Individuation: The N=1 Revolution.


Hancock, P.A., Hancock, G.M., & Warm, J.S. (2009). Individuation: The N=1 revolution. Theoretical Issues in Ergonomic Science, 10(5), 481-488.

This commentary looks to evaluate the opportunities that are offered by the differences between individuals and how a focus on this issue will influence the future design of all human-machine systems. It is probable that a continuing increase in computational power and associated memory storage capacities will lead to circumstances in which each and every single person can be coded as, and treated as, a separate individual and therefore not necessarily as a representative part of any group, sample or population. This ascending focus on the individual will serve to subdue the demand for nomothetic pronouncements and encourage the use of idiographic case representations. Arguably, this is a trend that is already being witnessed. A fully achieved state of this focus on the individual, or ‘individuation’ as it has been termed here, will have important impacts on research in the social, psychological and neurosciences, as well as assessment in all studies of living beings. This tide of progress may be inhibited by proximal economic constraints but equally it may well be advanced by the political imperatives of the times.

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