[ExI] willpower defined

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Sat Apr 9 17:19:11 UTC 2022

EXample:  a couple, male and female, go to a party.  The guy's
ex-girlfriend is there.  We observe his interactions with people.  He talks
to others, including the ex and his date observes body language, facial
expressions and so on.  We see signs in her of anger and just being upset.
She talks to him and they leave the party.

Well, does that look like jealousy?  Sure does.  But how do we know it's
not a stomachache?  Or leaving to study for a test?  Or or or.We don't.
What we need is more observations of that couple in various situations and
maybe just interview them and ask what is going on.

The point is this:  for an abstract concept to have some validity, you
cannot have just one line of evidence.  The more observations you have
which, common sense-wise, look like jealousy, the better.

But you can never be sure.  Even if both the guy and the girl say they have
problems with jealousy in her, it can be something else. Maybe she is
acting jealous and doesn't care a flip who he talks to or dances with etc.
You cannot directly observe an abstraction.  You can only observe the
factual data (smiling at other girls while she fumes) and infer.

So - with willpower, you have to observe several different situations in
which the person succeeds, or fails, and try to find a pattern.  And try to
build a theory.

Like any other aspect of psyc, unknown variables which very often cannot be
controlled for, are present and can mess up your interpretations, and those
are likely to vary between and among situations.  Complex behavior has more
than one cause - we call it multi-determined.

Psychology has many such theories and all of them have messy data, some
studies supporting, some not, some poorly controlled, some with unusual Ss
and so on and so on.  Maddening trying to figure out people.  Psychologists
are the least likely people to form solid conclusions in analyzing people.
And certainly not quickly.

bill w
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