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7 Raising the ScientiLc Yield
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7 Raising the Scientific Yield The behavioral and social sciences have made many notable advances in the nearly two decades since the completion of The Behavioral and Social Sciences: Outlook and Needs (1969), the last survey similar to this one. Looking forward, the scientific opportunities are diverse, intellectually inviting, and profound in their implications for the further understanding of individual and social be- havior. In this summary chapter we review the thematic highlights and salient research advances covered in previous chapters and the new investments and modifications in research infrastructures that are needed for further progress. We recommend that the initiatives and resources we call for be implemented within 3 to 4 years. RESEARCH FRONTIERS Behavior, Mind, and Brain Three major developments have propelled new inquiries into the connec- tions among behavior, mind, and brain: improved observations on the course of individual human growth, exploration of the relationship between the in- formation-processing capabilities of humans and machines, and further dis- coveries of biological and behavioral commonalities between humans and other animals. 239
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240 / The Behavioral and Social Sciences Several major research questions have begun to be answered, and further wor < IS prOmlSlng: ∑ By what process do humans and some animals achieve their advanced and complex powers of visual and auditory discrimination, far greater and more subtle than can yet be attained by technology? Neurophysiological and behavioral experiments and computer simulations have substantially ad- vanced understanding of how the brain analyzes visual data, recognizes color constancy, infers depth and motion, and organizes auditory stimuli over time. ∑ How are memories coded, organized, stored, and retrieved? Scientists working in a variety of disciplines have identified distinctive types of memories and genetic limitations on memory and isolated cellular and rr~olecular mech- anisms in the brain's transmitting systems. ∑ How do human beings acquire knowledge, organize it, use it in reasoning, and implement it in behavior? Experimental studies have uncovered de- velopment of complex cognitive capacities in infants. New theoretical prin- ciples are being explored that govern how people categorize information, use visual imagery, make decisions, and deal with uncertain situations. ∑ How do humans acquire and use that most distinctive of human endow- ments, language? Neurophysiological studies of the brain, investigations of sign language, and comparative studies of grammatical structures have yielded rich findings on the genetic foundations of language, the association of language functions with particular brain areas, and the formal properties of language. New advances are also evident in the computer recognition and production of language. Research in some of these areas has come to demand very complex instru- mentation for simulating, modeling, recording, and analyzing data in laboratory experimentation. We regard it as critically important to augment the compu- tational and laboratory infrastructure underlying this research. Another dis- tinctive characteristic is the multidisciplinary character of advanced work in these areas, which can involve neuroscience, physiology, psychology, child development, biophysics, biochemistry, ethology, linguistics, statistics, eco- nomics, and computer science. Opportunities to build on this call for various support mechanisms, such as new centers of research, interdisciplinary grad- uate and postdoctoral training, advanced study workshops, and longitudinal studies of cognitive and educational development. In addition, the base of investigator-initiated grant support must be increased to continue this research. Motivational and Social Contexts of Behavior Social challenges and practical urgency have reinforced the already substan- tial scientific interest in affective and motivational states and processes, violent
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Raising the Scientific Yield / 241 crime, linkages among physical health, behavior, and social contexts, and the nature of social interaction. There are now improved research capabilities to respond to these interests, particularly in the form of better longitudinal study designs and analytic techniques, new observational and assessment technolo- gies, and theoretical innovations. We note several areas of particular interest, ferment, and advance concerning affective and social contexts of behavior: ∑ How have emotional and motivational processes driven human develop- ment, human behavior, and human evolution? Advances have been made in pinpointing the neural bases of such motivations as hunger and sex, as well as predatory and defensive fighting. New measures of facial expressions have improved understanding of emotions. The subtle interplay among physiological, neural, psychological, and sociocultural forces that deter- mine the dynamics of eating behavior is beginning to be grasped. How do behavioral and social forces affect the health of individuals and groups? In a knowledge shift as revolutionary as it is by now commonplace, the conventional stress on the biological aspects of human health has been balanced by understanding that behavioral and social forces are major etiological factors in health and disease. For substance abuse in particular, the influence of peer groups, life-cycle changes, media, and market factors has been more fully detailed. The role of stress and risky behavior in the genesis of health disorders has been verified and some of its dimensions pinpointed. ∑ What are the determinants of criminal behavior? New and more compre- hensive measures of crime rates have been devised. Theoretical shifts are under way, such as moving from studying aggregate rates and their social correlates to studying microdata on individual criminals and the life cycles of persistent and other types of criminals. Longitudinal studies of sample groups with different criminal histories are regarded as an especially effec- tive way to sort out family patterns, peer influences, and law-enforcement policies as determinants of criminal behavior. ∑ What is the interaction between personal characteristics and group effects as influences of behavior? Some research has focused on the phenomenon of the self-fulfilling prophecy: if others attribute certain characteristics to a person or group, that attribution can play a substantial role in generating those very characteristics. Other experiments have thrown new light on the effect of group size on task performance and the effect of majority or unanimity rules on the outcome of group decisions. These lines of research now appear to call especially for new kinds of data sets, particularly longitudinal ones, since many of the phenomena in question-
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242 / The Behavioral and Social Sciences criminal behavior, substance abuse, the development of affect and motiva- tion require study over time. New kinds of laboratory and measurement equipment, particularly in the study of motivational contexts, also require substantial additional support. Increases in the amount of investigator-initiated research are needed to sustain and advance quality research, as are additional resources for doctoral and postdoctoral support, interdisciplinary programs of research, and advanced technical workshops and seminars. Choice and Allocation Research on the mechanisms of choice and allocation ranges over politics, organizational relations, and economic phenomena. Among the last, the study of markets has played a dominant part, but attention has increasingly turned to clarifying the operation of nonmarket phenomena in certain sectors of West- ern economies (such as public goods and environmental protection), in the mixed economies of many developing countries, and in Soviet-type economies with central planning. There are a number of exciting developments and promising strands of research in these areas: How much do voting procedures affect the outcomes of votes? At the microlevel, research has demonstrated that an outcome is strongly deter- mined by the order in which a decision-making agenda is arranged, es- pecially if a committee or legislature faces complicated options. More gen- erally, a mixture of theoretical, experimental, and historical analyses are beginning to give powerful assessments of the outcomes and efficiency of alternative voting arrangements. ∑ How useful are traditional economic assumptions about marketsócom- plete information, rationality of actors, negligible transaction costs? Much recent empirical work has challenged these assumptions and is producing a wider and more realistic range of models of market behavior. Under what conditions will actors in fluid or in highly structured marketing situations strike bargains and live up to them? Research on market contracts and bargains has advanced dramatically, and the new methods and theories are being applied to bargaining and its breakdowns in litigation, war, and strike arbitration. How well do job markets function, and what are the sources of continuing unemployment in the rapidly changing context of the present U.S. and world economies? New studies of cyclical unemployment are focusing on the effects of implicit and explicit contracts and the resulting unrespon- siveness of wages and prices to market conditions. Studies of frictional unemployment are focusing on the processes of job search and job match-
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Raising the Scientific Yield / 243 ing. Studies of structural unemployment are dissecting the effects of job segregation (especially between men and women), internal labor markets, and labor migration among firms and regions of the country. In these areas of research, much valuable work is theoretical in character, and its testing involves applications of models and statistical analyses to data that are readily available in the form of recorded market transactions and economic time series. Consequently, the investigator-initiated mode of research should be given the highest priority for expansion in these areas, with a special eye to the average size and duration of grants. At the same time, the use of panel and longitudinal data, especially on work histories and organizational strategies, is increasing in importance and value and therefore demands in- creased support. There is also more extensive use of newly devised laboratory experiments for studying the impact of contractual and market rules, behavior under uncertainty, and other topics; this development calls for more appro- priate laboratory facilities. While instrumentation needs are probably not as extensive for these research areas as for others, there is great need for upgrading computational hardware and for software development. And as more interdis- ciplinary work among economists, political scientists, organizational scientists, and psychologists develops, more central facilities and programs for interdis- ciplinary work should be supported. Institutions and Cultures Comparative and historical (including prehistorical) study of the institu- tional and cultural origins of entire societies has moved forward on a variety of fronts. Researchers have been especially attuned to the interplay between large-scale and local development, and, more generally, between the macro- scopic and microscopic levels of social and cultural organization. Several major questions have yielded to answers, which in turn point to more detailed work: . . What are the evolutionary bases of human social bonding and the formation of extensive human societies? The prehistoric development of families and larger social groups has been highlighted with special attention to the roles of food, foraging from home bases, and particular uses of tools. Hints are also emerging as to the heretofore unknown evolutionary role of language. What are the special social and cultural determinants that influence the class of events births, population movements, marriage and divorce, ag- ing, and death that comprise demography? There have been substantial new research developments in measurement and theoretical models of demographic change, especially of fertility and migration. ∑ What factor can best explain those institutional changes that have given rise in the West to what is called the modern world changes that are now
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244 / The Behavioral and Social Sciences fermenting elsewhere? Research on the history and contemporary status of the family and on the dynamics of religious institutions is providing im- portant and unanticipated new insights into this broad and highly charged topic. ∑ What complex of institutional and cultural factors encourages the rise of science and its far-reaching technological applications in society? Historical, sociological, and other research on these questions is moving rapidly as global cases and comparative research opportunities multiply. A much clearer picture of the place of science, including the behavioral and social sciences, in the larger society is also emerging. ∑ What are the ramifications of the increasing internationalization of the world? Two growing lines of research are receiving attention: increasing economic, financial, political, and cultural interdependence; and efforts to understand and untangle the analytic complexities and policy implications of international conflict and security. These areas call for special attention to collaborative group research, in part because much of it is interdisciplinary, but more importantly because it is so often international in character. There are currently very restraining limitations on the conduct of international-collaborative research and very serious prob- lems of sustaining research access to field situations in many parts of the world. These areas also need new resource investments in developing new data bases and in improving access to governmental, financial, and business data. There is a need for major new international and collaborative research centers and a significant expansion of investigator-initiated research grants to make use of archival and other facilities. Expanded support is also needed for the techno- logical base of research, especially computer equipment and software, as well as for graduate and postdoctoral training and fellowships. Methods of Data Collection, Representation, and Analysis Methodological advances play a special role in the generation of behavioral and social sciences knowledge. Sometimes these advances arise in the struggle to solve difficult substantive research problems; sometimes they involve sep- arate discoveries; sometimes they involve selective borrowing of techniques from elsewhere; and sometimes they arise as new and better sources of data permit new and more sophisticated techniques to be tried. Several kinds of methodological innovation are the subject of intense current work: ∑ Improvements are occurring in the sophistication and scope of application of four basic empirical methods in the behavioral and social sciences: lab- oratory experiments, field surveys, ethnographic investigations, and com- . paratlve stuc .les.
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Raising the Scientific Yield / 24S ∑ Refined techniques are emerging for the measurement of both large-scale and small-scale behavioral and social phenomena, leading to the reduction of many types of measurement error. ∑ Researchers and theorists are inventing new ways of representing empirical phenomena in symbols and calculations, including log-linear models for categorical variables, multi-item measurement, scaling, clustering, and net- work models. . There are advances in statistical inference and analysis, including new tech- niques of inferring causality, handling multiple parameters that are inter- related with one another, and making estimates in cases of partial data. Advances in computing techniques are closely related. We recommend new support for purely methodological research, although on a more modest scale than in the substantive areas identified. Several mech- anisms are of central importance: investigator-initiated grants, which are the locus of many methodological innovations; summer institutes, colloquia, sem- inars, and postdoctoral study, where scientists can be exposed to methodolog- ical developments in their specialties and to the methods appropriate to their new lines of research; and more powerful computational resources, which are key to further methodological advances. RECOMMENDED NEW RESOURCES The character of research covered in this report is varied, but all scientific work retains much in common. In looking across the fields of research covered in Chapters 1 through S behavior, mind, and brain; motivational and social contexts of behavior; choice and allocation; institutions and cultures; methods of data collection, representation, and analysis we find consistent need for human, technological, data, and other resources. This section summarizes the new funds and new procedures that we recommend to ensure the continued growth of knowledge in the behavioral and social sciences. Our overall rec- ommendations for new research initiatives in terms of the various categorical expenditures are summarized in Table 7-1. Human Resources Under human resources, we note the critical need to increase the availability of predoctoral and postdoctoral research fellowships in order to encourage the retention of talented scientists in careers oriented to research. At the predoctoral level, we recommend an additional $10 million annually in graduate support, which would cover stipends and institutional costs for about 500 graduate students. The purpose is not to increase the number of students enrolled in
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246 / The Behavioral and Social Sciences TABLE 7-1 New Research Initiatives Additional Resources Needed ($ million) Resources Needed (by chapter) Behavior, Mind, Contexts Choice Institutions and of and and Type of Resources Brain Behavior Allocation Cultures Methods Total Human resources Predoctoral support Postdoctoral fellowships 3 Advanced training institutes Research workshops Technological resources Neuroimaging devices Animal care I aboratory technology Computers and software Data resources Access to federal data Access to other data New data 44 2 2 1 2 3 10 3 1 _ 6 1 18 7 1 1 3 3 1 9 S1 2 2 4 12 5 2 1 - 20 7 ~ 4 ~ 4 22 SO 4 4 8 2 collections S 15 12 8 40 Research centers 4 9 4 7 1 2S Investigator- initiated grants 20 13 20 13 4 70 Total 61 56 56 51 16 240 degree programs, but to direct the best students' efforts much more intensively toward research training. At the postdoctoral level, we recommend an additional $18 million annually in support to be directed to all levels, from new PhDs to senior career awards. We estimate that this support would add approximately 400 full-time doctoral- level scientists to the numbers working at the frontiers of behavioral and social sciences research, which would be a major element in activating many of the other resources recommended here. This recommendation applies particularly
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Raising the Scientific Yield / 247 to research in the areas of Chapters 3 and 4, which were most heavily affected by reductions in federal support after 1978. We also recommend that awards to potential fellows be made early in the academic year to encourage viewing them as prizes rather than substitutes for professional appointments. The quality of research can be readily improved by added resources to advanced training institutes for active investigators. Such institutes enable methodological and technical innovations to diffuse rapidly across geographical and disciplinary boundaries. In addition, the cultivation of new theoretical ideas and the coordination of research efforts in rapidly moving specialties can be greatly facilitated by a program of research workshops bringing together core groups of researchers at least once a year for intensive exchange, review, and collaboration. We recommend that $7 million and $9 million, respectively, be allocated for these activities. Experience dictates the need for some or all of these funds to be especially segregated for these purposes. Technological Resources Technological resources available to most researchers in the behavioral and social sciences have lagged badly behind needs except at a few sites. The lag has been particularly acute with respect to neuroimaging and the more diver- sified and specialized laboratory equipment used in research on behavior, as well as the recent upgrading of standards for animal care. We recommend that a total of $29 million annually in new funds be allocated for these needs, concentrated in the research areas discussed in Chapters 1 and 2. The overall requirement for more capable computers and for the development of special- ized software (as well as the acquisition of more sophisticated general-purpose software systems) for research in the behavioral and social sciences calls for an additional $22 million annually. Data Resources The role of extended data collections in advancing knowledge is a significant feature of behavioral and social sciences research. Such collections are most often acquired and maintained under research auspices and protocols, but a large contribution has been made by researchers using public and private statistical files and historical archives generated primarily or originally for ad- ministrative or other nonscientific purposes. The potential benefit of such re- sources to advance scientific knowledge is very large relative to the incremental cost of converting them into usable research data. We recommend that new funds of $8 million annually be devoted specifically to upgrading and expand- ing the research utility of federal data and an additional $2 million be devoted to expanding access to corporate and local government files.
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248 / The Behavioral and Social Sciences We have recommended six new initiatives for data collection in the United States and a seventh initiative involving international efforts. Four of these initiatives cover human development from childhood through middle and ma- ture adulthood, particularly in the domains of cognition (Chapter 1), motiva- tion, health behavior, and criminal activity (Chapter 21. Two initiatives cover the domains of jobs and careers and of organizational change; in both cases special attention should be given to developing samples and sites based not on households but on firms, agencies, voluntary affiliations, and occupational strata (Chapter 39. At the international level, new data collection initiatives are recommended on international economic transactions, migration, shifts in re- ligious participation, and other processes parallel to ones under intensive study in the United States (Chapter 43. The new data collections should be based principally on sample survey methods, but the value of these core collections can be greatly enriched by incorporation of research efforts using ethnographic, archival, and field exper- imental methods. Proposals for large-scale data collections require a two-track review process: one focusing on substantive scientific significance, in the same context as smaller-scale proposals; the other on an evaluation in terms of the distinct design criteria appropriate to large-scale studies. We recommend de- voting an increment of $40 million annually to new, large-scale, multiuser data collections, involving an array of methods, in these areas. Interdisciplinary Research Centers New interdisciplinary research centers and facilities are not uncommon en- terprises in the behavioral and social sciences. While some past starts have tended to segment along evolving disciplinary lines, other have maintained vital interdisciplinary programs for many years. We recommend a number of new initiatives for research centers, ranging from a major new international center to house demographic and related studies on developing countries, to a program of national research centers on motivational disorders and affective processes. We strongly encourage facilitation of major new center proposals, while sustaining existing centers of proven effectiveness. We recommend that $25 million annually be newly committed to the support of behavioral and social sciences research centers. Investigator-Initiated Grants In the recommendations for $170 million in new funds annually for research initiatives, we have considered the cultivation and support of research talent, the provision of technologically advanced instruments, and the building of new programs and organizations to generate data and centrally house and coordi- nate research activities. Still, the intellectual core and mainstay of behavioral
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Raising the Scientific Yield / 249 and social sciences research and of most scientific research should be and will undoubtedly continue to be the small research group, including single investigators, who obtain support through discrete proposals evaluated by ex- pert panels on their scientific merits. This reliance on investigator-initiated grants applies even to most of the research that is explicitly dependent on central data collections or technical facilities. We therefore recommend that the initiatives undertaken in each of the five research frontier areas include increments in investigator grant funds. The average size and duration of grants for small-group investigator research in most areas must be increased, even if the total number of grants awarded has to be constrained for a time in order to do so. Our estimates of the respective area requirements are detailed in Table 7-1 and add to $70 million. Research Agency Changes We recommend some changes in the ways that funding agencies evaluate, administer, and respond to their behavioral and social sciences research awar- dees. We recommend that the National Institutes of Health and the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration extend and strengthen their portfolios of research on behavioral and social factors (in the etiology, preven- tion, and treatment of health problems) that are not specific to one disease. We recommend that the National Science Foundation and other funding agen- cies encourage the fusion rather than the separation of research on natural and artificial intelligence. We recommend staff increases in grant programs com- mensurate with the research initiatives proposed here, since the management and facilitation of interdisciplinary research demand more internal staff work, and such research is differentially threatened by staff reductions or individual grant-load increases. We recommend that the overall place and role of the behavioral and social sciences in the administrative arrangements of federal agencies must be critically reappraised with the intention of ensuring contin- uous high-level understanding of these fields' scientific needs and opportuni- ties. CONCLUSION The total new funding recommended here is $240 million annually in cur- rent (1987) dollars, which we believe should be achieved within three or four years. In fiscal 1987, the total federal expenditure on behavioral and social sciences research basic and applied, internal and external came to about $780 million. About one-third of that was classified as basic research. Consid- ering the small fraction of this increment that can come from the private sector or state government, we are recommending roughly a 30 percent overall near-
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2SO / The Behavioral and Social Sciences term increase in federal support for behavioral and social sciences research. This increase would not be evenly distributed across all of the agencies that have a stake in such research. It is clearly weighted heavily toward what is usually classified as basic research, and the most favorable opportunities lie more in some portfolios than in others. We estimate that the National Science Foundation should account for about $60 million of the new funding, and the National Institutes of Health and the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration should receive about $80 million, with the rest divided among other departments and agencies and private sources. We believe that the array of procedural innovations and the $240 million program of new investments outlined here and detailed in earlier chapters will ensure that the challenge of present research opportunities is vigorously met. Moreover, we believe these initiatives will best prepare the national research enterprise to explore new horizons of knowledge that cannot yet be seen, that lie beyond the veil that divides the present from the future. 1
Representative terms from entire chapter: