A new approach in Psychology.

When Psychology emerged from the medical science its first interest was the unconscious. But when  time elapsed many people thought that this approach was too slippery because you could interpret one phenomenon as you liked it. So more "hard" scientific methods were developed in order to get straight interpretations.

So when I entered my studies in psychology at Nijmegen university(1971), I found a true museum of all the developed research methods. From observation to the more sophisticated experiment. From "soft to hard". This was a real help in finding the right way to answer my questions. One of these questions was to find a way to get some knowledge about this particular individual person. Not some knowledge about this individual person as a derivation from some mean. There were no adequate instruments developed yet.

To my luck, I met Calis at the department of psychology and his research field was visual perception. He also wanted to get facts about a single individual and although his interest was "limited" to the visual field, his approach was in line with my own interests so I joined his research. "Limited" because under the influence of Frans Coppelmans my interest in the human condition had broadened to a universal scope, so I also wanted to be able to investigate blind people and deaf people and blind and deaf people; all people.

What I know now is that the whole process was very though. Before everything came into balance it took a period of 20 years. It was a real dragon to fight. One head off, two heads returned. But I'm glad with the result: an universal method  for individual research. This method covers as well the field of cognition as of emotion and this method can be applied within different modalities.

Calis double stimulation paradigm.

I will try to describe in short the changes and completions to the approach of Gé Calis.

The general approach was like this: two events were presented shortly one after the other. Calis used two faces as events and the perceiver had to answer the question: who do you see?

?                             Face1                    Face2                       !


t1                                t2                            t3                           t4

Who do you see                                                                     Piet
Who do you see                                                                     Mary
Who do you see                                                                     Don't know
.................                                                                                ................

Question                                                                                 Answer     

The general idea was that the perceiver in order to answer the posed question, uses knowledge to come to the answer.
So if this knowledge established on Face1 is in accordance with the knowledge established on Face 2 then the perceiver will profit from this earlier established knowledge. Is the first Face a man and the second Face also a man then the perceiver can profit from the established knowledge. In case of the first Face being a female and the second Face being a man then the perceiver will have a disadvantage when he or she had established the fact that there was a woman to see and then the second Face appears to be a man.

According to Calis the knowledge the perceiver is using, is hierarchical organised. This means that you first have to establish certain information before you can in relation to this information establish more specific information. In case of  the identification of a face the perceiver has to establish the position of the face in order to establish more specific information. This position information tells you whether the face is up side down or is looking to the left or is large or small etc. When you don't know whether the face is upside down or not you will look at the wrong place for the mouth. This is no problem when we have time enough but it will be a problem when we have limited time to perceive.

It is the great contribution of Calis to join all these matters in a research approach by which we get testable results and it is also the only way to get testable results.

In using this approach a few things where simplified by me in order to get a more flexible instrument and a more straightforward interpretation of the results:

-        Calis wanted to test the hierarchy hypothesis. This means that he had to investigate two related concepts in one research. I found that testing one concept was simpler and easier to establish. So the ground hypothesis was changed from the perceptual process is hierarchical organised in the more basic thesis: in the perceptual process knowledge is used. And this means that you only have to establish the use of one concept. This does not mean that we abandon the hierarchy hypothesis; it says that the hierarchy hypothesis will be on the second place. And second doesn't mean worse or so, it is more convenient to investigate one concept at the time and the interpretation afterwards is also more simple.
-        The second change laid in the separation of stimulus sets. Calis choose for the first stimulus and the second stimulus from the same stimulus set. This leads to much confusing interpretations. All these discussions vanish when we separate these two sets. So in the retouched version of Calis double stimulation paradigm  the first and second stimulus sets are semantically separated.
-        The third change lays in the presentation time relations. Calis stretched out the perceptual time with SOA as whether I limited presentation time for the second stimulus. The idea behind this limitation of presentation time is that quality will reveal itself despite worse conditions. Even when results become worse, due to miserable conditions, then the less worse result is still a better result.

With these three changes we now have a strong and universal research instrument for individual cognitive research(N=1) and the results in this area are facts.
I repeated the research of Gé Calis with the described modificatons.

What came as a great gift in this process was that the possibility of research in the emotional domain showed itself immediately after we finished the problems in the cognitive field.

To be continued