William James Fellow Award 1990

Hans J. Eysenck

The Association for Psychological Science names Hans J. Eysenck as a William James Fellow in recognition of a lifetime of distinguished contribution to psychological science.

For more than fifty years, he has led the struggle to bring science to bear on the most significant psychological issues of our times. A skeptic, who insists that human aspirations conform to fact and not vice-versa, he brings phenomena from the penumbra into the light. At the age of fifteen, he fled Hitler's Germany and within twenty years became one of England's most prominent scientists. His seminal early work on individual differences focused on extraversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism as the underlying dimensions of personality. He led and won the battle to put therapy on a scientific, behavioral footing. With a vision of human nature as biosocial, he breathed life into the study of the genetics of personality. He has allied himself with unpopular positions, such as the attack on psychoanalytic therapy, the selective contribution of cigarettes to cancer based on personality, the genetics of intelligence, the benefits of behavior therapy for physical health, and the puzzling, but strong predictive power of planetary position at birth on career choice. His is an articulate, moderated, and stable voice raised to defend positions in need of a defender. Time and again, the accumulation of facts has vindicated him.

For the reach of his visionary intellect, for the grasp of his scholarly achievements, for his students who have fanned across the globe to lead the next generation, for his good sense, for his vigorous voice, for his devotion to fact, and above all for his unflagging courage we recognize Hans J. Eysenck as a leader in psychological science.