VI study

[From Bruce Abbott (971231.1430 EST)

Rick Marken (971230.1400)--


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

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

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?).

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

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