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Legal Admissibility of the Rorschach and R-PAS - A Review of Research, Practice, and Case Law (1 CE)


The special issue editors selected us to form an “adversarial collaboration” because our publications and teaching encompass both supportive and critical attitudes toward the Rorschach and its recently developed system for use, the Rorschach Performance Assessment System (R-PAS). We reviewed the research literature and case law to determine if the Rorschach and specifically R-PAS meet legal standards for admissibility in court. We included evidence on norms, reliability, validity, utility, general acceptance, forensic evaluator use, and response style assessment, as well as United States and selected European case law addressing challenges to mental examination motions, admissibility, and weight. Compared to other psychological tests, the Rorschach is not challenged at unusually high rates. Although the recently introduced R-PAS is not widely referenced in case law, evidence suggests that information from it is likely to be ruled admissible when used by a competent evaluator and selected variables yield scores that are sufficiently reliable and valid to evaluate psychological processes that inform functional psycholegal capacities. We identify effective and ethical but also inappropriate uses (e.g., psychological profiling) of R-PAS in criminal, civil, juvenile, and family court. We recommend specific research to clarify important aspects of R-PAS and advance its utility in forensic mental health assessment.

Goals and Objectives

  1. Participants will be able to identify at least 3 strengths and limitations of R-PAS in the legal context
  2. Participants will be able to describe appropriate forensic application of R-PAS

Skill Level 

Introductory. Knowledge of the Rorschach as a method of assessment and forensic practice would be helpful, but it is not necessary.


Image of Greg MeyerGregrory J. Meyer, PhD | University of Toledo 
Gregory J. Meyer, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Toledo. His research focuses on psychological assessment, with an emphasis on the integration of personality assessment methods and using the Rorschach as a performance-based measure of psychological processes. He has more than 90 peer-reviewed publications, has received Distinguished Contribution Awards for specific articles and general contributions, and served as the Editor of the Journal of Personality Assessment for 11 years. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Division 5) and of the Society for Personality Assessment. In addition to co-authoring the manual for the Rorschach Performance Assessment System, he co-edited a casebook entitled Using the Rorschach Performance Assessment System (R-PAS).
Image of Ben RubinBenjamin A. Rubin, PsyD | Rockland Psychiatric Center
Benjamin Rubin, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who specializes in forensic psychology as well as assessment and treatment of children and adolescents. Dr. Rubin received his Psy.D. in Combined School-Clinical Psychology from the Ferkauf Graduate School of Yeshiva University. He completed a pre-doctoral internship at the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut and post-doctoral fellowships in psychoanalysis at the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute as well as the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University. Dr. Rubin has taught courses including Research Methods and Personality Assessment as well as supervised individuals and groups of student trainees. His research interests include forensic applications of the Rorschach and adjudicative competency evaluations. Dr. Rubin has presented at national and international professional conferences on practical applications of psychoanalytic theory, psychological testing, faith, ethics, and forensic mental health assessment. Dr. Rubin currently serves as Director of Forensic Services at Rockland Psychiatric Center, a New York State Office of Mental Health psychiatric facility. Dr. Rubin sees children, adolescents, adults and couples in independent practice at Comprehensive Psychological Services, LLC.
Non-Member Price: $109
Member Price: $49