Hans Eysenck: Sex and violence on television, the paranormal, graphology, and astrology
Published on Dec 1, 2016in Personality and Individual Differences 1.97
· DOI :10.1016/j.paid.2016.04.002
Abstract The views of Hans Eysenck and how they have fared in the light of subsequent research are presented for four controversial topics: (1) In the case of pornographic films, and violence as shown on television (and in the media generally), he interpreted the early evidence as indicating social effects that were predominantly harmful and anti-social, especially for predisposed and vulnerable individuals—as predicted by learning and personality theories. Further research has reinforced these views, unpopular at the time, and so they appear to have definitely stood the test of time. (2) In the case of the paranormal, he continued to see the experimental evidence as promising. However, rigorous testing has found that the demand for replicability is simply not met, at least not replicability commensurate with the claims. (3) For graphology, he found there was no evidence of a useful correlation between handwriting and personality, a conclusion that has since been confirmed. (4) For astrology, he found that there was only one replicable finding (the Mars effect), which urgently required an explanation (none were in sight at the time). After much thought and detective work a likely explanation has been forthcoming in terms of social effects that can bias birth times as reported to registry offices—the raw data. In the context of Eysenck's broad interests and his influential role as a teacher and writer, the progress of research into these topics helps to throw light on his approach to controversial issues.