House Test: What It Is, Characteristics And How To Interpret It

house test

One of the most popular projective techniques is the house test, ideal for the little ones although applicable to adults. This test basically consists of asking the test taker to draw a house and interpreting the drawing of it.

Next We will see in depth what the house test consists of which elements are those on which special attention should be paid and what they can reveal about the personality of the subject evaluated.

What is the house test?

Currently, In psychology, there are many different ways to evaluate and analyze personality The reason for this is that personality, also understood as temperament, has always aroused the interest of psychologists both at a descriptive and predictive level. By knowing someone’s personality you can understand them better, understanding how they could cope with certain situations and how they would evolve throughout their life.

One of the most classic ideas in psychology, especially related to psychoanalysis and psychodynamic approaches, is that you can analyze an individual’s personality by interpreting what they did. Among these interpretable acts are the drawings and images that he could make, being the main characteristic of projective tests.

Among the main projective tests we have the house test, a technique whose objective is discover what the personality of the subject evaluated is from how he draws a house

How to apply this projective technique

The house test is one of the best-known projective techniques. It is a graphic projective technique, that is, a type of test in which the tested subject is given a written or verbal instruction to make a graphic response, in this case they are asked to draw a house. Based on this, we can affirm that the house test is in the same drawer as other tests of the same style, such as the family test or the tree drawing test, in which drawings are also asked.

Given its graphic nature, this tool is usually applied with children since it allows them to respond in a more entertaining, attractive and age-appropriate way compared to other personality assessment tests that require a high or very high degree of reading comprehension. concentration. Nevertheless, The home test is not a tool exclusively applied to infants being possible to apply it with adults to know details of their personality.

The administration procedure for the home test is very simple, consisting mainly of four steps.

1. Indication of the instructions to be carried out

The first step consists of telling the subject the instructions he must perform, that is, You are told that you have to draw a house on the sheet of paper that will have been given to you

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That is the only clue given. You are not told what size the house should be, if it has to have doors, windows, a garden… none of that will be told to you. The idea is that by not giving any details the subject feels as motivated as possible to draw the house that he likes the most, thus expressing parts of his personality with total freedom.

2. Observation

While the subject being evaluated is drawing his house, the therapist must observe him. You should pay attention to whether she is crossing out parts of the house or whether she is focusing too much on a particular area of ​​her drawing. It is also important to notice if the subject is showing any signs of stress or discomfort while you are drawing.

3. Asking questions

Once the person evaluated has finished drawing the house, he or she must be asked about it in order to Gather as much information as possible about what you have drawn

Some of these questions are “Is this house inhabited or uninhabited?”, “Who lives here?”, “Is it a comfortable house?” and other similar questions. Any information that the evaluated person gives us about his or her ideal or prototypical house can help us when interpreting the drawing later.

4. Interpretation

The last step is to interpret the drawing taking into account its elements.

House drawing test

Interpretation of the house test

Now that we understand what the house test consists of and how it should be administered to our test taker, it is time to see how it is interpreted. It must be understood, first of all, that since it is a projective test, its interpretation is rather free, but the elements represented in the house They can indicate certain characteristics in the individual’s personality that allow us to understand them more thoroughly Among these elements the main ones are the following.

1. The door

First we will look at the door, an element with great symbolism as it is the entrance to the home and, in this projective test, to the inner world of our patient. A door that is too small may reflect extreme shyness or a great need to protect oneself of everything that surrounds him. On the other hand, a large door is a symptom of extraversion and, in its extreme version, great dependence on social relationships.

If you have drawn the open door it may mean that you are willing to communicate without problems and openly express your emotions, while a closed door, especially if there are locks, may mean a great need to protect your privacy. Extremely closed doors are indicative of a great fear of having your way of being known, fear of being judged by revealing your personality.

2. The windows

Windows are the elements of a house that are used to see what is happening outside. In the same line as with its real functionality, the windows They can be interpreted as the medium through which we see everything that happens around us

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For this reason, if the person evaluated draws a house without windows, it may express a certain fear or refusal to face reality.

On the other hand, large, open windows, through which a lot of light enters, are synonymous with a great willingness to contact the outside and meet other people. Closed and small windows, on the other hand, can be a symptom of a reserved and cautious personality.

3. The roof

In the house test the roof It is interpreted as a symbol of the mind and ideas of the person being evaluated A very large roof compared to the rest of the building may indicate a personality that is too dreamy or idealistic, with little contact with the real world.

If the roof has a lot of detail, such as having the tiles or gutters drawn, can be interpreted as a sign of a very rational or creative mind, motivated by ideas. If you have drawn it flat or with a roof, it could be a sign that you feel oppressed or have some problem in your family.

4. Dimension and distance from the house

The size and distance of the house are also aspects to take into account when interpreting this test. There are several meanings that we can interpret based on these two aspects.

4.1. Small house

If he has drawn the house very small, barely taking up space on the sheet we have given him, we can interpret it as a sign of introversion and little desire to stand out. A small house can also be indicative of an inferiority complex

4.2. Big house

A large house can be seen as a sign that the person being evaluated is happy you feel comfortable with yourself and have the ability to love and let yourself be loved.

4.3. Castle-like house

Especially in boys and girls, it is common for them to represent the house as resembling a castle. This can be indicative of a lot of imagination although, if the child is a little older, let him draw the house similar to a castle. It can be indicative of a great desire to escape from your reality

4.4. Remote house

If the subject evaluated has drawn the house behind a long road, far away on the horizon, it may be indicative that you feel nostalgic for something from your past who misses the good times.

9. Other elements to take into consideration

Finally, we will mention some elements that are not always detailed in the drawings but that can give us a lot of added information about what their personality is like or about some aspect of their past.

9.1. The garden

Having drawn a garden is usually a good sign. If you have drawn it around the house it can be interpreted as having good expression and imagination skills However, if the garden is surrounded by walls or fences that do not allow you to see it, it may be a symptom of aggression and insecurity, fear of being hurt by others and the need to be contained.

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9.2. The trees

The trees They are indicative of the expression of abundance and willingness to be part of society to be integrated.

9.3. The way

The path should be analyzed in a similar way to how it is done with the door and windows. Paths are drawn in multiple ways, depending on how we feel in relation to the outside world. It can be straight, with stones, in a zigzag shape… and each of these shapes can have a different meaning. For example, straight can indicate overture and be direct while the bifurcations can be interpreted as the person who made the drawing feeling confused or not knowing how to express themselves clearly.

9.4. Animals and sun

The animals indicate that the person evaluated has good social support, being a projection of the individual’s social support network. The presence of a sun is, according to some experts in this projective test, a representation of the boy or girl’s attachment figure who, if he or she also has a face and smiles, indicates a good relationship with this figure

9.5. Telephone cables and antennas

As extra elements we can find telephone cables and antennas, which are not at all common in the little ones’ drawings. These elements are more typical of drawings made by adults, especially those who have an obsessive and perfectionist personality too focused on details and who always has the feeling that she is leaving something out, feeling anxious about it.

Summary

The home test can be of great help, especially with boys and girls, since, due to their age, administering a personality questionnaire such as the 16PF or the MMPI can be somewhat complicated. These are tests that may be too heavy for the little ones, making it difficult for them to understand the statements. Therefore, the idea of ​​administering the home test is that it helps us to discern a little the personality characteristics of the subject being evaluated, starting a little from the idea that “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Now, we must not forget that this is a projective technique, a type of technique that has been criticized in modern psychology for being too general. As we have mentioned, the interpretation of these techniques is very free. Interpreting the drawing made by the subject being evaluated, whether a child or an adult, is not a reliable test of what their personality is really like, but rather it gives us general guidelines of what it could be like.

Understanding this, the house test should be used as a complementary technique to others for the analysis and understanding of the personality of the subject evaluated. Projective techniques are not usually applied in isolation today, since their reliability is too low to be used exclusively. They are good techniques for revealing difficult-to-access thoughts and elements about the personality of some patients, but one must always be aware that there is a wide margin of error and interpretability.