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Hans Eysenck

Hans Eysenck

“I always felt that a scientist owes the world only one thing, and that is the truth as he sees it” – Hans Eysenck.

Hans Eysenck was a German psychologist known for his works in the field of psychology regarding the development of intelligence and personality theories. Besides that, he has also worked in numerous fields of psychology proposing various ideas and theories. Born on 4th march 1916 in Berlin, German Empire. He was from a Jewish family who opposed the Nazi’s rule in Germany so he moved to England. Initially, he was unable to gain employment in England due to the fact that he was a German citizen but then he was able to acquire his PhD degree from University College, London in 1940. After that, he worked at the same university where he studied in the department of psychology under the supervision of Cyril Burt with whom Eysenck enjoyed a long term and cordial professional relationship. Eyseneck is well known for his works in personality, intelligence, psychiatry, differential psychology as well as building up a personality questionnaire known as “Eysenck personality Questionnaire”. He served as a professor at the Institute of Psychiatry in the well renowned King’s College, London. His tenure at this prestigious college started form 1955 and ended in 1983.

He made a significant contribution to the modern scientific theory regarding personality by designing and developing the “Distinct Dimensional Model of Personality” based upon the factor analytic summaries. He was a brilliant teacher who treated and cured mental illnesses very effectively and efficiently. He played a significant role in studying the relationship between genetics and IQ differences. His debate over this issues raised controversies that led him to being threatened by a woman protestor. Nevertheless, he was sure of the connection between genetic factors leading to intellectual differences in people. Eysenck did not back out but persisted and strongly believed on this connection and said in reply to the controversy “All the evidence to date suggests the . . . overwhelming importance of genetic factors in producing the great variety of intellectual differences which we observe in our culture, and much of the difference observed between certain racial groups”. In another research paper entitled as “The Inequality of Man” he highlighted his belief by saying 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”.

Hans Eysenck was highly criticized for his racist beliefs and theories and these theories presented in his book “Race, Intelligence and Education (Towards a new society)” led to disrespect and insult of the community in general because they were of the view that intelligence is not genetic and developed over the course of life with learning and expanding one’s mind. He also developed psychometric scales known as Eysenck personality questionnaire and sensation seeking scales for studying various traits making up a personality. He penned down numerous books including Dimensions of Personality, The Scientific Study of Personality and The Structure of Human Personality to name a few. He died on 4th September 1997 in London.

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