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Steve Blinkhorn

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Dr. Stephen F. Blinkhorn (CPsychol, FBPsS) (born 1949) is a British occupational psychologist and psychometrician (based in St Albans, UK), who continues to contribute to psychology and psychometric testing.

Blinkhorn is known for about half-a-dozen or more landmark papers, many, but not all, of which have taken the form of book reviews for Nature magazine, including: "Willow, Titwillow, Titwillow"[1] (a review of Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve); "What skulduggery?"[2] (a review of Stephen Jay Gould's The Mismeasure of Man); and, more recently, "A gender bender",[3] (a critique on Paul Irwing and Richard Lynn's paper on sex and intelligence). Other papers have included speaking out about inappropriate use of the Rasch model,[4] and the misuse of personality tests[5][6]

Life and career Edit

After attending grammar school, Blinkhorn attended St Edmund Hall, Oxford.

Academia Edit

From 1973 to 1987, he developed and ran one of the first postgraduate studies in Occupational Psychology (in Britain) at what was then Hatfield Polytechnic, now the University of Hertfordshire. During this time, he also spent a year as a visiting professor in the neurological laboratory at Stanford University, California (1981-1982).

On his return from Stanford, Blinkhorn was approached by nferNelson (NFER's publishing arm) to design new ranges of tests for occupational selection. This led to the formation of the Psychometric Research Unit at Hatfield, which in turn was privatised by Dr. Blinkhorn in 1985.

Psychology and psychometrics Edit

Blinkhorn has been responsible for some of the most widely used ability and aptitude tests for recruitment and selection.[7][8] He is also known as a critic of bad testing practice, in particular the abuse of personality tests (see papers). At the age of 37, he became one of the then youngest fellows of the (British Psychological Society), and has been a member of the BPS's Test Standards Committee, and served on the Society's Fellowships Committee. He is one of three 'consulting editors' for 'Selection and Development Review (SDR)' [9] (published by the BPS) alongside Prof. V. Dulewicz and Prof. N. Anderson.

He was also a member of the panel formed by the BPS to investigate the Polygraph and contributed a chapter to the book which resulted from the investigation.[10]

As an expert witness, he has acted on behalf of the Commission for Racial Equality in several industrial tribunals.[11][12]

Among other things, he has worked with Harvey Goldstein (inappropriate implementation of the Rasch model in education) (2 papers to reference), and was involved with the development of National Vocational Qualifications'[13]

Not forgetting Blinkhorn's chapter in 'Cyril Burt: Fraud or Framed?' [14] see review [15] and ' Was Burt stitched up?' in Nature magazine [16]. More recently followed by 'There's no-one quite like Grandad'[17] (Blinkhorn's speech at the Lighthill institute of mathematical sciences, Dec 2006) on newly rediscovered evidence which cast 'fresh light on early developments of mathematics applied to psychology' including references to Charles Spearman's original work on general intelligence, and also to J.C. Maxwell Garnett, Cyril Burt, Godfrey Thomson, and Louis Thurstone.

Nature articles Edit

Since 1980, Blinkhorn has been writing for Nature, starting with a book review of Arthur Jensen's 'Bias in Mental Testing.[18] Steve Blinkhorn has written a number of articles, a few of which have been on controversial issues, such as: Gender and IQ ('Gender Bender'), Vitamin Pills and IQ ('A dose of Vitamins and a Pinch of salt'),[19] Mice and IQ ('Mice and Mentality').[20]

Many of his articles have been 'book reviews' such as: 'Willow Titwillow Titwillow!','What Skulduggery?',and 'Exponent of the exponential'[21] (Blinkhorn's review of 'The man who shocked the world: the life and legacy of Stanley Milgram' by Thomas Blass.).

Other articles such as 'Yes, but what's it for?' [22] equally make good reading, as Blinkhorn discusses how 'the current state of language' makes it difficult to discuss evolution accurately.

In 2003, Blinkhorn was listed among Nature's 'magnificent seven' (writers commended for writing outstanding articles, illustrating 'the great job that scientists can do in communicating and commenting on new research') along with David Wark, Philip N Benfey, S.Blair Hedges, John Harte, Toren Finzel and Len A.Fisk. [23]

References Edit

  1. Steve Blinkhorn, Willow, titwillow, titwillow!,Nature 372, 417 - 419 (01 Dec 1994) Book Review
  2. Blinkhorn, Steve (1982) "What Skulduggery?" NATURE 296. 506, 08 April 1982.
  3. Steve Blinkhorn (2005) "A Gender Bender", Nature, Vol 438, 3rd November 2005
  4. Goldstein H & Blinkhorn S.. (1977). Monitoring Educational Standards: an inappropriate model.. Bull.Br.Psychol.Soc. 30 309-311
  5. Blinkhorn, S., Johnson, C., & Wood, R. (1988). Spuriouser and spuriouser: The use of ipsative personality tests. Journal of Occupational. Psychology, 61, 153-162.
  6. Blinkhorn, S. & Johnson, C. (1990). The insignificance of personality testing, Nature, 348 , 671-672.
  7. ASE
  8. OPP
  9. SDR, Vol 23. No.4, 2007. ISSN 0963-2638
  10. Blinkhorn, S. (1988) "Lie Detection as a psychometric procedure" In "The Polygraph Test" (Gale, A. ed. 1988) 29-39
  11. (Jootley et al -v- British Railways Board which became known as the 'Paddington Guards' case
  12. Amos et al -v- London Underground Ltd)
  13. WOOD, R., JOHNSON. C, BLINKHORN, S. & HALL, J. (1989) Boning, Blanching and Backtacking: Assessing Performance in the Workplace. Research and Development Series 46. Sheffield: Training Agency
  14. Cyril Burt: Fraud or Framed? Edited by N J. Mackintosh, pp 156. (Oxford University Press 1995)
  15. Cyril Burt: Fraud or Framed?
  16. Steve Blinkhorn, 1989, Nature 340, 439 - 440 (10 Aug 1989) Book Review
  17. Untitled Document
  18. Blinkhorn, Steve (1980) 'Most orthodox heresy: Jensen on IQ myths',Nature 286, 743 - 744 (14 Aug 1980) Book Review
  19. Steve Blinkhorn, 'A dose of vitamins and a pinch of salt', Nature 350, 13 - 13 (07 Mar 1991) News and Views
  20. Steve Blinkhorn, 2003 'Neuroscience: Mice and Mentality', Nature, Vol 424, 28 August,2003
  21. Steve Blinkhorn, 2004,'Exponent of the exponential' Nature 429, 132 - 132 (13 May 2004) Books and Arts
  22. Steve Blinkhorn, 2001, Nature, Vol 412, 23rd Aug 2001
  23. Nature 426, 773 - 773 (18 Dec 2003) News and Views

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