Mats Björkman and Swedish Studies of Judgment and Decision Making
Kenneth R. Hammond University of Colorado
Meeting Mats Björkman in Stockholm in 1965 was not what I expected. Instead of a stately, formal Swedish professor immersed in the intricacies of long-forgotten psychophysics, the first thing I saw when I was ushered into Mats's office was a wire and glass model of Brunswik's Lens Model! Mats knew I would be astounded and he greeted my astonishment with a big grin and then a hearty laugh; Mats likes a good joke. So then we sat down and had a good talk about Brunswik. It may be fair to say that he was the lone Brunswikian in Europe, I the lone Brunswikian in the U.S.; iconoclasts who discover one another always have much to talk about. I soon discovered that I had a valuable ally: a determined, independent thinker who not only held strong views but had a great deal of technical competence, and very high standards of research and scholarship. He was a good man to know.
In many ways Mats and Swedish psychology resemble one another. Both are strong, independent, and clear-headed; somehow, Swedish psychologists have a knack for coming straight to the point, for using direct, plain language. A few years ago I stumbled upon the following example from a little-known article by Mats that makes a devastating argument against the overwrought Bayesian view in the field of judgment and decision making. Because Mats is a scholar, he is well acquainted with the work of Karl Popper. And he brought his knowledge to bear on the claims made by