... and on!

From Greg Williams (930330 - 3, I conjecture)

Bill Powers (930330.1330 MST)

Greg Williams (930330 - 2) --

I think it would be a lot MORE reasonable to perform tests
aimed at understanding (by experimenter and subject alike)
one's behavior which are not COMPLETELY dependent on possibly
fallacious subjective reports.

Subjective reports can be fallacious if they contradict evidence
that can be obtained about the same thing without relying on
subjective reports. They can't be fallacious if the question is
how the world appears to the observer.

My understanding what you are supposed to do to meet the challenge I
originally issued is to come up with an "understanding" of a
particular sample of my behavior which is satisfactory to me. My
judgment on that involves more than just questions of "how the world
[including what I perceive to be or have been my motivations]
appears" to me, doesn't it? Isn't it possible that I could judge,
solely on the basis of "how the world appears" to me at time A, that
you have met my challenge, and then at later time B, be shown to be
wrong by other evidence?

I can accept your statements as truthful without a qualm, because
what I am doing is trying to determine how your experiences
appear to you.

But my veracity in reporting "how my experiences appear" to me is
independent of whether or not "how my experiences appear" to me can be
used to establish the validity of your meeting the challenge or not.
What I'm saying in other words is that using introspective reports to
make claims about introspective reports themselves (i.e., "The cross-
bar on that T looks longer than the upright") could be accepted as
reasonable, but using introspective reports alone to decide whether
an understanding of a behavior is acceptable could be considered
unreasonable, because of the questions it begs.

When I said you were an easy case, by the way, did you experience
anything that you didn't tell me about?

I (truthfully!) forget, at this time. It is entirely possible that I
did, but maybe I didn't.

If you were controlling for something important to you a
week ago, chances are that you're still controlling for it. What
other assumption can one go on, when trying to determine the
characteristics of any system?

Maybe you can't determine the characteristics of some (many?) systems?
How big of a sample did you derive the statistical "chances are" from?
(No, I realize you wouldn't make the fallacious attempt to infer
individual characteristics from population measures. Honest!)

... and the Test, as you have noted, is difficult to apply in
field conditions.

Not as difficult as you think. I would say challenging.

I thought you used the word "difficult" in your post on prediction.
Sorry if I misremembered.

The point I think (but don't know!) I'm trying to make NOW (not
necessarily when I first issued the challenge) is that
understanding (and especially predicting) complex individual
human behaviors in the field by using The Test looks to be much
more difficult than laboratory tracking experiments.

Well, I don't necessarily buy that.


Outside the laboratory there are far more controlled variables to be
found. The chances of finding one that will open the door to another
are much greater, and the kind of controlled variables that will be
found are much more natural. It's harder to quantify them, to be sure,
but at the higher levels that's not our immediate concern.

Oh, oh. More "chances." Have you done studies on large populations to
be so confident of your projected correlations?

... it is at least possible that, IN PRACTICE, PCT won't be
able to generate population measures which some behavioral
scientists will continue to desire.

Just curious -- is that all you intend to say about my proposal
the other day for predicting population demand curves from models
of individual behavior?

Right now, no. I'll add that, from a PRACTICAL standpoint, it will
be a stupendous task to try to understand just one behavior of, say,
only 1000 people, to judge by the progress of this challenge, and
then use the resultant knowledge to predict population demand curves.
Maybe I'll intend to (and maybe even actually) say even more some
time in the future. Any guesses as to when I might?

It now seems to me that you are reluctant to report subjective
impressions and offer them as answers to my questions. Is this

Right now? No.

P.S. primers on the way, ASCII.

Thanks again.

As ever,