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Works by eminent psychologist who doubted smoking caused cancer are “unsafe,” finds inquiry

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l5899 (Published 07 October 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l5899
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

An inquiry into the work of Hans Eysenck, who dominated the profession of psychology in the UK in the mid-20th century, has determined that 26 of his papers are “unsafe” and that the editors of the 11 journals where they were published should be informed of the finding.

King’s College London launched the inquiry after an appeal from the editor of the Journal of Health Psychology, David Marks. The disputed papers were all published late in Eysenck’s career, in collaboration with Ronald Grossarth-Maticek, a German sociologist who provided a body of data from which he and Eysenck drew some eyebrow raising conclusions.

The inquiry report, which is brief, was compiled by a team from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College who do not reveal their names. Its message is that the critics of this series of papers, most notably …

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