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Culminations, 2000

Ken Hammond
Boulder, CO

The year 2000 has been an active one for me. My book Judgments Under Stress (Oxford) was published in January, on my 83rd birthday [almost]. Although I have not yet seen any reviews, I am pleased with this book because it fulfills a long-standing aim: to work out an application of Brunswikian theory to an important area of J/DM.

I chose the area of the effect of stress on judgment because it presents a central topic of both theoretical and practical importance that can hardly be over-estimated. In addition, it is one that I have long believed represented an excellent example of psychological research at its worst; that is, the repeated application of the "find the effect of a variable" paradigm, leaving every conclusion contingent upon a limited set of conditions.

So, in an attempt to demonstrate how Brunswikian psychology can produce a new, different, and productive approach, I present in this book a conception of stress derived from Brunswik's emphasis on the theory of constancy as "the essence of life" (1956, p. 23). From that standpoint, the disruption of constancy "presents a threat to the organism that induces not merely an affective response but a cognitive one" (Hammond, 2000, p. 69).

I insist that this point of departure is a solid one (in contrast to conventional work) based as it is on an empirical discovery (constancy) that represents not only a miraculous organismic achievement, but is apparent throughout the animal world.

But for those who would prefer to stand on the accomplishments of current and past stress research, I include for their evaluation an extensive annotated bibliography of this work, which I claim to be useless. In short, I offer a Brunswikian framework as a new point of departure for theory and research on stress-related judgments. Perhaps it will serve as a model for applications of Brunswikian theory to other areas, long smothered by conventional research methods.

A second publishing event occurred in 2000 that fulfilled another of my long-standing goals, no, dreams, and that was the completion of the preparation of Brunswik's English-language papers for publication. These are to be included in a book titled The Essential Brunswik: Beginnings, Explications, Applications (Oxford) (see http://www.brunswik.org/resources/ ebcontents.html).

The book manuscript is now in its final stages of production and will appear in 2001. It should provide ready access to original sources for Brunswikian researchers, something that has been lacking for nearly a half century. Those interested in Brunswikian theory and research will no longer have to be satisfied with secondary sources.

This work was carried out in collaboration with Tom Stewart, without whom this project would never have got off the ground, or seen the light of day. He did the hard, detailed work of gaining the cooperation of 29 authors, not including ourselves, and putting all of the 48 chapters together in a sensible form. Most important, he saw the preparation through to its conclusion, despite the obstacles and frustrations that efforts of this kind inevitably encounter. I suggest that at the next meeting of the Brunswik Society, Tom be given a medal in the form of a gold embossed lens model (of course).

As you probably know, all the royalties from this book will go to the treasury of the Brunswik Society.

I was happy to see that in 2000 Oxford saw fit to bring out a paperback copy of my Human Judgment and Social Policy book.

Currently, I am at work on a book manuscript to be titled Human Judgment in the Information Age: Getting Better - or Worse?" It is intended for the "trade" market. I am roughly half-way to reaching my goal.

Contact Ken Hammond

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