Hans Eysenck

From Metapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This section or article contains text from Wikipedia which has not yet been processed. It is thus likely to contain material which does not comply with the Metapedia guide lines. You can help Metapedia by editing the article and cleaning it from bias and inappropriate wordings.

Hans Eysenck

Hans Jürgen Eysenck
Born March 4, 1916
Berlin, Germany
Died September 4, 1997 (aged 81)
Citizenship British
Nationality German
Fields Psychology
Institutions Institute of Psychiatry
Alma mater University College London (UCL)
Doctoral advisor Cyril Burt
Doctoral students Jeffrey Alan Gray, Donald Prell
Known for intelligence, personality, political science,
differential psychology, education,
psychiatry, behavior therapy

Hans Jürgen Eysenck (March 4, 1916 – September 4, 1997) was a British psychologist of German-Jewish origin, best remembered for his work on intelligence and personality, though he worked in a wide range of areas. At the time of his death, Eysenck was the living psychologist most frequently cited in science journals.[1]

Life and work

Hans Eysenck was born in Berlin, Germany, to a film star mother and a nightclub entertainer father once voted 'handsomest man on the Baltic coast',[2] he was brought up by his grandmother who was a feverent Catholic but - although he did not know it until after her death in a concentration camp - of Jewish ancestry.[3] An initial move to England in the 1930s became permanent due to his opposition to the National Socialist party. "My hatred of Hitler and the Nazis, and all they stood for, was so overwhelming that no argument could counter it."[4] Eysenck was the founding editor of the journal Personality and Individual Differences, and authored about 80 books and over 1600 journal articles.[5]

Eyseneck was a sharp opponent of Siegmund Freud's psychiatry, he considered it as charlatanry.

Eysenck was Professor of Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry from 1955 to 1983. He received his PhD from the Department of Psychology at University College London (UCL) under the supervision of Professor Sir Cyril Burt with whom he had a tumultuous professional relationship throughout his working life.[6] He was a major contributor to the modern scientific theory of personality and a brilliant teacher. who helped found treatment for mental illnesses.[7][8] A portion of Eysenck's later work was funded from the Pioneer Fund, an organization that funds hereditarian research.[9], for which Eysenck was criticised [citation needed]. His son Michael Eysenck is also a noted psychology professor.

Hans Eysenck died of a brain tumor[10] in a London hospice in 1997[11].

Examples of publications in which Eysenck's views have roused controversy include (chronologically):

  • A paper in the 1950s [1] concluding that available data "fail to support the hypothesis that psychotherapy facilitates recovery from neurotic disorder".
  • A chapter in Uses and Abuses of Psychology (1953) entitled "What is wrong with psychoanalysis".
  • Race, Intelligence and Education (1971) (in the US: The IQ Argument)
  • Sex, Violence and the Media (1978).
  • Astrology — Science or Superstition? (1982)
  • Smoking, Personality and Stress (1991)

By far the most acrimonious of the debates has been that over the role of genetics in IQ differences (see intelligence quotient#Genetics vs environment), which led to Eysenck famously being punched on the nose by a female protestor during a talk at the London School of Economics.[12] This intense opposition came when he supported Arthur Jensen's questioning of whether variation in IQ between racial groups was entirely environmental. (see race and intelligence).[13] Eysenck supported his former student Arthur Jensen and his conclusion, he thought the media gave the misleading impression that his views were those of a maverick outside the mainstream scientific consensus and cited The IQ Controversy, the Media and Public Policy as showing that there was majority support for every single one of the main contentions he had put forward, further asserting that the idea there was any real debate about the matter among the relevant scientists was incorrect.[14][15][16]

Eysenck’s attitude to science was summarised in his autobiography Rebel with a Cause (Transaction Publishers (1997), ISBN 1-56000-938-1): "I always felt that a scientist owes the world only one thing, and that is the truth as he sees it. If the truth contradicts deeply held beliefs, that is too bad. Tact and diplomacy are fine in international relations, in politics, perhaps even in business; in science only one thing matters, and that is the facts."

Eysenck and the genetics of personality

In 1951, Eysenck's first empirical study into the genetics of personality was published. It was an experiment carried out with his student and associate Donald Prell, from 1948 to 1951, in which identical (monozygotic) and fraternal (dizygotic) twins, ages 11 and 12, were given tests that were to do with neuroticism. It is described in detail in an article published in the Journal of Mental Science. Eysenck and Prell concluded: "that the factor of neuroticism is not a statistical artifact, but constitutes a biological unit which is inherited as a whole....neurotic predisposition is to a large extent hereditarily determined."[17]

Eysenck's model of personality (P–E–N)

The two personality dimensions, Extroversion and Neuroticism, were described in his 1947 book Dimensions of Personality. It is common practice in personality psychology to refer to the dimensions by the first letters, E and N.

E and N provided a 2-dimensional space to describe individual differences in behaviour. An analogy can be made to how latitude and longitude describe a point on the face of the earth. Also, Eysenck noted how these two dimensions were similar to the four personality types first proposed by the Greek physician Hippocrates.

  • High N and High E = Choleric type
  • High N and Low E = Melancholic type
  • Low N and High E = Sanguine type
  • Low N and Low E = Phlegmatic type

The third dimension, psychoticism, was added to the model in the late 1970s, based upon collaborations between Eysenck and his wife, Sybil B. G. Eysenck,[18] who is the current editor of Personality and Individual Differences.

The major strength of Eysenck's model was to provide detailed theory of the causes of personality.[citation needed] For example, Eysenck proposed that extroversion was caused by variability in cortical arousal: "introverts are characterized by higher levels of activity than extroverts and so are chronically more cortically aroused than extroverts".[19] While it seems counterintuitive to suppose that introverts are more aroused than extroverts, the putative effect this has on behaviour is such that the introvert seeks lower levels of stimulation. Conversely, the extrovert seeks to heighten his or her arousal to a more favorable level (as predicted by the Yerkes-Dodson Law) by increased activity, social engagement and other stimulation-seeking behaviors.

Comparison with other theories

The major alternative to Eysenck's three-factor model of personality is a model that makes use of five broad traits, often called the Big Five model (see big five personality traits) (Costa & McCrae, 1985). The traits in the Big Five are as follows:

  1. Openness to experience
  2. Conscientiousness
  3. Extroversion
  4. Agreeableness
  5. Neuroticism

Extroversion and Neuroticism in the Big Five are similar to Eysenck's traits of the same name. However, what Eysenck calls the trait of Psychoticism corresponds to two traits in the Big Five model: Conscientiousness and Agreeableness. Eysenck's personality system did not address Openness to experience. He argued that his approach was a better description of personality (Eysenck, 1992a; 1992b).

Another important model of personality is that of Jeffrey Alan Gray, a former student of his.

Psychometric scales relevant to Eysenck's theory

Eysenck's theory of personality is closely linked with the scales that he and his co-workers developed. These include the Maudsley Medical Questionnaire, Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI), Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) and Sensation Seeking Scale (developed in conjunction with Marvin Zuckerman). The Eysenck Personality Profiler (EPP) breaks down different facets of each trait considered in the model. There has been some debate about whether these facets should include impulsivity as a facet of extroversion as Eysenck declared in his early work; or psychoticism. Eysenck declared for the latter, in later work.

Eysenck's later work

In 1994 he was one of 52 signatories on "Mainstream Science on Intelligence[20]," an editorial written by Linda Gottfredson and published in the Wall Street Journal, which declared the consensus of the signing scholars on issues related to race and intelligence following the publication of the book The Bell Curve. Gottfredson described the drafting of the statements on intelligence and process of gathering signatures on that document in a 1997 editorial in the journal Intelligence.[21] Eysenck includes the entire text of the 1994 editorial (including the lead paragraphs mentioning the book The Bell Curve and twenty-five propositions about human intelligence) in his 1998 book Intelligence: A New Look, saying, "I did not find any particular discrepancies between my account" and the statements in that editorial.[22]

Eysenck made early contributions to fields such as personality by express and explicit commitment to a very rigorous adherence to scientific methodology, as Eysenck believed that scientific methodology was required for progress in personality psychology. He used, for example, factor analysis, a statistical method, to support his personality model. An example is Inheritance of Neuroticism: An Experimental Study, quoted above. His early work showed Eysenck to be an especially strong critic of psychoanalysis as a form of therapy, preferring behaviour therapy. Despite this strongly scientific interest, Eysenck did not shy, in later work, from giving attention to parapsychology and astrology. Indeed, he believed that empirical evidence supported the existence of paranormal abilities.[23]

Selected works

  • Dimensions of Personality (1947)
  • The Scientific Study of Personality (1952)
  • The Structure of Human Personality (1952) and later editions
  • Uses and Abuses of Psychology (1953)
  • The Psychology of Politics (1954)
  • Psychology and the Foundations of Psychiatry (1955)
  • Sense and Nonsense in Psychology (1956)
  • The Dynamics of Anxiety and Hysteria (1957)
  • Perceptual Processes and Mental Illnesses (1957) with G. Granger and J. C. Brengelmann
  • Manual of the Maudsley Personality Inventory (1959)
  • Handbook of Abnormal Psychology (1960) editor, later editions
  • Experiments in Personality (1960) two volumes, editor
  • Behaviour Therapy and Neuroses (1960) editor
  • Know Your Own I.Q. (1962)
  • Experiments with Drugs (1963) editor
  • Experiments in Motivation (1964) editor
  • Crime and Personality (1964) and later editions
  • Manual of the Eysenck Personality Inventory (1964) with S. B. G. Eysenck
  • The Causes and Cures of Neuroses (1965) with S. Rachman
  • Fact and Fiction in Psychology (1965)
  • Smoking, Health and Personality (1965)
  • Check Your Own I.Q. (1966)
  • The Effects of Psychotherapy (1966)
  • The Biological Basis of Personality (1967)
  • Eysenck, H.J. & Eysenck, S.B.G. (1969). Personality Structure and Measurement. London: Routledge.
  • Readings in Extroversion/Introversion (1971) three volumes
  • Race, Intelligence and Education (1971) in US as The IQ Argument
  • Psychology is about People (1972)
  • Lexicon de Psychologie (1972) three volumes, with W. Arnold and R. Meili
  • The Inequality of Man (1973)
  • Eysenck on Extroversion (1973) editor
  • The Measurement of Intelligence (1973) editor
  • The Experimental Study of Freudian theories (1973) with G. D. Wilson
  • Case Histories in Behaviour Therapy (1974) editor
  • Know Your Own Personality (1975) with G. D. Wilson
  • Manual of the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (1975) with S. B. G. Eysenck
  • A Textbook of Human Psychology (1976) with G. D. Wilson
  • Sex and Personality (1976)
  • The Measurement of Personality (1976) editor
  • Eysenck, H.J. & Eysenck, S.B.G. (1976). Psychoticism as a Dimension of Personality. London: Hodder and Stoughton.
  • Reminiscence, Motivation and Personality (1977) with C. D. Frith
  • You and Neurosis (1977)
  • Die Zukunft der Psychologie (1977)
  • The Psychological Basis of Ideology (1978) editor, with G. D. Wilson
  • Sex Violence and the Media (1978) with D. Nias
  • The Structure and Measurement of Intelligence (1979)
  • The Psychology of Sex (1979) with G. D. Wilson
  • The Causes and Effects of Smoking (1980)
  • A Model for Personality (1981) editor
  • Mindwatching (1981) with M. W. Eysenck, and later editions
  • The Battle for the Mind (1981) with L. J. Kamin, in US as The Intelligence Controversy
  • Personality, Genetics and Behaviour (1982)
  • Explaining the Unexplained (1982) with Carl Sargent
  • H.J. Eysenck & D.K.B. Nias, Astrology: Science or Superstition? Penguin Books (1982) ISBN 0-14-022397-5
  • A Model for Intelligence (1982) editor
  • Know Your Own Psi-Q (1983) with Carl Sargent
  • …'I Do'. Your Happy Guide to Marriage (1983) with B. N. Kelly
  • Personality and Individual Differences: A Natural Science Approach (1985) with M. W. Eysenck
  • Decline and Fall of the Freudian Empire (1985)
  • Rauchen und Gesundheit (1987)
  • Personality Dimensions and Arousal (1987) editor, with J. Strelau
  • Theoretical Foundations of Behaviour Therapy (1988) editor, with I. Martin
  • The Causes and Cures of Criminality (1989) with G. H. Gudjonsson
  • Genes, Culture and Personality: An Empirical Approach (1989) with L. Eaves and N. Martin
  • Suggestion and Suggestibility (1989) editor, with V. A. Gheorghiu, P. Netter, and R. Rosenthal
  • Intelligence: A New Look (1998)
  • Eysenck, H.J. (1992). A reply to Costa and McCrae. P or A and C — the role of theory. Personality and Individual Differences, 13, 867–868.
  • Eysenck, H.J. (1992). Four ways five factors are not basic. Personality and Individual Differences, 13, 667–673.


  1. Haggbloom, S.J. (2002). The 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century. Review of General Psychology, 6, 139–152.
  2. Eysenck, Hans J., Rebel With A Cause (an Autobiography), London: W. H. Allen & Co., 1990, p. 8- 11
  3. Eysenck, Hans J., Rebel With A Cause (an Autobiography), London: W. H. Allen & Co., 1990, p. 80
  4. Eysenck, Hans J., Rebel With A Cause (an Autobiography), London: W. H. Allen & Co., 1990, p. 40
  5. Honan, William H. (September 10, 1997). "Hans J. Eysenck, 81, a Heretic In the Field of Psychotherapy". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1997/09/10/world/hans-j-eysenck-81-a-heretic-in-the-field-of-psychotherapy.html?pagewanted=1. Retrieved May 4, 2010. 
  6. Ibid. pp. 118–119
  7. Behaviour Therapy and the Neurosis, Edited by Hans Eysesck, London: Pergamon Press, 1960
  8. Eysenck, Hans J., Experiments in Behaviour Therapy, London: Pergamon Press, 1964
  9. http://www.pioneerfund.org/Grantees.html
  10. APA Presidents Remember: Hans Eysenck—Visionary Psychologist. Retrieved on 13 November 2008.
  11. Hans J. Eysenck. Retrieved on 13 November 2008.
  12. Race, Intelligence and Bias in Academe, Roger Pearson , 2nd edition, Scott-Townsend (1997), ISBN 1-878465-23-6, pp.34–38
  13. Race, Intelligence and Education, London: MT Smith, 1971
  14. Eysenck, Hans J., Rebel With A Cause (an Autobiography), London: W. H. Allen & Co., 1990, p. 40
  15. BBC television series broadcast Face To Face • Hans Eysenck - 16 October 1990
  16. Eysenck, Hans J., Rebel With A Cause (an Autobiography), London: W. H. Allen & Co., 1990, p.219- 220
  17. The Journal of Mental Health, July, 1951, Vol. XCVII, The Inheritance of Neuroticism: An Experimental Study, H. J. Eysenck and D. B. Prell, p. 402.
  18. e.g., Eysenck & Eysenck, 1969; 1976
  19. (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1985)
  20. Gottfredson, Linda (December 13, 1994). Mainstream Science on Intelligence. Wall Street Journal, p A18.
  21. (1997) "Mainstream Science on Intelligence: An Editorial With 52 Signatories, History, and Bibliography". Intelligence 24: 13–23.
  22. (1998) Intelligence: A New Look. New Brunswick (NJ): Transaction Publishers, 1–6. ISBN 1-56000-360-X. 
  23. Eysenck, H.J. (1957), Sense and Nonsense in Psychology. London: Pelican Books. p. 131.