Kenneth James Williams Craik (K.J.W. Craik) (1914–1945) was a philosopher and psychologist who studied philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and received his doctorate from Cambridge University in 1940. He then had a fellowship to St John's College, Cambridge in 1941, and was appointed to be the first director of the Medical Research Council's Cambridge-based Applied Psychology Unit in 1944.
In 1943 he wrote The Nature of Explanation. In this book he first laid the foundation for the concept of mental models, that the mind forms models of reality and uses them to predict similar future events. He was thus one of the earliest practitioners of cognitive science.
He was killed at the age of 31 in a bicycle accident.
In 1947 and 1948 his two-part paper on the "Theory of Human Operators in Control Systems" was published posthumously by the British Journal of Psychology. An anthology of Craik's writings, edited by Stephen L. Sherwood, was published in 1966 as The Nature of Psychology: A Selection of Papers, Essays and Other Writings by Kenneth J. W. Craik.
Bartlett, F. C. (May 1946). "Kenneth J.W. Craik, 1914 - 1945 [Obituary]". British Journal of Psychology. General Section 36 (3): 109–116. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.1946.tb01113.x. Retrieved 17 July 2014.. The most substantial biographical source to date, first published in the St. John's College (Cambridge, UK) The Eagle (March 1945) and included in S.L. Sherwood's 1966 edition of Craik's writings, The Nature of Psychology.
Bartlett, Sir Frederic (October 1951). "The Bearing of Experimental Psychology upon Human Skilled Performance". British Journal of Industrial Medicine 8 (4): 209–17. PMC 1037340. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
Collins, Alan F. (September 2012). "An Asymmetric Relationship: The Spirit of Kenneth Craik and the Work of Warren McCulloch". Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 37 (3): 254–268. doi:10.1179/0308018812Z.00000000020.
Craik, K. J. W.; Zangwill, O. L. (October 1939). "Observations relating to the threshold of a small figure within the contour of a closed-lined figure". British Journal of Psychology. General Section 30 (2): 139–150. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.1939.tb00948.x.
Craik, Kenneth J. W. (December 1947). "Theory of the human operator in control systems. I: The operator as an engineering system". British Journal of Psychology. General Section 38 (2): 56–61. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.1947.tb01141.x.
Craik, Kenneth J. W. (March 1948). "Theory of the human operator in control systems. II: Man as an element in a control system". British Journal of Psychology. General Section 38 (3): 142–148. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.1948.tb01149.x.
Craik, Kenneth J. W. (1966). Sherwood, Stephen L., ed. The Nature of Psychology: A Selection of Papers, Essays and Other Writings by Kenneth J. W. Craik. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521134804. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
Gregory, Richard L. (2001). "Adventures of a Maverick". In Bunn, Geoff; Lovie, A. D.; Richards, G. Psychology in Britain: Historical Essays and Personal Reflections. Leicester, UK: British Psychological Society. pp. 381–392. ISBN 978-1-85433-332-2. Archived from the original on 20 September 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2014.. See especially section entitled "Cambridge and the influence of Kenneth Craik’s engineering ideas" (pp. 382–383 of book; pp. 2–4 of author's self-archived PDF).
Hayward, Rhodri (2001). "'Our Friends Electric': Mechanical Models of Mind in post-war Britain". In Bunn, Geoff; Lovie, A. D.; Richards, G. Psychology in Britain: Historical Essays and Personal Reflections. Leicester, UK: British Psychological Society. pp. 290–308. ISBN 978-1-85433-332-2.. See especially pp. 295–299 for an extended analysis of Craik, with many quotes and references.
Husbands, Phil; Holland, Owen (September 2012). "Warren McCulloch and the British Cyberneticians". Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 37 (3): 237–253. doi:10.1179/0308018812Z.00000000019. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
Nersessian, Nancy J. (1992). "In the Theoretician's Laboratory: Thought Experimenting as Mental Modeling". PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992: 291–301. Retrieved 17 July 2014. "The contemporary notion that mental modeling plays a significant role in human reasoning was formulated, initially, by Kenneth Craik in 1943."
Reynolds, L. A.; Tansey, E. M., eds. (2003). The MRC Applied Psychology Unit. Wellcome Witnesses to Twentieth Century Medicine 16. London: Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL. ISBN 978-085484-088-5. OL 25422751M. Retrieved 2014-07-18.
Staggers, Nancy; Norcio, A.F. (1993). "Mental models". International Journal of Man-Machine Studies 38 (4): 587–605. doi:10.1006/imms.1993.1028. Retrieved 17 July 2014. "Although Johnson-Laird (1989) is generally credited with coining the term mental model, the history of the concept may be traced to Craik’s (1943) work entitled The Nature of Explanation."
Zangwill, O. L. (2004). "Craik, Kenneth John William". In Gregory, Richard L.. The Oxford Companion to the Mind (second ed.). Oxford; New York:: Oxford University Press. pp. 224–225. ISBN 978-0-19-866224-2.. Entry reprinted verbatim from first edition (1987), pp. 169-170: ISBN 0-19-866124-X
- "Ten things you might not know about psychology". The British Psychological Society. Archived from the original on 7 October 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2014. "6. Research by British psychologists on aircraft cockpit design has led to a reduction in air accidents (Craik, 1940)."
- Strangeways, Simon (22 January 2013). "Historic overview:Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit". Cambridge, UK: Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. Archived from the original on 17 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014. "Kenneth Craik, the [Applied Psychology] Unit's first director, was a pioneer in the use of computation as a theoretical model for human information processing, developing what was probably the very first computational model of skill and applying it to the wartime task of gun-aiming."
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