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A Study on the Activity, Ethology and Psychology of Fluorescent Plastic Cubes

A Study on the Activity, Ethology and Psychology of Fluorescent Plastic Cubes

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Published by davidmwalker
A spoof paper on the psychology of pink fluorescent cubes that demonstrates the perils of false assumptions in analysing data.
A spoof paper on the psychology of pink fluorescent cubes that demonstrates the perils of false assumptions in analysing data.

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Published by: davidmwalker on Dec 28, 2009
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03/15/2015

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 ASTUDYONTHEACTIVITY,ETHOLOGYANDPSYCHOLOGYOFFLUORESCENTPLASTICCUBES*
Author:C.L.SCULDERInstitutefortheStudyofMind,DrugsandBehaviourLoyolaUniversityMedicalCentre2160S.FirstAvenueMaywood,Ill.60253
ABSTRACT
Aseriesofexperimentsarepresentedwhichhaveprovidedrigorouslyquantifiedandcarefullyanalyzeddataonthebehaviourofsmall,fluorescent,plasticcubesofvaryingsizeandweightinanenvironmentoforganiccomplexity.Thesevariableshavebeenstudiedastotheireffectsonthepsychomotoractivityofthecubes,onthesocialbehaviourofthebasicunits,andontheevolution,theaffinities,drivesandIntelligenceofthecubes.Anewpointofviewregardingthebehaviourofrichlyconnectedsystemsisexpressed.Thedatasuggestthatthereareerrorscausedbythedogmaticseparationofscientificdisciplinesandstronglyfavoursametagoaloftrans-cultural,trans-worldunityofscience.
INTRODUCTION
Theseriesofexperimentsreportedhererepresentmorethaneightyearsofresearch.However,noneofthedatahavebeenpublishedpreviously.Theworkhasbeencarriedcutwithdifficultyinthatthenecessaryfundswerefrompersonalcontributionsoftheauthorandmotivatedgraduatestudents.Aninitialtentativegrantrequestinregardtotheprojectwasnotpermittedtopassbeyondthechairman’sdeskandcausedsuchemotional,vindictiveandthreateningbehaviouronthepartoftheestablishmentthatmuchofthisworkhashadtobecarriedoutsecretly.Onlythevirtuesofthetenuresystempermittedtheanalystsandpresentationofthisdata.Thislaboratoryhasbeenengagedformanyyearsinstudiesonmousebehaviour
i,ii
.Aserious,no-nonsenseconsiderationoftheconceptsonwhichourbehavioural,theorieswerebasedpromotedtheinvestigationreportedhere.Inoureverydayconversationsinthelaboratorywehadanaturalenoughtendencytolettheconceptsofourprofessedfield(behaviour)soulovertoourdescriptionsofthebehaviourof“inanimate”things;andwefoundourselvesdeepininformationtheory,systemstheory,Gestalttheory,etc.whenwetriedtoestablishthevalidityoftheassumptionsunderlyingourinitialpointsofviewandtopin-pointtherationalebehindtheclassicalconstructsofanimalpsychologywhichweusedtospeakaboutthemiceunderinvestigation
iii
.
 
Wecametoviewtheorganismasabehaviouralsystemthatmirroredaspectsoftheenvironmentalreality;andwebegantowonderwhichwasthereflectionofwhich,e.g.,didtheadaptiveintelligentanimalreflecttheenvironmentordidtheenvironmentreflecttheanimal?Feedbackapparentlywasinvolvedinthesimplestmotoract.Themiceacteduponthingsasaresultofthingsactinguponthem;andthestimuluswasmodifiedbytheactionsofthemouse-actionsthatit(thestimulus)caused.Anon-goingdevelopmentalsituationexistedforwhichtherewasneitherabe-ginningnoranendbutrather,inmostcases,therewasadyadicrelation-shipasfollows:Aisanevent(orseriesofevents)ofasystemexternaltothemouseandaffectingit,andBisanevent(orseriesofevents)withinthemouseaffectingtheothersystemsoastomodifyA.Theexperimentsreportedherewereconceivedwithonlyaslightchangeinreferenceorpointofview.Thischangeinreferenceseemedreasonablebecauseitappearedtousthattherewasonlyaconventiondirectingus;and,possibly,newinsightswouldbegainedifweignoredourconventional,egocentric,Judeo-Christianphilosophy.Thephilosophytreatstheworldasdividedintoanimateandinanimateobjectsandmaintainsitselfbyrigorouslyindoctrinatingusfrominfancythatthisdichotomyhassomevalidity.Thevalidityisenforcedbysuitableseparationofterminologies,concepts,andhypothesesinuseinseparatedisciplinesstudyingoneortheothercategory.Wejokinglyreferredtoourstudiesasthefoundingofanewscience-“cubology,”thestudyofthebehaviourofcubesinacomplexorganicmedium.Afterwebeganourresearchanddiscoveredthatthiswasindeedanewscience,webegantoworryaboutitsimplication.Inwhatwayweretheconclusionsthatwereachedmoresillyandirrelevantthanthoseofscientific,behavioural,lifesciencesorthodoxy?Themeasurementsareaccurateandvalid.Thehypothesesaresimple,clear,andnotdevious;buttheoverallimplicationsarealarminginthattheprinciplesandthelogicofcubologyarethoseofeconomics,sociology,psychology,oranyofthemodel-constructingsciencesoftheartificial.EnvironmentAMouseB
 
MATERIALSANDMETHODS
IAnimals
Theanimalsusedintheseexperimentswerewild-trapped,male,domesticmice,Musmusculusdomesticus.Afteratwo-weekquarantineperiodintheenvironmentalchamberofthelaboratory,theanimalswereadmittedintothecubechamberdescribedbelow.Theywerenotfurtherstudied.Thenumberofmaleanimalswasmaintainedatthirtyindividualsinthechamberthroughouteachexperiment.Foodandwaterwereavailableadlibitumatthesidesofthechamberinsmallcontainers.
IICubes
Theworkreportedheredealtwiththebehaviourofsolidpolyethyleneplasticcubes.Controlcubesforthisstudywere1.5cm.onaside,allthesameweightandsolid.Duringcertainstudieseitherthedimensionsortheweightsofthecubeswerechanged.Ifthecubedimensionsweretheparameterunderconsideration,2sizesofcubesdifferingfromthe1.5cmonasidecontrolcubeswereconstructed.Thesewereeither1.2or1.8cmonaside.Thesmallercubeswereweighedwithleadinsertsre-coveredwithplasticandwereofthesameweightasthecontrolcubes.Thelargeroneswerepartiallyhollowsothattheirweightsalsoequalledthecontrolcubes.Thusinstudiesontheeffectofsizeonbehaviour,allcubesweighedthesame.Forthosestudiesinvolvingtheeffectofweightonbehaviour,thecontrolcubesof1.5cm.dimensionwerehollowedorweighedandthenrecoveredtoalllookidenticalalthoughtheynowweighs2,3or4grams.Allcubeswereimpregnatedwithfluorescencethatwasactivatedstronglybyadarklightof385milli-micronsandemittedfluorescentlightat435milli-microns.Thelatterradiationcouldberecordedbymeansofacameraasdescribedbelow.Atthebeginningofeachexperiment34,560cubeswereadmittedtothechamberdescribedbelowandplacedequidistantfromoneanotheronthefloor.
IIITheCubeChamber
Thiswasalargechamber,6.1x3.7x2.4metersinsize.Itwasconstructedfrompine2”x4”studs.Theentirechamberontheinsidehadaliningof¼inchwirenettingformingthewallsandaceiling.Thefloorwasasmoothaluminiumsheetperforatedwith0.5cmholesspaced¼cmapart.Theseholesallowedfaeces,foodparticles,andurinetofallfromthechamberbutdidnotpermitescapeofthecubesandprovidedasmoothsolidbasefortheiractivities.Thechamberwasmaintainedinadarkroomat22oC.±1.3owithalight-darkcycleof16hoursdaylight.Theontimewas6a.m.Whenphotographedforanalysis,theentirechamberwaslitbrieflywithstrongultravioletradiationandallotherilluminationwasextinguishedbrieflyatthattime.

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Thanks for posting this, David! Dr. Charles Lee Scudder wrote this article whilst serving as Assistant Director of the now-defunct "Institute for the Study of Mind, Drugs and Behavior," which was a tiny unit under the auspices of the Department of Pharmacology at Loyola University in Chicago. Dr. Scudder retired from Loyola at age 50 in 1976. His good friend, Anthony Stafford Beer, had planned to include this paper in a book called "Challenge to the Paradigm." The book never came to fruition. Unfortunately, Dr. Scudder was murdered in 1982. However, he would be most pleased that someone "gets" his parody.
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