Test-ing

[From Rick Marken (931007.1230)]

Bill Powers (931006.1430 MDT) said:

Coin Game: The tester and the subject can disagree on what to
call the controlled variable even after the tester has discovered
exactly what it is. Each may use a different categorization
scheme, whereas what is actually under control is at a level
lower than categories.

Bruce Nevin (Thu 93107 11:25:28 EDT) replied --

This is part of why I say that the "phonemes" (representations of
contrast) may differ from one speaker to another even though the lower
level perceptions that they control under their respective categorization
schemes are identical, as far as they are concerned, as they listen to
each other and to themselves.

Say what?? How is Bill's statement above related IN ANY WAY to why you
say above. Could you step me through this? How is the fact that tester
and subject can disagree about what to call a controlled variable related
to why you say that ""phonemes"...may differ from one speaker to another
even though the lower level perceptions that they control... are identical"
(other than by virtue of the fact that they are both written in english)??

(The other reasons that lead me to this have to do with what linguists
have said, which is perceived as being of no interest or value on
this list.)

What linguists have said about what they have observed about language
is very often of great value and interest; what they have proposed as
explanations for what they observed typically ranks up there with the
silliest stuff I've read anywhere in the social and behavioral sciences

Bill Powers (931006.2100 MDT) --

...A lot of great stuff then:

I give up. Good night.

Thank god you stayed awake as long as you did. Excellent post.

David Goldstein (01/07/93) --

A good example of the test. And good comments on it. I want to
expand on one or two.

The Test could be described as an application of the scientific
method (change one variable at a time) to specific kinds of
hypotheses (The person cares/does not care about certain variables
of experience).

The hypotheses (which were not mentioned) should really be
descriptions of the controlled variable. Apparently, the first
hypothesis was that the controlled variable was "type of shot".
Then the hypothesis was that the controlled variable was "sex
of the shot giver", which was close enough for the doctor. As
you say, the controlled variable could have been narrowed down
quite a bit further.

Somehow, describing The Test as an application of the
scientific method gives me a sense of not being so different from
others.

"The test" is, of course, scientific, though it differs in important
ways from what is called "scientific method" in psychology. Like
the "scientific method", "the test" involve varying stimuli (such
as the person who gives the shot) and watching for response. The
main "extra added attractions" of "the test" are that 1) it is
typically done on one organism at a time 2) a controlled variable
is hypothesized; this drives selection of the "stimuli" (disturbances)
used at each point in the test) 3) it is done until one hits on a
definition of the controlled variable (after sequental testing) that
makes it possible to predict, for every conceivable disturbance,
whether it will be resisted or not; the test ends when the the
tester knows "beyond a reasonable doubt" what the organism is controlling.

generalizations, including those based on
statistical methods, can provide a rich sourse of hypotheses which
can be checked out by The Test.

Fine with me, as long as people are willing to dispose of these
hypotheses (and think up new ones) once they have been rejected
(as they almost certainly will be) by "the test". My problem with
hypotheses based on statistical methods is not that they can't
be a good start for doing "the test"; it's that people tend to
think of them as facts rather than disposable fictions.

Best

Rick

[From: Bruce Nevin (Fri 93108 12:13:31 EDT)]

(Rick Marken (931007.1230)) --

Bill Powers (931006.1430 MDT) said:

> Coin Game: The tester and the subject can disagree on what to
> call the controlled variable even after the tester has discovered
> exactly what it is. Each may use a different categorization
> scheme, whereas what is actually under control is at a level
> lower than categories.

Bruce Nevin (Thu 93107 11:25:28 EDT) replied --

>This is part of why I say that the "phonemes" (representations of
>contrast) may differ from one speaker to another even though the lower
>level perceptions that they control under their respective categorization
>schemes are identical, as far as they are concerned, as they listen to
>each other and to themselves.

Say what?? How is Bill's statement above related IN ANY WAY to why you
say above. Could you step me through this?

In the coin game, the tester controls a perception of a Z, the subject
controls a perception of an N, and an observer controls a perception of a
zigzag pattern with three sides, two of them equal and parallel.

In the language situation, the subject controls a perception of a p in
"spin", an observer controls a perception of a b, and the tester controls
a perception of a P, which is neither p nor b.

Digression: Probably in the language situation the observer and the
tester would have to be illiterate or in some other way not bullied by
the notion that since it is spelled with the letter p it must be the
phoneme p that is being produced. The person so bullied should of course
immediately go ghoti-ing to take his mind off it for a while.

(G.B. Shaw's joke: spell "fish" with the gh of tough, the o of women, and
the ti of nation. He was an ardent advocate of English spelling reform.
I have a lovely,long poem by a Dutch poet that works in many words and
word pairs whose spelling is especially arbitrary and nightmarish for
non-native speakers of English. The first line begins "Dearest creature
in creation ...". My hat is off to all of you who learned to read and
write English as a second language. I don't know how you managed to do
it! As a matter of fact, it's pretty amazing that any of us manages it.)

    Bruce
    bn@bbn.com