Behavioral Scientists

[From Rick Marken (930315.1545)]

Avery Andrews (930316.0939) --

(Rick Marken (930313.1000))

There are those on this net who don't like referring to PCT as
"revolutionary". But Allen Randall has put his finger right on the
revolutionary button of PCT. If there is ONE thing on which ALL
conventional behavioral scientists agree it is that sensory input
is an INDEPENDENT VARIABLE

Well, Chomskyan linguists are different - they are quite uninterested
in dependent vs. independent variables, and don't learn to analyse things
this way in graduate school- they just ask `what's the pattern,
and why'. I suspect that many non-psychologist `cognitive scientists'
are similarly unschooled.

I think many people would say that they don't believe in the
dependent variable-independent variable "model" of behavior. This
is one of the most irritating problems we have to deal with in
PCT. If you ask people whether the IV-DV model would characterize
their underlying assumptions about how behavior works they almost
always say NO. But when they go out and do some research, what
do they use -- the IV-DV framework. Maybe "real" Chomskyan linguists
eschew interest in independent and dependent variables -- but when
you put them in the lab (if you can get them there) what do they
do? They vary an independent variable (type of sentence, for example)
and measure a dependent variable (report of where they hear a click
that was inserted in the sentence).

Chomskyans can probably rise above the claim that they assume that
sensory input causes response output simply because they don't do
any research -- at least of the experimental variaty. The same is
true of "cognitive scientists" who just build AI systems. So
how about this: my claim only applies to "behavioral scientists" who
actually go into a lab and study behavior -- and do MORE than just
observe it; I mean the people who TEST theories of behavior. It is
these "behavioral scientists" to whom I refer when I say that they
all operate under the assumption (conscious or not) that sensory
input is the cause of response output. I'm willing to accept the
notion that Chomskyans are above all that "lab" stuff.

Best

Rick

[Avery Andrews 930316.1051]
(Rick Marken (930315.1545))

Well, Chomskyans indeed don't spend much time in the lab, and I agree
that when they do, they behave pretty much as you describe. But they
do go out into to the field, listen to what people say, ask about
how you say things, etc., and this, I would argue, is real research
that doesn't fit the IV-DV mode. They also study texts (all we've
got for extinct lgs. such as Old English or Ancient Greek), and draw
occasionally interesting conclusions of what they find there, and
I don't think this stuff fits the IV/DV mold either. In this respect,
Chomskyans are no different from any other kind of linguist, except
that novices in the field might do too much asking and too little
listening.

  Avery Andrews@anu.edu.au