*really* naive questions

(from: eric harnden 920922.0940)

i told you these would be coming. mostly, they stem from my effectively
zero knowledge of psychology.

1) mr marken, in his letter to estes, reasserts the essential argument
that study should be directed not toward behavioral outputs but toward
controlled inputs. further, he indicates that the reaction to this and
other assertions is 'yeah, so what... that's obvious', and goes on to
say that it doesn't seem like its obvious, as demonstrated by the
experimental modes of mainstream behavioral researchers. now, i was
under the impression that behavioral studies often involved the presentation
of stimulus to an organism, and an observation of response. i was further
under the impression that these stimuli were presented under a not entirely
unfounded set of assumptions of what, in the local terminology, the organism
is controlling for. please explain to me why it is invalid for a mainstream
behaviorist to say 'yes, well of course the organism is going to avoid pain,
and prefer food. in this supposedly new jargon, i am being told what i
already know: that it is controlling for lack of pain and hunger. what
interests me is the characterization of its outputs, since it is the nature
of these that ultimately affects itself, its environment, and other organisms.'
now, i understand that this demonstrates, on my part, a basic ignorance of
both classical psychology, and (so far at least) pct. but i am hoping that, by
framing the question so baldly, i can elicit a response strong enough to clear
a few of my cobwebs.
2) mr powers said something about 'reserving the term "control" for the closed
loop situation.' why is the experimenter not seen as part of the loop?
not to imply that this then gives the experimenter the 'control' against
which mr powers is arguing. but it seems pushing it to then imply that the
experimenter is then 'controlled'. but s/he definitely must fit in
somewhere... i think.

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Eric Harnden (Ronin)
The American University Physics Dept.
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