Vossius Center for History of Humanities and Sciences

Vossius Seminar

12Sept2016 15:00 - 17:00


The forthcoming Vossius Seminar on 12 September will feature two talks by Jos Baeten and Lisa Wijsen.


15.00-15.45: Jos Baeten (CWI & ILLC, Faculty of Science UvA) 

“Adriaan van Wijngaarden and the Beginning of Informatics”

We consider the career and achievements of Adriaan van Wijngaarden (1916-1987). He was closely involved with the first 35 years of the Mathematical Centre in Amsterdam. He led the building of the first computer in the Netherlands, and played an important role in the development of computer science as a science. In order to do this, we discuss what computer science is and is not, and explain why informatics is a better name than computer science for the discipline.

15.45-16.00: Coffee/tea

16.00-16.45: Lisa Wijsen (Faculty of Social Sciences)

"The ideology of psychometrics"

Psychometrics is a field largely unknown to those not involved, though its effects are practically known by anyone. At one point in our lives most of us have to make a CITO test or go through a psychological assessment for a new job. The model that started this measurement tradition is known as the common factor model, developed by Charles Spearman. For the first time, this model enabled scientists to ‘objectively’ measure psychological constructs, first general intelligence, later also other cognitive abilities and personality dimensions. The common factor model started a measurement tradition in which latent variables were assumed to be the driving forces behind human behavior. However, this traditional ideology is not uncontroversial. In this talk, I will discuss the measurement model that symbolizes the traditional ideology of psychometrics, and how this model has affected psychology. I will end with some existing controversies regarding the latent variable modeling tradition.

More information on the Vosssius Center for History of Humanities and Sciences, see http://vossius.uva.nl/

Venue: Belle van Zuylenzaal, University Library

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Published by  Faculty of Humanities