Non-PCT Research: One Last Try

Tom Bourbon [941011.1416]

[From Bruce Abbott (941011.1020)]

. . .

Tom Bourbon (941010.1700) --

Rick Marken and Martin Taylor have already replied to Bruce's post.

I don't seem to have received Martin Taylor's reply--or have overlooked it.
Could you give me the date/time stamp of this post?

Ah, so you did see my post, after all. I was hoping to learn what you
thought of my remarks.

In my hurry to catch up on replies, I mistakenly took parts of a post by
Martin to be in reply to you, when he was in fact replying to Rick and me on
the subject of traditional research designs within psychophysics. Same
ideas, same comments from Rick and me, but the wrong thread. Sorry for the
false alarm.


[From Bruce Abbott (941011.1020)]

Rick Marken (941010.2400) --

There are two assertions we could be debating here:

(1) Much (not all) non-PCT behavioral research retains its validity and
     value in a post-PCT world.

(2) Much (not all) non-PCT behavioral research can answer important
     questions relevant to understanding individual purposeful behavior.

I have made the first assertion and attempted to defend it. At times you
appear to be responding to assertion number two (which I have not made). At
other times you appear to be arguing against assertion number one as well,
apparently under the assumption that all behavioral research must be directed
toward identifying controlled perceptions. This latter opinion is much too
limiting a straitjacket for my tastes.

I believe our disagreement really centers on another issue. You wish to
convince those who are sitting on the sidelines to get into the game and
actually DO PCT research (a laudable goal), and my argument seems to provide a
disturbance relative to that goal, in as much as it provides an excuse for
those who do not wish to drop their own research programs in favor of PCT
research. Given this perception, PCT predicts that you will defend your goal
against the effects of this disturbance, as you have.

PCT allows for the possibility that behaviors may develop which turn out to be
counterproductive in their effects on the perceptions they are supposed to
control (e.g. see Hershberger's "an approach through the looking glass"). In
my view your strategy is counterproductive. In advancing the argument I have
made I, too, am attempting to perceive greater acceptance of the PCT view in
the scientific community. However, it is my belief that this goal can be
approached more rapidly by demonstrating the utility of PCT in accounting for
established behavioral phenomena than by asserting that established behavioral
phenomena have no validity from a PCT perspective.

How about presenting an example of an important fact from that old
time psychology?

The Weber-Fechner law, the serial-position effect in list learning, Pavlovian
conditioning phenomena (the phenomena, not Pavlov's interpretation of them),
Thorndike's law of effect, discrimination learning phenomena, stimulus control
of behavior, extinction, short-term memory phenomena, contrast effects,
attachment (imprinting), overlearning, closure, perceptual illusions, to name
a few that come immediately to mind in my own areas of interest. Many of
these will ultimately be subsumed under and predicted by PCT; some will help
to fill in the missing details in the PCT model.

My personal ambition is to discover how to apply PCT (model and methods) so as
to correctly explain a large number of phenomena within my own field (learning
and behavior). I firmly believe that the current explanations for these
phenomena are as incorrect as the earth-centered model of the universe and
that PCT is the equivalent, not of Copernicus, but of Newton. I am very much
aware of Bill Powers'es illustration of the explanatory power of PCT in this
field (his reanalysis of Verhave's data), which provides at least a beginning.
However, if I buy into your thesis that these well-known and replicable
phenomena are irrelevant nonsense from a PCT perspective, then my goal is
misguided--there is nothing to explain (or at least nothing worth explaining).
So naturally, perceiving your position as a serious disturbance to my goal, I
have responded to counter it.

Maybe you could finally take up where Bill left off, Bruce. That
would be great!

Precisely my intention.

Tom Bourbon (941010.1700) --

Rick Marken and Martin Taylor have already replied to Bruce's post.

I don't seem to have received Martin Taylor's reply--or have overlooked it.
Could you give me the date/time stamp of this post?