He attended the University of London and received a first class honors degree in chemistry in 1924. He later received his Doctor of Science degree from the same institution. After working as a psychologist in England he came to the United States in 1937 to teach at Columbia University. Later he taught at Clark University (where he was the G.S. Hall Professor of Psychology), and at Harvard University. He served in the Adjutant General's Office during World War II, developing psychological tests for the military. He was appointed Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois in 1946. After his retirement in 1973, he spent several years working in Colorado. He then moved to Hawaii in 1978. He had part time appointments at the University of Hawaii and later at the Forrest Institute of Psychology and continued to write books and publish research papers until his death.
He wrote 55 books and over 500 research papers. He had a number of areas of excellence. He made great contributions to the development of multivariate research designs and used these techniques in his own research on the study of individual differences in cognitive abilities, personality, and motivation. He developed many widely used psychological tests. The most widely used is the 16 Personality Factor (16PF) personality assessment device. He published seminal works on the nature of intelligence. He was most proud of his development of mathematical techniques that served to make psychology a more objective, quantitative discipline. He advised many doctoral candidates and many recent Ph.D.s from other institutions. His students and associates were devoted to him and his scientific enterprise.
He is survived by his wife, Heather,
sons Herry (Bethesda, MD), and Roderic (Los Altos, CA),
daughters Mary (Champaign, IL), Heather (Walnut Creek, CA), and
Elaine (Menlo Park, CA), a stepson, Gary Shields
(Honolulu), and stepdaughter Heather Phelps (Seattle, WA),
and seven grandchildren. Services were held at St.
Andrew's Cathedral and the burial was at the Valley of the
Ronald Johnson, Ph.D.
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