VI study, Just say "it's shit for science"

Bruce Abbott:
I have been holding this rat's body weight constant by adjusting
supplemental feeding;

Mark Lazare: Yet another fine example of COERCION, but a total perversion
of PCT --- it is as close to Science as Phrenology and Astrology. In a word
it is shit.

Why? I thought you were studying the rat's ability to control
its inputs, not your ability to control one of your inputs
(perception of the rat's weight). Why not cut these babies some

Bruce Abbott:
When you do a tracking study, you ask your participant to keep the little
cursor on the screen aligned with the target. For some unknown reason, the
participant _wants_ to do this (or else she wouldn't be doing it, right?).

Mark: that is right WE ASK - we don't cut off the person's food or threaten
the subject with torture. We ask, it is call COOPERATION.

Bruce Abbott:
I don't have that advantage with my rat participants. They don't seem to
understand English (and I don't speak rat).

Mark : Oh I think you speak Rat just fine- a rat manipulates its' environment
just fine to serve its' purposes. I think you do the same just as well.

Bruce Abbott:
They don't get the hint if I try to show them what I want them to do. They
don't seem to _care_ whether they make me happy (as your participants probably
do with respect to you, or at least they hope to get you off their backs by
co-operating). So I have to resort to a little bit of coercion. By reducing
their weights I can be assured that, unless ill, they will be more than happy
to press a lever if, the consequence of that lever-press is (at least
occasionally) a food pellet. It's not really much different than the social
pressure you exert on your participants to do as you ask, just more obvious.

Mark: YES you can be assured that, unless ill, they will be more than happy
to press a lever if, the consequence of that lever-press is (at least
occasionally) a food pellet. (what a NOVEL insight, that is hardly worth going
to school for, any 10 yrs old child can train the family dog to sit using a

Rats will do many and all behaviors they can find that produce the input they
NEED food, for with out Food the rat will die. You can even get the rat to
commit sodomy if that is the only way it can control to get food. The
behavior the rat does won't give you a "Freek'n" clue to what the rat is
controlling for. In this case, The Rat does not control it's actions you do.

There is a HUGE difference between cooperation and "a little bit of coercion"
that you refer to. For one thing the use of coercion requires a lot less
thought in the Methodology of devising an Experiment.

It is quite different. My "social pressure" doesn't affect the
subject's ability to control the cursor _in the experimental
situation; the subject has complete control over cursor
position so I can see the phenomenon of control very clearly and
I can model it precisely. Your "social pressure" (controlling the
rats access to food in order to control its weight) influences
the rats' ability to control food input _in (and out of) the
experimental situation; the rat (unlike my subjects) cannot
have complete control over the hypothetical controlled variable
(food input) in the experimental situation; it can't completely
control its food input at all since you (being stronger) are
producing insuperable disturbances to the rats' food input
when you control the rat's weight. Your VI experiment is just poor
experimental procedure from a control system point of view; but
it's a great conventional experiment. (By the way, your VI study
is the kind of garbage we hope you are NOT going to pass
off in publications as PCT).

Bruce Abbott:
The rats can still control their immediate inputs, just as your participants
can still control the cursor position, during the course of the experimental

Mark: This tells me you still have no clue about PCT. You seem to still be
focused on the "ACTIONS" that effect the input. As if the actions are the
issue. BULLSHIT.

Since you don't test for controlled variables in these experiments,
you have no idea what perceptual variables the subject is
controlling. The subject may be controlling perceptions that
don't even involve the perceptual variable (like tone intensity)
under study. So you really learn very little (nothing?) about
perception from such experiments.
Psycholphysics was my field, Bruce. I did some great psychophysics
experiments and published a few. But once I learned PCT I realized
that the work I had done in psycholphysics was based on the wrong
model of behavior (input-output). So I stopped doing that kind
of research or relying on its results. It's really easy to give
this stuff up, Bruce. Just say "no" to conventional research. Once
you've done that, you can finally _start_ doing PCT.


(((Ring))) (((Ring)))

Do you hear that.
It must be the "CLUE" phone.

It is for you, Bruce Abbott.