Tagged: Amusing

Punched card equipment and questionnaires

“It can be said that some of the questionnaires used in these surveys contain everything but the proverbial kitchen sink, and once such a questionnaire has been filled in by a sizable group its author has the ‘basic’ data at hand for a half dozen articles. If he is fortunate enough to have punched card equipment, it becomes the misfortune of his professional contemporaries to find the literature being filled with results of cross tabulations which are so lacking in rationale as to be nonsensical. The ‘hypothesis’ step in scientific reasoning and research seems to be all too frequently ignored by the users of these techniques.”

McNemar, Q. (1946). Opinion-attitude methodology. Psychological Bulletin, 43(4), 289–374.

Mental testing

“The unfortunate habit in the mental testing field of devising a new test, administering it to some arbitrarily chosen group of subjects, calling these ‘the standardization population’, and then leaving it at that, does not seem to call for comment.” (Ehrenberg, 1955, p. 26, footnote 1)

Ehrenberg, A. S. C. (1955). Measurement and mathematics in psychology. British Journal of Psychology, 46(1), 20–9. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23957389




“The address that Moore delivered to the British Academy, entitled ‘Proof of an External World,’ caused him a great deal of torment in its preparation. He worked hard at it, but the concluding portion displeased him, and he could not get it right as the time approached for his appearance before the Academy. On the day of the lecture he was still distressed about the ending of the paper. As he was about to leave the house to take the train to London, Mrs. Moore said, in order to comfort him, ‘Cheer up! I’m sure they will like it.’ To which Moore made this emphatic reply: ‘If they do, they’ll be wrong!’” — Norman Malcolm (hat tip: Martin Kusch).

New Statesperson leftish restaurant reviews

The great thing about New Statesman is how easy it is now to steer clear of the political gossipy crap with which it pads out its pages. Nicholas Lezard’s column is always my first read (see him in full flow on pub quizzes over there), followed swiftly by Will Self’s restaurant reviews.

Here’s Self:

“I often buy ready-made Caesar salads from supermarkets, because they come with the croutons in a separate little bag and I can then experience the delight of throwing them straight in the bin. What was worse was that these LPQ [Le Pain Quotidien] croutons were extra-large – an ordinary sized crouton is merely a crunchy impediment but a big crouton is a piece of stale fucking bread. If I wanted bread I had plenty to hand – and it was complimentary!”

Or how about:

“The Euroserf growled whether I wanted a large or a small mineral water, and when I asked for specificity she testily conceded that ‘large’ was a litre.

“A litre! What kind of a weirdo goes into a chain restaurant on a Wednesday evening and drinks enough mineral water to leach the amino acids from his brain?”

Great way to avoid hearing about the latest escapades of the Bullingdon bastards.

Total administration

“Total administration corresponds to that historical moment when technical rationalization and instrumentality, in the service of capital, spreads beyond subject-external social and political relations to penetrate and determine at a fundamental level individual psycho-interiority. This process, operating at the level of individual psychology to determine schema development and formation, has an integrative, regulatory function, affirming subject commitment to, and compliance with, capital and commodity form.”

From Downie, G. (2004). Aesthetic Necrophilia: Reification, New Music, and the Commodification of Affectivity. Perspectives of New Music, 42, 264-27.

It’s so rambling it’s musical.

Spotted thanks to The Chap (The Band).

CBT – a flavour of psychodynamic therapy but with an almost-cognitive perspective explanation?

Rosner (2012) looks fun indeed. Here’s how it starts:

“1961 and 1962 were momentous years for Aaron T. Beck. They were the years he made a decisive break with his psychoanalytic past. He closed down his large psychoanalytic research project on depression, put to rest his application for membership in the American Psychoanalytic Association that had been rejected twice, and turned his back on the cornerstone of psychoanalytic theory, the unconscious. He took a sabbatical from the psychiatry department at the University of Pennsylvania following a destructive department-wide battle over the future of psychoanalysis in psychiatry.

But then… here’s a letter Beck wrote to John Bowlby in 1981:

“It might be a point of curiosity therefore for you to know that my psychiatric training was completely and exclusively psychoanalytic… I would consider my theoretical work as derivative from ego psychology rather than from cognitive psychology or learning theory. At the present time in fact I am trying to reformulate many of the basic psychoanalytic concepts into cognitive terms (Beck, A. T., personal collection, July 29, 1981).”


Rosner, R. I. (2012). Aaron T. Beck’s drawings and the psychoanalytic origins story of cognitive therapy. History of Psychology, 15, 1-18.