Научный журнал
European Journal of Natural History
ISSN 2073-4972
ИФ РИНЦ = 0,301


Abakarova E.G. 1
1 Federal state budget institution of higher education “Stavropol state medical university” of Ministry of healthcare of Russia
The article presents author’s material on results of implementing projective test “Bird” within the frame of studying psychosomatic disturbances of a person. Materials of the article reflect technology of working with picture-based test, specific requirements towads its implementation, and actual results of research , carried out among students of Stavropol state medical university. The presented analysis of archetypical images and psychological transitions, reflected in graphic pictures, is a valuable clinic method to discover body expression in relation to a type of temper. Originality of the projective test consists in its unique ability to interpret internal symbolic world of a person with a picture of a bird that correlated reliably with an individual’s own specific experience, based on emotional features, that only they possess. Graphic material and psychological orientation that serve as guidelines for picture analysis, is compared in detail with medical background of students and their observation over the course of training activity.
projective methodic
type of temper
1. Abakarova E.G. Reflection of individual personal traits in symbols of predatory birds within psychological projective test “Bird”. International scientific-research magazine. 2017. № 1 (55).
2. Abakarova E.G., Boyev O.I., Semenova O.A. Modern methods of psychological diagnostic of suicidal behavior among patients. Applied juridical psychology. 2018. № 2 (43). Р. 39–46.
3. Adler A. The Practice and Theory of Individual Psychology / transl. by P. Radin. N.Y.: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1924. 352 p.
4. Arutyunova N.D. Functional types of linguistic metaphor / N.D. Arutyunova // Bulletin of Academy of science of USSR, Series “Literature and language”. 1978. V. 37. № 4. Р. 10-24.
5. Bachlar G. Water and dreams. Experience in imagination of matter / Translation from French by B.M. Skuratova. Moscow, Ed. office of humanist literature, 1998 (French philosophy of the XX century). 268 p.
6. Zyryanova N.M. Early sibling research [Digital source] // Psychological research: digital scientific magazine. 2008. № 2(2). URL: http://psystudy.ru.
7. Pukinskiy Y.B. Life of owls. Series: Life of our birds and animals. Issue 1, Leningrad: Ed. office of Leningrad University. 1977. Р. 240.
8. Jung K.G. Human and their symbols – St. Petersburg, B.S.K., 1996. Р. 451.

Objective of research

Objective of this research is to study individually typological features of personality in relation to archetypical symbols of projective test “Bird”.

Material and methods of research

Voluntary participation in the test was taken by students of Stavropol state medical university. As a method of evaluating personal qualities the following instruments were used: temper question list (J. Strelau), projective test via methodic “Bird” (E. Abakarova); collection and analysis of medical background, post-picture questioning, observation over students during the course of training activity. Reliability of the received data was checked with U-criterion of Mann-Whittney.

Psychological and metaphoric transitions were systematized and placed in author’s table of correlation between ornithonyms of birds and types of temper among individuals (table 1).

Table 1

Ornithomorphous table of correlation between birds and types of temper









Golden eagle












Jay bird



Turtle dove










According to classification of pictures in blanks of projective test “Bird”, four basic categories exist, and they embraced the most traditional symbols of birds: swimming birds; crows; predatory birds; birds that don’t refer to the mentioned groups (ornithonym of sparrow).

The undertaken theoretic analysis of four types of temper and comparing them with four types of ornithologic symbols of projective test “Bird” allowed us to distinguish choleric traits among students who drew swimming birds; melancholic traits – among students who drew crows; sanguinic traits – among those who drew predatory birds; phlegmatic traits – among students who drew pigeon, peacock, cock, etc.

It was discovered that when studying a symbol (a bird), an interviewee projects their own somatic and psychosomatic diseases upon it as well as physical traumas and forgotten emotional worries.

Research results and discussion

Studying psychosomatic correlations according to author’s methodic (Projective test “Bird”, E. Abakarova) began in 2016, but in this work materials that refer to ornithonym of predatory birds of owl family. This symbol was compared (in ornitho – historic perspective) with personal and characterological traits of medical school students who drew an owl.

No doubt, studying individual typological features of a personality draws our special interest, since revelation of possible psychological problems that affect successful adaptation of students, is one of the most urgent problems before general-university service of psychological support for students.

Thus, within the research we referred to author’s table of temper types distribution and managed to collect a representative selection that consisted of pictures of owl. Possibly, due to a heavy semantic load, this symbol wasn’t registered frequently among categories of the tested individuals. Usually medical students drew eagles, more rarely – hawks of predatory birds, and the smallest number of pictures demonstrated birds of owl family (fig. 1).


Fig. 1. Drawing of student of course 1 of pediatric faculty of Stavropol state medical university

According to ornithomorphic table, students – owls correspond to sanguinic type of temper. A distinctive feature of all tested students who drew predatory birds is an expressed aggression, assertiveness, urge to suppress the surrounding people. These characteristics correspond to general meaning of predatory bird symbol at all levels (subconscious and conscious) of using this image [1].

Ability to protect themselves is also expressed clearly in behavior of night birds. The described comparative cut-off between birds and people can be considered unacceptable by some, but it is possible. If you try to approach an eagle-owl or polar owl, contained in a cage, the bird will not worry, it will accept the challenge confidently. Its feathers will stand, wings open, it will step from one paw to another, keeping its vision on the opponent and being ready to attack at any second.

Even when caught off guard, without ways to surrender, owls don’t lose their spirit: they turn on their back and protect themselves vigorously with claws. We should outline that when given an ability to fly away, owls don’t always attempt to surrender. Possibly, they prefer to rely on power of their paws rather than speed of their wings. However, small owls often express a trend to run away, but this fact is surely related to a greater number of potential opponents, and comparison to bigger birds. Of course, all rules have exceptions, especially when people are studied. Nevertheless, on the whole, few or none exposes a threat and danger to owls.

Regarding owl nestlings, it was proven: rarely all birds of a brood survive. If for some reason owlets begin to starve, the older ones can eat their smaller siblings or weaker ones of the nest. Parents themselves in most cases try to feed the older and stronger nestlings [7].

This, as may seem, severe approach towards smaller specimen still has a positive effect upon survival of the whole family: it guarantees that some nestlings of the brood will always survive and produce a healthy breed.

We hope that the reader does not generalize this feature of life of birds with individual characteristic of personality of a specific student who drew an owl, and makes adequate conclusion, since this data is of informational nature and does not requires empiric proof.

Nevertheless, the presented facts that touch upon observations over specifics of nesting and feeding nestlings of owl family, allow us to correlate this data with family structure and order of birth of students who drew an owl.

Students of sanguinic type (who drew birds of owl family) are extremely courageous, full of energy, have a strong self-control, and are described by aggressive behavior, mostly typical for this psyche. Usually they are efficient, enduring, and hard-working. Often such students later become career people, and at the moment of study they carried out duties of monitor in their academic groups. All these behavioral and character features fit the system of the outlined ornithomorphos symbols of predatory birds.

A totally unexpected discovery was the fact that most often students who drew an owl were either the only children of their families or the elder ones among their siblings. Post-drawing questioning served as a foundation for this statement, results of it are presented in table 2.

Тable 2

Order of birth in family among respondents of two groups

Order of birth

Students-owls: 30

Students-sparrows: 30

Correlation in percent






86,6 %

23,3 %




13,3 %

60 %





16,6 %







Apart from questioning results, significant differences were also found in graphic image of birds. Students who drew an owl, always located the bird in the middle of A4 paper sheet, drew it from the front (expressed egocentrism), made it rather large in comparison to drawings of students who drew a sparrow (fig. 2, the bird is small in size, and is often located in upper left corner of A4 paper sheet).


Fig. 2. Drawing by female student of course 1 of stomatology faculty. Upper left corner of A4 paper sheet is used. Instruction given: Draw a bird that you saw some time ago or that your imagine. Once finished, write several sentences about the bird

The discovered fact referring to eldership among siblings, typical for students who drew an owl, is confirmed reliably in the table above and correlated with surprising research of birth order that was crried out earlier in history of psychological practice.

One of the first researchers who studied order of birth, was F. Halton, in 1874 he published his ideas in work “People of English science. Their nature and upbringing”. Halton outlined that firstborns differ from other children in a family first of all by the fact that they tend to become outstanding people more frequently than others. This fact was proven by F. Halton at the example of member of British Royal scientific society, in which number of firstborns (99 of 180) was disproportionally large.

After him similar studies were undertaken by other authors. Albert Jodera in 1984 [quote by: Schachter, 1963] studied a group of 50 outstanding people and concluded that firstborns have an advantage before other children, but the analyzed selection was too small to consider these findings reliable.

Ellis [quote by: Schachter, 1963] in 1904 analyzed biographies of 1030 people, mentioned in 60 volumes of English biographic dictionary, and in 309 cases he registered the fact that firstborn children achieve greater success and become famous more often [6].

The most significant contribution to earlier research of development among siblings belongs to Alfred Adler. He was the first one to study effect of birth order. Adler studied this aspect in terms of individual psychology system and claimed that birth order is an important factor of personal development that defined personal characteristics of a person during childhood and maturity [3].

The first child received maximum attention from their parents and is the center figure in a family, as A. Adler thought. First children often master “adult” language and prefer company of adults rather than company of their peers. Parents often spoil their firstborns and take excessive care after them. But, after birth of the second child firstborns lose their advantages and power that they had from the moment of birth. This phenomenon, according to Adler, has a deep and clear explanation that can be described as “being driven fro power”. Firstborns almost always suffers over this fact and feels as “castaway monarch”, at the same time, they can lose feeling of safety and obtain a persistent urge to protect themselves.

Considering that they lost their power by accident, and trying to preserve it by different means, firstborns begin to compete with their younger siblings for attention of their parents and, naturally, becomes jealous. Jealousy can take different shapes. The most jealous become children that enjoyed special attention on behalf of adults. As a result, firstborns become violent and authoritarian people (typical for sanguinic type of temper), this fact find confirmation in results of the presented selection (table 2).

Brief review of early works can really prove significance of studying the factor of birth order, nevertheless, many questions that touch upon reasons of its influence upon personal formation, settings, and behavior, remain open mostly due to insufficient theoretic and methodological development of the existing researches, possible, lack of consideration of relevant factors that influence effect of birth order indirectly.

We are absolutely sure that presence or lack of siblings, size of family, birth order by themselves are not determinant factors of personal development. Diagnostic psychologists must study not only birth order, but also, first of all, actual position of an offspring within family, at the same time, it is necessary to consider all possible objective factors, including: psychological perception of their role within family by a child, their gender, age, size of family, relationship between parents, etc. Judging by our personal maternity experience, we can state that the main factor that defines individual psychological personal traits of a child is, first of all, parent-children relationship.

Instead of conclusion to the above-stated facts, we should like to quote French philosopher Gaston Bachlar who wrote: “Many essays embrace the concept of four elements with four basic types of temper. In ancient times Lessium wrote in his “Art of longevity”: “Dreams of those who chew their gall (choleric) consist of flame, fire, murder; dreams of melancholics – of burials, crypts, phantoms, graves, various sad events and phenomenons; dreams of the mucous (phlegmatic) consist of rivers, lakes, floods, shipwrecks; dreams of sanguinics – of bird’s soar, rides, feasts, performances, including such things that not everyone dares to say…” [5].

Lessium’s expression regarding “such things that not everyone dares to say…” made us think about it: what is it so mysterious or forbidden stands behind this phrase? And, we found an answer to this question by surprise, in a research that we undertook earlier in State budget institution of healthcare of Stavropol region “Stavropol regional clinical specialized psychiatric hospital № 1” [2].

Owls (ornithonim of owl family, predator that follows night way of life and hunt) is the only bird, biorythms of which coincide with biorythms of people of sanguinic temper.

Students of sanguinic type often stay up at night time, and, naturally, it can have a negative effect upon secretion of melanin and supposedly lead to disturbance of social adaptation and emergence of suicidal ideas (collection of medical background, post-drawing questioning of students, observation during training activity).

This suggestion emerged after projective testing in process of probing methodic “Bird” among patients of general psychiatric departments. Suicidal patients drew birds of owl family more frequently than other predatory birds (falcon, eagle, etc), at the same time, comparing graphic data of drawings, descriptive part to the drawing, and medical background allowed us to define psychopathy that corresponded to a drawing.

Regardless of the fact that the prevailing typological trait of personality that reflects type of temper among suicidal patients, is melancholic psyche (drawing of birds of crow family – 46 %), sanguinic type of temper was registered among 23 % of patients who mostly drew birds of owl family.

Description and notes to birds in drawings of suicidal patients and those with diagnosis “schizophrenia” are surprisingly similar to drawings by medical students who drew an owl (fig. 3).


Fig. 3. Drawing by female student of course 1 of treatment faculty. Description to the bird: “Owl is a messenger of the afterworld”. Instructions given: Draw a bird that you saw some time ago or that your imagine. Once finished, write several sentences about the bird

In ancient Egypt hieroglyph of owl meant: one who mourns, feels sorrow; one who sees and observes. Screech of an owl in the night can easily be mistaken for cry of desperation, and meaning “to see, observe” is easily explained as owls see perfectly well in night time. We can also outline a completely silent soaring, defined by design of an owl’s wings, its big flaring eyes, and haunting screech that resemble heartrending cries of a dying man under penitential cover of night.

An author of the IV century B.C. Horapollo, one of the latest Egyptian priests, wrote that “a night owl manifests death as it attacks crow nestlings in the night as suddenly as death finds a man”. Sudden emergence of such scary creature at midnight in a deserted place can have the most depressing effect upon a superstitious person, so we should be surprised that the ancient perceived an owl as a sinister messenger of afterworld and manifest of death.

Within the scope of this research during post-drawing questioning of 30 students of medical university who drew an owl 11 acknowledged presence of suicidal ideas, one – suicidal attempts (table 3). Questioning was carried out anonymously, and this fact could provide for increased fairness in responses and expression of this background, it did not imply any further actions. Nevertheless, many of questioning participants decided to apply for consultation to service of psychological support center and take several training exercises, aimed to correct pathological signs.

Table 3

Post-drawing questioning regarding suicidal intentions

Category of questions

Total test group: 60 people

Percent relation

Students-owls: 30

Students-sparrows: 30



Suicidal ideas



36,6 %

0 %/

Suicidal attempts



3,3 %

0 %


Of course, we understand that one of separate above-mentioned signs cannot indicate a psychic pathology: (ornithonym of owl, type of temper, behavior features, etc), as condition of the questioned (or a patient) must be diagnosed in complex with other types of psychological studies.


It is possible that among other types of temper (ornithonyms of crows or swimming birds) you will be able to easily identify a similar line of individual typological traits of character. Nevertheless, according to our hypothesis, only birds – owls and students who drew an owl, without a doubt, have a proven similarity and draw our scientific (diagnostic) and publicist interest.

In this work we did not only aim to collect scientific explanation to the expressed facts of similarities and differences between characterological and other traits of people and birds, but mainly thought about those archetypical images and projective symbols of the subconscious that served as center of works by great minds of psychoanalytic direction.

Our conclusions bear rather speculative character, nevertheless, we are absolutely sure that symbolic and ornithomorphous interpretation of drawings will depend not only on knowledge and skills of a psychologist, but rather require freedom and breadth of thought, and it, in its own way, is an art.

The suggested brief analysis of drawing is not final. At the same time, interpreted graphic principles and concepts were confirmed clinically numerous times, analyzed, and compared to medical background of patients and students of medical university. Drawing test can be used in diagnostics of types of temper, psychic destructions, conditions, traits of personality, and without a doubt, will become an additional instrument in psychoanalytic practice.

Today there is no single theory that can link “projective behavior” with an integral personality. Diagnostic psycho-somatic projective methodic “Bird” should become an object of such research.

Библиографическая ссылка

Abakarova E.G. ARCHETYPICAL SYNBOL AS A PRIOR FORM OF PSYCHIC STRUCTURE OF PERSON // European Journal of Natural History. – 2020. – № 3. – С. 29-33;
URL: https://world-science.ru/ru/article/view?id=34081 (дата обращения: 20.05.2024).

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