Cattell studied at the University of London first natural sciences. Later he turned to psychology and a doctorate in 1929. He taught at the University of Exeter and headed a child guidance before he went to the USA in 1937. After living at Clark and Harvard University, he was from 1945 to 1974 professor of psychology at the University of Illinois. Still in 1978, he accepted a position at the University of Hawaii.
Cattell argued that " it is, national stereotypes ' not just about inventions of the imagination is " and urged that national and " racial" differences in temperament should be taken into account in urban planning. With his teacher Cyril Burt, he shared the concern that the IQ of the nation is likely to fall due to excessive proliferation of the less gifted and suggested to counteract this, " by which segments of the population with a very low intellectual capacity, which are unfit for civilized life away ".
In contrast to the g - factor model of Charles Spearman Cattell distinguishes 1971 two second order factors ( factor analysis ), the fluid and crystallized intelligence in its two-component theory of intelligence. The genetic " fluid intelligence " ( " General - fluid -Ability " ) provides the ability to situation orientation, reasoning, problem solving and processing speed is, the acquired " crystallized intelligence " ( " Crystallized -Ability " ) consists of the knowledge, the vocabulary and the lessons learned to problem-solving ways. While fluid intelligence after a peak between the ages should decrease again, the American psychologist John L. Horn, the crystallized intelligence continues to grow. His concept was reflected in the Intelligence Test series Culture Fair Intelligence Tests.
Cattell is one of the 52 signatories of the essay Mainstream Science on Intelligence, written by Linda Gottfredson and published in December 1994 by the Wall Street Journal.
In the personality theory he developed with the help of factor analysis, a model of 16 bipolar dimensions (as situation- related basic properties of the personality), with which each person would describe the subject and the overt behavior based; they are reflected in the questionnaire Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire ( 16 PF). These are to:
- Heat (eg well-being in society )
- Logical reasoning
- Emotional stability
- Rule-Consciousness (eg morality)
- Social competence (eg, sociability )
- Alertness (eg, mistrust )
- Detachment (eg realism )
- Openness to change
Cattell founded the " Society for Multivariate Experimental Psychology " and the journal " Multivariate Behavioral Research". Cattell also developed the screening test to determine the factors number for the factor analysis.
- The fight for our national intelligence. King, London 1937
- The Meaning and Measurement of neuroticism and Anxiety (1961 )
- The Scientific Analysis of Personality ( 1965)
- Handbook of Multivariate Experimental Psychology (1966 )
- Abilities: Their Structure, Growth, and Action (1971 )
- Personality and Learning Theory 2 vols ( 1979-80 )