Let's carry out a thought experiment, featuring the valiant fortune hunter, who undertakes a safari into the heart of Africa to hunt a lion. Unfortunately the lion appears to have more lucky day and somehow takes an adventurer to flight or has a pleasant dinner — the details are not important. What is rather more important for the experiment is what happens to his personal stuff, particularly to his mp3 player. Imagine that it was found by the members of some aborigine tribe, who don't know the civilization. They investigate the new unfamiliar device, see the buttons and incidentally push some of them. The music starts to play and this appears to be so exiting, that they want to understand how it is possible. So they bring it to tribal shaman, who is known to be very clever. And he is: he opens the cover and sees a few microchips, wires, some condensers as well as some other never seen parts.
Thus the direct way to study the phenomena doesn't help to much. They could only try the segregation principle, i.e. to detach some part and see how the whole device works without it, if they are careful enough not to break something else performing the segregation. This is an analogy of the neurophysiologic way to research the brain. The other way is to see how it reacts on different stimuli, for example if they press the play button it starts to play, if they press the "shuffle" button it shows a sign on a display and plays tracks in random order, if they press it once again, the order is fixed and familiar to them (since they used to play with it for a long time so far).
There are more things to learn from the behavior: if the player plays all night long after the sun goes down, it stops some time close to morning (because the battery is uncharged) and if it is exposed to the sun it plays again. So the tribal researches may have some guesses that there's something in the sun, that makes it work. In such a way we come to analogy of how psychology studies the human mind nowadays: it doesn't have the technology, capable to investigate it directly and it has to use a "black box" method, which puts the mind in the certain testing conditions and analyses the its reactions and "behavior".
Ivan Tugoy, 2003
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