Frank Farley

Frank H. Farley is a humanistic psychologist and a past president of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA). He teaches at Temple University and has been a fellow or a leader of several scholarly societies. He has published research on a wide range of topics, from risk-taking personalities to men who visit massage parlors.[1][2]

Frank H. Farley
Alma materUniversity of Saskatchewan; University of London (Ph.D.)
Known forAPA president, 1993
Scientific career
FieldsEducational psychology
InstitutionsUniversity of Wisconsin–Madison; Temple University
Doctoral advisorHans Eysenck


Farley was born in Edmonton, Alberta.[3] He says that when he was eight years old, he tried to assist an elderly neighbor who was having a heart attack. Some of his friends froze in the moment. The man died, but the experience later sparked a scientific interest in the psychology of heroic actions.[4] He earned an undergraduate degree and a master's degree from the University of Saskatchewan and a PhD from the University of London.[5] Between 1966 and 1995, Farley taught at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[5] He is the Laura H. Carnell Professor of Educational Psychology at Temple University.[6]

Farley was the president of the AERA in 1980–1981.[7] He was on the board of directors for the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences (ISSID) between 1983 and 1991.[8] He served as APA president in 1993.[9] For the period of 2014-2016, Farley represents Division 32 (Society for Humanistic Psychology) on the APA Council of Representatives.[10] He was elected president of the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence for a term beginning in August 2015.[11] A founding officer of the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, he has held several positions on the board of that organization.[12]

Farley formulated the concept of the Type T (thrill-seeking) personality.[13] He theorizes that Type T personalities require an increased level of stimulation to maintain their energy levels.[14] In a 2011 Los Angeles Times opinion piece, Farley discussed infidelity among politicians, pointing out that the risk-taking behaviors that led to political success might also predispose to acts of sexual indiscretion.[15] Farley writes a blog, "The People's Professor", for Psychology Today.[16]

After the release of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 2013, Farley characterized the system of psychiatric diagnosis as "beyond fixing" and said that it was "time to rethink the whole concept." [17] He has specifically criticized the inclusion of somatic symptom disorder, saying, "Yes, the mind and body are intimately connected. But let's not create mental illnesses where hyper concern over serious physical health status is all that is going on."[3]

On May 4, 2017, The Globe and Mail published an op-ed by Farley, a psychologist and L.H.Carnell Professor at Temple University, which used Marisa Lazo as an example of an individual with a Type T personality.[18] Lazo was an urban explorer, who had recently climbed a twelve-storey construction tower, and then shinnied down the cable to its hook, only to require emergency personnel to rescue her. Farley went on to describe individuals whose thrill-seeking had a negative effect on society, and those whose thrill-seeking had a positive effect.

Awards and honors

Selected publications


  • Farley, Frank H.; Farley, Sonja V. (1970). "Impulsiveness, sociability, and the preference for varied experience". Perceptual and Motor Skills. 31 (1): 47–50. doi:10.2466/pms.1970.31.1.47. PMID 5454503.
  • Farley, Frank H.; Sewell, Trevor (1976). "Test of an arousal theory of delinquency: Stimulation-seeking in delinquent and nondelinquent black adolescents". Criminal Justice and Behavior. 3 (4): 315–320. doi:10.1177/009385487600300402.
  • Farley, Frank H.; Davis, Sandy A. (1978). "Masseuses, men, and massage parlors: An expoloratory descriptive study". Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. 4 (3): 219–225. doi:10.1080/00926237808403020. PMID 722823.
  • Farley, Frank H.; Davis, Sandy A. (1980). "Personality and sexual satisfaction in marriage". Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. 6 (1): 56–62. doi:10.1080/00926238008404246. PMID 7381949.
  • Morehouse, Richard E.; Farley, Frank H.; Youngquist, James V. (1990). "Type T personality and the Jungian classification system". Journal of Personality Assessment. 54 (1–2): 231–5. doi:10.1080/00223891.1990.9673989 (inactive 2019-12-03). PMID 2313544. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  • Reyna, Valerie; Farley, Frank (2006). "Risk and rationality in adolescent decision making: Implications for theory, practice, and public policy". Psychological Science in the Public Interest. 7 (1): 1–44. doi:10.1111/j.1529-1006.2006.00026.x. PMID 26158695.


  • "The Type-T Personality", in Self-regulatory Behavior and Risk Taking: Causes and Consequences (1991).


  1. Farley, Frank H.; Davis, Sandy A. (1978). "Masseuses, men, and massage parlors: An expoloratory descriptive study". Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. 4 (3): 219–225. doi:10.1080/00926237808403020. PMID 722823.
  2. Stamoulis, Kathryn; Farley, Frank (2010). "Conceptual approaches to adolescent online risk-taking". Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace. 4 (1). Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  3. Kirkey, Sharon (February 25, 2013). "New 'catch all' psychiatric disorder could label people who worry about their health as mentally ill". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  4. Jerome, Richard; Schindehette, Susan; Charles, Nick; Fields-Meyer, Thomas (November 22, 1999). "Heroes among us". People. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  5. "Frank Farley speaks about Type T personalities Nov. 17". University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  6. "Frank Farley, PhD". Temple University. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  7. "AERA Past Presidents". American Educational Research Association. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  8. "Officers and Directors". International Society for the Study of Individual Differences. Archived from the original on July 1, 2014. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  9. "Frank Farley, PhD: 1993 APA President". American Psychological Association. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  10. "Frank Farley, PhD". American Psychological Association. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  11. "Dr. Frank Farley elected president of the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict & Violence". Temple University. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  12. "Past Leadership". Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  13. Rouvalis, Christina (June 14, 2006). "Risk-taking can be a two-faced monster". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  14. Zweig, Connie (May 17, 1987). "Daredevils fit to a "T"". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  15. Farley, Frank (May 22, 2011). "What makes politicians stray?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  16. "The People's Professor". Psychology Today. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  17. McGowan, Kat (January 24, 2014). "New disputes over psychiatry's manual". Discover. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  18. Frank Farley (2017-05-04). "Could the Toronto crane-climber use thrill-seeking as a tool for social good?". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2017-05-02. Why do people climb very high, on dangerous cranes, violating the law, alone and in the dark of the night? Perhaps they have a Type T, or thrill-seeking, risk-taking personality? Such an adventure would certainly be a thrill, and definitely a risk. Marisa Lazo, 23, was rescued April 26 from a stint – or should that be stunt? – on a very tall construction crane in Toronto, in a rescue operation requiring several hours that taxed the skills and risk-taking capacities of her trained rescuers.
  19. "Fellows". American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  20. "Fellow Members". American Educational Research Association. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  21. "Fellows of the Society". Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  22. "Alumni of Influence". University of Saskatchewan. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
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