William Revelle

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William Revelle (born c. 1944) is a psychology professor at Northwestern University working in personality psychology. Revelle studies the biological basis of personality and motivation, psychometric theory, the structure of daily mood, and models of attention and memory. He is a proponent of and contributor to the R Project. He is the author of R's psych package.[1] He is a co-author of the Very Simple Structure method of determining how many factors to extract from a correlational matrix when performing factor analysis.[2] He developed Revelle's Beta (1979) to "estimate general factor saturation of a test"[3] but later asserted that McDonald's (1999) Omega is a better estimate.[4] He also developed Item Cluster Analysis (ICLUST). He is an advocate for the Synthetic Aperture Personality Assessment (SAPA) methodology for telemetric evaluation of personality across multiple domains. His Personality, Cognition, and Motivation Laboratory[5] at Northwestern has administered an online assessment using the SAPA methodology since approximately 2004.[6]

Revelle graduated from Pomona College in 1965, abandoning a mathematics major in favor of psychology. He spent two years in Sarawak, Malaysia as a volunteer in the Peace Corps before earning his PhD in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1973.[7] He became a member of the Northwestern Faculty in 1973.

Revelle was raised in La Jolla, California, but currently resides in Evanston, Illinois.[7] Revelle is a passionate environmentalist. His father, Roger Revelle, is widely credited as a major early theorist in Global Warming.[8] Revelle and his wife, Eleanor, have built an energy efficient house, of which they occasionally give tours.[9]

Revelle has previously served as the President (2005-2009) of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences (ISSID),[10] the President (2008-2009) of the Association for Research in Personality (ARP), and the President (1984) of the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology.[11] He is Vice-Chair of the Governing Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, having previously served as Chair (2009-2012).[12]


  1. ^ Revelle, William (2012). psych: Procedures for Personality and Psychological Research. 
  2. ^ Revelle, William; Rocklin, Thomas (1979). "Very Simple Structure: An Alternative Procedure For Estimating The Optimal Number of Interpretable Factors" (PDF). Multivariate Behavioral Research. 14 (4): 408–414. doi:10.1207/s15327906mbr1404_2. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Revelle, William (1979). "Hierarchical cluster analysis and the internal structure of tests" (PDF). Multivariate Behavioral Research. 14 (1): 57–74. doi:10.1207/s15327906mbr1401_4. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Zinbarg, Richard E.; Revelle, William; Yovel, Iftah; Li, Wen (March 2005). "Cronbach's α, Revelle's β, and McDonald's ωH : Their relations with each other and two alternative conceptualizations of reliability" (PDF). Psychometrika. 70 (1): 123–133. doi:10.1007/s11336-003-0974-7. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  5. ^ http://personality-project.org/pmc.html
  6. ^ Revelle, William. "Big Five Test: The Personality Project". SAPA. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Revelle, William. "William Revelle - Northwestern University". Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  8. ^ http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE1D8163DF934A25754C0A967958260&sec=&spon=&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink
  9. ^ Revelle, William. "Building a house on Lakeside Court". Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  10. ^ "ISSID The International Society for the Study of Individual Differences". Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  11. ^ "Past Presidents of SMEP". Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  12. ^ "Governing Board - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists". Retrieved 2 December 2012. 

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