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Hans Eysenck Edit Profile

psychologist

Hans Jürgen Eysenck (4 March 1916 – 4 September 1997) was a psychologist born in Germany, who spent his professional career in Great Britain. He is best remembered for his work on intelligence and personality, though he worked in a wide range of areas.

Background

Eysenck was born in Berlin, Germany. His mother was Silesian-born film star Helga Molander, and his father, Eduard Anton Eysenck, was a nightclub entertainer who was once voted "handsomest man on the Baltic coast". Eysenck was brought up by his maternal grandmother (his grandmother was a fervent Lutheran; after her death in a concentration camp, Eysenck found out that she "apparently" was from a Jewish family).

Education

In England, he continued his education, and received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of London in 1940. During World War II, he served as a psychologist at an emergency hospital, where he did research on the reliability of psychiatric diagnoses. The results led him to a life-long antagonism to main-stream clinical psychology.

Career

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. He was particularly critical of Freud and his methods and wrote a book criticizing them titled Decline and Fall of the Freudian Empire. 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.

Achievements

  • Eysenck was Professor of Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London (a constituent college of the federal University of London), from 1955 to 1983. He was a major contributor to the modern scientific theory of personality and a brilliant teacher who helped found treatment for mental illnesses. Eysenck also created and developed distinctive dimensional model of personality based on factor-analytic summaries, bravely attempting to anchor these summaries in biogenetic variation. He was the founding editor of the journal Personality and Individual Differences, and authored about 80 books and more than 1600 journal articles

Works

  • book

    • The Structure of Human Personality

    • Uses and Abuses of Psychology

    • Sense and Nonsense in Psychology

    • The Structure of Human Personality

    • Handbook of Abnormal Psychology

    • Manual of the Eysenck Personality Inventory

    • Fact and Fiction in Psychology

    • The Biological Basis of Personality

    • The Structure of Human Personality

    • Race, Intelligence and Education

    • The Psychological Basis of Ideology

    • The Transparent Man: How We See Psychologist

Politics

Anti-Nazist.

"My hatred of Hitler and the Nazis, and all they stood for, was so overwhelming that no argument could counter it."

Views

Eysenck’s attitude was summarised in his autobiography Rebel with a Cause: "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." He was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto.

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

Race, Intelligence and Education (1971);

Sex, Violence and the Media (1978).

Astrology — Science or Superstition? (1982).

Smoking, Personality and Stress (1991).

He thought that “the whole course of development of a child's intellectual capabilities is largely laid down genetically, and even extreme environmental changes . . . have little power to alter this development”.

Interests

  • Other Interests

    differential psychology, psychiatry, behavior therapy

Connections

father:
Eduard Anton Eysenck - Germany - stage actor

Eduard Anton Eysenck, was a nightclub entertainer who was once voted "handsomest man on the Baltic coast".

mother:
Ruth Werner Eysenck

Her pseudonym was Helga Molander. She was Silesian-born film star.

1st wife:
Margaret Davies Eysenck - psychologist

Son:
Michael Eysenck - psychologist

Michael Eysenck is also a noted psychology professor.

2nd wife:
Sybil Bianca Guiletta Eysenck - psychologist