Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Wayne H Holtzman

Professor EmeritusPh.D., Psychology and Statistics, Stanford University

Hogg Professor Emeritus
Wayne H Holtzman


A long time faculty member of The University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Holtzman was Hogg Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education. During his tenure with the school, he held positions as president of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, dean of the College of Education, chairman of the university’s Faculty Computer Committee and chairman of the Laboratory for Computer-Assisted Instruction. 

Dr. Holtzman’s distinguished career also allowed him to serve as president of the Interamerican Society of Psychology, the Texas Psychological Association and International Union of Psychological Science. He was chairman of the board of The Menninger Clinic and has been a trustee of The Menninger Foundation since 1982. He was also director of the World Health Organizations’ Texas-Mexico Collaborating Center in Mental Health. Dr. Holtzman authored over 210 articles in scientific journals and served as editor of the Journal of Educational Psychology

...from Texas Monthly online, January 24, 2011 (

The Holtzman Inkblot Test (HIT) was conceived by Wayne Holtzman and colleagues. It was first introduced in 1961 as a projective personality test similar to the Rorschach test, yet unlike the Rorschach, the HIT is a standardized measurement with clearly defined objective scoring criteria. The Holtzman Inkblot Test was invented as an attempt to address many, if not all, of the controversial issues surrounding the Rorschach Inkblot Test.

...from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (

Career Overview


This invited autobiography focuses on the highlights in the career of a psychologist who has devoted over one-half a century to personality assessment, among other lifetime pursuits. Beginning with an introduction to my early years growing up in Chicago, the story continues through World War II when, as a naval officer, I developed a late-blooming interest in coping behavior and reactions to stress. As with many other post-war graduate students, inkblots held a particular fascination for me as an indirect means of assessing personality and psychopathology through perception. A successful dissertation followed by fellowships and grants over several decades made possible the development of the Holtzman Inkblot Technique (HIT). Published in 1961 by the Psychological Corporation, the HIT consists of two parallel forms containing 45 test blots each. It has been used in hundreds of research studies and in clinical practice as an alternative to the Rorschach throughout the world. In addition to work on the HIT, I describe my efforts to expand personality assessment and psychological research into the international arena, and provide a summary of activities in administration and public service.


Over Half a Century of Playing with Inkblots and Other Wondrous Pursuits

Born January 16, 1923 in Chicago, I lived across the street from my elementary school in a middle-class neighborhood close to Evanston and Lake Michigan. My father was educated at the University of Illinois as an agricultural engineer. He started out managing an experimental farm but had to leave for the city when my mother grew seriously ill during the great flu pandemic that swept the country around 1920. His father was a botanist and school principal in Chicago and offered my father the lot next door to his homestead in Rogers Park. Although my family suffered during the Great Depression, I had what I considered to be an idyllic childhood. A graduate of Northwestern University, my mother had been a schoolteacher who made sure that I kept ahead of my class. My grandfather next door taught me a great deal about plants, butterflies (which I collected), and carpentry. My younger sister and I had over a dozen playmates on our city block. And the beach at Lake Michigan was easy to reach on my bicycle, as was a large gravel pit full of water with fish waiting to be caught. Our church minister lived next door, encouraging us to attend West Ridge Community Church and Sunday school regularly.

Starting when I was only five, my father took me on short fishing trips to Wisconsin and Minnesota. I loved the North Woods and eagerly looked forward to each trip. It was also a great way to be close to my father. When I was eight I lost Grandfather Holtzman who died suddenly of a heart attack. Several years later my grandmother moved in with us, helping to care for my ailing mother. From a very young age, I had regular household chores because my mother was limited physically in what she could do. I sold the weekly Saturday Evening Post door to door, making enough money finally to buy a bicycle. While in high school, I worked twenty hours a week for a local cleaner and tailor shop, sewing cuffs and buttons on clothes, and delivering dry cleaning on my bicycle. I saved enough to pay for my first year at Northwestern University where I received a scholarship in chemistry.

On the eve of my entry to Northwestern while I was on a canoe trip in the Quetico Park of northern Minnesota, my mother died of a heart attack. Although she had been in poor health for many years, Mother’s death was a severe blow to all of us. Fortunately, my grandmother was like a second mother to my younger sister and me. Soon we all closed ranks to move forward as a family. Mammam, as I called grandmother, had a strong sense of social responsibility, serving as a voluntary social worker for the juvenile courts. She taught me many things about public service and caring for others.

Scouting became one of my favorite activities as a young teenager. While a junior in high school, I joined other Sea Scouts on a long summer cruise across Lake Michigan and Lake Huron aboard an old three-masted schooner that had been rescued by Henry Ford from running rum during prohibition days. The schooner had no ship-to-shore radio or auxiliary engine, placing us at the mercy of the wind and waves. A fog becalmed us in the second week, and we fell behind our schedule creating anxiety among parents. The Chicago Tribune came out with a front-page headline, “Coast Guard Hunts Scout Ship,” but fortunately coast guard patrols found us and reported that all was well.

As a result of many such scouting adventures, I knew I wanted to be a naval officer. My father had been a student ROTC leader and Second Lieutenant during World War I. Although I received a BS degree in Chemistry from Northwestern University, my heart and mind were with the Naval ROTC from which I was commissioned an ensign in February 1944. My assignment as an anti-aircraft gunnery officer on the USS Iowa in the Third and Fifth Pacific Fleets gave me many hours of daily routine between battles to think about my future and what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life. I had taken only one elementary course in psychology at Northwestern, but the behavior of men under stress on my ship was a subject of great interest to me.


Becoming a Psychologist

After the war while driving alone from Seattle to Long Beach to rejoin my ship, I wandered into the main quadrangle at Stanford University looking for someone who could give me advice. Christmas holidays had just begun and hardly anyone was there. By chance I ran into Professor E. R. (Jack) Hilgard working in his office. When I learned that he also had received a BS degree in chemistry before studying psychology at Yale, I really got interested.

After discharge from active duty in June, 1946, I returned to Northwestern seeking graduate work. The head of the Psychology Department, Robert Seashore, was looking for someone with engineering experience to be his laboratory assistant in building motor skills apparatus. To my surprise, he told me he had been a geologist before following his father, Carl Seashore, into psychology. In those days, many graduate students in psychology had majored in a different field as undergraduates. I enthusiastically accepted his offer, agreeing to take a heavy course load in order to receive a master’s degree the following summer. My fiancee, Joan King, was a senior music student and we wanted to get married when she finished her undergraduate studies. That first year was a busy one. In addition to working for Seashore and doing my master’s thesis on a motor skills problem, I served as an assistant to A. C. Van Dusen, head of the counseling center and did statistical work and typing for other students as a way of making extra money. By January I knew I wanted to enroll at Stanford to continue working toward a PhD degree. Hilgard offered me a position as his teaching assistant, beginning in the fall of 1947. When Joan received a scholarship from Stanford in music education, that settled it. We were married in her hometown of Aberdeen, South Dakota, on August 23 and headed west with all our belongings in my 1935 Ford that had been newly acquired for the occasion.

Graduate work in psychology at Stanford was exciting during those post-war years. Such well-known figures as Lewis Terman, E. K. Strong, Calvin Stone, Maud Merrill James, Quinn McNemar, Paul Farnsworth, and Jack Hilgard were active at the time, along with a number of younger faculty members in emerging new areas of psychology such as clinical. In my second quarter at Stanford, I elected courses in clinical psychology, personality, and social psychology while minoring in mathematical statistics with Polya, Girshick, and Bowker, a combination that I continued until finishing my coursework in August 1949. After a two-quarter stint as an assistant in the student counseling center, I was awarded a half-time fellowship in neuropsychiatry at Stanford Lane Hospital in San Francisco, a major teaching hospital for Stanford Medical School, where I studied clinical psychology under the direction of Katharine P. Bradway.

In the spring of 1949, my key mentor, Hilgard, strongly urged me to apply for a new position on the psychology faculty at The University of Texas. Texas had a small department but big plans for the future. Karl Dallenbach and Glenn Ramsey had arrived at Texas from Cornell and Indiana the year before, each with very different ideas of how to build a new department. Psychology was looking for an experimental/research-design psychologist as well as a clinical psychologist but had only one new position. Since I had good credentials in statistics, experimental, and clinical psychology, both factions wined and dined me in the hope that I would join them. The small, friendly reception I got when visiting Austin and their ambitious plans for a new five-story, air-conditioned psychology building convinced me that Texas was the place for me, a decision I have never regretted.


Becoming Established as a Research Scientist

As a young graduate student my fascination with inkblots stemmed from an interest in the unconscious and in ways in which deeper aspects of one’s personality might be expressed. Until World War II, the mainstream of academic psychology looked askance at the Rorschach movement, criticizing its cultist character and lack of scientific discipline. This schism between Rorschach workers and academic psychology grew out of the two completely different traditions that characterized scientific psychology and clinical practice in America and Europe. The academicians were chiefly concerned with the development of general laws to explain sensation, perception, learning, and motivation. Clinicians working with the Rorschach and other psychoanalytically based techniques were mainly interested in a deeper understanding of individual personality. World War II changed all this with the sudden urgent need for new devices for psychiatric screening and personality assessment in the armed services. By 1945, the Rorschach technique was firmly established as the leading clinical instrument for psychodiagnosis, a position it still holds in some circles in spite of mounting evidence concerning its flaws.

Studies With the Rorschach

While searching for a dissertation topic, I seized upon the Rorschach technique as a diagnostic instrument badly in need of scientific evaluation, employing the latest methods of experimentation and control. The outcome of this activity was a dissertation demonstrating that such personality traits as impulsivity and personal adjustment, based upon peer-group ratings of college students living together, could be predicted by the way in which a person responded to inkblots. Overreaction to the color of the inkblots was related to lack of control in special situations. A large number of “clinical signs” that had grown out of earlier experience with the Rorschach proved to be correlated with the degree of personal maladjustment, unhappiness and anxiety of the people in the study, resulting in three journal publications soon after I received my Ph.D. degree (Holtzman, 1950a, 1950b, 1952a).

Spurred on by these positive though modest findings that confirmed some of the earlier clinical hunches about the meaning of inkblot responses, I joined a host of other young investigators interested in experimental studies with inkblots. Countless studies soon piled up a wave of criticism from which the Rorschach movement has never fully recovered. While much of this research was either irrelevant or badly conceived, a growing number of carefully designed studies yielded negative results. Typical of these criticisms were the attacks leveled by Zubin (1954) at a symposium, sponsored by the Society for Projective Techniques, on failures of the Rorschach. He charged seven major failures as follows: (1) failure to provide an objective scoring system free of arbitrary conventions and showing high interscorer agreement, (2) lack of satisfactory internal consistency or test-retest reliability, (3) failure to provide cogent evidence of clinical validity, (4) failure of the individual Rorschach scoring categories to be related to diagnosis, (5) lack of prognostic or predictive validity with respect to outcome of treatment or later behavior, (6) inability to differentiate between groups of normal subjects, and (7) failure to find any significant relationships between Rorschach scores and intelligence or creative ability.

During 1950-53, I was a primary research scientist on a large Air Force contract at the School of Aviation Medicine in San Antonio where I was teaching extension courses in statistics and test theory for The University of Texas. The purpose of the research was

to develop new psychiatric screening instruments to improve the selection of Air Force pilots. Much of the research dealt with anxiety and reactions to stress (Bitterman & Holtzman, 1952; Holtzman & Bitterman, 1952, 1955; Holtzman, Calvin & Bitterman, 1952; Holtzman, 1956).

One of the Air Force studies we undertook was to employ 20 prominent Rorschach experts to predict personality maladjustment under stress in otherwise “normal” individuals, using only projective technique protocols including the Rorschach. The task proved too difficult in spite of the confidence generally expressed by the clinicians concerning their predictions. When reported in a major Rorschach symposium at the 1953 annual convention of the American Psychological Association (Holtzman and Sells, 1954), these negative findings were interpreted by most academicians as the ultimate in damning evidence of the “nonsense” sometimes published in the name of projective techniques and the Rorschach. My own enthusiasm was badly shaken by the utter failure of these prominent clinicians, using various projective techniques as well as the Rorschach, to predict which Air Force pilots would later become psychiatric casualties. Nevertheless, I continued to believe strongly that the fundamental ideas underlying the technique were still intuitively attractive and could not easily be set aside, especially since I had just completed a separate study of college women that revealed a significant relationship between anxiety and color responses to inkblots (Holtzman, Iscoe, & Calvin, 1954).

Visions of a New Inkblot Technique

A Faculty Research Fellowship from the Social Science Research Council in l953-55 made it possible for me to undertake experimental studies of personality and perception as a follow up to my dissertation. Correspondence with Gardner Murphy and visits to the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas, where similar work was underway led to close collaboration with both Gardner and Lois Murphy until their retirement.

In September 1955 I moved my primary office from Psychology to the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health as the Foundation’s first Associate Director in charge of research. The Foundation’s budget had doubled, and one half of it was my new responsibility to spend wisely. An integral component of The University of Texas, the Foundation is privately endowed and supports mental health projects throughout Texas. The appointment allowed me to continue my teaching in psychology and my research on personality and perception while taking on new responsibilities to develop a major mental health research program throughout the State. Encouraged by the promising results of my early experiments and by my colleagues in the Hogg Foundation and Psychology, I embarked upon the large-scale, national development of a new personality test modeled after the Rorschach.

A fundamental confusion in much of the controversy over the Rorschach that continues unabated even today arises from failure to distinguish between the Rorschach as a projective technique in the hands of a skilled clinician and the Rorschach as a psychometric device that yields scores having relevance for personality assessment. What few clinicians realize, however, is that as soon as one decides to classify and enumerate any characteristic of a subject’s responses to the inkblots, however crude and elementary the system, one has shifted from a purely projective point of view to a psychometric frame of reference (Holtzman, 1959). To classify a given response to the whole inkblot as W, for example, assigns meaning to the response that transcends the private, idiosyncratic world of the subject. A crude form of ordinal measurement is achieved which leads to inferences of intensity as well as kind once the number of Ws is counted.

Unlike acceptable psychometric instruments that have many independent stimuli or items to each of which the subject is expected to give a response, the Rorschach has only ten inkblots as stimuli, to each of which the subject is encouraged to give as few or as many responses as he or she wishes. As Cronbach (1949 ) pointed out, the resulting wide range in number of responses with only 10 inkblots is a fatal psychometric flaw in the Rorschach that cannot be overcome adequately by any statistical manipulation. Even Hermann Rorschach really wanted more than 10 inkblots. He originally had 35 inkblots but had to settle for only ten since he had no funds to reproduce all of them (Ellenberger, 1954).

While these serious weaknesses in the standard Rorschach discouraged most experimentally oriented psychologists from further work with the method, it was becoming increasingly clear to me that a fresh point of view was urgently needed. I was convinced that the major limitations in the Rorschach could best be overcome by developing a completely new technique using many more inkblots with simplified standard procedures for administration. How could one develop psychometrically sound scoring procedures for responses to inkblots while also preserving the rich qualitative projective material of the Rorschach?

Several clues to the solution of this problem were provided by research completed in the period of intense research activity immediately following World War II. Blake and Wilson (1950) had demonstrated that the first response of a person to each inkblot had all the necessary ingredients for the standard Rorschach scoring systems. Why not limit the subject to one response per card and increase the number of inkblots? And while developing a new technique, why not construct two parallel forms that could be used inter-changeably for repeated assessment in the study of personality change? Still another innovation was suggested by Zubin’s elaborate rating system for the Rorschach which required a simple inquiry immediately after each response while it was still fresh in the mind of the subject (Zubin & Eron, 1953).

Seizing these ideas, we conducted some exploratory work on a small number of cases, asking for a single response and following it with a very simple twofold question. Where was the reported percept in the inkblot, and what about the blot suggested the percept? We estimated that a set of 45 inkblots, requiring only one response each, would take no longer to administer than a standard Rorschach. Special efforts would have to be made, however, to develop new inkblot materials which have high “pulling power” for responses involving small details, space, and color or shading attributes, to compensate for the tendency to give form-determined wholes as the first response to an inkblot. I realized that it would take a great deal of time, money, effort, and cooperation of psychologists throughout the country to develop and standardize superior sets of inkblots for major populations of individuals. Greatly encouraged by Gardner Murphy and other friends, and with financial support from the Social Science Research Council, the Hogg Foundation, and the National Institute of Mental Health, I embarked on a research program that continued for over 20 years.

Publication of the Holtzman Inkblot Technique

Development of the inkblots and national standardization of the new technique lasted from 1955 to 1962 and involved over a dozen well-known collaborators throughout the country who collected data on well-defined clinical populations. Containing 45 inkblots in each of two parallel forms, the Holtzman Inkblot Technique (HIT) was published by the Psychological Corporation (1961). The accompanying book, Inkblot Perception and Personality, authored jointly with three of my graduate research assistants, Jon Swartz, Joseph Thorpe, and Wayne Herron (1961), was awarded the Helen D. Sargent Memorial Prize by the Menninger Foundation in l962 (Holtzman, 1963).

Subsequently the Holtzman Inkblot Technique was translated into other languages and used as a research tool and for clinical assessment in many countries. Suitable versions for group administration using projected images of inkblots were also developed and published (Holtzman & Swartz, 1963; Holtzman, Moseley, Reinehr, & Abbott, 1963).

Donald Gorham, a long time colleague of mine in the Veterans Administration, developed a computer-based scoring system that was used in cross-cultural studies of college students in 17 different countries who were given the group-administrated version of the HIT (Gorham, 1967). The inkblots were displayed on a screen before a group of subjects who wrote their responses in spaces provided on the answer sheet, circling the area of the inkblot used on an outline of each blot. Computer-scored group HIT norms for these subjects as well as for high school students, U. S. Navy enlistees, schizophrenics, depressives, psychoneurotics, alcoholics, and chronic brain-syndrome patients—a total of over 5,000 subjects—were published by Gorham, Moseley, and Holtzman (1968). The computer-scored version compared favorably with subsets of hand-scored protocols on most of the inkblot scores. Unfortunately, the computer system developed by the Veterans Administration Hospital at Perry Point, Maryland, was written in machine language and did not prove sufficiently popular to justify later conversion for use by modern desk computers.

In 1988, I received the Bruno Klopfer Distinguished Contribution Award by the Society for Personality Assessment in recognition of this work on the Holtzman Inkblot Technique that is summarized in an address to the Society (Holtzman, 1988). An annotated bibliography and research guide containing summaries of over 800 articles, books, and reviews of the HIT through 1998 has been published by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health (Swartz, Reinehr, and Holtzman, 1999).

My interest in cross-cultural studies of personality was sharpened by a year at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford in l962-63. I was already designing a longitudinal study of personality development among school children supported by the National Institute of Mental Health when Rogelio Diaz Guerrero visited me at the Center and suggested that we include a similar sample in Mexico. We designed a major international project on child development in Mexico and the United States, with a team of psychologists working in Mexico City under Diaz Guerrero and a similar group in Austin under my direction. Over 800 children were tested annually for six years in an overlapping, longitudinal, cross-cultural design, using a variety of personality, cognitive, and perceptual tests, including the Holtzman Inkblot Technique. Published simultaneously in both Spanish and English, Personality Development in Two Cultures (Holtzman, Diaz Guerrero, & Swartz, 1975) contains a wealth of information concerning both similarities and differences in Mexican and North American sociocultural premises and culturally determined personality characteristics. Several journal articles on various specific findings were also published (Holtzman, 1965, 1982; Holtzman, Diaz Guerrero, Swartz, & Lara-Tapia, 1968).


A Broadening of International Interests

Throughout most of my professional career, I have been deeply involved in international psychology. My involvement began in the summer of 1955 when Werner Wolff, Secretary General of the Interamerican Society of Psychology, dropped by my office at the Hogg Foundation and asked me to consider hosting the Third Interamerican Congress of Psychology at The University of Texas. Werner was a persuasive individual who had established a good reputation as a personologist in Germany before he fled from the Nazis to Spain and then to Bard College in the United States. I was familiar with his book, Diagrams of the Unconscious (Wolff, 1948), and fascinated by his intriguing ideas. I asked my colleagues in both the Foundation and the Psychology Department what they thought of the idea and got a strong vote of support.

Lifelong Ties to Mexico

The Third Interamerican Congress was held at The University of Texas in December l955 and was pronounced a big success. Among the 30 Mexicans attending was Rogelio Diaz Guerrero with whom I would later develop a lifelong friendship as well as many collaborations, both personal and professional. The next year, I led a delegation of psychologists to Mexico for a 3-day planning conference with our new friends, resulting in a series of small international projects. In June 1957 I made a longer trip by auto with my family, spending a few days with Rogelio and his family and touring parts of Mexico. Thereafter we made at least one trip a year to Mexico for many years, and Rogelio did the same to Texas.

Meanwhile Joe Neal, Director of the International Office at the University, took me on one of his trips to Monterrey where we worked out some agreements with another psychologist, Edgardo Reyes Salcido, at the Instituto Tecnologico y Escuela Superior de Monterrey. Soon the Hogg Foundation was supporting several research projects in Texas and northern Mexico dealing with mental health, juvenile delinquency, and culture. Books on these and other cross-cultural, mental health topics were subsequently published by the University of Texas Press in a series of research monographs that I edited or authored.

This international activity with Mexican psychologists and other social scientists grew rapidly over the next several decades. In addition to visiting professorships in psychology at The University and its counterpart in Mexico, the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, I organized a series of exchanges for the psychology faculty and their students between the University and various Mexican universities. In January 1961, over 100 Mexican psychologists spent three weeks in Austin, attending short courses offered by our faculty, making new friends in the community, and learning about American culture. The success of this first exchange led to four more like it over the next 15 years as well as many smaller exchanges in both directions, some of which are still continuing to this day. Over four hundred psychologists from Mexico and one hundred faculty and graduate students from Texas benefited from these exchanges (Holtzman, 1970). Many of the Mexicans are now in positions of leadership throughout their country. Many Austin families also enjoyed serving as hosts for the visitors.

Years later, Rogelio and I even exchanged sons when they were in college. The oldest of my four sons, Wayne Holtzman, Jr., spent a year with Rogelio’s family while working on a master’s degree in education. He was already thoroughly bilingual and shortly thereafter married a Mexican psychologist, Elsa Hernandez. Both of them completed their graduate studies in school psychology at The University of Texas at Austin before accepting faculty appointments at the National University in Mexico. Rogelio’s son, Rolando Diaz Loving, lived with us in Austin while enrolled as a psychology undergraduate at The University of Texas. He later completed his doctoral work at the University in personality and social psychology before returning to Mexico where he has been a leading psychologist on the faculty at the National University.

For many years, I continued to be deeply involved in the development of psychology in Mexico, elsewhere in Latin America, and throughout the world. I was elected President of the Interamerican Society of Psychology in l966 and received the first Interamerican Psychology Award in l979, the same year in which I was recognized as a Profesor Honorario by the Universidad San Martin de Porres in Peru. The ceremonies that evening in Lima, Peru, were held in spite of the fact that a minor revolution underway made travel across the city difficult. In l987, my many friends and former students in Mexico organized a special ceremony to elect me as their first foreigner to be an Honorary Life Member of the Mexican Society of Psychology.

A Global Expansion of Interests

My activities became global in l972 when I was elected Secretary General of the International Union of Psychological Science. Members of the Union are national psychological societies or national science academies, one per country. The Secretary General is the chief executive officer who must travel to distant lands and help organize international congresses for psychologists. My wife Joan and I would always travel together on these trips, frequently visiting former foreign students whom we had met at The University of Texas. When possible, our sons would also travel abroad with us. During several summers we traveled across Europe in our Volkswagen camper, mingling with local families and enjoying a few rounds of golf. These were great educational experiences for the whole family. In l984 I was elected President of the Union and continued to serve on its Executive Committee until retirement in l992, the same year in which I received the Centennial Award from the American Psychological Association for distinguished contributions to international psychology. In 1996 at the 104th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, I received the Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology.

After stepping down as an officer of the Union, I continued to be involved in international psychology, most recently as a co-author with Mark Rosenzweig, David Belanger, and Michel Sabourin of History of the International Union of Psychological Science (2000). At the time of my retirement in 1993 from full-time employment as President of the Hogg Foundation and Hogg Professor of Psychology and Education at The University of Texas, I agreed to be the initial director of a new bicultural center between Mexico and Texas. With an ungainly but meaningful title, the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Research and Training in Mental Health and Psychosocial Factors in Health has focused particularly upon La Patria Chica, the 1,000-mile border region defined by the Rio Grande River between Mexico and Texas. The Center has grown to consist of over 70 scientific associates—psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, public health specialists, and other behavioral scientists from the major universities of Mexico and Texas who are actively involved in cross-cultural studies in mental health and behavioral medicine.


Administration, Public Service, and Family Life

In addition to my professional activities as a psychologist, I have always had administrative and public service responsibilities, beginning as assistant chairman of Psychology at Texas under Dallenbach in 1951-54, and continuing with the Hogg Foundation thereafter. In l964, I was appointed Dean of the College of Education at The University of Texas where I led a reorganization of the College, greatly strengthening the graduate research faculty with key joint appointments from many other departments. It was a wonderful time to develop new programs in education because of the major expansion of federal activities under the Great Society movement of the late 1960s. At Texas we were able to launch major new educational research laboratories ranging from computer-assisted instruction to science and mathematics curriculum centers. The nationally recognized Research and Development Center for Teacher Education and the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory were also founded during this period. From 1970 until my retirement in 1993, I served as president of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health while continuing as Hogg Professor of Psychology and Education.

Throughout my career as a research psychologist, professor, and administrator, I have been fortunate to enjoy a supportive, enthusiastic, highly talented wife and four sons, Wayne, Jamie, Scott, and Karl, who understood when it was time to work and when it was okay to relax, play, and have a good time together. From my childhood on, I have been blessed with good health, lots of energy, and a positive, can-do attitude toward life and its challenges. I have always enjoyed hard work, especially physical activity, and as a student I developed a knack for getting things done quickly and efficiently—personal traits that have served me well over the years. While moving from Stanford to Texas in the summer of 1949, we took advantage of the auto trip to see the national parks of the Southwest and to spend several days in Denver attending my first convention of the American Psychological Association. Our first born, Wayne Jr., was then only 10 months old. I carried him on my back everywhere, much to the amusement of other conventioneers. Ever since, each year on the way to and from professional meetings we vacationed together as a family, often camping in national parks or in my beloved North Woods.

There is nothing like a tent and campfire cooking to promote family togetherness! On one occasion, our tent was pitched on the sands of Cape Hatteras just as a hurricane blew in. Much of the night was spent with Joan and the three older boys holding down the tent’s four corners while I held on to the center pole. The next morning, our gear was completely buried in the sand and a lake had formed outside. As we staggered out into the sunlight, I was surprised and pleased to see an old psychology friend, Nick Hobbs, flying a kite and welcoming us on the beach.

Like many other psychologists, during my career I served on countless committees and boards. While serving as chairman of the APA Committee on Ethical Standards (1956-62), the committee revised the initial code and accompanying case book assembled by Nicholas Hobbs, resulting in a streamlined version of two dozen principles and corollaries that served as a basis for subsequent revisions. I also served as a member of the APA Education and Training Board (1958-61) during the period when the plan for clinical training programs established at the Boulder conference was being seriously questioned.

Among my favorites were committees dealing with international affairs--the APA Committee on International Training (1962-63), the Science Committee of the U.S. National Commission to UNESCO (1963-66), the APA Committee on International Relations in Psychology (1966-68), the NRC Committee on International Relations in the Behavioral Sciences (1966-71), the Executive Committee of the International Union of Psychological Science (1972-92), and the International Social Science Council (1976-84). One of my international projects was full of adventure. In 1963 at the time the Peace Corps was just getting underway, Nick Hobbs persuaded me to take on a major study of the Peace Corps Volunteers who were destined to work in 23 small, isolated communities scattered along the San Francisco River in northern Brazil. Shortly after we signed the contract and completed the initial assessment of the 125 Volunteers while in training, a revolution occurred in Brazil and the counterpart Brazilian partners for each of the Peace Corp Volunteers never materialized, nor did the infrastructure support promised by the Brazilian government.

Rather than abandon the study, we completely changed the design.  Instead of studying the impact of the Volunteers upon the 23 communities, we evaluated the stressful impact of village life upon the isolated Volunteers. My partners who were collecting data in Brazil visited all the communities and gathered extensive information about each Volunteer after 18 months in the field. The Brazilian pilot of the small plane chartered for travel from one village to the next died in a jungle crash toward the end of the study, but fortunately my research associates were not hurt. Several of the assessment instruments, including the Holtzman Inkblot Technique and the Edwards Personal Preference Inventory, yielded personality measures that were significantly correlated with subsequent performance of the Volunteers in the field. A book was written two years later, describing the project and its findings (Holtzman, Santos, Bouquet, & Barth, 1966).

During a long career in mental health, I also served the National Institutes of Health in various capacities starting with the Behavioral Sciences Study Section (1957-59) and continuing with the Mental Health Study Section (l959-60), the Psychology Training Committee (l959-62), the chairmanship of the Personality and Cognition Research Review Committee (1968-72), the chairmanship of Social and Behavioral Development for the President's Biomedical Research Panel (1975-76), and the National Advisory Mental Health Council (1978-81).

Other noteworthy appointments include serving on the Board of Directors for the Social Science Research Council, 1957-63, serving three terms as a trustee of Educational Testing Service between l972 and l986, and serving on the boards of the Foundations’ Fund for Research in Psychiatry (1973-77), the Board of Trustees for the Center for Applied Linguistics, and the IBM Latin American Advisory Board (1985-89). My old friends, Bob Glaser and Ralph Tyler, persuaded me to join the Board of Visitors for the Learning Research and Development Center at Pittsburgh where I kept a hand in educational research (1969-86). During that same period, I was president of the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (1969-76) and chairman of the NRC/NAS Committee to Study the Selection and Placement of Students in Programs for the Mentally Retarded (1980-82). Within psychology I served as president of The Texas Psychological Association (1956-57), the Southwestern Psychological Association (1958-59), the Interamerican Society of Psychology (1966-67), the APA Division of Evaluation and Measurement (1969-70), and the International Union of Psychological Science (1988-92). In my role as a foundation head, I was elected president of the Conference of Southwest Foundations (1978-79), and of the Philosophical Society of Texas (1982-83).

In addition to my personal research and writing, I served as editorial advisor for psychology books published by Harper and Row from 1963 until l975. I was editor of the Journal of Educational Psychology (1966-72) and associate editor of the Journal of International Psychology (1973-84), as well as consulting editor for a number of journals throughout the world.

Over the years, I have had more than my share of honors and awards. In addition to those mentioned earlier from the American Psychological Association and the Society for Personality Assessment, I was recognized in 1974 by the Texas Psychological Association that gave me their first Distinguished Psychologist Award. Again in 1990, the Texas Psychological Association gave me their first Distinguished Professor Award. I was also the first to receive the Interamerican Psychology Award from the Interamerican Society of Psychology. And in 1979 I received an award for outstanding contributions to the field of mental health by the Association of Psychiatric Outpatient Centers of America. One year later, I was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Southwestern University. At the time of my retirement in 1993, I was very pleased to learn that my friends had raised enough money to endow the Wayne H. Holtzman Chair in Psychology at The University of Texas in my honor.

Although retired from full time teaching and administration I continue to be active on a half time basis with the Hogg Foundation, as a trustee of the Menninger Foundation, as a director of the Menninger Clinic, as Chairman of the Population Resource Center in Princeton, New Jersey, and as a member of the Development Board for the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Most of all, I enjoy life in Austin, Texas with my wife Joan, and with our four sons, their wives and 10 grandchildren, while continuing to participate actively in many community affairs and writing occasional papers on psychology or mental health. It has been a great half-century in so many ways, and I continue to be optimistic about the future, especially for psychology, mental health, and the behavioral sciences in general.


  •   Map
  • Department of Psychology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    SEA 4.208
    108 E. Dean Keeton Stop A8000
    Austin, TX 78712-1043