Accident Prone: A History of Technology, Psychology, and by John Burnham

By John Burnham

Expertise calls for uniformity from humans who come upon it. humans encountering know-how, notwithstanding, fluctuate from each other. Thinkers within the early 20th century, watching the grim outcomes of interactions among people and machines—death by way of autos or dismemberment by way of manufacturing facility equipment, for example—developed the belief of coincidence proneness: the tendency of a selected individual to have extra injuries than most folk. In tracing this idea from its start to its disappearance on the finish of the 20th century, twist of fate companies deals a different heritage of know-how centred no longer on techniques yet on their accidental consequences.Here, John C. Burnham indicates that because the computer period advanced, the actual and monetary impression of injuries coevolved with the increase of the assurance and traits in twentieth-century psychology. After global struggle I, psychologists made up our minds that a few individuals are extra twist of fate providers than others. This designation signaled a shift in social procedure towards minimizing injuries by way of diverting specific humans clear of harmful environments. through the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies, despite the fact that, the belief of coincidence proneness steadily declined, and engineers built new applied sciences to guard everybody, thereby introducing a hidden, yet radical, egalitarianism.            mendacity on the intersection of the heritage of expertise, the background of drugs and psychology, and environmental heritage, coincidence companies is an bold highbrow research of the delivery, progress, and decline of an concept that might curiosity somebody who needs to appreciate how Western societies have grappled with the human bills of contemporary existence. (20091217)

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Extra resources for Accident Prone: A History of Technology, Psychology, and Misfits of the Machine Age

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A. Tramm, “Die Verhütung der Unfälle durch Propaganda,” Industrielle Psychotechnik, 1 (1924), 153, reproduced with the kind permission of Springer Science and Business Media. ” 58 As Josephine Goldmark concluded in her exhaustive compendium in 1912: “Fatigue of attention and muscular control . . ” Of course fatigue was affected by speed, by rhythm, by the pressures of piecework. ” But the end product of different kinds of coercion was the same: injuries. 59 And both muscular coordination and attention, often understood as the ability to react rapidly and appropriately, were subjects that psychologists were investigating.

As a reviewer of his book put it, “Marbe erläutert seine Unfällertheorie” [Marbe explains his theory of those who have accidents]. 27 But it was still only a theory. ex t ending k now l edge of m a r be’s ide a s What kind of impact did Marbe’s work have? The evidence indicates that most European applied psychologists came to know his work, but citations of Marbe diminished after the early 1930s. In Germany, the major publications explaining and expanding his theory came from his students. As early as 1924, for example, before the terminology was in place, Maria Schorn in Marbe’s research institute wrote a paper titled “Unfallaffinität und Psychotechnik,” where she explored the idea of testing for characteristics that would prevent accidents.

37 It thus becomes obvious what accident proneness had that clumsiness, in almost any language, did not have: accident proneness is an added attribute, an active tendency, not a lost or missing attribute, talent, or ability. 38 The evidence therefore suggests that around World War i, a functional gap appeared in Western culture that could be filled with the additive attribute of accident prone. And there was something else—beyond a positive function—that differentiated accident proneness from clumsiness.

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