Lifetime Achievement Award and Controversy
Raymond Bernard Cattell
In the August 1997 Issue of the American Psychologist the
following citation was published:
"In a remarkable 70-year career; Raymond B. Cattell has made
prodigious, landmark contributions to psychology, including factor
analytic mapping of the domains of personality, motivation, and
abilities; exploration of three different medias of assessment;
separation of fluid and crystallized intelligence; and numerous
methodological innovations. Thus, Cattell became recognized in numerous
substantive areas, providing a model of the complete psychologist in an
age of specialization. It may be said that Cattell stands without peer
in his creation of a unified theory of individual differences
integrating intellectual, temperamental, and dynamic domains of
personality in the context of environmental and hereditary influences.''
This citation preceded an article explaining why Dr. Raymond B.
Cattell had been selected to receive the prestigious American
Psychological Foundation Gold Medal Award for Lifetime Achievement in
Psychology. The award was to be presented at the American Psychological
Association (APA) convention in August 1997. However, because of
accusations made by two critics, Cattell's award presentation was
delayed so a committee could review the allegations. Unfortunately,
many newspapers worldwide gave credence to the claims before Dr.
Cattell could issue a statement in his defense. Upset at the publicity
being accorded to his critics, and the idea that a scientific
organization wanted to pass judgement on his political beliefs before
giving him an award for his scientific achievement, Dr. Cattell wrote a
letter in December 1997 to the President of the APA, refuting the
allegations and withdrawing his name from consideration for the
Lifetime Achievement Award.
Many members of the APA wrote letters in defense of Dr. Cattell.
Some resigned from the APA in protest. But most importantly, as shown
in letters and articles presented below, both critics badly
misperceived Cattell's position. Some of Cattell's statements were
controversial, but in his writings he strongly supported democratic
principles, particularly the value of equal opportunity for all members
of society, regardless of race, religion, or gender.
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