Tuesday, August 21, 2007


The Inter-Ocular Traumatic Test (IOTT) has played a very important role in our family. Actually, I first saw the term in a graduate sociology course at the University of North Carolina in the early 1960s. My recollection is that it was a methodology course taught by Professor Ernest Q. Campbell but I'm not positive about that. And I also recall that it appeared in an article written by the eminent sociologist Robert Merton. In terms of academic research IOTT meant that, in the examination of data, when you saw something significant it hit you between the eyes.

Early in my current marriage, we were out shopping for some big ticket item. Nothing we looked at seemed to fit exactly what we were looking for. . .until. . .there it stood before us and I blurted out, "It's an IOTT!" Since that day, after explaining what I meant, we have always used that combination of letters to describe the moment we found exactly what we were looking for. And the strange part of this is that I can never remember when something was an IOTT for one of us and not the other(s).

It may have started in a sociology methods article but it has translated well into the practical life of our family. Thank you Robert Merton.

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