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The House-Tree-Person projective technique developed by John Buck was originally an outgrowth of the
Good enough scale utilized to assess intellectual functioning. Buck felt artistic creativity represented a stream of
personality characteristics that flowed onto graphic art. He believed that through drawings, subjects objectified
unconscious difficulties by sketching the inner image of primary process. Since it was assumed that the content
and quality of the House-Tree-Person was not attributable to the stimulus itself, he believed it had to be rooted in
the individual's basic personality. Since the House-Tree-Person Test was an out cropping of an intelligence test,
Buck developed a quantitative scoring system to appraise gross classification levels of intelligence along with at
qualitative interpretive analysis to appraise global personality characteristics.

The Post-Drawing Interrogation form consists of 60 questions varying from direct and concrete to indirect
and abstract. Once the Post-Drawing Interrogation form has been administered and the interview has been
completed, the examiner records items of detail, proportion, and perspective in the Scoring Folder. After
completing the scoring tables, the examiner derives an IQ figure for the percentage of raw G, a net weighted
score, a weighted "good" score, and a weighted "flaw" sore, which then comprise the items for the profile

Reliability and Validity

The manual contains no information on validity and reliability.


The standardization sample included 140 adults. No attempt was made to randomly select
a stratified sample of subjects from the general population. Twenty adults were selected for each
of seven intellectual levels (imbecile, moron, borderline, dull average, average, above average,
and superior).

Suggested Uses
This instrument is recommended for projective assessment in research and clinical settings.

• To measure aspects of a person's personality through interpretation of drawings and responses to

• Sometimes used as part of an assessment of brain damage or overall neurological functioning.

• developed by JOHN BUCK in 1948, and updated in 1969

• Tests requiring human figure drawing were already being utilized as projective personality tests

• Buck believed that drawings of houses and trees could also provide relevant information about the
functioning of an individual's personality.


• Because it is mostly subjective, scoring and interpreting the HTP is difficult.

• Anyone administering the HTP must be properly trained.


• The HTP can be given to anyone over the age of three. Because it requires test takers to draw pictures,
it is often used with children and adolescents. It is also often used with individuals suspected of having
brain damage or other neurological impairment.

• The test takes an average of 150 minutes to complete; it may take less time with normally functioning
adults and much more time with neurologically impaired individuals.

• During the first phase of the test, test takers are asked to use a crayon to draw pictures, respectively, of
a house, a tree, and a person. Each drawing is done on a separate piece of paper and the test taker is
asked to draw as accurately as possible. Upon completion of the drawings, test takers are asked
questions about the drawings. There are a total of 60 questions that examiners can ask. Examiners can
also create their own questions or ask unscripted follow-up questions. For example, with reference to the
house, the test creator wrote questions such as, "Is it a happy house?" and "What is the house made
of?" Regarding the tree, questions include, "About how old is that tree?" and "Is the tree alive?"
Concerning the person, questions include, "Is that person happy?" and "How does that person

• During the second phase of the test, test takers are asked to draw the same pictures with a pencil. The
questions that follow this phase are similar to the ones in the first phase. Some examiners give only one
of the two phases, choosing either a crayon, a pencil, or some other writing instrument.

• One variation of test administration involves asking the individual to draw two separate persons, one of
each sex. Another variation is to have test takers put all the drawing on one page.

• The HTP is scored in both an objective quantitative manner and a subjective qualitative manner. The
quantitative scoring scheme involves analyzing the details of drawings to arrive at a general assessment
of intelligence, using a scoring method devised by the test creators. Research has shown this
assessment of intelligence correlates highly with other intelligence tests such as the Wechsler adult
intelligence scale (WAIS).

• The primary use of the HTP, however, is related to the qualitative scoring scheme in which the test
administrator subjectively analyzes the drawings and the responses to questions in a way that assesses
the test taker's personality. For example, a very small house might indicate rejection of one's home life. A
tree that has a slender trunk but has large expansive branches might indicate a need for satisfaction. A
drawing of a person that has a lot of detail in the face might indicate a need to present oneself in an
acceptable social light.

• Other methods of interpretation focus on the function of various parts in each of the drawings. In the
house drawing, the roof might represent one's intellectual side, the walls might represent the test taker's
degree of ego strength, and the doors and windows might represent the individual's relation to the
outside world. In the tree drawing, the branches might indicate the test taker's relation to the outside
world and the trunk might indicate inner strength.

• As with other subjectively scored personality tests, there is little support for its reliability and validity.
However, there is some evidence that the HTP can differentiate people with specific types of brain
damage. More specifically, it has been shown to be effective when looking at the brain damage present
in schizophrenic patients.


• HTP: Draw a house, tree, person, & opposite sex person.

• Inner view of himself/herself
• the environment
• the things considered important

• Pencil & white paper.
• Patient asked to draw a good house (as good as possible), take as much time as needed, erase
anything you need to.
• Then the pencil is taken away & you can use crayons in anyway to shade in or draw.
• The Theory behind Projective techniques.
• Why is the HTP ambiguous?
• What do the drawings tell us?
• The inclusion or exclusion of the various details of the HTP is left wholly to the patient.
• Hammer (1955) looked at the drawings of normals versus sex offenders.
• What does the drawing of a house tell us?
 Associations concerning home-life
 Intrafamilial relationships
 Attitude toward their home situation (children)
 Relationships to parents and siblings
 Married adults
• The Tree & the person
 Paul Schilder (1935): the tree & the person touch the core of the personality = body image and self-

Evaluation of the HTP

• Nonverbal technique = greater applicability to children.
• Also good for patients with limited education, limited intellectual ability, low SES, culturally deprived
backgrounds, or those who are shy and withdrawn; those who speak English, or who are mute.

• requires little time and is simple to administer.
• Culture-free technique – do not need elaborate command of language to get information.

• Verbal patients are less responsive to graphic techniques than to other projectives, like the TAT or
• Psychomotor difficulties such as physical handicaps or tremulousness (geriatric patients) impede the
analysis. Their personality expression is held back by their motoric handicap.
• Patients with a paucity of inner life, such as the schizoid patient, provide a barren personality profile.
These patients need something external to stimulate their mental processes.