Frederic Bartlett: Through the Lens of Prediction


Hancock, P.A. (2008). Frederic Bartlett: Through the lens of prediction. Ergonomics, 51(1), 30-34.

I have little doubt that most of the commentaries on Bartlett’s (1962) predictions will be at the very least complementary if not manifestly honorific. And to a large extent these assessments will be appropriate. Bartlett is a giant of our science and it is doubtful if our field would have reached its present status without both his profoundly influential advocacy and his personal intellectual contributions. However, as I myself am the second son of an English middle-class family, born in Gloucestershire, with a penchant for golf on Wednesday and a love of cricket (all characteristics I hold in common with Bartlett) I feel a degree of latitude in presenting a more critical slant in my commentary. I shall apologise unreservedly for traducing Bartlett’s memory at the end. However, before examining his specific propositions, I first want to make some brief observations on the pitfalls of prognostication.

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