ON CUE REPRESENTATIVE SAMPLING. 

While being here at SUNY, Tom Stewart teaches me to step down from high abstractions and to think in  empirical terms. While chewing  on my breakfast yesterday and looking at the drawing of prof. David Andersen's "New Fadum Farm", which I have finished the night before, I found  myself to be as empirical, as I can possibly be. The following account should be the proof of it. Now  look  the picture and try to see, if the story of its making has anything to say about „cue representative sampling“. 
 

 
A Case under consideration. 
When I look at this finished „great piece of art“, some questions come back to my mind, which I had to  answer  without much overt thinking,  while at the process of drawing it. What might be their sequence, looking back? 
The first step  was to decide  about the „static structure“ or composition of what the picture should be about, some cut of reality, well known „framing of a problem“. Proportions of objects, their mutual spatial relations. The figure and background.  This I have done just by a gentle pencil lines and in addition, took written notes  about the Step 2 on the actual place itself, at beautiful David’s home. And then I ran out of time  and had to leave. All the rest of drawing was done later at home.  (But be cautioned - when I decided upon the place and topic, which might be called „Step zero“, I might implicitly decided about all the steps which are to follow yet!).  
The second step was to decide about the scale of colors, which will be used . The basic color image, sites with focuses of most active colors.  

The third step was to decide where the sources of light are to be located , which in turn will impact on the  brightness of color layout (step 2). The focused light sources.  Will there be just one and placed on the picture? Will there be more of them and some, perhaps, beyond the picture itself? Which parts of the picture layout - meaning what colors - will be affected by these sources of light and how?  
On this actual picture there are two sources of light. One is on the picture, around the David’s house, the small yellow tree in front and „burning“ trees behind. The other is outside of the picture, coming from the right.  
The fourth step was to make a choice of texture. This, of course,  is much predetermined by the  technique used  - humble color pastel pencils (used in this case) allow for something different than real pastels, than water colors or even oil colors. But even within a given technique, some space is always left for the author to show his/her personal „handwriting“. On this actual picture the texture is rather bursting out, excited, „wooly“. Substituting for robustness, which is not much possible to achieve with pencils and fits better my own nature. 

Now consequences - colors, lights and texture  (their contrasts)  may support three dimensional perspective (if there is any) of the  static composition, but  their main role is to build just the opposite quality - the dynamic impact of the whole thing.  Also, the way they are handled results into the degree, in which the outcome is very much subjective interpretation, deviating from reality, or the outcome is close, let us say, to photography. 

All of this is a process taking place while working, not always very much conscious - however, the sequence of steps is fixed. The  technological process of  gradual picture building depends much on technique chosen and there is no need to go into it in our context. Some aspects should be mentioned, however. Decision making  regarding the mutual fit (or discrepancy) between  figure and background is a strong moment - it leads to dramatic effects or calmness. In the case of David’s „New Fadum Farm“ I went for a dramatic impact.  The sky (background) is rather of a night appearance  as contrasted to day-bright lights and colors of the figure (David’s household and nearby trees). The night sky (as is my experience) is there usually full of action - stars mingle with planes, approaching the Albany airport. The outside source of  light reflects something  as always lit nearby railroad station, from where huge freight-trains storm their way up the slope , passing by David’s home, to romantic horizons of distant Chicago or Canada.  Thus I got two sources of light in one picture and as a result of that, two stories in one pictures. A night-life  impressions of the countryside and the gleaming household and the golden tree in front of it  The household „emits“ light, it lives and the golden tree adds to the mysterious feeling. This of, course, is not very natural and represents a deviation from normal appearance of things in the nature. This dramatic effect plus the  night sky, living its own life, were my intended goals. Also, the texture of the sky, reminding a sheep wool (which is much of  what the life at „The New Fadum“ is about) was also on my mind - a second deviation from reality. As far as I know,  it is very rare to have a sky consisting out of sheep wool. 

Consequences for the representative cue samples. 
When people explain to each other their  common problems, like in the judgment and decision/making analysis, problems usually are of much more abstract nature that a piece of landscape. Try to do a painting of a strategic goal of the organization, a organizational culture and you will see. All problems, though, take a place within a certain situation or „ a problem setting“.  There are people  involved in them together with their activities, visions, intents, subjective biases of a real world interpretations. Now, when they try to solve a problem (within the SJT procedures), they offer sets of cognitive cues. The role of the cues is to provide as complete information to the other guy as possible. Usually people proceed from obvious cues to marginal and then try to reduce them to manageable number.  My suggestion is, that in order to make the final cue set as representative as possible, the group discussion mediator (judgment analysis expert) should proceed as I did, while drawing „The New Fadum Farm“. Keeping the scenario of the above mentioned steps in mind, it should assure a representative  result, regardless of its actual content.  

When the boundaries of the problem are discussed, understood and set (framing effect), some cues do reflect the static structure of the problem (usual problem decomposition phase). They must allow to see  what is the figure and what is the background. Try to imagine what form they could take and you will find , that cues taking care of the structural aspect of the task will usually invoke analytical cognition (as Hammond’s cognitive continuum theory suggests).  Note, that we just have passed Steps Zero and Step 1! 

How to proceed along Steps 2 to 4? In the case of a picture drawing as well as a task within SJT, we are usually limited only to visual cues.  How to obtain cues, which relate the dynamic aspect of a given problem (task system)?  How are scales of color, light sources, texture (so important for conveying  emotions) , contrasts of figure and background and all intended and unintended subjective distortions (which express aims and goals)  transformed into the social judgment theory language? How to ensure the representative choice of cues? An what is even more important,  how to ensure, that the set of cues will invoke  both analytical and intuitive modes of cognition (as the picture surely does)?   The task systems surely change over time. Do we reflect their changes by adequate means?  The dynamic aspect of a given problem is (as I understand it) expressed only by cue characteristics. For instance, the  proportion of nonlinear vs. linear cues would be the only cue characteristics which attempts to express dynamic, hard to grasp quality of a task system. But I am not much sure even about that. Function forms of cues, however, induce analytical  mode of cognition. The degree of uncertainty  speaks rather about human cognitive systems, but as the cognitive continuum theory assumes, it perhaps reflects even  something about the dynamic nature of the task system. A high degree of  task uncertainty  perhaps really induces intuitive mode of cognition.  

Now emotions. To be sure, the task system does not contain emotions, but the cognitive system of humans does. Our representation of the task system needs to contain cues, which address emotional charge, which the problem (task system) induces in us and let us to express our emotions. If this is too overstated (but I doubt it, since if the problem solution gets us really involved, emotions are at play anyway), then at least we need to induce the intuitive mode of cognition.  Since cues are offered usually by clients (or research subjects), it is a task of the mediator (researcher) to make sure these cues are not omitted. If included, even intuitive mode of cognition will be at play and  (group) discussions may address the dynamic and emotional aspects of  problem-solving interaction more adequately,  

Now, even though I am really unable to justify  that, but the analogy with drawing suggests it, I claim, that means, by which dynamics and emotional impact are expressed are also a factors, which helps us to understand the context. A loose interpretation of information theory says, that only the understanding of context gives us a meaning, which we ascribe to impulses perceived. Only then perceptual impulses turn into a real information, which is processed judgmentally. (As you remember on the picture, the background - the sky and the foreground surrounding the figure of a house with trees - induces more of an intuitive cognition, invokes emotions and moreover, conveys my own specific interpretation - meaning - to otherwise neutral David’s household.)  This and the previous paragraph  talk about „emotional background“ which cues usually do omit due to their focus on the „figure“ - task system, problem to be solved. 

Conclusion. 
This leads me to a conclusion,  that  the use of social judgment theory and the theory of cognitive continuum in applied settings  needs to follow Steps 1 to 4 in the task system layout phase. Brunswik stressed, that the ecology should be studied in order to break away from the „organismic encapsulation“ of psychologists. I would add, that we ought to  focus on determining the  intuition inducing cues, to break away from the „analytical encapsulation“ of our studies. Tom Stewart  will get me immediate into a corner by a question, what such cues might be, for God sake,  in his study of rentgenologists. Of course, I will have a hard time. On the other hand, Patrik Juslin  (due to his study of music) will know what I mean and will have already some answers in his pocket. And then Kenneth Hammond would smile knowingly and say - guys,  this all rally calls for a good task systems theory. Why don’t you come with one? And all are right. Unless we have such a theory, the Step 5 is to guess the proportion of intuition invoking cues needed in each different study to be really „cue representative“. And to make sure, some are in it. 

Lubomir Kostron,  
Center for Policy Research at SUNY, Albany.  
Masaryk university, Czech republic 
October 23,1998