[From Rick Marken (950627.1300)]
Bill Powers (950623.1410 MDT) --
If a reinforcement model CAN be made to fit the right side, I suggest
strongly that you go ahead and develop it, however complicated it gets.
The very complication, in comparison with the simplicity of the control
model, may carry a message of its own. And if it should prove that you
can't find any reinforcement model that, under the observed conditions
and observed range of possible behavior rates, will fit the data, that
will carry an even more important message.
Bruce Abbott (950627.1055 EST) --
Will do. But at the moment I'm having more fun working out a PCT analysis.
Epicycles are boring. (:->
I seriously doubt that reinforcement theory, even with "epicycles", can
account for the ratio data any better than it can account for the E. coli
data; that is, it can't.
Reinforcement theory can only account for the the E. coli data by ignoring
it. The E. coli data show that systematic responding occurs despite random
reinforcement of responses. Reinforcement theory accounts for this result by
ignoring the systematic behavior that occurs when reinforcement is random. If
epicycle theory were like reinforcement theory, it would account for the
retrograde motions of Mars by ignoring them.
Reinforcement theory says that reinforcing consequences increase the strength
of behavior. Yet the ratio reinforcement experiments show that responding
can be made to increase dramatically with no increases (indeed, with a slight
decrease) in the amount of reinforcement that is presumably "maintaining"
Before determining whether PCT is an improvement over the reinforcement model
of the ratio data, it seems like it would be important to see that there IS a
reinforcement model of this data.