Hans Eysenck was born on March 4, 1916 in Berlin, to parents heavily involved in the entertainment industry. After Germany was overrun by the Nazi’s, Eysenck moved to England and attended University College in London. He received his Ph.D. in 1940 and began working at the college in the psychology department.
In 1955, Eysenck took a position at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College as the Professor of Psychology. He held that position until 1983 and published much of his work during that time. He focused his attention on intelligence and personality and helped launch the psychological journal Personality and Individual Differences. Eysenck was a prolific writer and he wrote thousands of articles and nearly 100 books.
Contribution to Psychology
Eysneck studied intelligence and genetics and received heated opposition for his views on how intelligence differed among racial groups. Some of his opponents referred to his research as being responsible for the rise of scientific racism. However, he maintained his position even after the publication of The Bell Curve and the controversy that followed. Eysneck also devoted some of his research to the study of neuroticism. He conducted studies to determine if neuroticism was genetic and concluded that it was an inherited trait, another belief that caused him to receive criticism. He published his theories on neuroticism and extraversion in Dimensions of Personality in 1947. Many years later, Eysenck added a third dimension of personality, psychoticism.
In comparison to other personality theories, Eysenck’s is quite similar. The most commonly used model in modern psychology is the Big Five Personality Trait Model, which lists the following traits:
Eysenck himself admits that his model is similar, but believes that the absence of the openness trait does not diminish the effectiveness or substance of his model.
In his later writings, Eysenck was very vocal about his distaste for psychoanalysis and made it quite clear that as a scientist, he believed behavioral therapy was a preferential form of treatment. He also expressed his interest in astrology and alternate forms of psychology in his works.
Last Update: 12-05-2012