Social straw men

[From Rick Marken (931122.1300)]

Bruce Nevin (Mon 931122 13:25:57 EST)

"Social pressure" is a bad metaphor. I don't use it. If you use it when
paraphrasing me, you are thereby setting up a straw man. Please don't.

Sorry. I'm always doing that, it seems. Especially with S-R and
reinforcement theorists. Every time I explain my understanding of
how their theories work, I am told that my explanation is a "straw
man". If I didn't know better, I'd be inclined to think that "straw
man" just refers to an unpleasantly candid way of describing what
a person actually DO believe about their theory.

What "goes up" for the subject, when you compare the anonymous Asch
experiment with a naturally occurring situation in which those from whom
the subject may dissent or not are familiar, is the number of controlled
perceptions being disturbed and the importance of the controlled
perceptions that are being disturbed (a function of gain, I assume).

Ah. Is this "the beast" that you referred to in the earlier post? So
"the beast" in the Asch study is the number of controlled perceptions
being disturbed? And the "defanging" must refer to the reduced number
of these disturbed perceptions in the Asch study?.

This still makes no sense to me (why should the NUMBER of variables
disturbed have anything to do with whether or not a person caves in
to social pressure?) but at least it SOUNDS like PCT. But tell me,
how do you know how many variables were disturbed in the Asch study?
How do you know how many variables are disturbed in natural social

More tea?