Max Lüscher (1923-2017) was a Swiss psychologist and philosopher. He became known as the developer of a special clinical colour test, the early form of which he presented at the first World Congress of Psychology in Lausanne in 1947. In 1949, he received his doctorate from the University of Basel with a thesis on "Colour as a psychological investigative tool".
The first supra-regional, international community of physicians and psychiatrists formed immediately after his presentation at the World Congress of Psychology in Lausanne. Small academic centres were established in Leipzig, Berlin, Constance, Basel, Zurich and Fribourg, which dealt with his psychodiagnostics within the framework of doctoral and research studies. In the 1970s and 80s Max Lüscher followed invitations to give lectures and seminars at the Manhattan Psychiatric Clinic of Kansas State University, at Yale University, at the universities of Rome, Santiago de Chile, and Canberra, Melbourne. The effects of these lecture activities continue to this day: Numerous smaller papers in various fields report on attempts to refute Lüscher diagnostics or to confirm its validity. What these papers have in common, however, is that they only deal with the short version of the so-called "Small Lüscher Test".
In the 1970s, Max Lüscher himself largely discontinued his academic efforts with regard to psychodiagnostics and turned mainly to the field of advertising psychology. From 1978 to 1990 he taught "The Psychology of Forms and Colours" in the newly founded Industrial Design Department of Horst Meru (Art University Linz). By shifting his psycho-diagnostic focus to the use of colors and forms in design and composition, he was now able to concentrate on the difficult and controversial basic question that affects all areas of his activities: the question of the objective meaning of colors and forms. He was not interested in the question of whether they have an objective meaning. For Max Lüscher, the objective meaning in the context of psychodiagnostics was linked to the question of the underlying categories. From these categories he developed his special colours and forms. His scientific research never started with the colours and forms themselves, but with the question of the connection between experience and behaviour and the possibility of their objectification. In this context he discovered the evocative effect of colors and forms as adequate tools for image and product design. His interests and research in this regard point to a broad field of work.
In recent decades he has returned to the beginnings of his research and has been intensively engaged in psychosomatics. His guiding principle here followed the well-known dilemma of medical practice, i.e. having to cope with the increasing number of psychosomatic illnesses while at the same time being under increasing time pressure and lacking psychological training. The advantage of Lüscher diagnostics proves itself here in the enormous gain in time through non-verbal psychodiagnostics. In practice, however, the diagnostic procedure only saves time if doctors and therapists have a good command of the instruments and invest time in training in advance.