1953-taylor.pdf: ““Cloze Procedure”: A New Tool for Measuring Readability”, Wilson L. Taylor (1953-09-01):
Here is the first comprehensive statement of a research method and its theory which were introduced briefly during a workshop at the 1953 AEJ convention. Included are findings from three pilot studies and two experiments in which “cloze procedure” results are compared with those of two readability formulas.
“Cloze Procedure” involves no formula or “element counting,” but consists of sampling all potential readability influences. Although similar to sentence-completion tests, the cloze method demands deletion of random words from a passage. After administration to a group the correctly identified omissions are tallied. Experimental results show: (1) the cloze method consistently ranked three selected passages in the same way as the Flesch and Dale-Chall formulas; (2) the method was reliable; (3) the cloze method seemed to handle specialized passages more adequately than other methods; (4) the same rankings of readability were obtained when words were deleted at random or every nth word; (5) the cloze procedure could be used for comparing reading abilities of different individuals.
1993-ericsson.pdf: “The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance”, K. Anders Ericsson, Ralf T. Krampe, Clemens Tesch-Römer (1993-07):
The theoretical framework presented in this article explains expert performance as the end result of individuals’ prolonged efforts to improve performance while negotiating motivational and external constraints. In most domains of expertise, individuals begin in their childhood a regimen of effortful activities (deliberate practice) designed to optimize improvement. Individual differences, even among elite performers, are closely related to assessed amounts of deliberate practice. Many characteristics once believed to reflect innate talent are actually the result of intense practice extended for a minimum of 10 yrs. Analysis of expert performance provides unique evidence on the potential and limits of extreme environmental adaptation and learning.
The author reviews traditional beliefs about creative illness and suggests that their endorsement of euphoric binging misleads writers. Productive creativity seems to occur more reliably with moderation of work duration and of emotions, not with the fatigue and ensuing depression of binge writing. The author compares binge writers to a matched sample of novice professors who wrote in brief, daily sessions and with generally mild emotions. Binge writers (a) accomplished far less writing overall, (b) got fewer editorial acceptances, (c) scored higher on the Beck Depression Inventory, and (d) listed fewer creative ideas for writing. These data suggest that creative illness, defined by its common emotional state for binge writers (i.e., hypomania and its rushed euphoria brought on by long, intense sessions of working—followed by depression), offers more problems (e.g., working in an emotional, rushed, fatiguing fashion) than magic. The example of Joseph Conrad supports these findings.
2020-brown.pdf: “Compensatory conspicuous communication_ Low status increases jargon use”, Zachariah C. Brown, Eric M. Anicich, Adam D. Galinsky (2020-11-01):
- Experiencing low status increases the use of jargon.
- Low status increases jargon use because it activates evaluative concerns.
- Archival analyses found a low status → jargon effect across 64k dissertation titles.
- Experiments provided a causal link and mediation path from low status to jargon use.
- The use of acronyms also serves a status compensation function.
Jargon is commonly used to efficiently communicate and signal group membership. We propose that jargon use also serves a status compensation function. We first define jargon and distinguish it from slang and technical language. Nine studies, including experiments and archival data analyses, test whether low status increases jargon use. Analyses of 64,000 dissertations found that titles produced by authors from lower-status schools included more jargon than titles from higher-status school authors. Experimental manipulations established that low status causally increases jargon use, even in live conversations. Statistical mediation and experimental-causal-chain analyses demonstrated that the low status → jargon effect is driven by increased concern with audience evaluations over conversational clarity. Additional archival and experimental evidence found that acronyms and legalese serve a similar status-compensation function as other forms of jargon (e.g., complex language). These findings establish a new driver of jargon use and demonstrate that communication, like consumption, can be both compensatory and conspicuous.