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Which clippings match 'Pseudoscience' keyword pg.1 of 1
22 JANUARY 2016

Humanities aren't a science. Stop treating them like one.

"I don't mean to pick on this single paper. It's simply a timely illustration of a far deeper trend, a tendency that is strong in almost all humanities and social sciences, from literature to psychology, history to political science. Every softer discipline these days seems to feel inadequate unless it becomes harder, more quantifiable, more scientific, more precise. That, it seems, would confer some sort of missing legitimacy in our computerized, digitized, number-happy world. But does it really? Or is it actually undermining the very heart of each discipline that falls into the trap of data, numbers, statistics, and charts? Because here's the truth: most of these disciplines aren't quantifiable, scientific, or precise. They are messy and complicated. And when you try to straighten out the tangle, you may find that you lose far more than you gain.

It's one of the things that irked me about political science and that irks me about psychology—the reliance, insistence, even, on increasingly fancy statistics and data sets to prove any given point, whether it lends itself to that kind of proof or not."

(Maria Konnikova, 10 August 2012, Scientific American)

Bruce McLean, "Pose Work for Plinths 3", 1971, 12 photographs, black and white, on paper on board, 75 x 68 cm (Tate).

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TAGS

appropriately complex representation • attempts to quantify the qualitative • Carol Tavris • easy empiricism • erroneous • error in reasoning • fallacious arguments • faulty reasoning • generalisable simplicity • hard science • Herbert Gintis • humanities • ignorance • imperative of generalisable simplicityimperative of proof • irreducible elements • Isaac Asimov • Italo Calvino • Jerome Kagan • Maria Konnikova • metricisation • nonsense • over-reliance on empirical methods • over-reliance on science • overly reductive • perils of reductionism • post hoc explanations • post hoc hypotheses • pseudoscience • psychohistorical trends • psychology • qualitative phenomena • quantifiable certainty • quantification • quantitative analysis • reduced to scientific explanation • reductionist perspective • Richard Polt • Scientific American (magazine) • scientific-seeming approaches • scientification • scientism • unquantifiable • unsound judgement

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
30 JUNE 2011

Beyond Usability: Process, Outcome and Affect in human computer interactions

"Currently, our best theories are limited in terms of their applicability to design. However, we cannot retreat into the easy empiricism of current usability perspectives where everything is measured in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction. Theory building must occur if we are to have long term impact and the diversity of experiences users can have with technology are not simply reduced to these operational criteria. We need to stretch our conception of interaction beyond performance and simple likes/dislikes. I argue for a richer sense of user experience, one that allows for aesthetics as much as efficiency and the creation of community discourse forms over time as much as the measurement of effectiveness in a single task. There is much work ahead but unless we embrace these issues as part of our research agenda, then the study of HCI will forever be piecemeal and weak, and its results will find little positive reception among the many designers and consumers who could most benefit from them."

(Andrew Dillon)

Dillon, A. (2001) Beyond usability: process, outcome and affect in human–computer interactions. Canadian Journal of Library and Information Science, 26(4), 57–69.

[Dillon argues for a richer sense of what constitutes web usability and resists the easy empiricism espoused by most usability engineers.]

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TAGS

aestheticsamateurism • Andrew Dillon • crisis of empiricism • cult of the amateur • diversity of experienceseasy empiricism • effectiveness • efficiencyengineeringHCImeasurementoperational criteriaperformanceperformativitypseudo science of web usabilitypseudosciencepsychologyrich user experiencesatisfactionsimple evaluationssingle task • stretch our conceptions • theoretical contexttheoretical reflectionuninformed perspectivesusability • usability perspectives • user experienceusers • web usability • web usability science

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
11 NOVEMBER 2009

Emotional inspiration by the physiognomic characterization

"Seventeenth century painters and sculptors believed that the activities of the soul were physically impressed on the face, such that a trained viewer could read them. This was 'physiognomy' and as its name suggests, it was accepted as science at the time, much like astrology. Humanistic interests of the Renaissance revived the Aristotelian concept of correlating facial traits with personality. In addition, practitioners of physiognomic 'science' believed that the face itself distinctly and truthfully mirrored a person's soul...

Renaissance theory urged artists to portray figural and facial expression so that the spectator might experience emotional inspiration by the physiognomic characterization. In addition, handbooks of this period suggested that artists examine the emotional composition of subjects of different age, sex, rank and character. Artists such as Bernini, attempted to interpret their subjects' characters and personal dispositions to gain insight into their souls in order to represent them in art. This effort at translation. from subjective to objective reality was said to be accomplished by reading physical signs evident on the face, by becoming familiar with the sitter through dialogue and by the sitter's recollection and relation to the artist of certain states of mind."

(Wendy Walgate, 1 May 2003)

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TAGS

2003Aristotleartautonomybodycompositionemotion • emotional composition • European Renaissanceexpressionfacial expressionsfiguration • Gian Lorenzo Bernini • hog • humoralism • humorism • measurementpersonality • physiognomic characterisation • physiognomyphysiologypseudosciencepsychologyrepresentationsoul • temperament • visual depictionvisualisation

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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