Simple tests, general principles

[From Rick Marken (960103.0800)]

Phil Runkel (960103) --

I hope I have said something helpful to somebody--and nothing
confusing to anybody.

Very helpful and very clear to me. Wonderful post!

It also led me to what I think is an amusing observation.

As you note so nicely in your post:

The tracking task seems to take place in a very small world, a simpler
world inhabited by simple creatures who do simple things.

and, as you note, we are criticized for coming to conclusions about general
principles based on these simple examples of behavior. What I find amusing is
that we are being criticized by people who have come to conclusions about
principles that are assumed to be just as general as _control of perception_
based on examples of behavior just as simple as _tracking_. For example:

General Principle Behavioral example

Selection by consequences Pigeons pecking for food
Information processing Time to identify briefly exposed letters
Unconscious repression Slips of the tongue
Stimulus causation "Knee-jerk" reflex
Point attractors Swinging pendula from hands

I'm sure we could think of many more. The point, of course, is that the
real reason psychologists say "PCT has only been demonstrated in limited
circumstances (compensatory tracking)" is because they don't like the general
principle that is being demonstrated (control of perception); if they were
really concerned about the limitations of the circumstances in which the
principle is demonstrated, they would say the same about their own principle;
but, of course, they don't.

Again, thanks for a _very_ informative and thought provoking post, Phil. The
only thing I didn't like about it was that I didn't write it :wink: