Gerard Heymans (1857-1930) was the founder of psychology in the Netherlands, and established the first psychological laboratory. After becoming professor, he first looked for general psychological laws, and later became interested in how people differ. Heymans investigated this question by studying biographies and collecting survey data. With this rigorous approach that far exceeded the standards of his time, he arrived at three basic dimensions in which people can vary in their temperament. This became the renowned ‘Heymans Cube’.

Through decades of lectures for students and professors of all faculties, the theory became widely popular. This book provides a translation and adaptation of the original work, Heymans’ Inleiding tot de speciale psychologie (1929). The authors explain Heymans’ theory in an accessible way and make it come alive through illustrations inspired by the original text.


Rinske Vermeij completed her Bachelor and Master in Psychology at the Heymans Institute of the University of Groningen. Her Master Thesis on the place of qualitative research methods in psychology was awarded the Jan Brouwer Thesis Award. Afterwards she returned to the university to pursue her PhD on the societal relevance of the Heymans Cube.

Corné Vroomen oriented himself broadly throughout his education, with the ambition to disseminate psychological knowledge and expertise. For his master Theory and History of Psychology, he writes his thesis on how to make psychology available as a course for secondary education in the Netherlands.



The physical books of the University of Groningen Press are distributed in collaboration with Uitgeverij kleine Uil.

The Open Access editions are available University of Groningen Press

ISBN ePDF: 9789403430317
ISBN ePub: 9789403430263
DOI 10.21827/648c595c1651a

Heymans’ Cube