Warren T. Norman

Warren T. Norman, professor emeritus of psychology, died of a heart attack April 8. He was 67.

Norman was an internationally recognized expert on the structure of personality and on the use of innovative statistical procedures in personality assessment. He wrote several seminal articles in these areas, works that have continued to grow in significance for the field of personality research.

“His 1963 article, which presented a compelling theoretical rationale and empirical evidence for the ‘five factor model’ of personality, has become a citation classic,” said psychologist Wilbert McKeachie, “with citations continuing to increase even three decades after its publication. Psychology textbooks typically describe Norman’s ‘Big 5’ as the basic dimensions of personality.”

The five factors are neuroticism, extroversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness.

Throughout his career, Norman served on several committees of the American Psychological Association, with a focus on elevating standards for the quality of tests and other assessment devices. His honors included a variety of visiting professorships, fellowships and lectureships, including appointments to the Oregon Research Institute, the University of Birmingham in England, the University of Western Australia and the University of Queensland, Australia.

Norman joined the Department of Psychology in 1957 as an instructor and was promoted to assistant professor in 1959, associate professor in 1963 and professor in 1966. He served as chair of the department in 1976-81, and chaired the University Senate in 1971-72.

Born Oct. 24, 1930 in St. Paul, Minn., Norman received a B.S. in mathematics, an M.A in statistics and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Minnesota, where he taught and conducted research in 1952-1957.

He is survived by his wife, Jan; his mother, Vera of St. Paul; three sons, David of Chelsea, James of South Bend, and Ken of Arcata, Calif.; and by three grandchildren: Rachel, Anna and Julian.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Department of Psychology.


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