Thematic Apperception Test is the second objective test employed by the SSBs to test the personality of the candidate. It is also a test of the candidate’s imagination. If an outline or hazy and vague picture is shown to a candidate, he will interpret it according to his imagination. These pictures, therefore, stimulate the thought processes of the candidate and he is able to weave around it a story.

It is an attempt to let the candidate have flights of imagination. It is a method of exploring matter from a person’s subconscious mind by stimulating his fantasy and interpreting it. The candidate is encouraged to come out with ideas and inner hidden or latent material which will not be available to us normally.

Why the 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 psychologists, 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.
This test is based on the theory that in the construction or stories around ambiguous pictures, the candidate organizes 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.
  • The 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?
  • 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:

Three sample TAT pictures are given below, you can post your story in the comment box below and also read other’s story to get an idea of TAT.
There are certain differences in TAT and PPDT, the candidate must not confuse between TAT and PPDT, to know more about PPDT read ” Picture Perception and Discussion Test