Raymond B. Cattell
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Raymond B. Cattell

Raymond Bernard Cattell (20 March 1905 – 2 February 1998) was a British and American psychologist, known for his exploration of many 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 was the first to propose a hierarchical, multi-level model of personality with basic primary factors at the first level and the broader, "second-order," or global traits of personality at a higher level of personality organization (Cattell, 1943). These five global traits 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 (NART). Cattell developed his own ability test, the Culture Fair Intelligence Scales, designed to minimize the effect of cultural or educational background and provide a completely non-verbal measure of intelligence such as that now seen in the Raven's.


In statistics, he founded the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology (1960) and its journal Multivariate Behavioral Research. He was an early and frequent user of factor analysis, and developed improvements for this process, such as the Scree Test which used the curve of latent roots to judge the best number of factors to result from a factor analysis. He also developed a new 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.



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