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Thematic Apperception Tests (TATs) involve showing test takers pictures and getting them to write stories based on the pictures. Coding such stories for themes and traits can be complex, time-consuming, and potentially suffer from issues of unreliability. Thus, it would be interesting to see whether automated computerised coding could make the process of scoring TATs more efficient, reliable, and valid.

  • What is the current state of computerised coding of TATs?
  • How does the reliability and validity of computerised coding compare to human coding?
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I've looked into this a number of times since first coming across this question, but I have difficulty imagining how a computerized TAT would work, and there doesn't seem to be any literature on computerized TATs at all. Do they exist? It would be helpful to have a starting point. – Christian Hummeluhr Apr 22 at 12:12
@ChristianHummeluhr I haven't looked into it myself. Many years back, I helped out coding a whole pile of responses to TATs. It was quite resource intensive. You also have all sorts of challenges with inter-rater reliability, and so forth. So I was curious whether anyone has looked into computerised scoring. – Jeromy Anglim Apr 22 at 23:55

1 Answer 1

The state of the art in computer-scored Thematic Apperception Tests (TAT) as of 2015 appears to be that computer-scored TATs do not exist.

There does not appear to be any relevant results on Google Scholar, Web of Science or Scopus for any search I can think of including the term "thematic apperception" which yield any example or mention of computer-scored TATs, and all recent studies utilizing TATs have reported using standard versions (e.g., Turk et al., 2010). A 2013 book dedicated to the TAT, A practical guide to the Thematic Apperception Test: The TAT in clinical practice also fails to make any mention of computer-scored or otherwise computerized implementations of the TAT.


  • Aronow, E., Weiss, K. A., & Reznikoff, M. (2013). A practical guide to the Thematic Apperception Test: The TAT in clinical practice. Routledge.
  • Turk, A. A., Brown, W. S., Symington, M., & Paul, L. K. (2010). Social narratives in agenesis of the corpus callosum: linguistic analysis of the Thematic Apperception Test. Neuropsychologia, 48(1), 43-50.
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