Burt, Sir Cyril (Lodowic) (1883–1971)
Professor of psychology and psychic researcher. He was
born March 3, 1883, in London and studied at Oxford University
(M.A., D.Sc.). In 1932 he married Joyce Muriel Wood. Burt
was psychologist for the London County Council (1913–32)
and professor of education at the University of London
(1924–31) prior to assuming his post as professor of psychology
at University College, London (1931–50). During his career as
a psychologist, he concentrated on the role of heredity in the
development of intelligence and the application of psychology
to education. He was the author of a number of books, edited
the British Journal of Statistical Psychology, was president of the
Psychological Section of the British Association in 1923, and
was president of the British Psychological Society in 1942. He
was knighted in 1946.
Burt had a special interest in parapsychology. He assisted
the young student Samuel G. Soal, who began his career in
parapsychology in Burt’s laboratory. Burt carried on studies
with mediums and did theoretical work on the nature of survival.
He also promoted the need to understand perception in
light of our knowledge of parapsychology. Besides a number of
papers in parapsychological journals, he authored Psychology
and Psychical Research (1968).
Burt died October 10, 1971. Since then it has been discovered
that he doctored data to support his work on heredity and
intelligence and appropriated other people’s work as his own.
The revelation of fraud and plagiarism has led to much of his
early work being set aside.
Sources
Burt, Cyril. Psychology and Psychical Research. London Society
for Psychical Research, 1968.
Hearnshaw, L. S. Cyril Burt, Psychologist. London Hodder
and Stoughton, 1979.

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