What's in a Name?

[From Bruce Abbott (950315.1855 EST)]

Rick Marken (950315.1345)--

Bruce Abbott (950315.1545 EST) --

Well, you're right, I don't, except for the part about "in any of that
stuff," because that covers a lot of territory.

Could you tell us what EAB stuff you do believe literally?

"Objection, yer honor: vague. Counsel is on a fishing expedition."

I can see why you might want to use existing terms (like "stimulus control")
to refer to phenomena that can be accounted for by PCT. The risk, however, is
that the use of such "theory laden" terms will point your (and your
audience's) attention away from the actual control phenomenon that is
happening right before your eyes.

I think it's a small risk and worth taking, for the reasons given earlier.
You and Bill, among others, aren't going to let me stray too far, I'll wager.

I think something like this might be happening in the SDTEST research that is
currently going on. A lot of effort has been put into determining how long it
takes to change the reference position of the cursor -- and this may
eventually pay off (I don't see how at the moment) in terms of formulating a
model of the higher level variable controlled by changing that reference. But
it seems to me that there has been little attention paid to the very strong
hints about the higher level variable that is controlled. The possibility has
been mentioned several times that this higher level variable is most likely a
logical relationship ((red and right) or (green and left)) and the subject is
acting as though his goal is to keep that variable "true".

I've acknowledged your suggestion on at least two previous occasions and
indicated that it is worth trying. At the moment we're still in the
exploratory/descriptive phase of the research, and doing some thinking and
speculating about what we've noticed. I suspect we will develop several
alternative models that do well in accounting for the data from this task,
including your logical relationship control model. The more information we
have about task performance, the better position we will be in to develop
and evaluate these models.

However, the fact that ((red and
right) or (green and left)) or a similar logical variable is being controlled
is not likely to be noticed (or even tested) when this experiment is
described as one on "stimulus control".

By whom? Bill Powers? Me? Sam Saunders? I don't see how calling SDTEST3
an experiment on stimulus control has or is likely to have the effect you
propose.

Regards,

Bruce