Fighting for Intelligence: A Brief Overview of the Academic Work of John L. Horn

John J. McArdle, Scott M. Hofer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


John L. Horn (1928-2006) was a pioneer in multivariate thinking and the application of multivariate methods to research on intelligence and personality. His key works on individual differences in the methodological areas of factor analysis and the substantive areas of cognition are reviewed here. John was also our mentor, teacher, colleague, and friend. We overview John Horn's main contributions to the field of intelligence by highlighting 3 issues about his methods of factor analysis and 3 of his substantive debates about intelligence. We first focus on Horn's methodological demonstrations describing (a) the many uses of simulated random variables in exploratory factor analysis; (b) the exploratory uses of confirmatory factor analysis; and (c) the key differences between states, traits, and trait-changes. On a substantive basis, John believed that there were important individual differences among people in terms of cognition and personality. These sentiments led to his intellectual battles about (d) Spearman's g theory of a unitary intelligence, (e) Guilford's multifaceted model of intelligence, and (f) the Schaie and Baltes approach to defining the lack of decline of intelligence earlier in the life span. We conclude with a summary of John Horn's unique approaches to dealing with common issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalMultivariate Behavioral Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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