition (RPT)

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Quantitative Scoring Categories


Involves pleasure, affection or friendly feeling. Waving to a friend-a greeting A friendly salute to a fellow officer Comforting hand of a nurse.
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2-Dependence(DEP) Expressed dependence on need for help. Aid from another person A drowning person calling for help. A hand folded in prayer, asking for forgiveness.

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3-Communiation(COM) Presenting or exchange of information. Stressing a point in conversation A child holding finger up, showing how old he is.

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Displaying oneself in order to approve other. Stress on special characteristics of hand Showing off her diamond wring Child showing off his clean hands

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5-Direction(DIR) Dominating, directing or influencing activities of others. Police officer saying, stop! Giving a command

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Involves giving of pain or aggression. Trying to scare someone Boxing in the wring

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Environmental Responses(ENV) Represent generalized attitude towards the impersonal world. Activities that individual consider important for survival. It is classified in three subcategories.

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i-Acquistion (ACQ) Attempt to obtain a goal or a object. Movement is ongoing and the goal is unattained still in doubt. Trying to catch a football Grabbing for something that has fallen

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ii-Active(ACT) An action or attitude designed to manipulate, attain or alter an object or goal. Active differs from Acquisition (ACQ) in that the object or goal has been or will be accomplished. Writing with a pencil Throwing a ball Picking up a coin
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Maladjustive Response(MAL) Those responses of which individual is partially aware, in carrying out various actions due to experienced inner weakness. Maladjustive responses can be divided in three subcategories.

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1-Tension(TEN) It indicates energy in being exerted but nothing or little is accomplished. A feeling of tension, anxiety is present. A fist clenched in anger Tensing hands to see if nerves are steady Holding something everything very tight
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2-Crippled(CRIP) Includes responses like A dead person hand Womans hand. She's been hurt That hand is bleeding.

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3-Fear(Fear) It is scored when the hand is threatened with pain, injury or death The response is classified as fear if hand is perceived as causing pain, injury or death. My fathers hand, like he is going to hit me. Falling back, trying to save himself.
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Withdrawal Response(WITH)
It represents an inability of the examinee to project an appropriate action onto the picture of hand. It is classified in three subcategories.

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Examinee gives simple responses. Just a hand. Palm up.

Based on hallucinatory content, or other peculiar thinking. A black bug A crocodile creeping along the wall
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3-Failure(FAIL) No scorable response at all is given to a particular card. Response is tabulated when the scoring summary is not included in the response total.

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Qualitative Scoring Categories

17 categories have been identified. Card responses may be classified one by one or more than one qualitative category per response is rare.

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1-Ambivalent (AMB) This response occur when hesitation or uncertainty is voiced about imparted action tendencies. Is he demanding something?(Q )Could be demanding or ordering someone.

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2-Automatic Phrase(AUT) Occur in the beginning or end of a response to the series of cards. Usual way of scoring automatic phrase(AUT) is by underlying the phrase and counting the phrase when the test is completed. Well, what could that be?A person punching someone in the nose.
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3-Cylindrical(CYL) Hand is perceived as holding, manipulating or using an object i.e. large enough to occupy space between the hand and fingers. Like a plumber screwing a pipe Holding a flag pole

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The reaction is stronger than in ambivalence response and is definitely avoided by the examinee.

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5-Emotion(EMO) Response is invested with emotion. Response is full of intense feeling. Real happy, just bursting right out with joy. hasnt seen his buddy in years and is really glad to shake his hand(AFF).

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6-Gross(GRO) It indicates an aggressive act which is uncontrolled and completely unsocialized. Split somebodys skull open with a baseball bat.

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Hand is perceived as concealing something. Has something valuable in the hand, keeping his finger closed so no one can see it A magician doing one of those hand tricks making a penny disappear.

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8-Immature(IM) Perceives hand as relating to children or animals. Pet a dog Teacher. Sending a child to the board.

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9-Impotent(IMP) Expressed inability on examinees part to respond to or figure out the test stimuli. These are too hard for me. Im too old to do this

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10-In Animate(INA) Does not see the hand as belonging to live human being. Hand is associated with inanimate portrayals such as painting, statue or movie screen. Not doing anything, just elegant and beautiful.
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11-Movement(MOV) It specifies random, unproductive activity. Purposeless, repetitive activity imparted to the movement of hand. Like it is folding and unfolding(Q) Tense and just closing and opening.

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12-Oral(ORA) The response implying ingestion of food, liquid or drug scored in oral response. Has a fork in his hand, eating.

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13-Perplexity(PER) The stimuli are different and that he or she is puzzled. What is it doing?(Yes)Well, it could be doing alot of things; you cant be sure(Fail).

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14-Sensual(SEN) Involve tactual, sensual element. Hand is seen as deriving pleasure from feeling or touching people or objects. Working with clay. Likes the feeling of it(ACT)

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15-Sexual(SEX) Hand is directly engaged in sexual activity. To relieve tension

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Response should only be scored by experienced examiner who has given and interpreted large number of response. Response is appropriate to the drawn hand unusual and original. Intelligence and creativity should not be scored unless examinee is sure about the response. Using your hand to explain how current flow in a physics class
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17-Repetition(RPT) Examinee gives same response on a number of cards. When repetition occur a checkmark should be made in the scoring column. That hand is waving

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Additional Categories

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Additional Categories
The additional qualitative features may be scored provided they are interpreted with caution. It is recommended that these scores not be recorded in the summary section of the booklet.

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1- Ball
Hand is seen as bouncing, throwing or otherwise handling a ball or a round object. Catching a baseball. Ball response is given by individuals usually males who are interested in sports. Ball response should be interpreted cautiously.
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It convey three different meaning. 1- Psychosexual problem 2- Interest in sports 3- Socialized involvement in cooperative ventures.

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2- Drug Usually under the oral category. Some examinee prefer to score it separately because of implication of examinee orality that has led to drug usage rather than less dangerous oral habits such as eating, drinking.

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3- Food Response related to oral category. Sometimes used to differentiate direct, food ingestion from other related oral activities such as smoking.

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4- Evasive(EVAS) It is not a common response when it does occur it is given to psychopath and other personality types.

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5- Concreteness(CONC) Represent an imaginal failure. Examinee fall back on something in order to come up with a response. This reaction is given by examinee with low mental ability. Examinee with low IQ or brain damage says: Thats your hand holding the card.

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6- Feminine(FEM)or Masculine(MASC) This category is scored when the sex of hand is mentioned. Thats a mans hand moving a piece of machinery Male-Female differences pertain life orders.

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7- Homosexuality(HOMO)

Involves activity, relationship or description which makes reference to homosexual may be scored as homosexuality response. It is a gay person talking you know how they hold their hands.

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8- Money(MON)

Response is scored when the hand is seen as dealing with currency. Picking up a penny. It is encountered with people who are concerned with money or who lack it. It is found among jobless examinees referred by social agencies.

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9- Personification(PERS)
It is scored when examinee refer to themselves Personification response is given to self centred people who are interested in their own problems and have trouble making an objective. It can be found in normal people but tends to be encountered more frequently with hysterics, borderline cases, and certain types of schizoids.
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10- Self(SELF) Responses are scored when the activity is self-directed. Such a response denotes an interest in oneself instead of the environment. Self response involves a concern with feelings, pleasures, and activities which derive from the self rather that other people or the impersonal environment.
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It also seems to occur more often in children than. It seems logical that children might focus on their own bodies before directing their energies outwardly.

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11- Symbolism(SYM) It occurs when an examinee assigns abstract meaning to an action or description. A dancer making expressive movements to symbolize the joy of creation.

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Symbolism is often found in conjunction with Inanimate responses (e.g., The hand of Mona Lisa. Its peaceful. Symbolizes gentleness).

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Test Retest Reliability

Test retest reliability of hand test has been examined using normal and psychopathological groups. A study of Panek and Stoner(1979) Group of 71 normal examinees, 56 female and 15 males. Two week interval was used between test administration. Test retest correlation ranged from .51 to .89 for quantitative scoring .30 to .80 for qualitative scoring.
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Internal Consistency
Following study have examined the internal consistency of the hand test. The first study involved 100 protocols of individuals belonging to various groups. Split half reliabilities were obtained. Comparing card 1,3,5,7&9 with the pathological score for cards 2,4,6,8,10.

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The split half reliabilities were For individuals .85,.84,&.85 For pair of individuals 0.86,.96,.92

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Inter scorer Reliability

Study of normal female examinees by (Maloney &Wagner (1979)) Two judges were involved in the study. One was well trained graduate student. Other was author of test. Spearman correlation was computed which ranged from 0.71 to 1.00 (perfect agreement).

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Criterion Validity
The ability of hand test responses to differentiate between normals and schizophrenics by (Wagner,1961). Groups of male schizophrenics and 50 normal male college students were selected. Correlation was composed for four hand test variables Interpersonal=.56 Active=.40 Maladjustive=.36 Withdrawal=.81 Free Powerpoint Templates

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Predictive Validity
Study by Darrbney and Wagner(1980) investigated the relationship of the hand test and predicted success in medical colleges. 23 students participated, 13 males and 10 females. Students were given hand test and Rorschach and index of maladjustment.
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Results showed that scores of maladjustment correlated negatively with all measures of intellect and performance. Correlation of .55 was found.

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Concurrent Validity
A number of studies have examined the relationship of hand test performance to various behaviours and performance. Panek, Wagner, Barrett and Alexander(1978) studied the relationship of hand test performance with the automatic accidents. 170 females were taken. Divided into two groups Older driver Younger driver Free Powerpoint Templates

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Correlation between younger driver and initial response time and number of accidents .27 and older is .41. Results indicate that hand test might be useful for Identifying individuals with personality disposition towards accidents.

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Quantitative Interpretation
Interpersonal Responses Interpersonal responses involve relation with other people. Lack of interpersonal responses indicate an individual whose life lack interpersonal roles.

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Variety of possible interpersonal responses 1. Affection 2. Dependence 3. Communication 4. Exhibition 5. Direction 6. Aggression

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Affectionate person participates in pleasurable relationships which involve mutual interchange of positive feelings and attitudes. They give and receive affection and generally impress others as being reasonable and friendly.

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II. Dependence Dependent people are those who need others. These persons are willing to subordinate themselves in order to receive care and protection. Dependence responses are considered to be socially positive and essential to peoples well being.
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III. Communication Communication responses are given by examinees who engage in reciprocal information exchanges as a way of displaying interpersonal roles. These type of responses can be found among all types of individuals.

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IV. Exhibition

In exhibition responses the individual desires pleasure from receiving the attention of others. The need for praise and being the center of attention is a major part of an exhibition responses. People showing exhibition responses are egocentric and individualistic.
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V. Direction

These people manipulate others into fulfilling their needs but neither dislike those people being manipulated. Individuals who are not directive are not suitable for social success.

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VI. Aggression Aggressive people are often social, seek to hurt others, and are ineffective in real goals. Limited no of aggressive responses especially mixed with positive interpersonal responses, may be expected in normal individuals.

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Environmental Responses
Environmental responses are assumed to represent generalized attitudes to impersonal world. Environmental responses are broken down into three more specific quantitative scoring categories. 1. Acquisition responses 2. Active responses 3. Passive responses
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Acquisition Responses Individuals who produce many acquisition responses tend to set their sights high and pursue even greater accomplishment than they have already achieved. Athletes, sales personnel, and scientists may all produce acquisition responses although their goals differ.
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II. Active Responses Active responses are generally given by examinees who are involved in constructive accomplishment. Home-worker, laborer and expert burglar may all give Active responses even though the purpose toward which they direct their efforts differs greatly.

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III. Passive Responses A passive response means that at least some of the time an individual will desire allowing psychological or physical passivity. The greater the number of passive responses, the more the examinee gravitates toward situations which assure few struggles.

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Maladjustive Responses Maladjustive responses arise from a failure to meet goals. Normal individuals who are suffering from tension and feelings of inadequacy can produce a small number of Maladjustive responses. Maladjustive responses are divided into three subcategories: i. Tension ii. Crippled iii.Fear Free Powerpoint Templates

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Tension Responses

Tension responses may be given by normal individuals who suppress or waste action tendencies. Examples include: A hand that is full of nervous tension.

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II. Crippled Responses

In crippled responses the examinee projects his or her psychological insufficiencies and inadequacies by physical deforming the hand. Crippled responses may indicate many types of inferiority (e.g. intellectual, emotional, physical).

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III. Fear Responses

Phobic experience and individuals own internalized hostility can produce fear response. Responses of this type reflect genuine apprehension about threat to ego integrity. Fear responses generally have greater pathological significance than tension or crippled responses.
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Withdrawal Responses Withdrawal responses reflect an rejection of meaningful, effective life rules. Withdrawal responses are not given by the normative groups so withdrawal responses should be considered pathological. Withdrawal category is subdivided into three more categories. i. Description ii. Bizarre Free Powerpoint Templates iii.Failure

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This type of response is most typical of deteriorated schizophrenics, although neurotic, mentally retarded and a rare normal examinee also produce description responses. Elaborated description responses reflect unique emotional states, where as simple description responses represent an attempt to deal with reality.
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II. Bizarre Responses

Bizarre responses are the most serious of all withdrawal responses. The examinee partially or completely ignores the hand stimuli and projects his or her illogical perceptions onto the hand. Bizarre responses mostly appear in schizophrenics who are displaying psychotic symptomatology (e.g., delusions and hallucinations).
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III. Failure Responses Failure responses represent the inability of the examinee to attend or respond to hand stimuli. Failure have serious implications and should not be taken lightly. Deterioration, especially organic deterioration is indicated when several failures are produced by the examinee.
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Qualitative Interpretation

The quantitative scores are concerned with methods of relating to the interpersonal and impersonal environment, whereas the qualitative scores focus more on personal tendencies and the motivation behind these action tendencies.

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1. Ambivalent
Ambivalent shows hesitancy in the expression of the behavior with which it is associated. The implication is that such action tendencies are only partially successful in the past and examinee is hesitant about expressing them. Ambivalent responses occur among all clinical groups.
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2. Automatic Phrase It is rare It represents a feeble, stereotyped attempt to induce familiarity and structure into which it is a difficult, disturbing task for the examinee.

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3. Cylindrical It has been found among chronic male masturbators, male homosexuals and females with sexual identity problems but is not pathognomonic of any one diagnostic group.

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4. Denial Denial has a similar interpretation as Ambivalent. Here a defensive reaction formation can be assumed since the action tendency is explicitly denied.

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5. Emotion
It does not necessarily to imply genuine and deep emotion. It tends to occur more with individuals who possess only apparent affect. For example: Thats the way I carried my bouquet when was married. I was so happy.
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6. Gross Gross is never a good sign since it denotes egocentricity and a disregard for the right of others. It occurs most often with individuals with psychopathology and aggressive character disorder.

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7. Hiding Hiding shows a tendency to misrepresent and conceal ones true intentions. People who give hiding responses deliberately attempt to prevent the exposure to certain psychological traits, usually for the purpose of fooling or manipulating others.
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8. Immature Immature response is common among children and becomes less frequent as age increase. It is interpreted in a straight forward manner as indicating some degree of immaturity in interpersonal relationships.

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9. Impotent

It is rare. It is representative of cognitive problems and may be associated with low intelligence.

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It represents ruminative tendencies which tend to remain imaginal and do not find ready release in behavior. It suggests highly subjective thoughts. It is associated with intelligence although the mental abilities may not be practically applied.

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11.Movement Movement represents a working off of excess energy and is often associated with purposeless, even antisocial behavior. The movement response was first noted in random such as escape from the institution and easily provoked anger.

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12.Oral Oral response is indicative of an oraldependent orientation. It is more common among children, substance abusers and passive dependent personalities than among normals.

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Perplexity can occur with impotent with same interpretive significance (i.e., cognitive difficulty). Care should be taken to make sure that the perplexity response is a genuine expression of confusion.

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14.Sensual Sensual implies that the examinee enjoys and seeks out experiences which stimulate the senses. It tends to be given by more intelligent examinees.

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15.Sexual Sexual response is more reliable of qualitative categories. This type of responses occurs in individuals who are preoccupied with sex. When it is scored, the interpreter should look for other signs of psychopathology also.
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Original responses indicate originality, creativity and intelligence. This type of score is rare and should only be scored by an experienced clinician.

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17.Repetition Repetition denotes a lack of flexibility in dealing with lifes challenges. Repetitions are often associated with limited intelligence or organic brain damage.

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References:Wagner,E.E.The Hand Test Manual, 1983,Los Angeles:California,western psychological services.

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