Picture interpretation and Jungian typology



This study examined a Jungian picture interpretation schema, which utilizes a specific quadrant method. This proposed schema, which is used in training at the C. G. Jung Institute in Zürich, attaches significance to specific areas of a drawing. The upper left of a drawing is associated with the father; the lower left with the unconscious; the lower right with the mother; and the upper right with the future. Three questions served as the foci of this study: Is the schema valid? Do certain types within Jung's personality theory respond better than others to the schema? Does the schema work best when it elicits a strong affective response from the person who created the picture? Subjects took one of two tests: a space domain test, or a colour associative test. The results revealed only two significant effects: a positive association (in the space domain test) between unconscious material with the unconscious quadrant and a negative association (in the colour associative test) of mother material with the mother quadrant. These results suggest that the Jungian quadrant schema used to interpret drawings is invalid and of minimal practical utility. Other methods of picture interpretation are discussed as well as suggestions for future research that would be helpful to this field.