Category Archives: Correspondence

Atrial Fibrillation

afindexDr Thomas Tape wrote an article “Coherence and correspondence in medicine” that appeared in the March 2009 edition of Judgment and Decision Making.  As you might expect, Dr Tape is applying some of the ideas of Kenneth Hammond to medicine.  Tape notes that the distinction between coherence (making logical sense) and correspondence (being empirically correct) seldom appears in the medical literature.

Tape suggests that the field of medicine began with coherence approaches and has only recently adopted correspondence approaches at all. The original rationale for bloodletting was based on the idea that disease comes from an imbalance of humors.  This coherent argument was around for hundreds of years before being dispelled.  It seems surprising that patient outcome was not the indicator of choice, but even today with medical progress and sophisticated statistics, it is not so easy to tell what works.

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Judgments Under Stress

hellodaveKen Hammond wrote a book, Judgments Under Stress, published in 2000.  He was clearly frustrated with how the field of psychology dealt with stress and used his book as a vehicle to change the discussion.  Hammond really wants to talk about constancy while stress is a constancy disruptor. Hammond’s mentor, Egon Brunswik, saw constancy as the essence of life.  Hammond asserts that the orientation of the organism is directed toward maintaining stable relations with the environment, and that disruption of those stable relations is the definition of stress.

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Beyond Rationality Part 2

2012-11-30 12.18.30-1This is the second post about Ken Hammond’s book Beyond Rationality.

Correspondence Researchers

Egon Brunswik abandoned the stimulus-organism-response of the day for his environmental texture as far back as 1935. But he got little notice, especially with the advent of the computer in the 1960s.  Texture could not compete with physics and the computer. But by the end of the twentieth century, there was an emphasis on ecology and environmental texture. As Hammond notes, the times have caught up with Brunswik.  Of course, this emphasis goes back to Darwin’s “entangled bank”.  Darwin made the point that living organisms evolve and survive in entangled relationships among other evolving organisms, all coping with the fallible indicators that are others’ behaviors.

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Beyond Rationality Part 1

brunswikKenneth R Hammond’s book Beyond Rationality-the Search for Wisdom in a Troubled Time was published in 2007.  Ken Hammond is a man in his 90s and this book and really all his writings have a frankness that is easy to like. He is quite willing to look at the people and themes in the world of judgment and decision making and tell you what he thinks.  He is clearly a learned man, and I enjoy his discussions about Oliver Wendell Holmes, Abraham Lincoln, and recent politicians. Hammond says a lot in this book, but I am going to try to limit my discussion of it to three posts.

The above image is Egon Brunswik, who was Ken Hammond’s mentor.  The picture is at the beginning of Beyond Rationality.  

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Technology and the Ecological Hybrid

airlinerimagesIn the Invisible Gorilla,  Chabris and Simons briefly address how pilots with heads up displays sometimes missed planes in plain view on the ground.  The technology gets pilots eyes looking in more or less the right direction to see more, but looking is not seeing.  Beyond the illusion of attention, the heads up display does not help them see what they are not expecting to see.  In the conclusion of their book, they state the following:

Technology can help us, but we must first be willing to acknowledge that automated judgments may sometimes be better than our own judgments-a difficult and controversial step. Still, we do not think that technological innovation can entirely solve the problem. A complementary approach to replacing human judgment might be to change our environment so that our limitations become irrelevant. In other words, if we know the limits of our cognition, we can redesign our surroundings to avoid the consequences of mistaken intuitions.

This sounds much like an airplane cockpit and points out some of the issues.  Kathleen L. Mosier is an expert on this subject and I am going to look at her paper, “Searching for coherence in a correspondence world.”  She not only helps better understand the nuances of the cockpit, but she also looks at the two primary constructs that enable us to evaluate our decision making.  As she notes, Ken Hammond is the coherence/correspondence guru, but Mosier uses the framework well.

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