Last Updated 15 Jun 2020

Cattell and Eysenck

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Usually when we talk about someone's personality, we are talking about what makes that person different from other people, perhaps even unique. "The Cattell and Eysenck constructs and theories should be seen, not as mutually contradictory, but as complementary and mutually supportive. " The Late Hans Eysenck (1984). Cattell and the theory of Personality. Mult. Behav. Res, 19, 323-336. This eight page report discusses the work and models created by Hans Eysenck (1916-1997) and Raymond Cattell (1905-1998).

Each developed specific theories regarding human personality. Eysenck’s is best expressed in the Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI) while Cattell’s 16PF or Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire serves as the best representation of his work on personality. Raymond Bernard Cattell (20 March 1905 – 2 February 1998) was a British and American psychologist known for his exploration of a wide variety of substantive areas in psychology.

These areas included: the basic dimensions of personality and temperament, a range of cognitive abilities, the dynamic dimensions of motivation and emotion, the clinical dimensions of personality, patterns of group and social behavior, applications of personality research to psychotherapy and learning theory, predictors of creativity and achievement, and many scientific research methods for exploring and measuring these areas. Cattell was famously productive throughout his 92 years, authoring and co-authoring over 50 books and 500 articles, and over 30 standardized tests.

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According to a widely-cited ranking, he was the 16th most influential and eminent psychologist of the 20th century. Cattell and Eysenck 3 Raymond Cattell and Hans Eyseneck, so prominent were these two men, that their work is now enshrined in the Cattellian and Eysenckian Schools of Psychology, respectively. Cattell's scholarly training began at an early age when he was awarded admission to King's College at Cambridge University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1926 (Lamb, 1997).

According to personal accounts, Cattell's socialist attitudes, paired with interests developed after attending a Cyril Burt lecture in the same year, turned his attention to the study of psychology, still regarded as a philosophy (Horn, 2001). Following the completion of his doctorate studies of psychology in 1929 Cattell lectured at the University at Exeter where, in 1930, he made his first contribution to the science of psychology with the Cattell Intelligence Tests (scales 1, 2, and 3).

During fellowship studies in 1932, he turned his attention to the measurement of personality focusing of the understanding of economic, social and moral problems and how objective psychological research on moral decision could aid such problems (Lamb, 1997). Cattell's most renowned contribution to the science of psychology also pertains to the study of personality. Cattell's 16 Personality Factor Model aims to construct a common taxonomy of traits using a lexical approach to narrow natural language to standard applicable personality adjectives.

Though his theory has never been replicated, his contributions to factor analysis have been exceedingly valuable to the study of psychology. In order to apply factor analysis to personality, Cattell believed it necessary to sample the widest possible range of variables. He specified three kinds of data for comprehensive sampling, to capture the full range of personality dimensions: Cattell and Eysenck 4 Objective, life data (or L-data), which involves collecting data from the individual’s natural, everyday life behaviors, measuring their characteristic behavior patterns in the real world.

This could range from number of traffic accidents or number of parties attended each month, to grade point average in school or number of illnesses or divorces. Experimental data (or T-data) which involves reactions to standardized experimental situations created in a lab where a subject’s behavior can be objectively observed and measured. Questionnaire data (or Q-data), which involves responses based on introspection by the individual about their own behavior and feelings. He found that this kind of direct questioning often measured subtle internal states and viewpoints that might be hard to see or measure in external behavior.

In order for a personality dimension to be called “fundamental and unitary,” Cattell believed that it needed to be found in factor analyses of data from all three of these domains. Thus, Cattell constructed personality measures of a wide range of traits in each medium. He then repeatedly performed factor analyses on the data. With the help of many colleagues, Cattell's factor-analytic studies continued over several decades, eventually producing 16 fundamental factors underlying human personality.

He decided to name these traits with letters (A, B, C, D, E…), like vitamins, in order to avoid misnaming these newly discovered dimensions, or inviting confusion with existing vocabulary and concepts. Factor-analytic studies by many researchers in diverse cultures around the world have re-validated the number and meaning of these Cattell and Eysenck 5 traits. This international confirmation and validation established Cattell’s 16 factors as objective and scientific.

Cattell set about developing tests to measure these traits across different age ranges, such as The 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire for adults, the Adolescent Personality Questionnaire, and the Children’s Personality Questionnaire. These tests have now been translated into many languages and validated across different cultures. Hans Eysenck was born in Germany on March 4, 1916. His parents were actors who divorced when he was only two, and so Hans was raised by his grandmother. He left there when he was 18 years old, when the Nazis came to power.

As an active Jewish sympathizer, his life was in danger. 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. After the war, he taught at the University of London, as well as serving as the director of the psychology department of the Institute of Psychiatry, associated with Bethlehem Royal Hospital.

He has written 75 books and some 700 articles, making him one of the most prolific writers in psychology. Eysenck retired in 1983 and continued to write until his death on September 4, 1997. This aspect of personality is called individual differences. For some theories, it is the central issue. These theories often spend considerable attention on things like types and traits and tests with which we can categorize or compare people: Some people are neurotic, others are not; some people are more introverted, others more extroverted; and Cattell and Eysenck 6 so on.

However, personality theorists are just as interested in the commonalities among people. What, for example, do the neurotic person and the healthy person have in common? Or what is the common structure in people that expresses itself as introversion in some and extroversion in others? If you place people on some dimension – such as healthy-neurotic or introversion-extroversion – you are saying that the dimension is something everyone can be placed on. Whether they are neurotic or not, all people have a capacity for health and ill-health; and whether introverted or extroverted, all are "verted" one way or the other.

Another way of saying this is that personality theorists are interested in the structure of the individual, the psychological structure in particular. How are people "put together;" how do they "work;" how do they "fall apart. " Some theorists go a step further and say they are looking for the essence of being a person. Or they say they are looking for what it means to be an individual human being. The field of personality psychology stretches from a fairly simple empirical search for differences between people to a rather philosophical search for the meaning of life!

Perhaps it is just pride, but personality psychologists like to think of their field as a sort of umbrella for all the rest of psychology. Critics of the psychology of individual differences have often claimed naively that the use of factor analysis in test construction has "only lead to confusion--since Eysenck found three factors, while Cattell found 16 factors" within the personality domain. Yet these ill-informed critics failed to understand that Eysenck and Cattell were talking about personality measurement at different levels within the hierarchical trait model.

Cattell and Eysenck 7 Ray concentrated on primary factors, while Hans focused on broader secondary dimensions. Indeed, at the second-order 16PF level, the degree of communality between the Eysenckian and Cattellian factors was striking! It might be nice to start off with a definition of theories of personality. First, theory: a theory is a model of reality that helps us to understand, explain, predict, and control that reality. In the study of personality, these models are usually verbal.

Every now and then, someone comes up with a graphic model, with symbolic illustrations, or a mathematical model, or even a computer model. But words are the basic form. Different approaches focus on different aspects of theory. Eysenck’s theory is based primarily on physiology and genetics. Although he is a behaviorist who considers learned habits of great importance, he considers personality differences as growing out of our genetic inheritance. He is, therefore, primarily interested in what is usually called temperament. Eysenck is also primarily a research psychologist.

His methods involve a statistical technique called factor analysis. This technique extracts a number of "dimensions" from large masses of data. For example, if you give long lists of adjectives to a large number of people for them to rate themselves on, you have prime raw material for factor analysis. Imagine, for example, a test that included words like "shy," "introverted," "outgoing," "wild," and so on. Obviously, shy people are likely to rate themselves high on the first two words, and low on the second two. Outgoing people are likely to do the reverse.

Factor analysis extracts dimensions – factors – such as shy outgoing from the mass of information. The Cattell and Eysenck 8 researcher then examines the data and gives the factor a name such as "introversion-extraversion. " There are other techniques that will find the "best fit" of the data to various possible dimensions, and others still that will find "higher level" dimensions – factors that organize the factors, like big headings organize little headings. Eysenck's original research found two main dimensions of temperament: neuroticism and extraversion introversion.

Neuroticism is the name Eysenck gave to a dimension that ranges from normal, fairly calm and collected people to one’s that tend to be quite "nervous. " His research showed that these nervous people tended to suffer more frequently from a variety of "nervous disorders" we call neuroses, hence the name of the dimension. But understand that he was not saying that people who score high on the neuroticism scale are necessarily neurotics – only that they are more susceptible to neurotic problems. His second dimension is extraversion-introversion.

By this he means something very similar to what Jung meant by the same terms, and something very similar to our common-sense understanding of them: Shy, quiet people "versus" out-going, even loud people. This dimension, too, is found in everyone, but the physiological explanation is a bit more complex. Eysenck hypothesized that extraversion-introversion is a matter of the balance of "inhibition" and "excitation" in the brain itself. These are ideas that Pavlov came up with to explain some of the differences he found in the reactions of his various dogs to stress.

Excitation is the brain waking itself up, getting into an alert, learning state. Inhibition is the brain calming itself down, either in the usual sense of relaxing and going to sleep, or in the sense of protecting itself in the case of overwhelming stimulation. Cattell and Eysenck 9 To bring to a close, although Cattell contributed much to personality research through the use of factor analysis his theory is greatly criticized. The most apparent criticism of Cattell's 16 Personality Factor Model is the fact that despite many attempts his theory has never been entirely replicated.

In 1971, Howarth and Brown's factor analysis of the 16 Personality Factor Model found 10 factors that failed to relate to items present in the model. Howarth and Brown concluded, “that the 16 PF does not measure the factors which it purports to measure at a primary level (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1987) Studies conducted by Sell et al. (1970) and by Eysenck and Eysenck (1969) also failed to verify the 16 Personality Factor Model's primary level (Noller, Law, Comrey, 1987).

Also, the reliability of Cattell's self-report data has also been questioned by researchers (Schuerger, Zarrella, & Hotz, 1989). Cattell and colleagues responded to the critics by maintaining the stance that the reason the studies were not successful at replicating the primary structure of the 16 Personality Factor model was because the studies were not conducted according to Cattell's methodology. However, using Cattell's exact methodology, Kline and Barrett (1983), only were able to verify four of sixteen primary factors (Noller, Law & Comrey, 1987).

In response to Eysenck's criticism, Cattell, himself, published the results of his own factor analysis of the 16 Personality Factor Model, which also failed to verify the hypothesized primary factors (Eysenck, 1987). Despite all the criticism of Cattell's hypothesis, his empirical findings lead the way for investigation and later discovery of the 'Big Five' dimensions of personality. Fiske (1949) and Tupes and Christal (1961) simplified Cattell's variables to five recurrent Cattell and Eysenck 10 factors known as extraversion or surgency, agreeableness, consciousness, motional stability and intellect or openness (Pervin & John, 1999). Cattell's Sixteen Personality Factor Model has been greatly criticized by many researchers, mainly because of the inability of replication. More than likely, during Cattell's factor analysis errors in computation occurred resulting in skewed data, thus the inability to replicate. Since, computer programs for factor analysis did not exist during Cattell's time and calculations were done by hand it is not surprising that some errors occurred.

However, through investigation into to the validity of Cattell's model researchers did discover the Big Five Factors, which have been monumental in understanding personality, as we know it today. In summary, Humanists and Existentialists tend to focus on the understanding part. They believe that much of what we are is way too complex and embedded in history and culture to "predict and control. " Besides, they suggest, redacting and controlling people is, to a considerable extent, unethical. Behaviorists and Freudians, on the other hand, prefer to discuss prediction and control. If an idea is useful, if it works, go with it!

Understanding, to them, is secondary. Another definition says that a theory is a guide to action: We figure that the future will be something like the past. We figure that certain sequences and patterns of events that have occurred frequently before are likely to occur again. So we look to the first events of a sequence, or the most vivid parts of a pattern, to serve as our landmarks and warning signals. A theory is a little like a map: It isn't the same as the countryside it describes; it certainly doesn't give you every detail; it may not even be terribly accurate. But it does provide a guide to action.

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