Alfons Chorus: beeld van de mens en psycholoog

Translated title of the contribution: Alfons Chorus: portrait of the man and psychologist

R.C.M. Chorus

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 2 (Research NOT UU / Graduation UU)


    The biography describes the life and work of the psychologist Alfons Chorus (1909-1998). He followed studies on psychology at the newly founded Catholic University of Nijmegen and on psychopathology at Utrecht University. In 1937 he joined the ‘Paedologisch Instituut’ in Nijmegen. This institute did research on malajusted children for whom Chorus developed a classification. Main categories were 'restless' and 'autistic' children. He became the first in the world to dedicate - in 1942 - a scientific publication to this form of autism. In 1940 he gained his PhD on Het tempo van ongedurige kinderen (The tempo of restless children), a category that now falls under the disorder ADHD. In 1942 Chorus published Zuigeling en Kleuter (Suckling and Toddler) with practical educational tips. For 20 years this book remained the reference on education for Catholics in the Netherlands. In 1947 Chorus was appointed Professor of Psychology in Leiden. The oldest and most renowned University of the country was the last to establish a Chair in that subject, and he was allowed to shape psychology studies in Leiden and educate a generation of psychology students till he retired in 1979. Chorus engaged in all areas of his profession until the creation of the Faculty of Social Sciences in 1963. From that moment he gradually restricted his scientific activities to developmental and personality psychology. In his writings Chorus argued that psychology contains scientific aspects, but is even more related to the Humanities. With apprehension he noted that Dutch psychology took a turn in the direction of the American, 'empirical-analytical' approach. Thus it left the more philosophically oriented European direction behind it. In the late 1950s he wrote two books on the mapping of the personality. He referred to the typology of Heymans and argued that those types are temperaments that are defined by natural predispositions. Characters are based on them as a 'superstructure', depending on environment and experience. Taking into account the whole life course of man he advocated the use of the 'biographical method', as he saw in the biography 'the for the psychologist exemplary way to depict man in his totality'. As a follow-up to his work on the biographical method Chorus also focused on biography itself, as a source of insight into human nature. At the end of his career Chorus paid most of his attention to the care for mentally disabled and retarded children. He focused on the professionalisation of this care, which in the 1950s still was the domain of physicians and psychiatrists. His aim was to widen the care teams by taking in psychologists and pedagogues, using game-and behaviour therapy.
    Translated title of the contributionAlfons Chorus: portrait of the man and psychologist
    Original languageDutch
    Awarding Institution
    • Utrecht University
    • Koops, Willem, Primary supervisor
    • Heiser, W.J., Supervisor, External person
    • Bos, Jaap, Co-supervisor
    • Hilberdink, K., Co-supervisor, External person
    Award date8 Feb 2019
    Print ISBNs978-90-8850-888-2
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2019


    • autism
    • biographical method
    • mental deficiency
    • restless children
    • retarded maturation
    • typology


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