Cattell on Cattell

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Abstract

Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(2), 107–108. Reviews the book, The Scientific Analysis of Personality and Motivation by R. B. Cattell and P. Kline (see record 1979-01054-000). The main organizing theme of this book is its emphasis on the scientific study of personality and motivation which, as it turns out, translates into the study of personality according to “Cattellian theory”. The authors contrast the latter with pre-scientific methods and with literary and philosophical methods. Throughout the book, Cattell and Kline argue that the prescientific as well as the literary and philosophical approaches are flawed because their hypotheses are neither falsifiable nor quantifiable, although they may provide genuine insights and testable hypothesis. The book ends with a conclusions and theoretical implications chapter that, not surprisingly, makes an urgent plea for the quantitative route to the study of personality and strongly favors Cattell's approach. In their final chapter, they also dismiss Alfred Adler's concept of inferiority complex as one that would not hold up under factor-analytic scrutiny. This book is an important and articulate statement on the state of the art of Cattellian personality theory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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