Michael Apter was born in 1939, and spent his early life in Bristol (UK), attending Clifton College before going on to Bristol University where he obtained a B.Sc in 1960, and a Ph.D in 1965. He also spent a graduate year in Princeton and a graduate year in King’s College London while working on his doctorate.
He was on the faculty of Cardiff University from 1967 to 1988, being awarded a Readership in Psychology in 1984. During the seventies, collaborating with the psychiatrist Kenneth Smith, he established the foundations of a new theory of personality, motivation and emotion that became known as “Reversal Theory.” This has generated much research and been the subject of numerous books, papers, international conferences and dissertations. There is also an International Reversal Theory Society, and a Reversal Theory Journal (The Journal of Motivation, Emotion and Personality: Reversal Theory Studies).
He has written or edited 17 books, together with numerous research papers and book chapters.
In 1998, with colleagues, he set up a management consultancy company in the UK – Apter International – using reversal theory for such purposes as self-development, team-building, leadership and social advocacy. Subsequently offices were set up in the U.S.A. and a similar company – Apter France – was established in Paris.
In 1988 he emigrated to the United States where, in parallel with his consultancy work, he has held visiting faculty positions at Purdue, Chicago, Northwestern, Yale and Georgetown. He has also had visiting positions in Toulouse (France), Marseilles (France), Barcelona (Spain), Bergen (Norway) and elsewhere.
Michael Apter is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society (since 1978) and a Fellow of the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies (since 1985).
He lives in Louisiana with his wife Mitzi Desselles who has an endowed chair in Psychology at Louisiana Tech University.