Raymond Cattell

(1905 - 1998 )

Born and educated in Britain.

World War I ended his carefree childhood

1929 Ph.D. from University of London

5 years as director of child guidance clinic

Came to US to work with E.L. Thorndike in 1937.

In WWII, helped develop officer selection methods.

Established Institute for Personality & Ability Testing (IPAT) in 1949

Taught at University of Illinois for over 30 years

Went to the University of Hawaii in 1978, where he tuaght until his death in 1998

Cattellís Trait Theory of personality.

Cattell thought that clinicians observations were not a scientific basis for understanding or classifying personality.

Cattell used the Inductive Method of scientific enquiry to develop his theory of personality.

Inductive Method :

A. Gather a large amount of Data

B. Run an exploratory factor analysis on the data set (a "fishing expedition" which looks for data clusters)

C. This exploratory analysis then gives the researcher information to base future hypothesis on, and the underlying

significant factors discovered in the exploratory stage are then used to run a confirmatory analysis. To the degree the exploratory and confirmatory analysis are in agreement, the researcher has been making supportable hypothesis.

Source Traits

Cattell defined personality as " That which permits a prediction of what a person will do in a given situation."

Source Traits are the underlying basic factors of an individuals personalities.

Cattell examined every possible (over 18,000) possible vocabulary words which indicated Surface Traits, i.e. some aspect of personality.

Next he broke those 18000 into about 4500 surface traits.

Next using factor analysis, we looked for common clusters of surface traits. These clusters represent what Cattell calls "Source Traits"

Information gathered from Personal Interviews by Cattell resulted in three sources of information :

L- Data : Oneís life record, as seen through significant others.

Q- Data : Self-reports from the presenting client

T - Data : Data from testing measures, thought to be objective.

Taken together, these three sources can give Cattell a complete picture of an individuals global personality.

A "holistic" approach to measuring personality.

Different types of source traits exist:

Temperament Traits : concerned with HOW a person behaves.

Motivation Traits : concerned with WHY a person behaves in a particular way. Motivations are complex and many may underlie a single behavior.

Ability Traits : how fast can a person perform some particular behavior.

Cattell has identified 35 primary traits (also known as first-order traits)

23 characterize normal individuals and 12 characterize abnormal (or psychologically unhealthy) individuals.

The 16PF (personality factor) questionnaire is designed to assess 16 different source traits associated with "normal" behavior.

Cattellís other fundamentals of human behavior.

Humans are innately driven by ergs.

Ergs : goals created because of sex, hunger, curiosity, anger, fear or other basic motivations which are found in both humans and higher primates.

Cattell developed his list of ergs through test data, and factor analysis.

10 ERG goals supported through research :

Food-Seeking, Mating, Gregariousness, Parental Protectiveness, Exploration, Safety, Self-Assertion, Pugnacity, Narcissistic Sex, and Acquisitiveness.

Cattell further distinguished among two types of Intelligence.

Fluid Intelligence : Intelligence which allows us to learn new things, regardless of past experience. (Innate Intelligence)

Crystallized Intelligence : Ability to solve problems based upon previous experience.

For example, contestants on "Who wants to be a Millionaire" have to rely on Crystallized intelligence to answer the questions.

Athletic Ability can be thought of as a combination of Fluid and Crystallized intelligence.

Cattell believed that intelligence was primarily an inherited trait. (60 - 65 % genetic based)


Cattellís definition of Attitude : desire to act in a specific way in response to a specific situation.

Attitudes are interconnected within a Dynamic Lattice.

The specific attitudinal connections within the Dynamic Lattice are controlled by subsidiation chains, i.e. some attitudes are subordinate to other attitudes.

The subsidiation chain helps determine when specific attitude will produce a specific behavior.

Socially Shaped Ergic Manifolds


Cattell used SEMís to help explain the contribution of the environment to human behavior.

SEMís are socially acquired and can satisfy several ergs at one time. Because SEMS are socially acquired, they vary in number and type by culture.

SEMís get their energy from the ERGís.

Some major SEM systems are:

Profession, Family and Home, Spouse or Sweetheart, Religion.

Together, our attitudes, ERGís and SEMís interact to produce behavior.

According to Cattell, if you can systematically identify their attitudes, ERGís and SEMís, you should then be able to reliably predict future behavior.