Psychophysiologic responses to the Rorschach in PTSD patients, noncombat and combat controls Academic Article uri icon


  • While psychophysiologic studies of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have investigated the effects of trauma-related stimuli on arousal, none have explored the development of intrusive imagery and affect states in the absence of such specific cues. The present study compares autonomic arousal during PTSD-related Rorschach responses in PTSD veterans vs. combat controls and noncombat controls. It was found that Rorshach responses containing traumatic content were found only in the PTSD group, and that these responses showed elevations in skin conductance (SC) and heart rate (HR). Our data also suggest that PTSD patients are more easily hyperaroused, especially under conditions of experienced stress and helplessness. Finally, combat control subjects exhibited lower baseline SC and HR than their counterparts, as well as decelerated HR during trauma- and stress-related Rorschach responses, suggesting a physiologic resilience in this group.

author list (cited authors)

  • Goldfinger, D. A., Amdur, R. L., & Liberzon, I.

citation count

  • 11

publication date

  • January 1998