Picture Writing/ Thematic Apperception Test

Picture Writing/Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) is based on the theory that in the construction of 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.
Main Elements of the Story
The candidates must remember that there are certain essential elements or components of a well-constructed story.
  • The Hero
    Each story must have a hero or the chief character with whom the writer identifies himself. The hero should exhibit qualities, which a prospective manager 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
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  • What it is?
  • How did it come into being or what events led up to it?
  • What will be the outcome or conclusion?
  • The theme or plot
    It is an attempt by the hero, assisted by other characters to organize the story by pooling all the resources at his disposal in order to successfully solve the problem by him. The plot should be:
    2. It should be pleasing and should end successfully.
    3. It should be self-evident. The reader must not remain in doubt about it or keep on guessing it.
Tips for Writing Stories in TAT
  • Since the picture is shown for a very short time (generally for 30 seconds only), the candidates must observe all details in the picture very carefully and try to retain them in their minds.
  • All the objects and persons in the picture have to play their part in the story, therefore, candidates should allot suitable parts to each.
  • When looking at the picture, candidates must quickly analyze the situation-depicted in it under the following heads:
    1. What is the situation depicted in the picture?
    2. How did it come into being or what events led to it?
    3. How will it develop and conclude or what will be the outcome?
    4. When writing the story, remember the three essential elements of the story- the hero, and plot and the outcome, and do justice to all these three.
  • The qualities of the hero have to conform to the nature of the candidate himself and reflect his own personality. Therefore the story should bring out such qualities as are expected of a prospective manager. These are:
    1. Social service, team spirit and cooperation and hard work.
    2. A spirit of understanding risk and facing adventure.
    3. Initiative and drive.
    4. Organizational ability and leadership and the like. The candidate must keep in mind that whatever qualities of character the hero exhibits through his actions, the credit or discredit for those goes to the candidate who is himself acting in the story through his hero.
  • The theme or plot of the story should be interesting and plausible. It must be within the limitations of a normal human being. Interesting but normal situations should be created and the hero, assisted by the other characters in the story, should be able to tackle the situations and resolve it to the best of their capacity, leading to a logical and happy ending.
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    1. It should be brief but it complete and self-contained, leading naturally to a conclusion.
    2. You need not assign a title to the story if you cannot think of one.
    3. You need not write any lessons or morals at the end of the story. Leave it to the reader to think it for himself. It should, however, be self-evident.
    4. If possible, write the story in the past tense.
  • Don't describe what you see in the picture, but express the thoughts, feelings and actions of the characters in the picture.
  • Don't write memorized stories, which may have little relation to the situation depicted in the picture.
  • It is not necessary to mention about everything that you see in the picture. You may omit anything that you think superfluous. Likewise, you may include in the story anything which may not appear in the picture but which may help in building up the story by providing missing links.
Practice TATS
TAT-STORY NO. 1 pic-writing
TAT-STORY NO. 2 pic-writing
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