My objections to the statistical approach to behavioral research, exposed here and there in previous chapters, are not based on a dislike of statistics per se. Rather they reflect my dislike of the blindness of statistical manipulations to organizing principles, and of the way statistical facts entice us to overlook the individual organismic properties that must underlie all statistical facts. There is a magical aura about statistical relationships. Certain events manipulated by an experimenter correlate with subsequent changes in behavior, with no causative links at all being visible: the relationship, for all anyone can tell, may in fact be magical. Of course the hope is that a statistically significant relationship will provide a hint as to underlying causes, and I suppose things must work out that way sometimes. The hope, in any case, is probably vain for all practical purposes because when studying a complex system, one is likely to find that any event will be followed by alterations of many aspects of behavior to at least some degree. Given sharp enough statistical tools and unlimited freedom to repeat experiments, one could probably detect a significant correlation between any variable and any other variable involved in behavior.
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