American Psychological Association

From the APA Monitor (Oct. 1997)

Lifetime Achievement Award is Questioned

In response to accusations of racist views on the part of a designated award winner, the presentation of the 1997 Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in Psychological Science—originally scheduled to be given on Aug. 16—was postponed by the American Psychological Foundation (APF) Board of Trustees.

On Aug. 13, the foundation decided to postpone the presentation of the award to Raymond B. Cattell, PhD. Cattell is well-known for his work in the field of personality theory, assessment and testing, but in the week proceeding the opening of APA’s 1997 Annual Convention, concerns that Cattell’s writings were racist and advocated the separation of the races were voiced to the association.

In an effort to ensure fairness for Cattell and to protect the integrity of the science awards program, APF announced it would appoint a Blue Ribbon Panel of both psychologists and nonpsychologists to review the award. The panel will undertake a thorough review of Cattell’s work.

In a statement released to the media in Chicago, Cattell denied being racist and pointed to the fact that his work “has been organized around measuring and understanding the individual person, regardless of race, religion, class or gender.”

The work of the Blue Ribbon Panel is expected to be completed by early 1998. The panel will report its findings to the APF Board of Trustees, which will determine what further action is appropriate.

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