TIME ; PCT & S-R - RKC

[From Bob Clark (930513.1115 EDT)

Bill Powers (930509.1800 MDT)

What if we have no time sensor, but simply experience time in terms
of one kind of event relative to another? To speak of slow and fast
time is to posit a second dimension of (uniform) time in terms of
which a variable rate of passage of time can be measured.

Yes, Bill, that is essentially the dictionary definition: "duration
regarded as that in which events succeed one another." The perception
of "time" requires some second perceptual variable (or variables, or
combination of variables). The intact human (at least the adult)
includes a large number of such variables.

However, there are several physiological variables that could provide
"primitive" events involving time. I have in mind such items as time
between feedings (infant), peristalsis, heart rate, etc. Some of
these certainly do vary with respect to each other. These could be
available as alternative time scales. However increasing experience
would lead to their reconciliation, no doubt in terms of some
"slower" time scale needed by higher order systems.

"Fast vs slow" -- These can be defined with regard to a specific
perceptual variable. "Fast" is the time scale needed for description
of the details of events occurring while the reference level for that
perceptual variable remains essentially unchanged. "Slow" is the
time scale needed for description of the changing of the reference
level for that same perceptual variable.

This treatment of time does not offer a "uniform" internal time scale
-- apparently such a "general" time scale seems unlikely to develop
until people interact. The physical world provides plenty of
event-series leading to a generally agreed "uniform" time scale.
This seems adequate for most everyday purposes.

"Time" seems to be a familiar and very important concept that is
widely used "as though" it is in fact a perceptual variable. There
are many interpersonal interactions that are very hard to fit into
the hierarchical structure without involving time in some manner.
This is particularly true in structuring the higher order perceptual
variables, many (perhaps "all") of which involve interpersonal
relationships.

ยทยทยท

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Regarding your S-R remarks in the same post --

I hope that I misunderstand you. Your post suggests that you think I
am advocating S-R analysis. You remark:

Only if you mistake disturbances for stimuli.

Surely you don't think I make that mistake? My point is that you
cannot prevent others from using that viewpoint. When the other
person selects the event considered the "stimulus" and also the later
event considered the "response," his description may be a very
practical one -- it is only grossly, sometimes even indecently,
incomplete.

Consider an ordinary situation -- I find my food is not as salty as I
like. ("Stimulus," if one likes the concept.) Perhaps I simply reach
for the salt shaker and use it. ("Response," if you wish.) But, if I
can't reach the shaker, "Please pass the salt." (I issue a Stimulus.)
My companion passes the salt (the Response I expected), which I
proceed use. For a great many everyday purposes, this is quite
adequate -- it just omits a large number of intervening events and
the corresponding perceptual variables.

I don't think, Bill, that we are in any real disagreement on the S-R
subject. But I am still surprised at your seeming to misunderstand
my discussion, attempting to state the situation more completely,
pointing out (from your post) "the controlled quantity (the quantity
actually being sensed)."

Your window-opening/sweater example is not a bad example: for many
purposes, particularly for an observer, the rather crude summary in
your suggested S-R terms is quite adequate. But for the
"sweater-putter-on"er, more detail may be appropriate -- especially
if he might prefer to request you to shut the window. One can go
round and round, shifting viewpoints and time scales and adding more
details without really accomplishing much.

To me, S-R is not so much "an illusion" as it is a convenient, and
often misleading "summary." S-R gets into trouble when it tries to
describe sequences of events while the relevant reference level(s)
is/are changing. To maintain the S-R view when r is changing
requires the S-R advocate to shift his attention up one (or more)
levels to find perceptual variables with r's unchanging for that
particular sequence of events.

Enough of this for now.

Regards, Bob Clark