Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘experimental designs

Short story: Ajdad wants to change as he was reminded that he is already perceived an elder person

Ajdad grew up unpretentious, and was perceived a stuck up child.

Ajdad cared for nothing in particular in order to ask questions, much less pertinent questions.

This naive kid grew up more naive with age: The more he knew about people and the universe, the more confused he felt and had no idea from where to start his questioning with other people…

Ajdad grew to be over 60 year-old and he is keeping himself fit and young, Not in matter of speed and aerobics, but for endurance and flexibility.

And time passed pretty quick for Ajdad to realize that he is banished from the youth community, even the over thirty-something.

At his early age, Ajdad didn’t felt this strong urge to communicate and question his peers or relatives.

And he was perceived as an unbearably pretentious person to associate with or keep any steady link with him.

He became highly critical and cynical since he gathered many higher educational degrees in many field of study, especially in rational thinking and experimental designs.

Adjad accumulated a vast comprehensive knowledge on many issues, and he persist on patronizing libraries every day, to read and write.

Though Ajdad is starting to listen and learn about human interactions and traditional biases.

He is letting his funny and ironic hidden “streak” spread when he meet “strangers”, and love to make people laugh hard, at his own expense.

Ajdad may grow to be 90, but he is Not likely to find a single close friend to keep him company, as the trend keeps speaking loudly since his early age.

“Experimental Mind Farms” Day-dream Project

Forming experimental minds is feasible to all people regardless of level of education. Applying the experimental mind requires some level of education and knowledge.

What is more important for our world in difficulty is for the people to be able to think and form clear ideas and opinions according to a well formed experimental mind.

To be able to”ask the right questions

In a previous Daydream post I detailed the project for PlantZoo.

Vegetables and fruits trees will be grown organically using catalysts that aid the plants in using the sun light and the atmosphere as main sources for their nutrients.

Actually, all the rain forests and most of the plants that are not tended by mankind rely solely on the atmosphere to grow tall for centuries.

Consequently, it is not the soil or the rain fall that permit the forests to grow: Just the humidity and the chemical elements in the atmosphere.

Fresh vegetables and fruits can be harvested regardless of the climate or dryness of the land, if adequate catalysts and regulated closed atmosphere are provided.

The focus of the first month-long training sessions is to learn all the aspects of the PlantZoo, how to run i, and to form an experimental mind (the many independent variables to consider, the controlling variables and the proper dependent variables to measure performance of production and growth of the plants).

The advanced month-long sessions are meant to applying what the trainees comprehended from the experimental designs and actively designing and running experiments on new plants or examining new procedures and catalysts.

Consequently, a major section of the PlantZoo is reserved for controlled labs and field experimental conditions, along with modern equipment and measuring devices.

Employees at the PlantZoo are trained for an experimental minds, and that is the main objective in order to sustain the business around the world.

Anyone with a well-formed experimental mind will quickly comprehend any new disciplines and become a leading scientists in any field he desired as a profession.

 

Idiosyncrasy in “experiments”; (Dec. 30, 2009)

Idiosyncrasy or cultural bias related to “common sense” behavior (for example, preferential priorities in choices of values, belief systems, and daily habits) is not restricted among different societies: it can be found within one society, even within what can be defined as “homogeneous restricted communities” ethnically, religiously, common language, gender groups, or professional disciplines.

Most disciplines (scientific or pseudo-scientific) have mushroomed into cults, with particular terminologies and nomenclature:  They want to impress the non-initiated into believing that they have serious well-developed methods or excellent comprehension of a restricted area in sciences.

The initiated on multidisciplinary knowledge recognizes that the methods of any cult are old and even far less precise or developed than perceived; that the terms are not new and there are already analogous terms in other disciplines that are more accurate and far better defined.

Countless experiments have demonstrated various kinds of idiosyncrasies. Thus, this series on idiosyncrasies.  I have already published one on “conjectures” in mathematics.

This article is intended to compare the kind of controlled experiments that are applied by scientists in (natural science), such as physical natural phenomena, engineering… and those developed by scientists dealing with the behavior of people or employing human participants in the experiments (psychology, sociology, economics, or education).

Although the physical sciences, such as all the branches in physics and chemistry…, used controlled experimentation long time ago, in order to develop the huge body of knowledge on the natural phenomena, it was the social and psychological sciences that tried to develop the appropriate and complex statistical modeling packages in order to study the more complex and more varied human behaviors.

It appears that the restricted and countable number of variables in studying the physical nature, and their relative lack of variability with time, did not encourage the physical scientists to contemplate sophisticated statistical models for their controlled experiments, or even to teaching the design of experiments in the engineering curriculum.

Before we expand on the variability of human behaviors it might be more appropriate to analyze the most critical difference in the two sciences. Knowing that any concept is synonymous with the corresponding necessary set of operations in order to be able to measure it scientifically in experiments, we can understand the big leap forward of the body of knowledge in natural sciences compared to the social and psychological sciences.

Whereas the physical scientists can define the concepts of force, moment, power and the like through the relationships of measurable variables based on length, time, and mass the scientists investigating human behaviors have to surmount that hurdle before seriously contemplating to measure human concepts.

Human behavior and the cognitive concepts of attitudes, mental abilities, and moods, problem solving mechanisms, perception, and the like cannot be measured scientifically until sets of operations are agreed on, for each one of these concepts, through the study of human activities or the things that people do while performing a valid task or a set of purposeful tasks.

For example, saying that color blindness is a deficiency that confuses colors will not cut it; what is needed are a set of instances that could define this illness such as what exactly are the colors of the spectrum with mixtures of two primary colors can a “protanope” (color blind individual) match that are different from normal people, he will confuse a blue-green color with white or gray, will confuse red, orange, yellow, yellow-green, and green when suitable brightness and saturation of these colors are used, and has reduced visibility in the red end of the spectrum.

Two decades ago the air force in the USA contracted out groups of psychologists and human factors professionals to specifically establish a set of operations that could be submitted to potential airplane fighters to measure and evaluate their capabilities for the mental and perception workload needed for the job.

This set of ten or twelve operations measuring short term memory capacity, reaction times, computational abilities, attention span, and types of errors committed in each operation is the kind of hurdles that the study of human behavior have to surmount.

The operation measurements of a single human concept may be a life project for a group of scientists that require secure and continuing funding from concerned parties who have vested interests in thorough study of the concept.  It is obvious that a few human concepts will enjoy deeper and more complete investigations than others.

Maybe because the physical scientists did not face the problems of establishing sets of operations that the method of controlled experimentation was not deemed essential enough to rigorously teach in high school programs, and ultimately failed to initiate the students to the experimental methods.

Social sciences made significant in-roads into the educational programs in the last decade.  This lack of early initiation of students to experimental methodology might also be the main reason why rational thinking and the experimental mind is not that widespread throughout all societies and are just confined to the privileged who could afford higher education at select universities.

Physical scientists rely on equipment to “objectively” observe and measure, and the more the equipment are precise the more accurate are the data.  Scientists of human behavior have to rely on people’s responses and observations.

It has been proven that man is Not a good observer of complex events; even when viewers are forewarned that they are to see a movie about a crime, and that they are to answer questions about details later on the accuracy of the observation, subjects were discovered not to be that accurate.

Man is unable to be an objective recorder of the events that transpire because he gets involved in the scene actions.  Man has a very narrow range of attention and barely can satisfactorily attend to a couple of stimuli. This observation deficiency is compounded by our sensory differences and illusions; for example, one in sixteen is color blind, many suffer from tone deafness, taste blindness and so on.

Man does not think of himself objectively but rather has convictions, feelings, and explanations based on very restricted experiences, hearsay  memories and he tends to generalize and develop a set of beliefs concerning the operation of the mind (idiosyncrasies).

Man usually expects to see, and then see what he wants to see, and hardly deviates from his beliefs, even when faced with facts.  For example, many scientists have overlooked obvious data because they clanged to their hypotheses and theories.

Man has to generate an abundance of reliable information and assimilate them before he could eliminate a few systematic biases that he acquired from previous generations and his personal experiences.  Consequently, experimenting with people is more complex and more difficult than the physical scientists or engineers have to cope with.

First, there are no design drawings for people’s mind and behavior as engineers are familiar with because the structure of human organisms is approximately delineated and the mechanisms are imperfectly understood.

Second, people vastly differ in anthropocentric dimensions, cognitive abilities, sensory capabilities, motor abilities, personalities, and attitudes.  Thus, the challenge of variability is different from physics where phenomena behave in stable fashions, are countable, and can be controlled with minimal management.

Third, people change with time; they change in dimensions, abilities and skills as well as from moment to moment attributable to boredom, fatigue, lapse of attention, interactions among people and with the environment.  People deficiencies in senses, physical abilities and cognitive capabilities changes with time and thus, the techniques of selecting subjects have to account for the differences in age, gender, specific deficiencies, training, educational levels, communication skills, and incentives to participate in an experiment.

Fourth, the world is constantly changing and systems used by people are changing accordingly.  Thus, interfaces for designing jobs, operations and environment have to be revisited frequently to account for new behavior and trends.

Fifth, everyone feels is an expert about human behavior on the basis of common sense acquired from life and specific experiences and we tend to generalize our feelings to all kinds of human behaviors but not so expert in the fundamentals of natural sciences such as physics or chemistry.

We think that we have convictions concerning the effects of sleep, dreams, age, and fatigue; we believe that we are rather good judges of people’s motives, we have explanations for people’s good memories and abilities, and we have strong positions on the relative influence of nature and nurture in shaping people’s behavior.  Consequently, the expertise of psychologists and human factors professionals are not viewed as based on science.

Six, physical scientists may enjoy the possibility of “testing to destruction” of prototypes or the materials under study, a luxury that experiments on people forbid or are impossible to do outside the safety range allowed by moral standards, laws, and regulations.  Research on people has to circumvent this major difficulty by using dummies, animals, or willing subjects thoroughly aware and educated to the dangers of the procedures.

Seventh, research on people is regulated by privacy laws and concepts such as consciousness, mental images, fatigue, and motives are highly personal experiences and not open to public inspection while science must be a public affair and repeatable by other researchers.

Consequently, human and social sciences developed terminologies that natural scientists cannot comprehend.  For a experimental natural scientists a variable is a variable.  What is on the left hand side of an equation is the data and what are on the right hand sides are variables and coefficients.

For social scientist you have dependent variables (data), independent variables (factors, manipulated variables, within group variables, between group variables, confounding variables, control variables, treatment variables, sub-group variables, and on).

Controlling an experiment in social sciences is a major project that requires months in preparations to eliminate biases related to people selections and material used by the subjects and the experimenter.

Social sciences have developed many “sophisticated” statistical analyses packages and each discipline prefers its own set of “experimental design” because the members are familiar with the interpretation of results and not because the experiments are pertinent or useful for practical usage.

Multidisciplinary studies are important for a university student to get clear on the many idiosyncrasies of disciplines and start reflecting seriously on what is objective, what is experiment, how valid are research results, how biased are research, and how to correctly interpret results and read scientific studies.

Producing a good reflecting “scientist’ is not an easy task; we are not searching for the appropriate equation but for a good formed scientific and empirical mind. Courses in experimental designs are fundamental even for philosophy students, especially in religious schools.

Nature is worth a set of equations; (Nov. 17, 2009)

I have been reading speeches and comments of Albert Einstein, a great theoretical physicist in the 20th century.

Einstein is persuaded that mathematics, exclusively, can describe and represent nature’s phenomena; that all nature’s complexities can be comprehend and imagined as the simplest system in concepts and principles.

The fundamental creative principle resides in mathematics.  And formulas have to be the simplest and most beautifully general. Mathematical concepts can be suggested by experience, the unique criteria of utilization of a mathematical construct.

I got into thinking.

I read this dictum when I was graduating in physics and I have been appreciating this recurring philosophy ever since. The basic goal in theoretical physics for over a century was to discover the all encompassing field of energy that can unite the varieties of fields that experiments have been popping up to describing particular phenomena in nature, such as electrical and magnetic fields as well as all these “weak” and “stronger” fields of energy emanating from atoms, protons, and all the varieties of smaller elements.

I got into thinking.

Up until the first quarter of the 20th century most experiments in natural sciences were done by varying one factor at a time; experiments never used more than one independent variable and more than one dependent variable (objective measuring variable or the data).  Even today, most engineers perform these kinds of totally inefficient and worthless experiments: no interactions among variables can be analyzed, the most important and fundamental intelligences in all kinds of sciences. These engineers have simply not been exposed to experimental designs in their required curriculum!

Although the theory of probability was very advanced, the field of practical statistical analysis of data was not yet developed; it was real pain and very time consuming doing all the computations by hand for slightly complex experimental designs.

Sophisticated and specialized statistical packages constructs for different fields of research evolved after the mass number crunchers of computers were invented.

Consequently, early theoretical scientists refrained from complicating their constructs simply because they had to solve their exercises and compute them by hand in order to verify their contentious theories.

Thus, theoretical scientists knew that the experimental scientists could not practically deal with complex mathematical constructs and would refrain from undertaking complex experiments in order to confirm or refute any complex construct.

The trend, paradigm, or philosophy for the theoretical scientists was to promoting the concept that theories should be the simplest with the least numbers of axioms (fundamental principles); they did their best to imagining one general causative factor that affected the behavior of natural phenomena or would be applicable to most natural phenomena.

When Einstein mentioned that equations should be beautiful in their simplicity he had not in mind graphic design; he meant they should be simple for computations.

This is no longer the case.

Nature is complex; no matter how you control and restrict the scope of an  experiment in order to reducing the numbers of manipulated variables to a minimum there are always more than one causative factor that are interrelated and interacting to producing effects.

Currently, physicist and natural scientists can observe many independent variables and several dependent variables and analyze huge number of data points.

Still, nature variables are countable and pretty steady over the experiment. Unlike experiments involving” human subjects” that are in the hundreds and hard and sensitive to control.

Man is far more complex than nature to study his behavior.

Psychologists and sociologists have been using complex experimental designs for decades in order to study man’s behavior and his hundreds of physical and mental characteristics and variability.

All kinds of mathematical constructs were developed to aid “human scientists” perform experiments commensurate in complexity with the subject matter.

The dependent variables had no longer to be objectively measurable and many subjective criteria were adopted.

Certainly, “human scientists” did not have to know the mathematical constructs that the statistical packages were using, just the premises that justified their appropriate use for their particular field.

Anyway, these mathematical models were pretty straightforward and no sophisticated mathematical concepts were used: the human scientists should be able to understand the construct if they desired to go deeper into the program without continuing higher mathematical education.

Nature is complex, though far less complex than human variability.

Theoretical natural scientists should acknowledge that complexity. And studying nature is worth a set of equations!

Simple and beautiful general equations are out the window.  There are no excuses for engineers and natural scientists for not expanding their imagination and focusing their intuition on complex constructs that may account for many causative factors and analyzing simultaneously many variables for their interactions.

There are no excuses that experimental designs are not set up to handle three independent variables (factors) and two dependent variables; the human brain is capable of visualizing the interactions of 9 combinations of variables two at a time. 

Certainly, scientists can throw in as many variables as they need and the powerful computers will crunch the numbers as easily and as quickly as simple designs; the problem is the interpretation part of the reams and reams of results.

Worst, how your audience is to comprehend your study?

A set of coherent series of relatively complex experiments can be designed to answer most complex phenomena and yet be intelligibly interpreted.

It is time to account for all the possible causatives factors, especially those that are rare in probability of occurrence (at the very end tail of probability graphs) or for their imagined little contributing effects: it is those rare events that have surprised man with catastrophic consequences.

If complex human was studied with simple sets of equations THEN nature is also worth sets of equations.

Be bold and make these equations as complex as you want; the computer would not care as long as you understand them for communication sake.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2020
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