RE: supplement information

Crosby_M (
Thu, 10 Apr 1997 11:05:40 -0400

Anders wrote:
<Making sure a study has a good methodology is HARD, especially in a
fuzzy area such as cognitive medicine, and it is easy to be fooled by
one's convictions. A lot of arguments are built on animal experiments
(one of my recurring nightmares: the rat hippcampus does something
completely different from the human hippocampus) and individual
studies, which is weak. The nootropics movement really needs some
clear, careful research, but in the current situation that may be hard
to implement.>

And one person's hippocampus may do 'something' different from
another's, or the same person's hippocampus does something different
one day compared to another. These kinds of tests and 'animal
experiments' _can_ provide useful data about physical, chemical causes
and effects, but without higher-level models (such as the memory model
you mentioned) the won't tell us much of anything *interesting at a
higher level*.

Yes, 'gullible' people who rely on their own experiences can be
'fooled' by 'placebo effects'. Just what this placebo effect really
is is an even more interesting question. The objectivist skeptic is
just as easily fooled by convictions. BTW, how do we measure

Mark Crosby

P.S. In a field closer to my own occupation - I produce 'objective'
economic statistics - I noticed a story in yesterday's Wall Street
Journal about how business analysts 'in the trenches' find it
absolutely essential to supplement such statistics with annecdotal
evidence in order to make useful decisions on a real-time basis.