Hans J. Eysenck

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Hans J. Eysenck, Ph.D., Sc.D. is most famous among older readers as the author of a number of basic psychology textbooks used in first-year university psychology courses in the 1970s ("Use and Abuse of Psychology" and "Sense and Nonsence in Psychology"). He was a behavioural psychologist with the University of London, and, along with his lecturing and writing, he worked for R.J. Reynolds and other tobacco companies through his Eysenck Institute of Psychiatry in attempting to explain why people smoke. He believed there was a link between smoking behaviour and personality type.

The tobacco industry's motives were certainly in hoping to discover ways in which people could be encouraged to smoke more, and Eysenck was undoubtedly too intelligent for him not to have recognised this fact. He went ahead anyway; maintaining that science should not be influenced by questions of ethics or morality. The value of his services is witnessed by the fact that both Eysenck and his Eysenck Institute were grantees of the Committee on Tobacco Reseach (CTR Special Projects) which gave legitimate research grants, while also laundering a range of payments to corrupted academics and witnesses on the quiet. Eysenck elected to be funded through the secret Special Projects #4 account. See CTR Special Projects. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Eysenck


By far the most acrimonious of the debates in Eysenck's long and turbulent career has been that over the role of genetics in IQ differences. This famously led to Eysenck being punched on the nose by a female protestor during a talk at the London School of Economics as well as bomb threats and threats to kill his young children. This opposition came when he supported Arthur Jensen's questioning of whether measured IQ differences between races was entirely environmental (the implication was that some races were genetically inferior). Some of Eysenck's later work was funded from the Pioneer Fund, an organization often criticized for allegedly promoting scientific racism.

He also received "secret" funding for "consultation research" into smoking behaviour via New York legal firm Jacob & Medinger (J&M), which was acting on behalf of the CTR division of the Tobacco Institute. According to the UK newspaper, The Independent he received over 800,000 English pounds (well over a million dollars) from the Tobacco Institute for this work over many years. He seems to have supported numerous far right-wing causes which matched his ultra-Libertarian 'unhampered free-market' outlook. wiki

Eysenck was a prolific author who produced out over 80 books. In addition he wrote hundreds of learned articles, and he was the editor of a couple of major magazines on professional psychological research; also some on the psychiatric aspects (behavioural psychology). Given his prolific literate output, it is not surprising that his own research is not universally assessed at a high level, He seems to have seen himself as a maverick and to have enjoyed the furour he created by accepting and promoting unpopular views. This may have been one of the motivations behind some of his work with the tobacco industry, although he took care to hide these commercial arrangements from discovery. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Eysenck

Documents & Timetable

1916 Mar 4 Born in Berlin

1936 /E moved to London: Jewish background; fervent anti-Nazi

1940 PhD from University College London (UCL) working under the supervision of Professor Sir Cyril Burt.

1953 publication of "Uses and Abuses of Psychology" (basic textbook)

1955-1983 Professor of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London

1956 pulication of "Sense and Nonsense in Psychology"(also textbook)

1973 published The Inequalities of Man (with inflamatory suggestions that racial genetics and IQ were interlinked)

1983 Oct 31The Annual Research Report of a psychologist named David G Gilbert who worked for RJ Reynolds.

His work was to:

  • Confirm and extend knowledge of the bodily, mental and emotional responses to smoking and explore interactions of smoking with enotions, personality and stress. [Nicotine]
  • Maintain contact with consultants and/or researchers in the biobehavioral area.
    • Assist in communications with Dr Hans Eysenck concerning RJR-sponsored research and other relevant matters.
    Communicated with Dr. Eysenck by letter and phone. We received several pre-publication articles related to smoking and psychophysiology written under Eysenck's direction and received biannual progress reports on Dr. Eysenck's RJR-sponsored research.
    Received and forwarded Eysenck's proposals for RJR's funding of him in 1983. I wrote a memo to my superiors noting the high quality and productivity of Dr. Eysenck's RJR-funded work and suggested that we are getting a lot in return for our money.
    Spoke with Kieron O'Connor at SPR Convention about Eysenck's RJR-sponsored research and about Dr. Eysenck's status during the coming few years. Both O'Connor and Eysenck report that Eysenck will continue to be in charge of grants and research at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. His status, however, recently changed from Professor to Professor Emeritus.
    • Assist in communications with Dr. Charles Spielberger in matters concerning smoking-related research.
    1. Consulted with Dr. Spielberger on numerous occasions in regards to the scientific validity of conclusions reached in an article discussing filter vent blocking.
    2. Spoke with Dr. Spielberger at the American Psychological Association Convention about preliminary analysis of 1982 Smoking and Stress Study questionnaire data.
    • Miscellaneous.
    1. Wrote a critique of the work by Kozlowski on filter vent hole blocking and worked with Charles Spielberger in gaining unbiased critiques from reputable scientists.
    2. Participated in brainstorming session with Don Robert's group and with members of the Biobehavioral group to generate new ideas for possible future company marketing.
    3. Performed small pilot study with Dr. Charles Green on the effects of Copenhagen versus RJR snuff. Both snuffs caused large (10 to 24 beat per minute) increases in heart rate after approximately 15 Minutes. No reliable differences between the two snuffs were found, possibly because of the very small number of trials. [1]

1987-89 An RJ Reynolds account of expenditure on (perhaps) legitimate research list a large number of outside nicotine research consultants who don't figure in the CTR Special Project #4 accounts -- and then a couple who do. These are research projects for RJ Reynolds Tobacco on: Psychophysiology of Smoking - interaction of traits, emotions, stress, etc. (marketing orientation)

* Dr Robert A Jensen & David G Gilbert, Southern Illinois University (Caffeine and nicotine)   $86,801  $98,973$124,975
* Dr Hans Eysenck, University of London (the zero payment in 1989 is unexplained)   $139,022   $78,292 nil
* Dr Charles D Spielberger (trivial amount) [2]    $1,035    $3,123    $1,000


1991 wrote book Smoking, Personality and Stress

1997 Sep 4 Died


  • Eysenck, H. (1983), 'Methodological errors by critics of astrological claims'. Astro-Psychological Problems, 6, 14-17.
  • Eysenck, Hans and David Nias, (1982), Astrology: Science or Superstition?, London: Maurice Temple Smith Ltd., London, UK


  • Buchanan, Roderick J. (2010). Playing with Fire: The Controversial Career of Hans J. Eysenck. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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