Edited by Russell W. Belk
Chapter 11: Let’s Pretend: Projective Methods Reconsidered
Dennis W. Rook The rise, fall and revival of projective methods A huge number of studies using projective research methods appeared in the behavioral science literature between 1940 and 1960, although their origins date back to the late nineteenth century. These studies proliferated in the clinical and developmental psychology ﬁelds, as well as in sociological and anthropological research. After World War II, projective techniques rapidly diﬀused from the behavioral sciences into advertising agencies and market research ﬁrms, where they were applied in numerous product development, advertising, media, retailing and consumer studies. Their migration into mainstream marketing was facilitated by several brilliant and charismatic individuals, particularly Ernest Dichter in New York, and the leadership of Social Research, Inc. in Chicago, which included the interdisciplinary team of Lloyd Warner, Burleigh Gardner, William Henry, Lee Rainwater and Sidney Levy. Publications by these and other projective researchers appeared regularly in both academic and trade publications. Two Journal of Marketing articles by Haire (1950) and Rogers and Beal (1958) are widely viewed as classics today. During their heyday, projective methods also featured prominently in several inﬂuential marketing academic and trade books about consumer motivation and research (Ferber and Wales, 1958; Henry, 1956; Leonhard, 1955; Newman, 1957; Smith, 1954). Despite their contributions to marketing theory and practice, the popularity of projective research declined dramatically in the 1970s. Not surprisingly, many young researchers gravitated toward newly available computer-assisted analyses of large-scale survey and experimental data. By comparison, typically small-sample projective studies were vulnerable to being...
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