© 1978

The analysis of practical skills

  • W. T. Singleton

Part of the The study of Real Skills book series (CHBMS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. W. T. Singleton
    Pages 1-15
  3. W. T. Singleton
    Pages 16-43
  4. B. Pettersson
    Pages 44-54
  5. J. Matthews
    Pages 55-84
  6. R. G. Taylor
    Pages 85-111
  7. W. T. Singleton
    Pages 112-126
  8. J. D. Eccles
    Pages 127-150
  9. J. T. Reason
    Pages 151-168
  10. P. Branton
    Pages 169-188
  11. R. G. Thorne, G. W. F. Charles
    Pages 189-208
  12. D. Whitfield, R. B. Stammers
    Pages 209-235
  13. Lisanne Bainbridge
    Pages 236-263
  14. B. A. Lacy
    Pages 264-277
  15. R. B. Miller
    Pages 278-291
  16. B. R. Lawson
    Pages 292-310
  17. W. T. Singleton
    Pages 311-322
  18. Back Matter
    Pages 323-333

About this book


The origins of this book are in my first attempts to understand psychology as a post-war student in the Cambridge of the late 1940s. Sir Frederic Bartlett and his colleagues in the Psychology Department were talking and writing about the concept of the skill as the fundamental unit of behaviour. This made entire sense to me but not apparently to very many other people because the movement dwindled rapidly with the retirement of Sir Frederic in 1952. It got lost within performance studies which were essentially behaviouristic and stimulus-response in origin, a quite different style of thinking from the gestalt approach of skill psychology. This is not a simple dichotomy of course and skill psychology does go some way towards the analytic approach in accepting that a science needs to have a basic element, a unit from which the complexities of real behaviour can be constructed. into which it can be analysed and in terms of which it can be described and understood. The trick is to pick the right unit and I think that skills is an appropriate unit for human behaviour. Note the plural, although these units are elements they are not identical any more than the ninety-odd elements of the physical world are identical. The issue is sometimes clarified by considering the analogy with the attempt to describe a house. The simplest observable elements here are the brick. the piece of stone or the piece of wood.


Cambridge behavior information psychology science writing

Editors and affiliations

  • W. T. Singleton
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Aston in BirminghamUK

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The analysis of practical skills
  • Authors W.T. Singleton
  • Series Title The study of Real Skills
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1978
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-0-85200-199-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-94-011-6190-9
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-011-6188-6
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIII, 333
  • Number of Illustrations 29 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Teaching and Teacher Education
    Education, general
  • Buy this book on publisher's site