Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) in SSB Interview – Important Tips

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

Thematic Apperception Test in SSB Interview is considered one of the essential topics of the interview. Students can quickly learn techniques to clear the TAT in SSB interviews. An illustration of a projective test that requires describing ambiguous scenes is the Thematic Apperception Test or TAT.

This article will enhance your understanding of the Thematic Apperception Test in the SSB interview.

In the Thematic Apperception Test for SSB, applicants are presented with ambiguous images. While looking at these images, candidates must develop a theme similar to a narrative that includes a hero, a challenge, and a description of how the hero will overcome the difficulty and succeed.

After Clearing Day 1 of the NDA SSB Interview, a candidate goes through a series of tests clubbed under the Psychology Test.

The Psychology Test in NDA Exam consists of 4 Tests:

  • Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
  • Word Association Test (WAT)
  • Situation Reaction Test (SRT)
  • Self Description Test (SDT)

These Series of Tests check the Psychology and intellect of a candidate based on his age and background. Let’s read about the Thematic Apperception Test in detail:

What is the Thematic Apperception Test in SSB Interview?

The TAT or Thematic Apperception Test in SSB Interview is similar to the PPDT test, but the number of pictures is more here. The TAT was developed during the 1930s at Harvard University’s Harvard Clinic by American psychologist Henry A. Murray and lay psychoanalyst Christiana D. Morgan.

The reason for which Morgon adopted this technique is that people tend to interpret ambiguous situations according to their own past experiences and current motivations, which may be conscious or unconscious. Murray argued that by asking people to tell a story about a picture, their defences would be lowered to the examiner because they would not realize the sensitive personal information they disclosed in the story. India Armed Force later adopted Thematic Apperception Test for selection in the SSB Interview.

What is the Process of TAT in the SSB Interview?

The Thematic Apperception Test in SSB Interview consists of 12 slides of ambiguous pictures. Based on each image, the candidate is expected to write a response in the form of a story. Out of those 12 slides, 11 slides have pictures, and the last is an empty slide where the candidate can write any story based on his mind. The time allotted for each picture is 4 minutes, and another 30 seconds are given to observe the image.

Elements of Thematic Apperception Test Story

Like Picture Perception & Discussion Test, the Thematic Apperception Test is based on similar lines. Still, the difference is that the picture displayed is much more precise, and no discussion is conducted after one writes the image. Some essential elements of the Thematic Apperception Test story are:

  • What led to the story?
  • What is happening in the story?
  • What is the possible outcome?

There is also a central character in the picture, which must resemble the qualities exhibited by the candidate writing the story. He must act and behave like a normal human being & not like any supernatural being.

What Types of Pictures are Shown in TAT?

The picture shown in the Thematic Apperception Test or TAT is briefly categorized into the following types:

  1. Reactionary Story
  2. Visionary Story

Reactionary Story

Reactionary stories demand urgent resolution, like an accident, fire, theft, person drowning, etc. In this picture, the scope of imagination is limited, and a quick solution is expected from the candidates’ side. The story written by these candidates will not vary much from candidate to candidate.

Visionary Story

Visionary stories have no problems; these pictures are generic, like two people sitting, one person talking to the group, etc. These pictures are a test of one’s imagination. A candidate’s story will give more insight into his thoughts and imagination than reactionary stories. In the event of such pictures, the stories written by candidates will vary greatly.

What is Blank Slide in the Thematic Apperception Test?

The Blank Slide in the Thematic Apperception Test is one of the essential slides in the TAT. It gives an insight into the thoughts of the candidates. Many candidates tend to write things that they have experienced in the past. The candidate’s Response to the blank slide varies from person to person.

How to Write Thematic Apperception Test in SSB Interview?

The TAT or Thematic Apperception Test is one of the most crucial tests, and candidates must keep the following things in mind:

  1. The central character resembles yourself. So one needs to portray actions similar to the Officer Like Qualities.
  2. As the central character resembles you, traits such as gender, age, and mood should also be similar to yours.
  3. Sometimes, the story demands that the central character have a profession or a qualification, so one needs to care a lot about these traits and have prior knowledge of these traits.
  4. The story should be within 8 to 12 lines and describe everything in a short & crisp manner.
  5. Observing the picture is of utmost importance, as many students in a hurry overlook small details.

Don’ts in Thematic Apperception Test

Sometimes many students writing a good story get carried away and create mistakes. Here are some blunders that you should avoid while writing the Thematic Apperception Test or TAT story:

  • The story should be practical. It should not make the central character a superhero. E.g., If a house is on fire and someone is trapped inside, the main character should not jump inside, lift the person and bring him out. He can take a cloth or blanket wrapped around him and then go inside and bring out the person trapped inside. The logical application of things would always be necessary to represent OLQ.
  • Many students think that writing a positive story will benefit them, but one must avoid writing a negative story as long as it is not displayed. Sometimes pictures of the Morgue and dead bodies are shown on purpose. This is done to check the response of the candidate regarding the image.
  • The assessor is not testing your domain knowledge, so don’t make entirely technical stories. Instead, show traits of a natural person doing some action.
  • Also, one must write the story in legible handwriting with no cuttings, as cutting shows a lack of clarity of thoughts.

We hope that we might have shared some insights that would have improved your existing knowledge of TAT or Thematic Apperception Test.

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