[From Dick Robertson,2009.11.22.1128CST]
[From Bill Powers (2001.20.1115 MDT)]
Now that we seem to be reaching a consensus about the control
for the Arielly data, I think we might start re-evaluating the
subject of priming. The explanation for the apparent effect of
social security numbers on the bid prices was simply that
SS# considered as an asking price resulted in an increase of the
We can do this with a computer. What we need is for the
subject’s alterations of the bid price to be made observable, which can be
done just by having the subject move a mouse (which measures O) to
adjust a bid price displayed on the screen. The proposed effect of the
asked price on the bid price is harder, conceptually, to explain, but
by actually giving the asked price an effect on the bid price we
can satisfy the premises of the S-R model without having to explain
Now we can do the Arielly experiment on the computer screen
of on paper. Each subject is asked his SS# and the experimenter
enters it as A on the screen. The subject then moves the mouse
change the displayed bid price until it is whatever value the
wants to see.
It would be better, of course, to use a single subject and a
series of different values of A. While this might alter the magnitudes
of some effects, it is unlikely to reverse the relationship between
A and O. Of course if someone wants to invent a model that would
have that result without being a negative feedback control system, we
could test it and see if it works. Telling the right background
story as part of the instructions would, in my opinion, probably
prevent any serious effects of repeated trials by the same subject, but
again > nobody has to take my word for that. We can just set up the
experiment to satisfy the conditions of the model and test it.
If it makes a difference, it makes a difference. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
!> I don’t know if this is likely to be done. I have no facilities
!> with which to do them. If anyone takes this challenge to the concept
!> of priming seriously maybe the experiments will happen. Of course
!> the best way to defend against the challenge is to ignore it, so I
!> suspect that is what will happen.
If I received a program that I could download to a CD, I have a tentative agreement from one of my two grandsons at Carthage College in Wis. to ask a psychology instructor for permission to distribute a questionaire that would gather Ariely-type data. (I’m sure the other would too.)
Acutally, it should be two programs. One where individual Ss would work on the computer version you suggest, where the program would record S name and data and analyse and print out results, and/or enter individual data from a number of Ss (friends of grandsons who might do the mouse-version on their machines) and then also do the multiple S spreadsheet, means, etc.–just like Arliely.
The program (or a separate one) to be given to a whole class would have to be printed handouts where the Ss fill in their numbers as with the Ariely exp’t. I think instructors woul permit the five to ten minutes for gathering such data, especially if we promised them the purpose and results. I would be willing to input the individual data from a couple of classes of 30 or fewer students. If there were data beyond that I would try to find “research assistants” to input the rest of the data.
Miscellaneous: I’m not sure all college kids remember their SS#, but why not the last two digits of phone number, or house number, or all of them, allowing for the multiple trials by one S you have been interested in, or for data with gaps?
I can’t remember whether my grandsons have Macs or Pcs’ Could the program work for either?