|Born||20 March 1905
|Died||2 February 1998
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. According to a widely-cited ranking, he was the 16th most influential and eminent psychologist of the 20th century.
As a psychologist, Cattell was rigorously devoted to the scientific method. He was an early proponent of using factor analytical methods instead of what he called "verbal theorizing" to explore the basic dimensions of personality, motivation, and cognitive abilities. One of the most important results of Cattell's application of factor analysis was his discovery of 16 factors underlying human personality. He called these factors "source traits" because he believed they provide the underlying source for the surface behaviors we think of as personality. This theory of personality factors and the instrument used to measure them are known respectively as the 16 personality factor model and the 16PF Questionnaire.
Although Cattell is best known for identifying the dimensions of personality, he also studied basic dimensions of other domains: intelligence, motivation, and vocational interests. Cattell theorized the existence of fluid and crystallized intelligences to explain human cognitive ability, and authored the Culture Fair Intelligence Test to minimize the bias of written language and cultural background in intelligence testing.
Cattell's principal accomplishments were in personality, intelligence, and statistics. In personality, he is best remembered for his 16-factor model of personality, arguing for this over Eysenck's simpler 3-factor model, and developing tests to measure his primary factors in the form of the 16PF Questionnaire. He modeled his 16 primary factors in terms of 5 broader or global traits of personality, which are now identified with the widely used Big Five model of personality. His research lead to additional conceptual advances - for instance distinguishing state versus trait measurement of personality: immediate, transitory states versus long-term, enduring trait levels on traits such as anxiety. In intelligence, Cattell is best identified with the distinction of fluid and crystallized intelligence: current, abstract, adaptive intellectual abilities versus applied or crystallized knowledge. As a theoretical underpinning for this distinction, Cattell developed the investment-model of ability, arguing that crystallized ability emerged out of investment of fluid ability in a topic of knowledge. He thus contributed to cognitive epidemiology, arguing that crystallized knowledge, while initially lagging fluid ability, could be maintained or even increase after fluid ability began to decline, a concept embodied in the National Adult Reading Test. Cattell developed his own ability test, the Culture Fair Intelligence Scales, designed to minimize the effect of cultural background and provide a completely non-verbal measure of intelligence similar to Raven's.
In statistics, he founded the Society for Multivariate Experimental Psychology (1960) and its journal Multivariate Behavioral Research. He was a frequenet user of factor analysis, and improved this tool by developing the Scree Test for using the curve of latent roots to judge the number of factors in factor analysis and contributing a factor analysis rotation, the "Procrustes" rotation, designed to test the fit of data to a prior-hypothesized factor structure. Additional contributions include the Coefficient of Profile Similarity (taking account of shape, scatter, and level of two score profiles),the Dynamic Calculus for assessing interests and motivation, P-technique factor analysis for an occasion-by-variable matrix, the Taxonome program for ascertaining the number and contents of clusters in a data set, the Basic Data Relations Box (assessing the dimensions of experimental designs), sampling of variables, as opposed to or in conjunction with sampling of persons; the group syntality construct: the "personality" of a group; factoring or repeated measures on single individuals to study fluctuating personality states, and Multiple Abstract Variance Analysis (MAVA) with "specification equations" embodying genetic and environmental variables and their interactions.
Raymond Cattell was born in 1905 in Hilltop, a small town in England near Birmingham. It was a time when burgeoning scientific ideas influenced his perspective on how to make a difference in the world. He wrote:
After Cattell had spent almost 7 years of his life in Hilltop, his family moved to Devon, in the south of England, where he grew up with strong interests in science and sailing. He was the first of his family to attend university when in 1921, he was awarded a scholarship to study chemistry at the University of London, where he obtained a magna cum laude BSc at the age of 19. While studying chemistry at university he learned from people of eminence in many other fields, who visited or lived in London. He writes that he:
As he observed first-hand the terrible destruction and suffering from World War I, he was increasingly attracted to the idea of applying the tools of science to the serious human problems that he saw around him. In the aftermath of WWI, he recalled feeling his laboratory bench begin to seem small and the world's problems vast. [4 ]. Thus, he decided to change his field of study and pursue a Ph.D. in psychology, which he received in 1929.
While working on his Ph.D., Cattell accepted a position teaching and counseling in the Department of Education at Exeter University. During his three years at Exeter, Cattell courted and married Monica Rogers, whom he had known since his boyhood in Devon. In 1932 a son was born to them. Soon after he moved to Leicester where he organized one of England's first child guidance clinics.
In 1937 he reluctantly moved to the United States when invited by the eminent psychologist, Edward Thorndike, to come to Columbia University. When the prestigious G. Stanley Hall professorship in Psychology became available at Clark University in 1938, Cattell was recommended by Thorndike and was appointed to the position at the age of 34.
After a few productive years at Clark, he was invited by Gordon Allport to join the Harvard University faculty in 1941. The three years he spent at Harvard turned out to be a pivotal point in his academic and personal life. While at Harvard he planned and carried out some of the research in personality that would become the foundation for much of his later work in this area.
During World War II, Cattell served as a civilian consultant to the U.S. government developing tests for selecting officers in the armed forces. With the war coming to an end, Cattell returned to teaching at Harvard and married Alberta Karen Schuettler, a Ph.D. student in mathematics at Radcliffe College. Over the years, she worked with Cattell on many aspects of his research, writing, and test development. They were married for over 30 years and had three daughters and a son.
At this time Herbert Woodrow, Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and President of the APA, was searching for someone with a background in multivariate methods to establish a research department. Cattell was invited to assume this position in 1945 and he accepted. In this newly created professorship in psychology he was able to obtain sufficient grant support for two Ph.D. associates, four graduate research assistants, and clerical assistance, and each year his laboratory was able to grow for nearly 30 years.
One reason that Cattell move to the University of Illinois was that they were developing the first electronic computer, the Illiac I, which made it possible for him to undertake large-scale factor analyses, which had heretofore been impossible to conduct by hand. In 1949 he and his wife, Alberta Karen Cattell, founded The Institute for Personality and Ability Testing (IPAT). Karen Cattell served as director of IPAT until 1992. Raymond Cattell also founded the Laboratory of Personality Assessment and Group Behavior at the University of Illinois, where he initiated a period of remarkable creativity and productivity with a talented staff of research associates coming from all over the world.
In 1960, Cattell organized and convened an international symposium to increase communication and cooperation among researchers using multivariate statistics to study human behavior. This resulted in the foundation of the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology, which continues to be an important center of scientific research in psychology. Cattell's time at Illinois was one of prodigious productivity. The sheer number of talented researchers from many places around the globe, whom he invited or influenced, was extraordinary. His books are filled with lengthy lists of co-workers who contributed to his program of research. He continued to collaborate with them long after they left his laboratory. He remained in the Illinois research professorship until he reached the University's required retirement age in 1973. Largely due to Cattell, the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana became one of the world's most productive centers for multivariate experimental psychology. A few years after he retired from the University of Illinois he built a home in Boulder, Colorado, where he wrote and published the results of a variety of research projects that had been left unfinished in Illinois.
In 1978 he decided to move to Hawaii, largely because of his life-long love of the ocean and sailing (see his first book Under Sail Through Red Devon which he wrote in his 20's about his extensive early years of sailing around his hometown in Devon, England). He continued his career as a part-time professor and advisor at the University of Hawaii. He also served as adjunct faculty of the Hawaii School of Professional Psychology, which became the American School of Professional Psychology. After settling in Hawaii he married Heather Birkett, a clinical psychologist, who later carried out extensive research using the 16PF and other tests. During the last 2 decades of his life in Hawaii, Cattell continued to be productive, publishing a variety of scientific articles, as well as books on motivation, the scientific use of factor analysis, two volumes of personality and learning theory, the inheritance of personality and ability, structured learning theory; and co-edited a book on functional psychological testing, as well as a revision of his Handbook of Multivariate Experimental Psychology.
Cattell and his wife Heather Birkett lived on a lagoon in the southeast corner of Oahu where he kept a small sailing boat. It was with great reluctance and sadness that his nearly 80-year career of sailing was finally discontinued in his last years because even his sailing the lagoon became a navigational challenge and a concern for his family. However, he continued to enjoy the great beauty of the area from his patio facing westward over the lagoon. He died peacefully at home in Honolulu on February 2, 1998, at the age of 92 (one month short of 93). He is buried in the Valley of the Temples on a hillside overlooking the sea.  Consistent with his will, his remaining funds have been used to build a school for underprivileged children in Cambodia .
When Cattell entered the field of psychology in the 1920s, psychology was in its infancy and was dominated by a mix of abstract, intuitive, and conflicting theories that were difficult or impossible to verify objectively. Coming to psychology with an education based in the physical sciences, Cattell’s goal was to bring objective methods to bear in understanding human nature, and to make important dimensions measurable in order to facilitate research. He was a rigorous and systematic thinker who felt that the discovery of the basic structure of personality and objective measurement of these traits was essential to increasing knowledge in psychology. Cattell believed in E.L. Thorndike’s empirical viewpoint that “If something actually did exist, it existed in some amount and hence could be measured.”
Cattell also found that concepts used by early psychological theorists tended to be subjective and poorly defined. For example, after examining over 400 published papers on the topic of anxiety in 1965, Cattell stated "The studies showed so many fundamentally different meanings used for anxiety and different ways of measuring it, that the studies could not be integrated.”. Early psychologists also tended to provide little objective evidence or research on their theories. Cattell wanted psychology to become more like medicine and other sciences, where a theory could be tested in an objective way that could be replicated by others. In Cattell's words:
Psychologist Art Sweney, an expert in psychometrics, summed up Cattell’s methodology:
Rather than pursue a “univariate” research approach to psychology, studying the effect that a single variable (such as “anxiety”) might have on another variable (such as “problem solving”), Cattell pioneered the use of a multivariate approach to psychology. He believed that behavioral dimensions were too complex and interactive to fully understand one dimension in isolation. The classical univariate approach required bringing the individual into an artificial laboratory situation and measuring the effect of one particular variable on another, while the multivariate approach allowed psychologists to study the whole person and their unique combination of traits in a natural environment. Multivariate analyses allowed for the study of real-world situations (e.g. depression, divorce, loss) that could not be manipulated in a laboratory.
Cattell used multivariate research to explore, identify, and understand the basic, underlying elements of human behavior in three domains: the traits of personality or temperament, the motivational or dynamic traits, and the diverse dimensions of abilities. In each of these areas, he thought there must be a finite number of basic, unitary elements that could be identified. He drew a comparison between these fundamental, underlying traits to the basic elements of the physical world that were discovered and presented in the periodic table of the elements.
In his research, Cattell reached out to psychologists around the world to cooperate in using a multivariate approach. In 1960, he organized an international meeting of research-oriented psychologists, which resulted in the founding of the Society for Multivariate Experimental Psychology, and its journal, Multivariate Behavioral Research. Cattell collaborated with dozens of psychologists around the world on a broad spectrum of research projects. He brought many of these talented researchers from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and South America to work at his lab at the University of Illinois. Many of his influential books were written in collaboration with others.
Cattell noted that in sciences such as chemistry, physics, astronomy, and medicine, unsubstantiated theories were historically widespread until new instruments were developed to improve scientific observation and measurement. In the 1920s, Cattell studied under Charles Spearman who was developing the new psychometric technique of factor analysis in his effort to understand the basic dimensions and structure of human abilities. Factor analysis became a powerful tool to help uncover the basic dimensions behind a confusing array of surface variables in a particular domain.
Factor analysis was built upon the earlier development of the correlation coefficient, which measures whether two variables are related or tend to go together. For example, if frequency of exercise and blood pressure level were measured on a large group of people, then intercorrelating these two variables will indicate to what degree exercise and blood pressure are directly related to each other. Factor analysis performs complex calculations on the correlation coefficients among a multitude of variables in a particular domain (such as abilities or personality) to determine the basic, unitary factors at work behind the superficial variables in that domain.
While working at the University of London with Spearman exploring human abilities, Cattell postulated that factor analysis could be applied to other areas beyond the domain of abilities. In particular, Cattell was interested in exploring the basic dimensions and structure of human personality. For example, he thought that if factor analysis were applied to a wide range of measures of interpersonal functioning, the basic dimensions within the domain of social behavior could be identified. Thus, factor analysis could be used to discover the fundamental dimensions behind the large number of apparent surface behaviors and then facilitate more effective research in this area.
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:
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 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.
After discovering these 16 primary level factors, Cattell reasoned that, as in other scientific domains, there might be an additional, higher level of organization within personality which would provide a structure for the many primary traits. When he factor analyzed the 16 primary traits themselves, he found five “second-order” or global factors, now commonly known as the Big Five . These second-order or global traits were broad, over-arching domains of behavior, which provided meaning and structure for the primary traits. For example, the global trait extraversion emerged from factor-analytic results which loaded the five primary traits that were interpersonal in focus.
Thus, global extraversion is fundamentally related to the primary traits that came together in the factor analysis to define it, and the domain of extraversion gave conceptual structure to these primary traits, identifying their focus and function. These two levels of personality structure can be used to provide an integrated understanding of the whole person, with the global traits giving an overview of the individual’s functioning in a broad-brush way, and the more-specific primary trait scores providing an in-depth, detailed picture of the individual’s unique trait combinations.
Research on the basic 16 traits has found them useful in understanding and predicting a wide range of real life behaviors.  For example, the traits have been used in educational settings to study and predict such things as achievement motivation, learning style or cognitive style, creativity, and compatible career choices; in work or employment settings to predict such things as leadership style, interpersonal skills, conscientiousness, stress-management, and accident-proneness; in medical settings to predict heart attack proneness, pain management, likely compliance with medical instructions, or recovery pattern from burns or organ transplants; in clinical settings to predict self-esteem, interpersonal needs, frustration tolerance, and openness to change; and, in research settings to predict a wide range of dimensions such as aggression, conformity, and authoritarianism.
Cattell’s comprehensive program of personality research in the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s resulted in five books that have been widely recognized as identifying fundamental dimensions of personality and their organizing principles:
These books detailed a program of research that was theoretically comprehensive and methodologically sophisticated, bringing together personality data from objective behavioral studies, from self-report or questionnaire data, and from observer ratings. They presented a theory of personality development over the human life span, including effects on the individual’s behavior from family, social, cultural, biological, and genetic influences, as well as influences from the domains of motivation and ability. These books have been widely referenced, and fundamentally influenced the development of scientific psychology.
Political critics, specifically William H. Tucker and Barry Mehler, have taken issue with Cattell based on his interests in eugenics, evolution and alternative cultures and political systems. They note that Cattell is known for laying out a mixture of Galtonian eugenics and theology called Beyondism, which Cattell considered "a new morality from science," and that his work in this area was published in the Pioneer Fund's Mankind Quarterly whose editor, Roger Pearson, has also published two of Cattell's monographs.  However, Cattell's former colleagues and other supporters assert that, although some of Cattell's views may be controversial, Tucker and Mehler have exaggerated and misrepresented him by using quotes out of context and from outdated writings. 
In 1997, Cattell, at 92, was chosen by the American Psychological Association (APA) for its "Gold Medal Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Science of Psychology." Before the medal was presented, Mehler launched a publicity campaign against Cattell  through his nonprofit foundation ISAR accusing Cattell of being sympathetic to racist and fascist ideas  and claiming that "it is unconscionable to honor this man whose work helps to dignify the most destructive political ideas of the twentieth century". A blue-ribbon committee was convened by the APA to investigate the legitimacy of the charges. However, before the committee reached a decision, Cattell issued an open letter to the committee saying "I abhor racism and discrimination based on race. Any other belief would be antithetical to my life’s work" and saying that "it is unfortunate that the APA announcement … has brought misguided critics' statements a great deal of publicity."  He refused the award, withdrawing his name from consideration. The blue ribbon committee was therefore disbanded and Cattell, in failing health, died months later.
In 1994, Cattell was one of 52 signatories on "Mainstream Science on Intelligence," an editorial written by Linda Gottfredson and published in the Wall Street Journal, which defended the findings on race and intelligence in The Bell Curve.