Re: ruminations on the big 5; two-thirds-- and 3!

Rue L. Cromwell (cromwell@KUHUB.CC.UKANS.EDU)
Thu, 28 Sep 1995 17:23:08 -0400 (EDT)

>Jim Mancuso writes:
>> I'll support John on that one -- factor analysis is nice stuff -- but
>>it never leaves us free from imposing our social constructions on the links
>Absolutely: how neatly put!
>And Rolf Marvin quotes John Kihlstrom, (I think it was),
>>> Why five dimensions? Because that's all the information we can
>> > keep in our head at once. Remember the magical number 7, plus or
>> > minus 2?
>before responding
>>I think I can see how this proposition, tho highly speculative, does
>>make some sense
>Which got me pondering on all the psychonumerological mnemonics we know and
>a) The big 5 in multivariate personality analyses because of the way in
>which we chunk information, 7 + / - 2? (Weeell, I'd like to see an account
>of the mechanisms that make the former a function of the latter!)
>b) The (roughly) two-thirds to one-third ratio, i.e. the "Golden Section"
>relationship between positively and negatively evaluated constructs. (This
>one, established so carefully, precisely and, to my mind, conclusively by
>Jack Adams-Webber, fascinates me. I'd love to hear an explanation of the
>mechanisms that might bring it about, and have, albeit utterly unable to
>justify it, a feeling in my water that an explanation of the mechanism is
>more likely to be convincing than any posited for the "magic number 7 +/-
>2" phenomenon being linked to the big 5 in personality assessment!)
>And, while in this extremely free-wheeling mood (thanks for your patience,
>folks!), could I conceivably be the first person to posit
>c) The Self-Referential 3-Way Mirror Limit???
>Has anyone noticed, taken seriously enough to research, or even published
>something on the following limitation in our apperceptions of iterated
>self-referential statements: (*)
>- I can aprehend the meaning of a sentence like "I think" readily, of course
>- I can similarly apprehend the meaning of the sentence "I think (that) you
>think" easily enough
>- I can manage to apprehend "I think you think I think"
>- but one more iteration, "I think you think I think you think" and my
>ability to hold the reflected meaning evaporates, and all I'm left with is
>the value of the written text as a calculus for (i.e. representation of)
>the meaning.
>(*) If no-one has, I hereby claim this as _Jankowicz's_ Self-Referential
>3-Way Mirror Limit; fame at last!
>Something to do with information-processing limitations, no doubt;
>something to do with the way in which we encode information, perhaps.
>(Okay, now tell me that this is completely idiosyncratic and that
>_everyone_ can go to more than 3 iterations, then!
>Actually, I'll freely admit that I sometimes have problems with
>double-negatives and find that the best way to deal with a really whopping
>one is to write it down and cancel the negatives against each other.
>Operating with the calculus in order to apprehend the meaning, in other
>(And isn't it interesting that the meaning which does survive such a
>cancelling process is subtly different from the original meaning present in
>the double-negative statement? In English, "I'm not uncertain", without any
>particular emphasis on the "not", conveys a rather different meaning to
>"I'm certain".)
>(Do double-negatives exist and operate similarly in other languages?
>Cancelling a double-negative in Polish, for example, tends to convey the
>_same_ meaning, if a double-negative were to be used at all, which is
>Enough, enough!

No, No! More, More!

Rue L. Cromwell

>Kind regards,
>Devi Jankowicz

Rue L. Cromwell