CATTELL AND EYSENCK:
TRAIT AND FACTOR THEORIES
I. Overview of Factor Analytic Theory
Cattell and Eysenck have each used factor analysis to identify traits, or relatively permanent dispositions of people. Cattell has identified a large number of personality traits, whereas Eysenck has extracted only three general factors.
II. Biography of Raymond B. Cattell
Raymond B. Cattell was born in England in 1905, the second of three sons of middle-class parents. He graduated from the University of London with a degree in chemistry and physics, but had already developed an interest in psychology. When he received a Ph.D. from the University of London, he could find no jobs in academic psychology. After 12 years working away from an academic setting, he decided to go the United States on a temporary basis. However, he remained there until his death in 1998, a few weeks shy of his 93rd birthday. In the United States, he taught at Columbia University, Clark University, Harvard, and the University of Illinois, where he spent most of his active career. During the last 20 years of his life, he was associated with the Hawaii School of Professional Psychology.
III. Basics of Factor Analysis
Factor analysis is a mathematical procedure for reducing a large number of scores to a few, more general variables or factors. Correlation coefficients of the original, specific scores with the factors are called factor loadings. Traits generated through factor analysis may be either unipolar (scaled from zero to some large amount) or bipolar (having two opposing poles, such as introversion and extraversion). Before mathematically derived factors can have psychological meaning, the axes on which the scores are plotted are rotated into either an orthogonal or an oblique relationship with each other. Eysenck favored the orthogonal rotation whereas Cattell used the oblique rotation method.
IV. Introduction to Cattell’s Trait Theory
Cattell used an inductive approach to identify traits; that is, he began with a large body of data that he collected with no preconceived hypothesis or theory.
A. P Technique
Cattell’s P technique is a correlational procedure that uses variables collected from one person on many different occasions and is his attempt to measure individual or unique, rather than common, traits. Cattell has also used the dR (differential R) technique, which correlates the scores of a large number of people on many variables obtained at two different occasions. By combining these two techniques, Cattell has measured both states (temporary conditions within an individual) and traits (relatively permanent dispositions of an individual).
B. Media of Observation
Cattell has used three different media of observation, or sources of data: (1) L data, or a person’s life record that comes from observations made by others; (2) Q data, which are based on questionnaires that require a person to respond to statements on the basis of self-observations; and (3) T data, or test data that either require people to perform to the best of their ability or “projective” tests that hide the test’s true purpose from the subject.
V. Source Traits
Source traits refer to the underlying factor or factors responsible for the intercorrelation among surface traits. They can be distinguished from surface traits, which merely provide a beginning to the factor analyst. Surface traits that consistently cluster together indicate the existence of an underlying source trait. Source traits can be identified through each of the three media of observation; that is, L, Q, and T data.
VI. Personality Traits
Personality traits include both common traits (shared by many people) and unique traits (peculiar to one individual). Personality traits can also be classified into temperament, motivation (dynamic), and ability.
Cattell identified 35 primary or first order traits. Of these, 23 are normal traits and 12 are abnormal traits. In addition, all but one of these primary traits are concerned with how a person behaves and are called temperament traits. The lone exception is intelligence, which is an ability trait and not a temperament trait.
1. Normal Traits
Of the 23 normal traits, 16 were obtained through Q media and constitute Cattell’s famous 16 PF scale. The additional 7 factors that make up the 23 normal traits were originally identified only through L data. Cattell believed that these 23 traits complete the picture of normal personality in terms of temperament traits.
2. Abnormal Traits
Cattell believed that pathological people
have the same 23 normal traits
as other people, but, in addition, they exhibit one or more of 12 abnormal traits. Also, a person’s pathology may simply be due to a normal trait that is carried
to an extreme.
B. Second-Order Traits
When Cattell factor analyzed the 35 primary source traits, he found that groups of them tended to cluster together, forming eight clearly identifiable second-order traits. The two strongest of the second-order traits might be called extraversion/introversion and anxiety. (Extraversion/introversion and anxiety are the two strongest factors in Eysenck’s theory and are also part of the Big Five personality traits identified by McCrae and Costa  and others.)
VII. Dynamic Traits
In addition to temperament traits, Cattell recognized motivational or dynamic traits, which include attitudes, ergs, and sems.
An attitude refers to a specific course of action, or desire to act, in response to a given situation. Motivation is usually quite complex, so that a network of motives, or dynamic lattice, is ordinarily involved with an attitude. In addition, a subsidiation chain, or a complex set of subgoals, underlies motivation.
Ergs are innate drives or motives, such as sex, hunger, loneliness, pity, fear, curiosity, pride, sensuousness, anger, and greed, that humans share with other primates. Cattell believed that ergic factors are the human equivalents of animal instinctual patterns.
Sems are learned or acquired dynamic
traits that can satisfy several ergs at the
same time. The self-sentiment is the most important sem in that it integrates the other sems.
D. The Dynamic Lattice
The dynamic lattice is a complex network of attitudes, ergs, and sems underlying a person’s motivational structure. The self-sentiment is likely to be at the center of any dynamic lattice.
VIII. Genetic Basis of Traits
Cattell and his colleagues provided estimates of the heritability of the various source traits. Heritability is an estimate of the extent to which the variance of a given trait is due to heredity. Cattell has found relatively high heritability values for both fluid intelligence (the ability to adapt to new material) and crystallized intelligence (which depends on prior learning), suggesting that intelligence is due more to heredity than to environment.
IX. Introduction to Eysenck’s Factor Theory
Compared to Cattell, Hans Eysenck (1) was more likely to theorize before collecting and factor analyzing data; (2) extracted fewer factors; and (3) used a wider variety of approaches to gather data.
X. Biography of Hans J. Eysenck
An only child, Hans J. Eysenck was born in Berlin in 1916 to parents who had little interest in him. Eysenck was brought up mostly by his grandmother but received little discipline from any adult. As a teenager, he moved from Germany to England to escape Nazi tyranny and made London his home for more than 60 years. Eysenck was trained in the psychometrically oriented psychology department of the University of London, from which he received a bachelor’s degree in 1938 and a Ph.D. in 1940. Eysenck was perhaps the most prolific writer of any psychologist in the world, and his books and articles often caused world-wide controversy. He died in 1997 at age 81.
XI. Measuring Personality
Eysenck believed that genetic factors were far more important than environmental ones in shaping personality, and that personal traits could be measured by standardized personality inventories.
A. Criteria for Identifying Factors
Eysenck insisted that personality factors must (1) be based on strong psychometric evidence, (2) must possess heritability and fit an acceptable genetic model, (3) make sense theoretically, and (4) possess social relevance.
B. Hierarchy of Measures
Eysenck recognized a four-level hierarchy of behavior organization: (1) specific acts or cognitions; (2) habitual acts or cognitions; (3) traits, or personal dispositions; and (4) types or superfactors.
XII. Dimensions of Personality
Eysenck’s methods of measuring personality limited the number of personality types to a relatively small number. Although many traits exist, Eysenck identified only three major types.
Eysenck’s theory revolves around only three general bipolar types: extraversion/introversion, neuroticism/stability, and psychoticism/superego function. All three have a strong genetic component.
Extraverts are characterized by sociability, impulsiveness, jocularity, liveliness, optimism, and quick-wittedness, whereas introverts are quiet, passive, unsociable, careful, reserved, thoughtful, pessimistic, peaceful, sober, and controlled. Eysenck, however, believes that the principal difference between extraverts and introverts is one of cortical arousal level.
Neurotic traits include anxiety, hysteria, and obsessive compulsive disorders. Both normal and abnormal individuals may score high on the neuroticism scale of Eysenck’s various personality inventories.
People who score high on the psychoticism scale are egocentric, cold, nonconforming, aggressive, impulsive, hostile, suspicious, and antisocial. Men tend to score higher than women do on psychoticism.
B. Measuring Superfactors
Eysenck and his colleagues developed four personality inventories to measure superfactors, or types. The two most frequently used by current researchers are the Eysenck Personality Inventory (which measures only E and N) and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (which also measures P).
C. Biological Bases of Personality
Eysenck believed that P, E, and N all
have a powerful biological component, and
he cited as evidence the existence of these three types in a wide variety of nations and languages.
D. Personality and Behavior
Eysenck argued that different combinations of P, E, and N relate to a large number of behaviors and processes, such as academic performance, creativity, and antisocial behavior. He cautioned that psychologists can be misled if they do not consider the various combinations of personality dimensions.
E. Personality and Disease
For many years, Eysenck researched the relationship between personality factors and disease. He teamed with Ronald Grossarth-Maticek to study the connection between characteristics and both cancer and cardiovascular disease and found that people with a helpless/hopeless attitude were more likely to die from cancer, whereas people who reacted to frustration with anger and emotional arousal were much more likely to die from cardiovascular disease.
XIII. Related Research
The theories of both Cattell and Eysenck have been highly productive in terms of research, due in part to Cattell’s 16 PF questionnaire and Eysenck’s various personality inventories. Some of this research has looked at personality factors and the creativity of scientists and artists. In addition, some of Eysenck’s research has attempted to show a biological basis of personality.
Early research using the 16 PF found that creative scientists, compared with either the general population or less creative scientists, were more intelligent, outgoing, adventurous, sensitive, self-sufficient, dominant, and driven. Other research found that female scientists, compared to other women, were more dominant, confident, intelligent, radical, and adventurous. Research by Gregory J. Feist (1998) found that writers and artists were more intelligent, dominant, adventurous, emotionally sensitive, radical, and self-sufficient than other people. Later research found that creative artists scored high on Eysenck’s neuroticism and psychoticism scales, indicating that they were more anxious, sensitive, obsessive, impulsive, hostile, and willing to take risks than other people.
B. Biology and Personality
If personality has a strong biological foundation, then researchers should find very similar personality types in various cultures around the world. Studies in 24 countries (Barrett & Eysenck, 1984) found a high degree of similarity among people of different cultures. Hans Eysenck’s later work (Barrett, Petrides, Eysenck, & Eysenck, 1998) investigated personality factors across 35 European, Asian, African, and American cultures and found that personality factors are quite universal, thus supporting the biological nature of personality.
Cattell and Eysenck’s theories rate high on parsimony, on their ability to generate research, and on their usefulness in organizing data; they are about average on falsifiability, usefulness to the practitioner, and internal consistency.
XV. Concept of Humanity
Cattell and Eysenck believe that human personality is largely the product of genetics and not the environment. Thus, both are rated very high on biological influences and very low on social factors. In addition, both rate about average on conscious versus unconscious influences and high on the uniqueness of individuals. The concepts of free choice, optimism versus pessimism, and causality versus teleology do not apply to Cattell and Eysenck.