The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice

Objective Investigations of Controversial and Unorthodox Claims in Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry, and Social Work

The Coattail Effect

Why True Believers Continue to Believe in the Rorschach

Edwin E. Wagner, Isle of Palms, South Carolina.

Author Note:
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Edwin E. Wagner, 8 Fishers Alley, Isle of Palms, SC 29451. E-mail:

The coattail effectóthe tendency to ascribe validity to an evaluative technique or therapeutic approach as a whole because of the proven efficacy of one or more of its componentsówas illustrated using the Rorschach as an example. The coattail effect is a major reason proponents of the Rorschach hold the technique in high regard despite the fact that many or most of its indicators are of dubious validity. Paradoxically, practicing professionals can be especially vulnerable to the coattail effect because of their exposure to ongoing validations in journals, books, meetings, and clinical experiences.

You can read the full text of this article in
The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, vol. 3, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2004).
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