Knowledge is a tree, not a conclusion, and it has been a tree for all of time. Sometime, however, it verboten in the Bible with a didactic “tale” apparently by oligarchs telling the average religious person to view the tree of knowledge and its information as verboten. This is the beginning of the limits and control of information necessary for oligarchic dominance, as opposed to capital-type control which is more commodity-based --though information is now a commodity as “intellectual property.” (With “intellectual” being a strong word for the slurry capital pumps into the population.)

The most important extension of this type of information control currently exists as academia with its early revival of control as the dialectic and didactic by academy founders Socrates and Plato in ancient Athens, and recently by Hegel to fit current capital. Important is that these instructors specifically used sexual abuse to control, which survived to our time as, for instance, the Aboriginal residence schools openly, and covertly elsewhere.

Causality is a rational reduction of the complexity of life saying that “if something happens in relation to something else, that something else caused the first thing.” As a rational reduction, it is a “dumbing-down” of all the highly sophisticade life-system that affect us. Knowledge is naturally structured both in society and in our minds in tree structures, also called “complex data structures” Personally, I have never been “causal” (I believe) because I have been influenced by aboriginal knowledge organization, and also abstract art and music early on as a child with access to all of New York’s museums and libraries (access has since been restricted to children.)

If I something is unavoidably causal, I say “simple math” --this causes that, w/o making a bid deal about it.

Empiricism is the scientific method (and system) built from causality and is considered the only (measurement) science, even by scientist who should know better. It suffers from being highly-fractured, as it is built from independent causal conclusions that also tend to be ego-vehicles from empiricist scientists. Another widely-misused term is “objective” as a synomym for “cruel” such that normal human thinking, such as the recollection of experiences, is excluded from empiricist conclusions; only empiricist numbers are used, often as an output of highly-purposed statistical systems. Dependance on statistics is such that statistics now often produce hypothesis and theory, that is validated by the same statistical systems. Information from other sources such as experience and observation, no matter how detailed, cannot test well against conclusive information produced specifically to test well by statistical systems. This statistical reality is most true for current control of the mind (both human and animal) in cognitive-behavioral strategies of CBT. Interestingly, in CBT, the dialectic method as the socratic method is also key for (as they say) “thought control.”

Objectivism, such as Ayn Rand’s and (current-capital’s) Adam Smith’s objectivism simply “objectify’s” people to make then inanimate numbers rather than feeling people to allow for capital exploitation. As it happens, capital-supporting empiricism, as info-oligarchic, also leverages this, and fills its capital-supportive role by defining and maintaining it as its own from of exploitation, originally sexual abuse.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Emic and Etic approaches to assessment

Two words that I have found that describe how assessment tests are applied in the cultural context are etic and emic.  These describe looking at culture as an insider, which is emic, or as an outsider, which is etic (Lett, 2008).  Emic testing would then be deliberately based on a culture, and assessment would presumably have to do with issues pertaining to that culture.  Etic testing would then attempt to apply testing, presumably developed in and normed for one culture, to another culture.  To do so fairly, the testing results would have to be normed, but it may be better to attempt to redesign the test so that it equally applies to all cultures.  Many believe that no widely applicable and fully fair etic tests actually exist.

An example of an etic test being applied outside of the culture in which it was created would be the crystallized memory portion of an intelligence test, as it relies on vocabulary (Neukrug, 2010).  Someone from another culture might not have the same vocabulary usage as used to create the test, even if they speak the same language but with regional differences (Dana, 2000).  Also, parental educational support which might be linked to parent education and financial resource availability, might influence vocabulary testing outcomes.  However, along with new testing paradigms for neurological problems, such as ADHD, has come a variety of tests specifically for working memory, which is closely related to executive function, and hence some of the factors of  intelligence.  It is said that working memory tests are actually impervious to cultural biases, such as language, and environmental biases, such as family finances (Alloway, 2009; Alloway & Alloway, 2010).  It may be that the future etic testing is really at the neurological level so that potentials and problems can be assessed, rather than early successes.  Emic testing would then be applied within cultural or regional contexts so as to resolve problems in their own right.


Alloway, T. P. (2009). Working memory, but not IQ, predicts subsequent learning in children with learning difficulties. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 25. Retrieved from

Alloway, T. P., & Alloway, R. (2010). Working memory: Is it the new IQ? Nature Precedings

Dana, R. H. (2000). Handbook of cross-cultural and multicultural personality assessment. Mahwah, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Lett, J. (2008). Emic/etic distinctions. Retreived from

Neukrug, E. (2010). Essentials of testing and assessment: A practical guide for counselors, social workers, and psychologists. Australia Belmont, CA: Thomson/Brooks/Cole.

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