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Perverse responses to the null TAT
I have been rereading a book, preparatory to citing it in a future LJ posting, that makes use of the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT --- the test in which a person is shown pictures and asked to make up stories about them).  I took the test several times when a child, and remember one or two of the pictures and my responses.  I had forgotten, tho, something the book mentions: that one of the "pictures" is completely blank.  I suppose the idea was that you were to make up a story without any prompting; at any rate, I suppose that was what I did at the time.  On imagining it now, tho, I immediately came up with two literal-minded responses:

1.  Since nothing is depicted, an empty universe (the vacuum) is intended.  It is currently speculated, however, that the vacuum is unstable, and is bound to decay into an exceedingly dense world that explodes & then condenses into stars & planets, some of them inhabited by organisms that give & take tests.

2.  This patch of white represents the field of view of a man staring at a featureless whitewashed wall.  He has been told to face it, but has not been told to close his eyes.  In a few seconds, he will be shot in the back of the neck.  His body will be removed, and the wall will be scrubbed & whitewashed again.
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