IU East News and Notes

December 16, 2011 |

Duane Lundy, assistant professor of psychology, recently had his manuscript entitled “Critiquing the Critics: Statistical Analysis of Music Critics’ Rating Distributions as a Measure of Individual Refinement” selected for publication in Empirical Studies of the Arts, expected to be published in 2012.

In the manuscript, Lundy evaluates rating behavior among modern music critics, using a previously compiled database that randomly sampled 352 different critics’ ratings of more than 15,000 albums. He used potential quantitative markers of rating refinement by analyzing frequency distributions of album ratings.

Lundy found critics’ ratings as a group to be roughly normally distributed, but individual critics varied widely in rating behavior, as evidenced by both visual inspection of histograms and related statistics, such as skewness, kurtosis, z-score ranges, and Kolmogorov-Smirnov calculations. Precision remains an area in need of improvement among all critics, with the rating scales varying between only 10-20 percent precision, and ceiling effects with somewhat negatively skewed distributions occurring among some critics.

Jerome Mahaffey, associate professor of communication studies, has a new book, The Accidental Revolutionary: George Whitefield and the Creation of America, by Baylor University Press. The book is a biography on George Whitefield, an influential minister in America from 1740 to 1770.

Previously, Mahaffey compiled 15 years of research on George Whitefield into his book, Preaching Politics: The Religious Rhetoric of George Whitefield and the Founding of a New Nation, released in October 2007.

This new book, The Accidental Revolutionary, discusses Whitefield’s participation and preaching during the Great Awakening, particularly on gospel conversion. In this biography, Mahaffey moves beyond Whitefield’s colonial celebrity to show how his rhetoric and ministry worked for freedom, situating Whitefield alongside the most revolutionary founders. As this Anglican revivalist traveled among the colonies, he delivered exhilarating sermons deeply saturated with political implications – freedom from oppression, civil justice, and communal cooperation. Whitefield helped to encourage in his listeners a longing for a new, uniquely American nationalism.