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.


Commentaries on the Controversy

Prof. Raymond B. Cattell - An open letter to the A.P.A.

An analysis of the accusations against Cattell

Prof. Ralph Dreger's letter to the A.P.A. President

Profs. Irwin A. Berg and Ralph Mason Dreger

Prof. Richard Gorsuch's letter to the A.P.F.

Prof. John Nesselroade - An open letter to Prof. Cattell

Prof. Arthur Sweney's open letter

Susan Fraenkel-Cattell's open letter

Glayde Whitney - Raymond B. Cattell and the Fourth Inquisition


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