kinda of agree with article--but figure skating bias goes a bit further than natural bias .
kinda of agree with article--but figure skating bias goes a bit further than natural bias .
Isn't bias like this part of the reason judges watch practices (actually, I don't know if they still do that) and why skaters submit a planned program sheet?
It's easier to judge if they know what to expect- then if all the information was presented to them for the first time as they were watching.
Are you by any chance referring to Vul & Pashler's paper on "puzzlingly high correlations"? (http://psy2.ucsd.edu/~pwinkiel/vul-e...-main-2009.pdf) This paper has nothing to do with behavioral cognitive science (it's a critique of fMRI data analysis techniques in the field of social neuroscience).
While there is some sloppy research in cognitive science (as in any other endeavor humans undertake, scientific or not), you'd be hard pressed to find factual support for saying that "the majority of it has been proven to be methodologically unsound if not outright falsified".
There are so many areas in the current and past figure skating judging systems that are subject to unconscious bias that I don't know where to start.
One of many problems: the program components are poorly defined, too complicated, with too much overlap (vague rules, cognitive limitation, etc.). My very unscientific and very subjective observation of recent competition results has convinced me that many judges are frequently not following the guidelines. They probably can't, rather than are unwilling to, adhere to the rules, although I don't really know because I'm not in their heads. (It doesn't help that the rules keep shifting and changing every year.)
All the hoopla about Transitions last year exposed the widespread problem, which still is and probably will be uncorrected for the foreseeable future. Except Skating Skills, the other 4 components often cannot stand up to much scrutiny, IN MY HUMBLE OPINION.
As a sport, figure skating is fair only to a moderate extent. The internal complexity and contradictions make it impossible to produce a truly reliable, consistent, reproducible, and fair judging system. IMHO. If I had kids I would be very reluctant to let them get into a career in competitive figure skating.
(In theory I think a holistic judging system based on competent and honest judges' overall impression may not be inherently more biased than the IJS. However, such a system makes it nearly impossible to detect intentional cheating and gross incompetence.)
Last edited by Jun Y; 11-05-2010 at 09:54 PM.
There is nothing more captivating in this world than a woman's form gracing the ice in skating boots. It's simply sensational!
Combining this with the other thread about more skating events in the Olympics, wouldn't that result in more fair judging? If judges were judging only jumps in one event and then only spins in another event, that would cut down on all the cognitive confusion of being bombarded with multiple elements and ways to mark them.
Meanwhile, it was very possible for changes to have been instituted in a more thoughtful, reasoned way with the utmost purpose in mind of improving the sport and fairly judging the skaters, not protecting the judges.
*Other changes such as creation of the short program in the early 70s (a good thing), and the complete dumping of figures in the early 90s (not so good) were changes that came about again due to pressures placed on the ISU-- the short program was created due to the effects of television -- media and viewers were astounded and confused about why a gorgeous Janet Lynn received bronze instead of gold for her beautiful free-skating at 1972 Worlds (figures counted for more and Beatrix Schuba was a genius at figures). The following year at Worlds the short program was in place for the first time, and Janet Lynn faltered (perhaps due to nerves and pressure -- because she was supposed to win now that she had two opportunities to showcase her free skating abilities). In 1973, Lynn came in second behind Karen Magnussen of Canada, and Schuba had retired as a result of the decrease in overall importance of figures in scoring.
In the early 90s, largely because of the viewing demands of television, figures were completely dumped instead of being slowly phased out, or better yet, reduced to a separate event that didn't have to be widely covered (it was hardly covered prior to being dumped anyway). FS honchos failed to realize the importance of figures in helping skaters develop their edging skills. Obviously that is why a number of skaters today have problems with edging technique on the takeoff of their jumps. Figures could have been phased out of competition for singles skaters, but still kept as an important skill to practice and be tested on.
When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.
Zaphyre14, I'm not sure what you've seen but at competitions judges use normal size monitors (I'd guess "17).
Maybe all the international competitions use the same kind (or maybe not -- I don't know), but within the US I've seen different kinds of monitors at different competitions. And domestic events in other countries probably use different systems.
There is at least 1 system in the US that uses regular laptops, but that one comes with screen protectors that prevent anyone not viewing the screen directly face-on from seeing what is on the screen.
Who has the better display of overall skills? (skating skills, transitions, etc.) -- rank
Who has better choreography and performance? -- rank
Who had the more difficult technical run? -- rank
PCS scoring is holistically done but it was NEVER meant to be scored that way. You're supposed to assign separate grades to e.g. Skating Skills, Performance, Interpretation, Performance/Execution, Choreo, etc. and judges don't seem to do that because Cognitive Science tells us it's nearly impossible to do it properly unless you can hit Replay on a YouTube video repeatedly and judge the items separately at each run-through. That's why you get Patrick Chan getting a high score for Skating Skills and then judges automatically give him high PCS scores for the other crap, even when he falls three-four times and I have no idea how that translates to a similarly high level of Performance and Interpretation. Or Plushenko, who indeed has excellent Skating Skills as well but almost never had Transitions and yet had decent PC scores in that department. (I'm saying this as an admirer of Plushenko, just admitting that transitions in his competitive programs were not his forte.)
It is fair and expected that judges take a look at every program before the actual performance. That gives them an idea of what to expect, which programs have better choreography, which skaters have the higher likelihood of doing better (technically or in various program components), etc. so then during the actual performance, they're able to filter out and judge based on their expectations vs. the performance.
The CoP itself cannot account for every subtle piece of movement and interpretation, either.
However, I think it is fair to say that without pointing at every specific moment, most people and especially judges should be able to gauge things like good jumps/spins, a good performance, nice choreography, and appropriate interpretation of the music. These are the things the judges should be holistically and generally gauging with their conscious minds.
Their unconscious minds (which are far more efficient at processing tons of details all at once) will help to determine which smaller details contributed to the overall assessment.
And to a lesser extent program construction too.
Under 6.0, the judges only considered the jumps (and in a really weird way that didn't truly reflect what is difficult to perform and what isn't) and to a certain extent skating skills.
And if you're a skater, you want to know how each thing was graded exactly so that you can fix individual issues.
Cognitive science - I don't want to get into a methodological argument. A lot of the correlations have been proven to be too high to be possible.
The reason why PCS aren't more varied is twofold:
- it's not possible to focus on both TES and PCS at the same time, panels should be split
- judges are afraid of being outside the corridor, therefore they are playing it safe
And how does it help the skaters if the placements are completely arbitrary and they have no clue what they did right, what they did wrong, what the judges liked and what they didn't like.
No, I haven't forgotten, and there is much I miss.
Oh yes, I can see that Chan at Skate Canada 2010 was "physically, emotionally, and intellectually" more involved in sweeping the ice with his butt than Rippon was.
His SP just blazed with "Style" and "Clarity" - I could see that everything he did was in a superior mode of interpreting the music with precise, inspired movements. LOL!
Variety and Contrast - oh, yeah. Instead of always being upright, it's nice to integrate some change and fall once or twice or three times.
Now I totally get it. If I want to Perform well, I must follow that example.
(Just to clarify, I like Patrick Chan! But come on, that scoring was a travesty.)
Having said that, assigning a value of "7" or "8" or "9" to any PCS is arbitrary to some extent in the sense that there is no inherent value or meaning to those numbers. The only real way that skaters know what they mean is *gasp* by reference and comparison to other skaters they scored higher or lower than. So I'm not proposing a change to this aspect of scoring, which is unavoidable. Relative standards have to be laid down somehow--what I'm asking for is for judges to be allowed to take multiple things into broad account so that there is an overarching context for the scoring that matches the overall impression of a skate.
The possible downside is the introduction of unexplained bias. But you know, as I said, I don't think bias has been removed by CoP anyhow.
I agree. I've always liked the idea of seperate judging panels for TES and PCS.
I actually don't want to see separate panels. Because overall impression is IMO more important than the sum of the parts.
Many of the best programs IMO happened under 6.0, and they may not have been filled with transitions or complex spin positions, but the formed a cohesive ensemble.