Research-Related Media

Look at the timing involved in preventing a young child from running away in the store, as well as the distribution of social and edible (pieces of cookie) rewards.

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Comming soon…. videotape on research activities that Dr. Weiss has been involved in

Facilitated Communication Presentation

The following is a short clip (about 90-seconds) of Kenny playing with his cards (a favorite activity of his that he would do for long periods of time if allowed). Kenny was 13-years of age at the time this was shot.

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The following was the 3rd (of three) FC trials in which Kenny was first presented with a story by M. Weiss (who at no point has been demonstrated to be a competent facilitator), but was the person given the task to present Kenny with the “test story.” The “validation test” — shown in the video clip below — involved asking Kenny to answer questions, where the facilitator (Brenda) had been far removed from the situation, while Kenny was given the story, and had no knowledge of what the story involved. What followed is the real-time responses of Kenny to the questions.

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The following is in response to a critique of Weiss, Wagner & Bauman (1996) by Mostart (2001):

Mostert critiques:

 

Mostert (page 310)

“The first problem in this study relates to subject responses facilitated by the “experimenter” in the consolidation phase. In spite of protestations to the contrary, it is highly likely that the “experimenter” was influencing the answers in this phase for several reasons. First, the experimenter was privy to the story content and, therefore, was predisposed to influence the subject’s answers to story questions.”

 

Weiss response (October, 2010)

The experimenter actually was intending to influence the answers to assure that Kenny had repeated opportunity to hear the questions and answers. At no point was any claim made to who was the author of these responses. This was procedurally part of the presentation phase and not a test of validity. This is a purely irrelevant criticism.

 

 

Mostert (page 310)

“The second problem arises because the purpose of the consolidation phase is not explained…changing the facilitators from the consolidation to the test phase clearly allows for an implementation threat to internal validity via different data collectors (Frankael & Warren, 1999). That is, different facilitators will likely have different influences on the facilitated outcome….”

 

Weiss response (October, 2010)

The first “facilitator” was aimed at repetitions of questions and correct answers. There was no claim that the experimenter was “facilitating.” It is plainly explained that the experimenter was the same person re-presenting the questions and answers during the consolidation phase and made no pretense to be doing any validation testing (hence there was no statistical analysis of the “consolidation phase” because it was NOT a test of validity). Considerations about “internal validity via data collectors” is a purely irrelevant criticism, there were not “different facilitators… with different influences on the facilitated outcome…” There was only one experimenter presenting information, which was qualitatively an entirely different aspect of the design from what the one facilitator was doing.

 

 

Mostert (page 310)

“A third problem arises when the subject was successful in answering questions to the experimenter as facilitator in trial 2, but was unable to do so to the naïve facilitator.”

 

Weiss (October, 2010)

Again, no claims of validation were being made during consolidation phase. This trial (#2) was clearly described as a failed attempt at validation.

 

Mostert (page 310)

“Fourth, the successful story trials (1 and 3) are also problematic. The authors report that the subject successfully answered story-related questions via his )naïve) facilitators in both story trials phases. Closer examination of the results, however, is less convincing because only for the third trial was a “referee” presented to “… independently verify that the [naïve]facilitator was indeed uninformed of the story contents being presented” Weiss, et al, p.222). Claiming verification via a referee for only story trials 3 leaves open the distinct possibility that the facilitator was not naïve to the stories in story trials 1 and 2.”

 

Weiss (October, 2010)

There is no critique of the procedures or findings per se in this, rather this implies that the authors – Weiss, Wagner and Bauman – were lying. Given the authors long and distinguished academic careers, this is a spurious and empty accusation. This is given particular emphasis by the point that the lead author (Weiss) is quoted in the text of the article from a newspaper article in which he expresses a belief that the “whole thing [FC] is a bloody hoax.” The opinions of the authors were changed by the data collected from this subject. In the meantime, if the authors were not presumed to be lying, there is no identification of incorrect conclusions form the data that Mostert has identified.

 

Mostert (pages 310-311)

“Fifth, the authors’ claims of subject inference are worth noting. They claim that “… some of the responses during testing with an uninformed facilitator implied logical inferences, conjectural exrapolations on a story, and an abstracted ordering in his memory of story events” (Weiss, p. 226). However, such a result, even assuming the ability of the subject to actually pass information to the naïve facilitator, is predictable given that the questions are asked by the facilitators, who thereby guide the ordering and nature of the responses. In addition, the authors themselves concede that the inference examples might not be the subject’s, but that “… the uninformed facilitator could have inferred these responses” (p 227).”

 

Weiss (October, 2010)

At no point does Mostert address the central (and critical) finding in which the “FC-speaker” (Kenny) passed on information that was unknown to facilitator, which he clearly and repeatedly did.  The only attempt that Mostert made to discredit the central findings is in his fourth point in which he infers that the absence of the referee in the procedure “leaves open the distinct possibility that the facilitator was not naïve to the stories in story trials 1 and 2.” In other words, the authors were lying.

 

 

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