Blacky pictures

The Blacky pictures were a series of picture cards used by psychoanalysts in mid-Twentieth Century America and elsewhere to investigate the extent to which children's personalities were shaped by Freudian psychosexual development. The drawings depicted a family of cartoon dogs in situations relating to psychoanalytic theory. The main character, 'Blacky', was accompanied by Tippy, a sibling, and a mother and father. Blacky's sex was decided by the experimenter, depending on the subject who was taking the test.

The reaction of the children to the drawings was thought to indicate the extent of Freudian personality traits, such as an anal personality, castration anxiety or penis envy.

The Blacky pictures' worth as a source of experimental data was questioned by psychologists, among them Hans Eysenck, and they since have fallen out of use.

Further reading

*Hans Eysenck, "Decline and Fall of the Freudian Empire", 1985


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