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Judgments under stress

Kenneth Hammond
Boulder, Colorado

This year has been devoted to working on my book ms "Judgments Under Stress", in which I undertake to present a Brunswikian approach to this, in my view, badly treated topic. Badly treated, that is, by clinical psychologists, and largely ignored by J/DM researchers. I produced a reviewable ms which has received good reviews and is at this writing being presented to the Executive Board at Oxford University Press. It is a fairly brief ms (about 250 typewritten pp) plus a rather long appendix which includes an annotated bibliography of research on judgments under stress. I had to include such a bibliography because my ms is iconoclastic; it argues that present research cannot be used because it lacks any organizing principle, therefore I had to show that I had indeed read the literature. Do I offer an organizing principle? Yes, of course. What is it? Well, I had to begin with a non-arbitrary definition of stress because it is precisely because all current definitions are arbitrary that progress is impossible. I defined stress in terms of a loss of constancy, both correspondence constancy and coherence constancy, and everything just followed from there. The idea of loss of constancy as the origin of stress came to me because constancy is the principal focus of Brunswikian psychology; achievement of constancy might be said to be the glue that holds us all together. I am always surprised that psychologists do not make more out of this phenomenon; I believe it to be the fundamental discovery of psychology. (Am I wrong? Is there a contender?)

In any event, that is the key idea of the ms.

Some will be surprised to find that I give even more credence to documented reports of behavior under stress (loss of constancy) than I do to experimental evidence. There are lots of reasons for this but you will have to wait for the book appearance to learn what they are.

Contact Kenneth Hammond

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