Remembering William K. Estes
作者: BPS / 22282次阅读 时间: 2013年3月04日
标签: Estes
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Like the man himself, the stories of Bill Estes, and Kay also, are the stuff of legend — they touched and influenced many people’s lives.心理学空间 fv~w^Q

Already, we’ve witnessed several stories where Bill’s famous laconism played a featuring role. While working at NASA-Ames the first summer before my first term at Stanford began, Ron Kinchla, who had been a student of Dick Atkinson’s at UCLA, warned me of Bill’s terseness of speech before my first meeting with him. It was to no avail; I followed in the track of countless others by waiting for his responses as long as I was able, only to begin sputtering just at the instant Bill finally began answering.

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I think it is fair to say that Bill became a kind of intellectual centroid at Stanford during his years there. He bore a certain gravity that belied his years and lent additional authority to his insight and wisdom. He was equally at ease in discussion with animal behavior scientists, the emerging cognitive psychologists and cognitive scientists, the embryonic mathematical psychologists, what were then called physiological psychologists, in addition to philosophers, educators, statisticians, mathematicians, and computer scientists.

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In my second year at Stanford, in the golden days of math psych, Bill was offering an advanced seminar on learning theory in the Ventura Hall lecture room. There were around six or eight grad students in the seminar. Bill had given out a rather challenging homework problem(s) involving derivation of variances and covariances for one or more proposed models. Well, as the perspicuous reader can likely foresee, only two or so of the participants had done the homework. With an ominous and gradual, but inexorable march, Bill went to one after another of the sheepish bunch. When he had completed the disappointing survey, a very, very long (or so it seemed) silence ensued. Then, sans any verbal statement at all, he simply picked up his lecture materials and departed the room. Needless to say, there were no more issues regarding homework laxity from our group.心理学空间b5M%G r\

I suspect that many of the Friday afternoon Ventura Hall seminar crowd will recall that episode in the context of Bill’s reply to Karl Pribram’s objection to “slot” memory models, to the effect that he had never found those in the brain — Bill’s riposte after the traditional everlasting latency: “Karl, that’s because they’re little!”www.psychspace.com心理学空间网

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