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Social Processes: Methodology · Types of test

The Colour Pyramid Test is a projective personality measure. It was developed by the Swiss psychologist Max Pfister, who used the test to reveal deviant personality characteristics.


The test consists of a black and white squared pyramid chart. The subject is asked to choose twenty four small squares of different shades and tones of red, green, blue, purple, yellow, orange, brown, black, white and grey and to place them on the pyramid.

Six different charts are requested using differernt instructions each time eg “as ugly as you can” or “pretty as you can” or “any way you please”


Scoring on how the Colors were used and which Colors were used and those avoided.


Pfister saw that some people randomly scattered the colored squares while others formed designs and patterns and he called the former 'color dominated' and the latter 'form dominated'.

Investigating the link between the colours people chose and personality characterisitcs he concluded that certain colour preferences were indicative of particular traits:

  • red indicated an impulsive character
  • orange an ability to establish good interpersonal relations.
  • yellow indicated rationality rather than emotionality
  • green suggested either a person with strong imagination and self-control or the symptoms of psychological disturbance.
  • blue indicated sound reason
  • purple anxiety
  • while white was suggestive of schizophrenia.

Both Pfister and Max Luscher concluded that while normal people favour the primary colors of red, yellow and blue disturbed people favoured green, purple, white, gray and brown.

See alsoEdit


  • Burdick JA (1968). The colour pyramid test: a critical evaluation. J. Psychol,70,93-97 PMID:4386573
  • Makita H, Umezu K, Hitsuda A, Danno T, Asai T. (1968) [Studies on the scoring norms of the color pyramid test]Seishin Igaku Kenkyusho Gyosekishu;15:51-70. (Japanese)
  • Schaie KW. (1963)The colour pyramid test:A nonverbal technique for personality assessment. Psychol Bull. Nov;60:530-47. Review. No abstract available.

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