The Thematic Apperception Test, or TAT, is a projective measure intended to evaluate a person's patterns of thought, attitudes, observational capacity, and emotional responses to ambiguous test materials. In the case of the TAT, the ambiguous materials consist of a set of cards that portray human figures in a variety of settings and situations. The subject is asked to tell the examiner a story about each card that includes the following elements:

1-The event shown in the picture;

2-what has led up to it;

3-what the characters in the picture are feeling and thinking; and

4-The outcome of the event.

Why  Thematic Apperception Test?

This pictures originally employed for this purpose were very vague. There was a great play of projection or inner subconsciousness in the interpretation of these T.A.T pictures  Pictures with greater  details and needing less play of projection and imagination were introduced by two psychologist, Murray and Margon, who used these in 1903 and the same are generally in use in India.

In TAT, the picture used by the SSBs are on the model of Murray’s pictures, but they are almost clear and not hazy. A set of 12 pictures is generally used including one blank slide. A slide of each picture is shown on a screen with the help of a magic lantern for half a minute and the candidates are required to write a story based on the picture in a period of four minutes in the particular space provided on the answer sheet.

These test is based on the theory that in the construction or stories around ambiguous pictures, the candidate organize material from his own personal experiences, partly as a result of the stimulus that he receives i.e. what he finds in the picture and partly his associations with such stimuli recalled from his past experiences.

Characteristics of the Story

The candidates must remember that there are certain essential elements or components of a well constructed story. These are:

  • The Hero: Each story must have a hero or the chief character with whom the writer identifies himself. The hero should exhibit qualities which an officer of the Armed Forces should possess. He should act and behave like a normal human being and not like a supernatural being.
  • Other characters who help the hero in the execution of the task undertaken by him.
  • Situation in the Story:
    • What it is ?
    • How it came into being or what events led up to it?
    • What will be the outcome or conclusion?
  • The them or plot:
    • It is an attempt by the hero, assisted by other characters to organize the story by pooling all the resources at this disposal in order to successfully solve the problem by him.
    • The plot should be interesting and end successfully.
    • It should be self-evident. The reader must not remain in doubt about it or keep on guessing it.

Sample Pictures in TAT:

Ram a young engineer of a MNC who was very much careing for the children .once went to a local bar with his friends Raju and Deepak. While enjoying their time in the bar Ram noticed a small kid working as a supplier there. He felt very bad and called the manager and talked to him and admitted the kid to the school under the right to education act. And also met the DC and asked him to tighten the RTE act. DC appreciated him .

Expert Comment:1-Nicely explained.

                            2-Remember to reflect your personality in SSB in whatever you do there.

1) One person should write one story only along with their names.
2) The story should be written in a time bound manner only and should be written in the same way as one writes at SSB for psychology round, so that the exact exam condition can be replicated.
3) The story in the comment section will only be evaluated. Don't see the stories of other aspirants while writing the story and try to write your own original idea.
4) Remember no answer is right or wrong in psychology. You only need to mention the first thought that comes to your mind after seeing the picture.

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