Knowing when a method is appropriate

[From Rick Marken (950104.2200)]


I presume that this means that you don't want to discuss the
problems of using conventional IV-DV methodology to study living
control systems?

Bruce Abbott (950104.2050 EST) --

Actually no, I don't.

Gee, that's too bad. That's all we want to talk about here. But I can
certainly understand your position.

I want to discuss the problems of using control-system methodology
to study aspects of human and animal capabilities for which that
methodology is inappropriate.

What's to discuss? If it's inappropriate it's inappropriate. But how do
you know when PCT methodology is inappropriate? And how do you
know when conventional methods are appropriate? Seems like it
would be important to mention in your text how you do this. We
wouldn't want psychologists applying conventional methods
inappropriately, now, would we?

Let's assume for the sake of argument that the aspects of memory I
wish to study are not control phenomena. "The Test" is unnecessary.
What now?

Then you can use conventional methods to your hearts content;-)
But let's not assume; let's find out if the aspects of memory we
wish to study are or are not control phenomena so that we can KNOW
which methods of study are appropriate. How do we find out?

I think you're just playing dumb.

No. Actually I really am this way. And I'm really pretty lousy at the
theoretical aspects of statistics and probability. I'm just a cookbook
kinda guy. Bill's stuff looked OK to me. I'm interested in seeing what
you thought was wrong with it.

Tom Bourbon (950104.1330) asks:

Could you say a little more about the idea that PCT analysis is a subset
of IV-DV methods?

Bruce replies:

I defer to Bill (950102.1825 MST):

I agree that Rick is overgeneralizing. We use IV-DV analysis when
using the Test for the controlled variable, as you pointed out.

So, Bruce, do you take this to mean that the IV-DV methodology
described in your methods text is the same as the IV-DV methodology
we use when we do the Test? Do the results of the IV-DV experiments
described in your text tell us about how the subjects controlled their
perceptions? Or do you only describe the application of IV-DV
methodology to the study of non-control phenomena?

Having gotten this far, I would now examine my performance on this
task as a function of those pesky disturbances. Which way do I move
the mouse as the screen stimuli change and I attempt to keep them
unchanged, and by how much?

In a compensatory tracking task, changes in the "screen stimuli" are
not the same as the "pesky" disturbance. I highly recommend that you
DO analyze the relationship between movements of the "screen
stimuli", the disturbance and the mouse in a compensatory tracking
task. I have no doubt that you will be able to maintain your belief
that the "screen stimulus" (or something about it) is the IV (cause)
and that mouse movement (or something about it) is the DV (effect).
Heck, you've got the next edition of that text to write. But at least
we'll be looking at some real phenomena and it should give us all a
few weeks of giddy thrills;-)

Nighty night