[From Bruce Abbott (950601.1635 EST)]
Rick Marken (950601.1100)] --
Bruce Abbott (950601.1040 EST)
I'd very much like to know whether or not my description of your position
Sorry. The reason I gave no response is because there was no disturbance.
So, whenever you give no response, can I assume that you agree with what
I've said? Thank's for the clarification: does this mean we'll have to find
something else to argue about? (;->
Bill Leach 950529.21:34 U.S. Eastern Time Zone --
OK, I suppose that we have all had about enough of this one and I'm not
sure that all the feathers will be smoothed back down at this point
regardless of what happens.
I don't know about anyone else's feathers, but mine seem to be in good
condition. These debates can and sometimes do become rather heated, but
that's to be expected when two people are trying to get points across that
may challenge each other's conceptions/beliefs; it can be extremely
frustrating at times, both when you feel that your views are being
misperceived or misrepresented and when you feel that you just aren't
getting what the other guy is trying to say. But at times it may be the
only way to really break through and come to some understanding (although
not always agreement). I don't take it personally, and I hope my statements
are not taken personally by others. In my view, it's all just part of the
game. It's hot in the kitchen, but that's where all the cooking gets done.
EARLY PCT RESEARCH?
Now that we know what real PCT research looks like, here's a bit of PCT
research from the 1970s: you know, the kind that focused on identifying the
controlled perceptual variable. Rats were exposed to a schedule of brief
footshocks presented at random at an average rate of once per 120 seconds.
In one condition these were each immediately preceded by a 5-second warning
tone and the houselight illuminating the experimental chamber was on
(signaled shock condition). In a second condition the shocks occurred on
the same schedule but without warning and the houselight was off (unsignaled
shock condition). After being exposed to each schedule alternately for
several sessions, the rats were placed in the unsignaled condition. By
pressing a lever in the chamber a rat could switch from the unsignaled to
the signaled shock condition (indicated by onset of the houselight. Any
shocks that occurred in the signaled condition were, as in training,
immediately preceded by the signal. Further responses on the lever during
the signaled condition had no programmed effect. One minute later the
signaled condition terminated (the houselight extinguished) and the rat was
automatically placed back into the unsignaled condition. By responding
immediately on the lever at this time, the rat could immediately return to
the signaled condition for another minute, and so on.
What happened was that the rats pressed the lever quickly and reliably
enough to spend 85-95% of session time in the signaled shock condition.
I maintain that this experiment performed the Test for the controlled
variable. So long as the signaled schedule remained in effect, the rat did
nothing on the lever. However, as soon as the unsignaled schedule replaced
the signaled one, the rat immediately approached the lever and pressed it,
thus returning itself to the signaled shock condition. The controlled
perception was the schedule in effect (as indicated by the state of the
houselight), the reference was "signaled schedule in effect," and being
automatically switched from the signaled to the unsignaled schedule
constituted the disturbance. The experiment showed that the rat would
defend against this disturbance by pressing the lever to cancel it.
Variables (dependability of stimuli as predictors of shock and safety) were
manipulated across blocks of sessions in an effort to identify which
specific variables distinguishing the signaled and unsignaled schedules were
being controlled. [Badia, P., Harsh, J., Coker, C. C. and Abbott, B.
(1976). Choice and the dependability of stimuli that predict shock and
safety. _Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior_, _26_, 95-111.]
Apparently I was doing PCT research (testing for the controlled variable) as
far back as 1973, when this study began. (;->