The Lüscher Test or Test of Colors is a projective test used in psychology as a tool to know someone’s personality . Specifically, it serves to assess the psychophysiological state of the person to whom it is applied, as well as the way in which they cope with stress.
Like the rest of the projective tests, the Lüscher test is based on the idea that the choice that a person makes between various elements is directly related to their personality traits. This type of test has caused much controversy in scientific circles, but it is still used routinely in practice.
The color test was created by Dr. Max Lüscher in Basel (Switzerland). This psychologist believed that the sensory perception of color is objective and shared by everyone, but that color preferences are subjective and have to do with the personal states of each one. According to him, these preferences reveal a lot about our personality.
The Lüscher test, due to its projective nature, is usually used in psychological consultation only as a complement to other types of tests, and not as the sole basis for making a diagnosis. However, it can be useful to learn more about the patient’s personality.
The way to apply this test is very simple. The psychologist presents the patient with eight cards, each with a different color, and asks him to order them according to his preference for them. Depending on the order in which the colors are chosen, this will reveal a number of traits about the person.
To make sure the choice of colors is correct, Lüscher shuffled the cards after the first sorting, and again asked the patients to put them in order. According to this psychologist, if a person put the cards in exactly the same order both times, this could be a symptom of an excessively rigid personality.
To interpret the results, it is necessary to look at both the order in which the colors are chosen, and which are those that occupy the first four positions.
If any of the primaries are not in the top five, Lüscher believed there could be some kind of hidden disorder.
Meaning of colors
Max Lüscher distinguished between two types of colors in his test: four primary colors, and four secondary colors. Each of them reveals a series of personality traits in the patients to whom the test is applied, the primary colors being related to positive traits and the secondary colors to negative ones.
The eight colors of the Lüscher test are as follows:
– Primary: blue, green, yellow and red.
– Secondary: purple, brown, gray and black.
Let’s see the meaning of each of them.
Blue represents the depth of the emotions and the concern to understand oneself. It is a color that indicates a preference for what is already known, and an inclination towards conservation and the search for peace.
Studies show that the color blue has relaxing effects on people, even reducing heart rate and blood pressure.
In this test, choosing blue in the first place shows a desire to feel united with others and to be calm. The personality of those who choose him in the first position is usually calm.
Green primarily represents a desire for self-assertion. The people who choose it in the first positions usually show great resilience and perseverance , as well as the desire to take control over their own life.
On the other hand, people who choose green tend to resist change, placing their own opinions and beliefs above those of others.
They often try to teach others, and change their views if they do not match what they think is correct.
Yellow is a color especially related to happiness, spontaneity and concern for others. People who choose him in the first positions are usually very optimistic, relaxed, and with a tendency to flee from worries and problems to avoid being bitter.
Those who choose yellow first desire the pursuit of adventure and experience above all else.
These people are often future-oriented, believing that all the experiences that come will be positive and help them to be happier.
Red represents pure energy, powerful emotions, and willpower . The people who choose it in the first place show a great desire for results and all kinds of success, as well as for experiences that make them feel intensely. They tend to have a great tendency to action.
However, due to the intensity of the emotions felt by people who choose red, they can also feel anxious or restless in many situations.
Violet, the first of the secondary colors, represents the desire to believe in magical or superstitious explanations about reality.
These people would like to extinguish the cause and effect relationship in the events of their life, and attribute what happens to them to a higher force such as fate or chance.
In general, these people crave to feel connected to the rest, and to be guided by their intuition rather than by good planning or rational component. In this sense, it is usually chosen by teenagers, very religious people, or those who are especially superstitious.
Brown is directly related to the physical body and the senses. When it is chosen in the first positions, it usually has to do with some type of physical pain or discomfort that the person is suffering.
On the other hand, it can also represent a person’s need to put down roots and find a stability that they do not have in their life.
In this test, gray is not considered as a color, but as a neutral stimulus open to psychological interpretation by the subject.
When someone chooses you in the first position, it shows a desire to remain free and unattached, or a fear of compromising.
Black is the absence of color; and as such, it represents the desire to rebel against existence. This can mean many things: from disdain for the established order, to the desire to end one’s life.
In general, it is considered that someone who chooses black first may have a serious hidden problem.
What does the research say?
As with most projective tests, research on the Lüscher test shows null results.
That is, when it has been tried to use it in a scientific setting to predict personality traits , it has been found to have no validity.
However, its use has become very widespread in fields such as personnel selection. This can be a problem, since being invalid, interviewers can use their own beliefs to choose the candidates they like the most, losing all objectivity in the process.
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