Skip to main content

Eysenck, Hans Jürgen


(b. Berlin, Germany, 4 March 1916;

d. London, United Kingdom, 4 September 1997), psychology, personality and intellectual differences, popular science.

Eysenck was a prominent and polarizing figure in postwar British psychology, noted for the expansive scope of his research and the forthright, often controversial, views he expressed. He developed a distinctive dimensional model of personality based on factor-analytic summaries and biogenetic processes. Eysenck married descriptive statistics with physiological experimentation, collapsing the distinction between pure and applied science. He was an outspoken advocate of the biogenetic basis of individual differences in intelligence and personality, as well as a trenchant critic of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. The author of eighty-five books and more than one thousand scientific papers, Eysenck was a renowned popularizer of psychological science.

Life and Career . Eysenck was born an only child in Berlin in 1916. His mother, Ruth Werner, was a notable silent film actress (with the stage name Helga Molander) in the early years of the German film industry, and his Catholic father, Eduard Eysenck, was a stage performer. Soon after he was born his parents separated, and he was raised by his Jewish maternal grandmother. Eysenck completed his secondary schooling at Prinz-Heinrichs-Gymnasium in Berlin in 1934. However, his ambiguous ethnic background left him with a difficult choice: He could either toe the National Socialist line or leave. His mother and her de facto partner, Jewish film producer Max Glass, had already fled to France. Eysenck chose to join them, spending a few months in Dijon in the summer of 1934 before moving on to London in August. His father Eduard stayed on, joining the Nazi Party in May 1937, much to Hans’s disgust.

Eysenck did bridging courses at Pitman’s College in London in the winter of 1934–1935 and then applied to study physics at University College London, in October 1935. He found he lacked the necessary prerequisites, however, and instead enrolled in psychology. After taking his degree in 1938, Eysenck remained at University College, rapidly completing a PhD on the experimental analysis of aesthetic preferences, supervised by Cyril Burt. The war escalated just as Eysenck completed his doctorate in June 1940. Still a German national, he narrowly avoided being interned. Unable to enlist or get a job, he had a spell as a firewatcher. As restrictions eased, Eysenck landed a job at the Mill Hill Hospital in Northern London in June 1942. Headed by the imposing psychiatrist Aubrey Lewis, Mill Hill functioned as the relocated Maudsley psychiatric hospital. After the war, the Maudsley hospital was reestablished in South London and merged with Bethlem Hospital. A new Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) in London was added as a postgraduate training and research facility. Eysenck turned down offers at several other universities to head the IoP psychology department. It was his first and only job, providing a stable institutional environment until his retirement in 1983. He was given an unusual degree of bureaucratic freedom to organize the department around his research priorities. In 1938 Eysenck married Canadian graduate student Margaret Davies and they had one child, Michael Eysenck, born in 1944 and a notable psychologist in the early twenty-first century. The marriage, however, foundered soon after the war. In 1955 Hans Eysenck became a full professor at the IoP and a British citizen.

The Dimensional Approach to Personality . . Eysenck began at Mill Hill with little in the way of equipment or money, but he was drawn to psychometric descriptions of personality. He factor-analyzed the data sheets Lewis kept on new hospital arrivals, correlating the results with questionnaire and experimental data. The various results were summarized in 1947 in Dimensions of Personality, Eysenck’s first and most important book. Dimensions of Personality outlined two personality factors of neuroticism (N) and introversion-extraversion (I-E), creating an inverted “T” grid with an I-E base and an N vertex. Eysenck was guided by the idea that two common psychiatric diagnoses, dysthymia and hysteria, were the introverted and extraverted manifestations of a highly neurotic personality. Eysenck deliberately contrasted these continuums with the discrete typologies of psychiatry and attempted to clear up the confusing and speculative trait lists of personality psychology. It was a work unprecedented in Britain, but Eysenck drew inspiration from the trait approach of Gordon Allport and James Cattell in the United States and the typological theories of Carl Jung and Ernst Kretschmer on the Continent. In 1952 The Scientific Study of Personality introduced a third factor, psychoticism (P), again constructed around the idea that psychotic disorders differed in terms of introversionextraversion.

Eysenck looked to go beyond descriptive level theory, however, well aware that factor-analytic models were inherently arbitrary. Mind and body were a continuum, Eysenck wrote in his memoirs, Rebel with a Cause(1997), an assumption he always thought “too obvious to require supporting argument” (p. 64). Thus, he investigated the relationship of his dimensions to both specific behavior and brain processes. In his landmark 1957 book, The Dynamics of Anxiety and Hysteria, Eysenck argued that I-E was related to a simplified version of Ivan Pavlov’s notion of excitation and inhibition, while N was vaguely linked with anxiety drive strength. This allowed Eysenck to connect personality differences with conditioned learning; in particular, he suggested that introverts were far more responsive than extroverts, learning quicker, better, and for longer periods. As a consequence, introverts also tended to have a more developed sense of morality and a greater capacity for academic achievement. While critics such as Lowell Storms and John Sigal demurred, it remained the most sustained and ambitious attempt to combine trait description with neurological subsystems defined in terms of their behavior control function.

By the mid-1960s, classical behaviorism had fallen out of favor, especially the formalism of Clark Hull that framed Eysenck’s first biological model of personality. Ambiguous results from a range of researchers suggested that modifications were necessary. Armed with a more sophisticated appreciation of Russian work courtesy of young student Jeffrey Gray, Eysenck outlined a revised model in his 1967 book, The Biological Basis of Personality. I-E was linked to cortical arousal levels in the brain stem’s activation systems. Learning was now seen as an interaction between external stimulation and internal activation levels, with introverts and extroverts having characteristically different optimal bandwidths. Conversely, N was more straightforwardly related to limbic system activation. It was a feed-forward model, wherein basic differences in neurobiology influenced more complex cerebral capacities that determined the rate and pattern of learning in any particular situation. Eysenck was an interactionist rather than a reductionist, arguing that behavior was the sum effect of genetic endowment and environment. From the early 1950s he collaborated on pioneering kinship studies concerning the inheritance of personality dimensions. Early work suggested extremely high hereditability estimates, for N especially. More extensive sampling and sophisticated models produced lower estimates but still indicated substantial heritabilities for all three dimensions, as well as mostly unique, nonfamily environmental influences.

Many additional implications could be drawn from Eysenck’s personality theories, including the prediction of various forms of social distress from extreme positions on at least one of these dimensions. In the mid-1960s Eysenck raised eyebrows by likening conscience to a conditioned reflex. He suggested that personalities with a lower capacity for conditioned learning (i.e., extroverts) were slower to develop socially acceptable behavior. Moreover, emotionally labile persons (i.e., high N) with antisocial tendencies were more likely to act out than emotionally stable people with similar tendencies. These suggestions did not fare particularly well, however, and provided additional impetus for an overhaul of his three-dimensional factor structure. High N was finally made up of traits such as anxiety, guilt, and tension and suggested a propensity for neurotic breakdown. Less theoretically driven, P was reworked to be more indicative of the sociopathy of current psychiatric nomenclature. P never received a clearly articulated biological basis either, with high P associated with impulsivity and creativity, as well as the persistence and severity of criminality. Neither extreme on the I-E dimension per se carried quite the same implications. High E was characterized by sociability, assertiveness, and sensation seeking, the introverted end by low levels of these traits.

In a bid to provide standardized measures for his dimensions, Eysenck developed a series of relatively short, accessible questionnaires. The first appeared in 1959 as the Maudsley Personality Inventory (measuring I-E and N) and was soon revised as the Eysenck Personality Inventory. With considerable input from his second wife, Sybil (née Rostal), the 1975 version was renamed the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire and included a measure of P as well. These inventories became some of the most widely used of their type in the world and served as valuable research tools for those researching Eysenck-related topics.

Clinical Psychology and Behavior Therapy . Eysenck also played a founding role in clinical psychology in Britain and was a key promoter of behavior therapy. When Eysenck was placed in charge of psychology at the IoP after the war, there were no formally recognized training courses, although other programs would soon commence at the Tavistock Clinic in London and the Crichton Royal Hospital in Dumfries, Scotland. Eysenck hired Monte Shapiro to head the clinical section, overseeing the new graduate training course for clinical psychologists to the hospital. However, Eysenck dominated as the professional spokesperson, even though he had little to do with clinical teaching and never treated patients.

In the early 1950s, Eysenck argued for a research-based clinical discipline that put science ahead of social need. He saw the rapid development of clinical psychology in America as a mistake, a craven subservience to medical imperatives accompanied by a misplaced enthusiasm for psychotherapy. These pronouncements were accompanied by a research program highlighting the inadequacies of psychiatry. Eysenck and his clinical colleagues attacked the reliability of psychiatric diagnosis and the validity of projective tests like the Rorschach. His widely cited 1952 article, “The Effects of Psychotherapy: An Evaluation,” also famously questioned the efficacy of talk psychotherapy. Over the years, Eysenck’s antipathy to psychoanalysis became legendary. Psychoanalysis was, he wrote, insular and imprecise and seldom supported by the limited empirical testing it allowed. While hardly a lone anti-Freudian in Britain, Eysenck was probably the most vociferous, clearing the way for his preferred therapeutic alternative.

In the mid-1950s, Maudsley psychologists had begun treating patients with a new form of behavioral treatment, disguising it as case-based research. They borrowed from work done in the United States and South Africa, especially the work of Joseph Wolpe, mindful to put it in a Pavlovian learning framework. Reputedly demanding no empathy from the therapist, “behavior therapy” was perfectly in tune with Eysenck’s perspective of the detached clinical scientist. Behavior therapy was less talk and more a targeted course of remedial training summed up by Eysenck’s pithy 1959 slogan: “Get rid of the symptom and you have eliminated the neurosis.”

By late 1958 Eysenck began to advocate openly that psychologists practice behavioral treatment. This provoked a furious medical backlash, not least from Eysenck’s superior, Aubrey Lewis, who was scandalized by the idea of nonmedical practitioners treating patients rather than behavior therapy per se. Despite the bad interdisciplinary blood, the 1960s became the era of behavior therapy in British clinical psychology. Eysenck edited several books on the subject, linking up diverse practices into a seemingly coherent international movement. He also started the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy (BRAT) in 1963. The Maudsley program dominated in this period, supplying the rationale and most of the trained personnel for a small but growing profession. Maudsley graduates came to head many of the clinical courses started in the late 1950s and 1960s across the United Kingdom.

Nonetheless, Eysenck’s vision of the clinical psychologist as a research-oriented scientist did not map easily onto the structure and demands of the public-sector National Health Service, which employed the majority of clincial psychologists in Britain. As the most visible and dominant psychological treatment, behavior therapy also proved vulnerable to the radical social critiques of the period. Advocates of behavioral interventions were obliged to soften their style, so diagnosis and directed therapy gave way to helping the patients help themselves.

While psychoanalysts learned to ignore his attacks, Eysenck helped ensure that clinical psychology became a more accountable, empirically based practice. However, his vision of clinical psychology as the research-based application of learning principles has been swamped by a more diverse, service-oriented profession wielding a hybrid variety of humanistic and cognitive-behavioral techniques. Eysenck would concede that cognitive factors were important, but he redescribed them in a manner which suggested that behavior therapy always allowed for them.

Personality and Politics . Eysenck extended his early success in getting a grip on personality via factor-analysis into the political realm. Although he published several more papers afterward, his 1954 book, The Psychology of Politics, remained his major statement in the area. Eysenck summarized social and political attitudes with two bipolar dimensions. One dimension made the usual distinction between radicalism and conservativism, the other contrasted tough- and tender-mindedness, following the thinking of William James. This produced a four-quadrant space, the most provocative implication being that the extremes of Fascism and Communism were separated by ideology but were similar in terms of personal style. For Eysenck, this balanced out the political picture, explaining the “same but different” paradox he had witnessed in pre-war Germany. His work clashed directly with postwar research on the authoritarian personality, with Eysenck controversially arguing that Theodor Adorno and his coauthors’ measure of Fascist potential in The Authoritarian Personality(1950) was practically synonymous with tough-mindedness. It led to an acrimonious, highly technical debate with Milton Rokeach and Richard Christie over the reality of left-wing authoritarianism in Western democratic societies. Although Eysenck largely left political attitudes research alone after this mid-1950s skirmish, the political fallout would carry over into the nature-nurture wars a decade and a half later.

Intellectual Differences . Eysenck’s latter-day public reputation came to be overshadowed by his popular writings on intelligence——even though he came to it late as a research topic——because these musings touched on some sensitive areas of public concern. In the late 1960s, just as his four children from his second marriage were beginning their secondary education, the British government fore-shadowed sweeping reforms aimed at leveling the tripartite structure of the secondary school system. Eysenck quickly identified himself as an enemy of these reforms, and further argued that compensatory measures such as more money for facilities and teacher salaries in the poorer regions of the country would be ineffective or even counterproductive for those they targeted. He raised his profile still further with his breezy 1971 book supporting Arthur Jensen’s contention that black-white differences in IQ scores were in part hereditary. While Race, Intelligence, and Education was poorly received by many of his peers, violent protests from leftist groups saw Eysenck transformed into an icon for freedom of scientific expression.

Nevertheless, the public hounding he endured was enough to ensure he largely avoided debating the race issue.

The Cyril Burt scandal in the mid-1970s, in which Burt was accused of manufacturing data to show that intelligence is inherited, brought Eysenck back into the nature-nurture debate. He eventually and reluctantly distanced himself from his old mentor’s questionable practices but not his general ideas. Eysenck would repeat to the grave his contention that intellectual differences were 80 percent heritable—a high-end estimate in this field— most notably defending this position in a 1981 confrontation with Leon Kamin, the coauthored book The Intelligence Controversy. In the latter part of his postretirement career, Eysenck also played a key role in attempts to increase intelligence with vitamins. In an about-face of sorts, he even suggested that nutritional factors may account for race differences.

Eysenck’s research on intelligence did not take off until the late 1970s, with Eysenck also playing a senior role in defining concepts and arbitrating debates. Throughout his career, he remained committed to the concept of general intelligence, or g, originated by his intellectual forefather Charles Spearman. True to his London School perspective, Eysenck focused on individual differences rather than component mechanisms of intelligence. He attempted to avoid the circularities of psycho-metric definitions of intelligence by looking beyond IQ tests to investigate the relationship between intellectual differences and central nervous system functioning.

In the early 1980s, Eysenck urged psychologists to have another look at the contention of Francis Galton (1822–1911) that processing speed was an important factor in intellectual differences. Eysenck touted reaction time and electroencephalogram (EEG) measures of brain activity as holding great promise. However, Eysenck’s own postretirement EEG research of the early 1990s proved frustratingly inconsistent, and the biological basis of intelligence remained a work in progress. Speed was an important but not overriding factor, with Eysenck speculating that it was a by-product of more efficient, errorless neural transmission.

Personality, Smoking, and Physical Disease . Eysenck’s other major postretirement initiative examined the link between temperament with physical health. An early 1960s collaboration with oncologist David Kissen suggested an association between cancer and personality. Eysenck soon attracted more attention by claiming the causal role of cigarettes in cancer had not been convincingly proven. Certain types of people smoked, he argued, some of whom were also susceptible to cancer. Eysenck took a welter of criticism from public health advocates as the antismoking message became more visible and forceful in the late 1960s.

Eysenck revisited the issue in the early 1980s and presented new genetic evidence linking personality, smoking, and disease. Although mostly declared, the financial support he received from the tobacco industry left him open to charge of a conflict of interest. In a series of papers in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Eysenck and the little-known Yugoslav researcher Ronald Grossarth-Maticek reported on a series of longitudinal studies apparently demonstrating a striking association between personality types and cancer and coronary heart disease. While Eysenck did not set up these studies, his input helped fine-tune the presentation and analyses. A number of interventions were carried out suggesting that psychotherapy could have remarkably beneficial effects for cancer sufferers and those with unhealthy lifestyles. While the scope and ambition of these investigations were applauded, critics complained of a lack methodological controls and descriptive detail. Some, such as Anthony Pelosi and Louis Appleby, even suggested that the results were “too good to be true.”

Popular Writings . Over the years Eysenck authored a number of extremely popular paperbacks and made numerous media appearances. He was the people’s psychologist in Britain; his best-selling Pelican paperbacks of the 1950s and 1960s helped introduce the discipline to many would-be students. Eysenck’s rigorous empiricism was matched by a skeptical attitude that entertained nearly all except those he targeted. Eysenck’s race and IQ book was an extension of this popular role, a calculated provocation of his liberal critics. Yet it polarized his reputation to such an extent that it stalled his career as a mainstream spokesman. Afterward, Eysenck tended to turn to more offbeat topics both for serious research and popular presentations—including gender, sex and marriage, parapsychology, and astrology. One last set of writings looked at genius, creativity, and madness, exploring links with the P dimension in particular.

Legacy and Wider Influence . Eysenck’s three-dimensional view of personality was always countered by more complex descriptive systems in the United States, particularly the sixteen personality factors of Raymond Cattell. However, Eysenck never compromised on his view that three dimensions were sufficient to describe the underlying, culturally universal structure of personality. In the early twenty-first century, five factors are seen as the most defensible, two of which are similar to Eysenck’s I-E and N. Eysenck dominated the study of the biological basis for personality and introduced testable theoretical accounts into an area that had appeared to avoid them. In hindsight, though, Eysenck was only partially successful in bridging Lee Cronbach’s two disciplines of psychology. The physiological aspects of his work alienated social psychologists, whereas experimentalists did not appreciate his insistence on accounting for individual variation in their search for basic mechanisms. Only a handful of researchers have shared his integrative approach. Within this tradition have come several major challenges, notably from his successor at the IoP, Jeffrey Gray.

Without qualification, Eysenck was the most influential psychologist in postwar Britain. Yet he received only belated acknowledgment in the United States and was never truly honored in his adopted homeland. He was, his supporters recalled, a foreigner in many senses—too ambitious, too much the nonconformist. A pronounced introvert, Eysenck was uninterested in the more usual forms of social networking. He gave up on dominating or remodeling existing disciplinary bodies and instead created his own. People joined him rather than the other way around. However, to call him an outsider would be partly to buy into the rebel image he constructed for himself in wake of latter-day controversies.

Eysenck trained hundreds of research students. They were a key to his immense output, co-opted into an all-embracing, programmatic setup. Many subsequently took up key positions in universities in the United Kingdom and abroad. Although he was reluctant to push the idea of a dogmatic “Eysenckian school,” his ideas and approach continue to evolve in the hands of an international network centered on journals such as Personality and Individual Differences and BRAT and the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences—all of which Eysenck was pivotal in founding.

Eysenck’s detached, hands-off approach to his work was both a strength and a weakness. Always with an eye on the big picture, Eysenck was able to see connections and consistencies others did not. But he came across as insensitive to the nuances and complexity at the heart of the many disputations he engaged in. Eysenck’s reputation as a controversial figure derived in part from his involvement in issues that were already controversial. However, his propensity to step over intellectual boundaries divided his peers. His brilliant and intimidating debating skills rallied the troops but left a pack of defeated opponents nursing a grudge. To his coterie he was stimulating and supportive, inclusive and trusting. To outsiders his style was confrontational, resembling that of a prosecuting lawyer selectively marshaling data and arguments. Eysenck claimed he never deliberately provoked debate, and certainly he could not have enjoyed the more vituperative attacks he and his family endured. However, he clearly wished to have his ideas actively discussed and saw something sinister in any kind of enforced consensus.


See Personality and Individual Differences 31 (2001): 45–99 for a full bibliography of Eysenck’s work. All personal papers have been destroyed. Limited Eysenck correspondence and other material is scattered in other archival collections, most notably at the Archives of the History of American Psychology, and the Tobacco Documents Online, available from


Dimensions of Personality: A Record of Research Carried out in Collaboration with H. T. Himmelweit. London: Kegan Paul, 1947.

“The Effects of Psychotherapy: An Evaluation.” Journal of, Consulting Psychology 16 (1952): 319–324.

The Scientific Study of Personality. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1952.

Uses and Abuses of Psychology. London and Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1953.

The Psychology of Politics. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1954.

The Dynamics of Anxiety and Hysteria: An Experimental Application of Modern Learning Theory to Psychiatry. New York: Praeger, 1957.

“Learning Theory and Behavior Therapy.” Journal of Mental Science 105 (1959): 61–75.

The Biological Basis of Personality. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 1967.

The IQ Argument: Race, Intelligence, and Education. New York: Library Press, 1971. Published in the United Kingdom as Race, Intelligence, and Education(1971).

With Leon J. Kamin. The Intelligence Controversy. New York: John Wiley, 1981. This volume was published in the United Kingdom as The Battle for the Mind (1981).

With Lindon J. Eaves and Nick G. Martin. Genes, Culture, and Personality: An Empirical Approach. London and San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1989.

“Personality, Stress, and Disease: An Interactionist Perspective.” Psychological Inquiry 2 (1991): 221–232.

Rebel with a Cause: The Autobiography of Hans Eysenck. Rev. and exp. ed. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1997. The first edition of his autobiography appeared in 1990.


Buchanan, Rod. Playing with Fire: The Controversial Career of Hans J. Eysenck. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

Christie, Richard. “Eysenck’s Treatment of the Personality of Communists.” Psychological Bulletin 53 (1956): 411–430.

Gibson, Hamilton Bertie. Hans Eysenck: The Man and His Work. London: Peter Owen, 1981. The first, somewhat incomplete, biography of Eysenck. Gibson was a student and colleague of Eysenck's, and this relatively friendly work reflects that perspective.

Lynn, Richard, ed. Dimensions of Personality: Papers in Honour of H.J. Eysenck. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1981.

Modgil, Sohan, and Celia Modgil, eds. Hans Eysenck: Consensus and Controversy. London and Philadelphia: Falmer Press, 1986.

Nyborg, Helmuth, ed. The Scientific Study of Human Nature: Tribute to Hans J. Eysenck at Eighty. Oxford and New York: Elsevier, 1997.

Pelosi, Anthony J., and Louis Appleby. “Psychological Influences on Cancer and Ischaemic Heart Disease.” British Medical Journal 304 (1992): 1295–1298.

Storms, Lowell H., and John J. Sigal. “Eysenck’s Personality Theory with Special Reference to The Dynamics of Anxiety and Hysteria.” British Journal of Medical Psychology 31 (1958): 228–246.

Rod Buchanan

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Eysenck, Hans Jürgen." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . 26 May. 2017 <>.

"Eysenck, Hans Jürgen." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . (May 26, 2017).

"Eysenck, Hans Jürgen." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from

Eysenck, Hans Jurgen

Eysenck, Hans Jurgen (1916–97) One of the world's leading but also most controversial psychologists. Eysenck was born in Berlin, but fled to France and then England to escape the rise of the Nazis, and spent most of his working life at the University of London. He was made Professor of Psychology in 1955, and directed the successful Psychology Department of the Institute of Psychiatry, at the Maudsley Hospital in London. He wrote numerous articles and some fifty books, including several best-sellers (Know Your Own IQ, Uses and Abuses of Psychology, Fact and Fiction in Psychology), many of which involved him in fierce disputes, not only with fellow psychologists, but also with an array of other social scientists.

His major contribution to the development of psychology probably lay in his championing of rigorous experimental and psychometric tests for research into the human personality. His monographs often deal with such traits as extroversion and introversion, political attitudes, and abnormal behaviour including mental illness (see, for example, Scientific Study of Personality, 1952; Psychology of Politics, 1954
; Dynamics of Anxiety and Hysteria, 1957
). Eysenck was a leading exponent of behaviourism although he also proposed that genetic factors play a substantial part in determining the psychological differences between people. Controversially, he was an early supporter of the thesis that there was a unitary intelligence which could be measured by IQ tests, and concluded that because research showed the average measured intelligence of Blacks was significantly lower than that of Whites the difference must therefore be genetic (although his later work gives greater emphasis to environmental factors, and accepts that the differences between ethnic groups might be changed). He also argued for the importance of genetic factors in explaining criminality. In the 1970s he conducted a series of studies which suggested that the relationship between smoking and cancer was due to personality differences, rather than carcinogens in tobacco, because people who had emotional problems were more likely both to smoke and to succumb to cancer. This work came under heavy criticism when it emerged that the research had received support from funds provided by American tobacco companies. In The Natural History of Creativity (1995), he argued that creativity stems from the psychopathological characteristics of creative persons and geniuses, rooted in their DNA structures.

Ironically, although Eysenck himself was often accused of manipulating data to produce results favourable to his own theories, he was also an outspoken critic of psychological studies which made claims that could not be supported by empirical evidence. For example, he published critiques of both parapsychology and psychoanalysis, including the results from an experiment which seemed to show that distressed people who were given psychotherapy recovered no more quickly than did those who did not receive any such treatment. In his autobiography (Rebel with a Cause, reprinted in 1997), Eysenck describes his career—not inappropriately—as a series of opposition stands, usually against the establishment (including Freudians and those who advocate the use of projective tests) and in favour of rebel minorities (notably proponents of behaviour therapy and genetic studies).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Eysenck, Hans Jurgen." A Dictionary of Sociology. . 26 May. 2017 <>.

"Eysenck, Hans Jurgen." A Dictionary of Sociology. . (May 26, 2017).

"Eysenck, Hans Jurgen." A Dictionary of Sociology. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from

Eysenck, H(ans) J(ürgen) (1916-1997)

Eysenck, H(ans) J(ürgen) (1916-1997)

Research psychologist whose specialized work in the fields of personality, neurosis, and experimental psychology has relevance to parapsychological research. He was born March 4, 1916, in Berlin, Germany. He was educated at the University of London (B.A., 1938; Ph.D., 1940) and did postgraduate work at the University of Dijon, France, and the University of Exeter, England.

From 1942 to 1945 Eysenck was a research psychologist at Mill Hill Emergency Hospital, England, and in 1945 moved to Maudsley Hospital's Institute of Psychiatry as a psychologist. In 1950 he became a reader in psychology and director of the department of the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London. In 1955 he was named professor of psychology, a position he held until his retirement, when he was named professor emeritus. Over the years he wrote more than 40 books and 800 articles on personality and its relation to various social phenomena.

Within parapsychological circles, Eysenck is known for his development of the Eysenck Personality Scale, a psychological test battery, still in wide use among parapsychologists. In 1967 he suggested that extroverts would produce higher ESP scores, a factor still noted by parapsychologists in setting up ESP tests. Through the 1980s Eysenck became more vocal on paranormal phenomena and argued that evidence for its existence is quite good. He also worked to improve the design of ESP tests.


Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.

Eysenck, Hans J. Astrology: Science or Superstition? London: Maurice Temple Smith, 1982.

. Handbook of Abnormal Psychology: An Experimental Approach. New York: Basic Books, 1961.

. "Personality and Extrasensory Perception." Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 44 (1967).

Eysenck, Hans J., and C. Sargent. Explaining the Unexplained. London: Weidenfield and Nicholson, 1982.

. Know Your Own PSI-IQ. New York: World Almanac Publications, 1983.

Pleasants, Helene, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology. New York: Helix Press, 1964.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Eysenck, H(ans) J(ürgen) (1916-1997)." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . 26 May. 2017 <>.

"Eysenck, H(ans) J(ürgen) (1916-1997)." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . (May 26, 2017).

"Eysenck, H(ans) J(ürgen) (1916-1997)." Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from

Eysenck, Hans Jurgen

Hans Jurgen Eysenck (häns yŏŏr´gən ī´sĕngk), 1916–97, British psychologist. Best known for his theory of human personality, Eysenck suggested that personality is biologically determined and is arranged in a hierarchy consisting of types, traits, habitual responses, and specific responses. A staunch critic of psychoanalysis, Eysenck maintained that the recovery rates of the emotionally disturbed were approximately equal for treated and untreated individuals, though the accuracy of his studies on the subject have been questioned in recent years. Among Eysenck's many works is The Intelligence Controversy (written with L. J. Kamin, 1981).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Eysenck, Hans Jurgen." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 26 May. 2017 <>.

"Eysenck, Hans Jurgen." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (May 26, 2017).

"Eysenck, Hans Jurgen." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from

Eysenck, Hans Jurgen

Eysenck, Hans Jurgen (1916–97) British psychologist and pioneer of behaviour therapy, b. Germany. Much of Eysenck's work focused on developing a scientific definition of personality, based on experimental and psychometric methods. Eysenck founded (1955) the psychological department of the Institute of Psychiatry, Maudsley Hospital, London. Many of his works, such as Uses and Abuses of Psychology and Know Your Own IQ, were bestsellers. His research methodology and views on genetic determination often courted controversy.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Eysenck, Hans Jurgen." World Encyclopedia. . 26 May. 2017 <>.

"Eysenck, Hans Jurgen." World Encyclopedia. . (May 26, 2017).

"Eysenck, Hans Jurgen." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from