Slippery finale

[From Dag Forssell (980129 1300)

Here is Dick Robertsson's mime encoded message of yesterday.


Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 18:19:00 -0600
From: R J Robertson <R-Robertson@NEIU.EDU>
Subject: Re slippery finale

[From Dick Robertson] (989128.1818CST)

[Fred Nickols (980127.1555 EST)]
Subject: Re: Slippery lines in IMP

R J Robertson (no date-time stamp)
Since I wrote the lines that Fred finds "slippery wording" I guess a

reply by

me is in order...

My reading of the paragraph below indicated to me that two "stimuli" were
involved. On the surface level, as it were, the stimulus is the string of
numbers beginning 1314....

Right, I was just thinking of the surface level

So, when I reached the end of the paragraph, it was not clear to me whether
your use of "stimulus" referred just to the block of numbers or to the
paragraph in which that block of numbers appears. Restricted to just the
block of numbers, the stimulus is exactly the same, no matter how various
people see it. But, if the use of stimulus refers to the paragraph in which
that block of numbers is presented, then that presentation of the block of
numbers is very, very different from its presentation without any
accompanying information...

In the first instance, I would not even hazard a guess as to how many

people >would view it as a random set of numbers and how many might see the

sequence... In other words, I'm willing to
wager that the instruction to view the set of numbers in blocks of three
would "blind" many people to the sequence in the string of numbers. It's
certainly an empirical question.

Well, you win! I checked it out with my wife, Vivian, and sure enough she
got focused more on the instructions than on how perception would be
controlled by the reference signal (that the reader would use if accepting
the instructions) or "set" if you prefer. With the benefit of hindsight I
would go along with Bruce that it would probably have been better with no
instructions, at least until the reader had had the chance to perceive the
line of black marks in whatever way he would initially bring to it.

Best, Dick Robertson