Tag Archives: Hammond

Mass Hysteria to the Rescue

ebolaThis post is a reaction to the column by Bret Stephens that appeared in the October 21, 2014, Wall Street Journal, entitled: “What the Ebola Experts Miss.” The column starts out:

Of course we should ban all nonessential travel from Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and any other country badly hit by the Ebola virus.


Continue reading

Spiral Model of Musical Decision Making

bach800px-VI_allemande_1This post is based on, “A spiral model of musical decision-making,” written by Daniel Bangert, Emery Schubert and Dorottya Fabian that appeared in Frontiers of Psychology on April 22, 2014. Although based on thin research, my intuition likes it, and it would seem to have applicability beyond music. It splices together ideas of Ken Hammond (post Cognitive Continuum), Jonathan Evans (post Dual Process Theories of Cognition), and Amy Baylor (post U-Shaped Intuition).

Research has shed light on how both intuition and deliberation are used by musicians. Bangert et. al. refer to Hallam who interviewed twenty-two performers about their practice habits and found differences between those who were “intuitive/serialists” who allowed their interpretation to evolve unconsciously versus “analytic/holists.” who relied on deliberate, conscious analysis of the piece. Other research has shown that while performing, musicians pay deliberate attention to certain specific musical aspects (performance cues) and also have spontaneous performance thoughts.

Continue reading

Intuition and Deliberation, One Process or Two?

heartindexThis post examines: “How distinct are intuition and deliberation? An eye-tracking analysis of instruction-induced decision modes,” written by Nina Horstmann, Andrea Ahlgrimm, and Andreas Glöckner that appeared in the August, 2009, Judgment and Decision Making. A long tradition of dual-process models postulates a clear distinction between intuition and deliberation. As Kahneman’s book title pointed out dual-process models differ, but all include Thinking Fast and Slow. By 1980 Hammond (post Cognitive Continuum) had already suggested that intuition and deliberation are not completely distinct categories of cognitive processes between which people switch. Rather, they are seen as poles of a cognitive continuum, and task factors influence how far one moves toward one or the other pole.

Continue reading

Cognitive Continuum

cogcont3182333_NRP2011-524918.001The categories for this blog were taken from the table of contents of  the 1988 version of Rational Choice in an Uncertain World The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making edited by Reid Hastie and Robin Dawes. At this point, they need to be reorganized. For instance, the theory and models category, do I really know what a dual process model is? Is the cognitive continuum theory single process or dual process?  Frankly, Kahneman’s System 1 and System 2 seem to constitute a weak dual process model concept. But does the difference between a dual process and a single process matter? Or is it a little like a multiple strategy or single strategy framework where even a unifying model can account for differences only by assuming different parameter values? And different parameter values constitute a structurally similar problem to strategy selection in a multiple strategies framework. (See post Automatic Decision Making) . Regardless, I am going to look at Ken Hammond’s cognitive continuum model from 1980. In followup posts, I anticipate working on dual process theories and maybe a nifty combination.

Hammond’s  cognitive continuum theory proposes that different forms of cognition (intuitive, analytical, common sense) are situated in relation to one another along a continuum that places intuitive processing at one end and analytical processing at the other. The properties of reasoning (e.g., cognitive control, awareness of cognitive ability, speed of cognitive activity) vary in degree, and the structural features of the tasks that invoke reasoning processes also vary along the continuum, according to the degree of cognitive activity they are predicted to induce.

Continue reading


intransitiveimagesThis post is based on a paper that does a good job of providing a general picture of some of the big questions in decision making.  The experiments with their small samples (even though the results are statistically significant) seem unlikely to be definitive, but the overall measure of transitivity, I think is a good one.  I usually think about transitivity only once a year, when I am getting my eyes tested–Which one is clearer is it a or b? Now is it b or c? …Transitivity is usually considered required for rationality. In this paper, they use it as a measure of both intuition and analysis. Of course, transitivity does not work in rock, paper, scissors, and humans seem to be able to be quite irrational in certain of their preferences.

Continue reading

Signal detection theory

http://www.cis.rit.edu/people/faculty/montag/vandplite/pages/chap_5/ch5p1.htmlI used material from Ken Hammond in his book Human Judgment and Social Policy, Irreducible Uncertainty, Inevitable Error, Unavoidable Injustice in my previous post. In the book he makes the point, previously lost on me, that a key risk is never mentioned in discussions of the 1986 Challenger disaster–the risk of a false negative.

Continue reading

Irreducible Uncertainty, Inevitable Error, Unavoidable Injustice

socialdownloadSometimes it is easy to figure out the subject of the next post.  Other times, nothing seems interesting.  In my opinion, no one has written on the subject of judgment and decision making in a more insightful and interesting way than Kenneth R. Hammond.  I have looked at two of his books in previous posts: Judgments Under Stress and Beyond Rationality (three posts).  For now I am going to cherry pick part of the epilogue of his book Human Judgment and Social Policy, Irreducible Uncertainty, Inevitable Error, Unavoidable Injustice.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Beyond Rationality Part 3

Muon_neutrino_oscillation_longHammond has his own theme and that is basically to use both coherence and correspondence in the study of human judgment. He asserts that is not possible to do a little of both coherence and correspondence in one judgment, but it is possible to oscillate between the tactics of judgment. Hammond sees no winner between empiricism (correspondence) and rationalism (coherence).  Hammond suggests robust flexibility as the effective cognitive activity of human judgment. Flexibility refers to the ease of oscillation along the cognitive continuum between intuition and analysis. Robust refers to the fact that this cognitive process produces good empirical accuracy.  Robust flexibility is common sense and the movement along the cognitive continuum means that it is ambiguous and hard to define.  “Common sense (robust flexibility) means engaging in as much analytical work as required, and in as much intuition as will suffice, because intuition is by far the easiest.”  Finding the right mix of rules and discretion varies, and successful cognition must be adapted to the structure of information in the environment.  Common sense is easy to appeal to and to tell stories about, but not so easy to implement. Hammond recommends humility and not abandoning the good for the unattainable best.

Hammond, K.R. (2007) Beyond Rationality: The Search for Wisdom in a Troubled Time.  U.S.A:  Oxford University Press.

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.

Continue reading