A projective test in which the subject tells stories about cardboard figures which he selects and places against a background.The MAPS Test, which was created by E. S. Shneidman, combines features of psychodrama, the Thematic Apperception Test, and the World Test (a play test in which the child uses miniature representations of common objects such as houses, cars, animals, fences, and people). Different forms of the test are administered to children and adults. The test materials consist of sixty-seven cardboard figures and twenty-one backdrops or stages. The figures include (in order of decreasing number) males, females, children, members of minority groups, legendary and fictitious characters, silhouettes, figures with blank faces, animal figures, and figures of indeterminate sex. The backdrops include highly structured scenes such as a living room, bedroom, cemetery, stage, nursery, schoolroom, and clinic, as well as unstructured backdrops such as clouds or a blank card.The examiner shows the materials to the subject and usually says, “Now let’s see how imaginative (or creative) youare.” He then presents the backgrounds, one at a time, and asks the subject to select and place figures against one of them just as they would be in real life. When a scene has been set up, the subject is instructed to tell a story that shows who the characters are, what they are doing and feeling and thinking, and how the incident depicted was resolved. After each story the examiner asks a series of questions about the sex, age, and personality of any characters he feels the subject has identified with. He also inquires about the title of the story, any portion of it that appears unclear, or any other aspect of the instructions that have not been carried out, such as failure to resolve the story. The materials are usually intriguing to the subjects, and they enjoy the freedom of selecting their figures and backgrounds.The examiner records the stories and marks off the placement of the figures on a special recording device so that each scene can be reconstructed later on. He also notes down the initial reaction time before placement of the first picture, as well as any figures which were first chosen and then rejected. Two types of interpretation are used. The stories are subjected to qualitative analysis of the same general type as with the TAT, and are also objectively scored according to the choice of figures, placement of figures, use of figures, backgrounds, and reaction times. These factors are then closely examined as a means of interpreting the subject’s goals, desires, conflicts, values, and ego ideal, as well as his characteristic modes of behavior. Many considerations play a part in this analysis: excessive number or variety of figures, perseveration (same figure always used), crowding and bizarre placement, use of blank side of figure, superimposition of figures, excessive reaction time, and so on.The MAPS Test has a number of applications. First, it is useful in revealing personality dynamics in both normal and abnormal subjects, and has therefore been applied in making differential diagnoses. In this connection Shneidman (1948) applied it to schizophrenic patients and found that they differed from normals in a number of objective ways—for example, isolation of figures from each other, inappropriate use of materials, and a high incidence of religious themes. Second, it has been effectively applied to the study of minority tensions (ten of the figures represent minority groups). Third, estimates of a subject’s capacity for abstract thinking can be made by asking him to assort the figures into categories. Fourth, the test has proved to be a useful research instrument not only for revealing normal personality differences, but in studying hostility among mental patients (Walker, 1951), as well as the dynamics of neurotics, disturbed adolescents, homosexuals, asthmatic children, and suicidal mental patients.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "MAKE - A - PICTURE - STORY TEST (MAPS)," in, November 28, 2018, (accessed May 10, 2021).