Leading Edges in Social and Behavioral Science

Leading Edges in Social and Behavioral Science

R. DUNCAN LUCE
NEIL J. SMELSER
DEAN R. GERSTEIN
Copyright Date: 1989
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 716
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7758/9781610443708
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  • Book Info
    Leading Edges in Social and Behavioral Science
    Book Description:

    The reach of the social and behavioral sciences is currently so broad and interdisciplinary that staying abreast of developments has become a daunting task. The thirty papers that constituteLeading Edges in Social and Behavioral Scienceprovide a unique composite picture of recent findings and promising new research opportunities within most areas of social and behavioral research. Prepared by expert scholars under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, these timely and well-documented reports define research priorities for an impressive range of topics:

    Part I: Mind and Brain

    Part II: Behavior in Social Context

    Part III: Choice and Allocation

    Part IV: Evolving Institutions

    Part V: Societies and International Orders

    Part VI: Data and Analysis

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-370-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    R. Duncan Luce, Neil J. Smelser and Dean R. Gerstein
  4. PART I MIND AND BRAIN
    • 1 Sensory and Perceptual Processes
      (pp. 3-20)
      NORMA V. GRAHAM, LINDA BARTOSHUK, ALBERT S. BREGMAN, JULIAN HOCHBERG, AZRIEL ROSENFELD, MICHAEL STUDDERT-KENNEDY and R. DUNCAN LUCE

      When you look around, you see a variety of objects at various distances, some still and some moving, some transparent and some vividly colored, some partially obscured by others, and some not. All is perfectly ordinary and seen without effort if light is good and your visual system is normal. Your cat or dog sees these things, too, although somewhat differently from the way we do. And so does the fly that evades the swat. And listening to a musical recording, you have little trouble hearing separate instruments playing separate parts. If someone speaks over that background, people with normal...

    • 2 Psychobiology of Learning and Memory
      (pp. 21-40)
      RICHARD F. THOMPSON, CAROL BARNES, THOMAS CAREW, LEON COOPER, MICHELA GALLAGHER, MICHAEL POSNER, ROBERT RESCORLA, DANIEL SCHACTER, LARRY SQUIRE and ALAN WAGNER

      How the brain codes, stores, and retrieves memories are among the most important and baffling questions in science. At the cellular level, there are two fundamental types of information coding. One is the familiar genetic code, shared by organisms from virus to man. In higher organisms, millions of bits of information are coded in the DNA of the cell nucleus. Over the course of evolution, a quite different kind of information coding has developed—the cellular encoding of acquired information in the brain. This coding is no less remarkable than the genetic code.

      The generic term for acquired information coding...

    • 3 Information and Cognitive Sciences
      (pp. 41-70)
      SAUL STERNBERG, FERGUS I. M. CRAIK, JOHN JONIDES, WALTER KINTSCH, STEPHEN M. KOSSLYN, JAMES L. McCLELLAND, RAYMOND S. NICKERSON and JAMES GREENO

      The reasons for investigating human cognition are manifold and pressing. For example, one of the most serious problems facing this country today is adult illiteracy. Current economic trends suggest that people with inadequate cognitive skills will probably find it even more difficult to compete for jobs in the future than they have in the past. To cite a specific instance, the ubiquity of computers and computer-based systems has established the importance of computer literacy for a large segment of the population.

      In fact, information technology has the potential for providing new and qualitatively different ways of representing information for human...

    • 4 Language and Language Processing
      (pp. 71-86)
      FREDERICK J. NEWMEYER, ANTONIO R. DAMASIO, MERRILL GARRETT, MARK LIBERMAN, DAVID LIGHTFOOT, HOWARD POIZNER, THOMAS ROEPER, ELEANOR SAFFRAN, IVAN SAG and VICTORIA FROMKIN

      Language is the glue that holds human society together, that links past and future in a social, intellectual, and legal tradition. Humans have a capacity to express thoughts and to communicate in a way that distinguishes them from other species. That capacity depends upon a complex set of cognitive systems, served by a set of motor and perceptual skills that are elaborately developed and delicately timed. Every day, a normal human being utters and listens to thousands of words in the forms of novel sentences and conversational fragments (most of which have never been spoken or heard previously). Every word...

  5. PART II BEHAVIOR IN SOCIAL CONTEXT
    • 5 Development of Cognitive and Social Competence
      (pp. 89-116)
      HERBERT L. PICK, ANN L. BROWN, CAROL DWECK, ROBERT EMDE, FRANK KEIL, DAVID KLAHR, ROSS D. PARKE, STEVEN PINKER and ROCHEL GELMAN

      The three fundamental questions in the development of cognitive and social competence are: (1) What is the original state of the organism? How should the competence of the newborn or young infant be characterized? (2) What is the subsequent course of development of competence? Exactly how does the initial state of the baby evolve into the competence of the mature organism? (3) What is the mechanism of the developmental transformation? An answer to the question of mechanism includes specifying the important biological, experiential, and social influences on development.

      The study of infant competence has been marked by considerable progress in...

    • 6 Health and Behavior
      (pp. 117-136)
      DAVID S. KRANTZ, LEONARD EPSTEIN, NORMAN GARMEZY, MARSHA ORY, LEONARD PEARLIN, JUDITH RODIN, MARVIN STEIN and GARDNER LINDZEY

      Several scientific and health care developments have led to an increased prominence of social and behavioral research in the health domain. At the turn of the century, the greatest contributors to morbidity and mortality in the United States were infectious diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis. Today, the leading causes of death are chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disorders and cancers. It is now well established that these disease states are caused by a confluence of biological, social, environmental, and behavioral factors (Hamburg et al., 1982; USDHEW, 1979a).

      Several Institute of Medicine reports (Hamburg et al., 1982; Institute of Medicine,...

    • 7 Social Interaction
      (pp. 137-160)
      JOHN F. KIHLSTROM, ELLEN BERSCHEID, JOHN DARLEY, REID HASTIE, HAROLD KELLEY, SHELDON STRYKER and EDWARD E. JONES

      The study of social interaction is a central concern of the behavioral and social sciences (Allport, 1968; Jones, 1985). Social interaction is commonly explored by social and personality psychologists, who place particular emphasis on individual cognitive, emotional, motivational, and behavioral processes. Sociologists investigate many of the same phenomena: their emphasis on the influence of social structures, roles, and institutions external to the individual complements the psychological emphasis on internal factors. In a very real sense, the study of social interaction is an interstitial discipline, linking fields such as sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science, which analyze larger social structures, with...

    • 8 Gender
      (pp. 161-190)
      NANCY M. HENLEY, ROSE LAUB COSER, JANE FLAX, NAOMI QUINN, KATHRYN KISH SKLAR and SHERRY B. ORTNER

      The concept of gender is a basic organizing principle for every human culture: “There appears to be no other dichotomy in human experience with as many entities assimilated to it as the distinction between male and female” (Bem, 1981, p. 354). Yet its centrality in human thought and behavior has until recently not been widely recognized, or it has been recognized on a superficial level only. While gender is perhaps the most potent organizing principle of all known human societies, conceptualizations of gender differ from society to society as well as across time within a society. While by gender here...

    • 9 Crime and Violence
      (pp. 191-212)
      ALFRED BLUMSTEIN, RICHARD BERK, PHILIP COOK, DAVID FARRINGTON, SAMUEL KRISLOV, ALBERT J. REISS JR., FRANKLIN E. Z1MRING and LAWRENCE M. FREIDMAN

      The problem of crime has remained at the forefront of national attention for at least the past two decades. Surveys have consistently ranked it among the nation’s most serious domestic problems. This has been especially true for the kinds of serious crime that frighten people the most, the kind the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tabulates at the top of its index of crime (murder, forcible rape, aggravated assault, robbery, and burglary). Few demands the public makes of the social sciences are more insistent than the call for knowledge that can lead to more effective interventions to reduce the rate...

  6. PART III CHOICE AND ALLOCATION
    • 10 Collective Choice Institutions
      (pp. 215-236)
      WILLIAM H. RIKER, JAMES S. COLEMAN, BERNARD GROFMAN, MICHAEL HECHTER, JOHN LEDYARD, CHARLES PLOTT, KENNETH SHEPSLE and JOHN FEREJOHN

      During the last forty years a succession of breakthroughs in theory has revealed enormous possibilities of new research on collective choice, with, potentially, far-reaching intellectual and practical effects. Consequently, the opportunity is great for significant discoveries in the 1980s and 1990s.

      By collective choice we mean decisions arrived at by the interaction of several persons. Their values, preferences, and beliefs are brought together through organizing institutions (governments, firms, international systems, committees, etcetera) by means of aggregating institutions (such as voting, auctions, markets, wars, and even “the sense of the meeting”). The choice arrived at by aggregation is usually regarded as...

    • 11 Information and Decision Making
      (pp. 237-260)
      MARK J. MACHINA, ROBIN HOGARTH, KENNETH MacCRIMMON, JOHN ROBERTS, ALVIN ROTH, PAUL SLOVIC, RICHARD THALER and JOHN FEREJOHN

      The field of information and decision theory has changed dramatically over the past ten years in ways that will profoundly influence the direction of research for the next ten. A decade ago, although the “expected utility” approach provided the model of individual choice under uncertainty on which virtually all of decision theory, game theory, and the economics of uncertainty were based, researchers in these areas had undertaken almost no empirical testing of the underlying assumptions of that model. While psychological models of choice under uncertainty (which typically took a more cognitive, information-processing approach) were regularly subjected to testing, there was...

    • 12 Market Efficiency
      (pp. 261-282)
      OLIVER E. WILLIAMSON, JERRY HAUSMAN, PAUL JOSKOW, ROGER NOLL, CHARLES PLOTT, VERNON SMITH, DAVID WISE and DANIEL McFADDEN

      Economic efficiency is a universal concern. Failure to utilize scarce physical and human resources to productive advantage is a waste that none can afford. Enhancing efficiency is valued everywhere—in advanced capitalist economies in Western Europe and the United States, in the industrialized nations of the Warsaw Pact, and in developing capitalist and socialist economies.

      Practicality is not the only consideration, however. The study of economic efficiency is intrinsically interesting. It has been and will remain a central issue on the economics research agenda for purely intellectual reasons. It is nonetheless gratifying when intellectual and practical interests are joined. That...

    • 13 Markets and Organizations
      (pp. 283-326)
      STANLEY REITER, KENNETH ARROW, LANCE DAVIS, PAUL DIMAGGIO, MARK GRANOVETTER, JERRY GREEN, THEODORE GROVES, MICHAEL HANNAN, ANDREW POSTLEWAITE, ROY RADNER, KARL SHELL and LEONID HURWICZ

      Research on markets and organizations has been important in several social and behavioral sciences, especially since the late 1960s. For several hundred years a central problem in economics has been to understand how a society organizes or should organize its economic activity. Until recently, the main objective has been to understand how a system of markets does its job. But there are also other mechanisms for coordinating economic activity, many of which play important parts in the existing economies of the world. One of the most important developments in economics of the past two decades or so has been the...

    • 14 Jobs and Inequality
      (pp. 327-338)
      FRANK P. STAFFORD, JAMES BARON, DANIEL HAMERMESH, CHRISTOPHER JENCKS, MICHAEL REICH, ROSS STOLZENBERG, DONALD J. TREIMAN and NANCY BRANDON TUMA

      Important research questions in the areas of jobs and inequality range from the effects of entrepreneurship and reorganization of firms on employment and wages to the changing distribution of wealth as influenced by international trade and immigration. Our approach to these subjects is multidisciplinary. Both economists and sociologists often agree on what are the major topics, but we have not attempted to formulate an interdisciplinary approach. Rather, we believe that most of the subjects outlined below merit the attention of researchers from several social sciences and can benefit from different methodologies within each social science.

      A major consensus was the...

    • 15 Macroeconomic Policy Research
      (pp. 339-362)
      STANLEY FISCHER, WILLIAM BEEMAN, RUDIGER DORNBUSCH, THOMAS SARGENT, ROBERT SHILLER, LAWRENCE SUMMERS and DANIEL McFADDEN

      Macroeconomic policy research is both internally and externally driven. The internal drive comes from the dynamics of the field itself and from theoretical and empirical developments in other branches of economics. The external pressures come from the macroeconomic problems and events of the day. That mix of factors determined research priorities and progress in the 1970s and early 1980s, and determines prospects for the next ten years.

      The 1960s saw the culmination of the Keynesian revolution in U. S. macroeconomic research, with the development of large-scale econometric models of the economy. These models, some with over 100 stochastic behavioral equations,...

  7. PART IV EVOLVING INSTITUTIONS
    • 16 Origins of Culture
      (pp. 365-384)
      GLYNN LI. ISAAC, ROBERT BLUMENSCHINE, MARGARET CONKEY, TERRY DEACON, IRVEN DEVORE, PETER ELLISON, RICHARD FORD, KATHERINE MILTON, DAVID PILBEAM, RICHARD POTTS, KATHY SCHICK, MARGARET SCHOENINGER, ANDREW SILLEN, JOHN SPETH, NICHOLAS TOTH and SHERWOOD WASHBURN

      The diversity of the social sciences springs from the unusual mental and behavioral abilities of the human animal. In particular, our species has developed the capacity to exchange and store information. The exchange is predominantly accomplished through language, to which other kinds of symbol systems have been added, such as musical and mathematical notations. Initially, storage took the form of oral tradition, joined by writing some 5,000 years ago, now augmented by electronic and other means. Other animals, including mammals, birds, and social insects, learn from experience and transmit a fraction of that learning across contemporaneous social networks and also...

    • 17 Emergence of Social, Political, and Economic Institutions
      (pp. 385-404)
      DOUGLAS C. NORTH, ROBERT BATES, ROBERT BRENNER, JAMES COLEMAN, ELIZABETH COLSON, KENT FLANNERY, VERNON SMITH and NEIL J. SMELSER

      The study of institutions has a long tradition in the social sciences. The present renewed interest stems from the cumulative findings of studies that have given us new insights into the way in which different institutional arrangements affect societal performance and from a recognition that models that do not include institutions are of limited relevance to societies. Institutions have been defined differently. Some scholars regard them as comprising the framework of rules and norms of behavior within which human beings interact; others have also included organizations in their definition. In either case, however, institutions constitute the structure that defines interpersonal...

    • 18 Causes and Consequences of Demographic Change
      (pp. 405-420)
      SAMUEL H. PRESTON, ANSLEY J. COALE, KINGSLEY DAVIS, GEOFFREY McNICOLL, JANE MENKEN, T. PAUL SCHULTZ, DANIEL VINING and EUGENE A. HAMMEL

      Demographic change includes changes in population size, growth rates, age/sex distribution, and geographic distribution. These variables in turn are a function of a population’s past and present levels of fertility, mortality, and migration. The study of demographic change is distinguished from most social science research in several major respects:

      1. The variables of central interest are outcomes of biological processes. The study of demographic change therefore involves important elements of epidemiology, reproductive biology, and medicine/public health. These disciplines are particularly important in understanding the intermediate variables affecting levels of fertility and mortality.

      2. The variables of central interest are properties of a...

    • 19 Family and Domestic Relations
      (pp. 421-436)
      JOHN MODELL, MARGARET CLARK, WILLIAM J. GOODE, WILLIAM KESSEN, RAYMOND SMITH, ROBERT WILLIS and NANCY BRANDON TUMA

      The family is the only social institution that has excited increased public interest as it supposedly diminishes in importance. This is because the family—whatever it actually is—embodies deep, possibly universal human values, so that all modern societies consider it vital to their well-being that the family be understood, nurtured, and strengthened. Fortunately, the family has emerged in the past decade as an area of marked interdisciplinary progress. Once interpreted as a formal institution, the family more recently has been treated in an increasingly rich and varied fashion, aided by technical advances in demography, survey research, and statistical modeling....

    • 20 Urban Transformation and Migration
      (pp. 437-454)
      JOHN M. QUIGLEY, ALEX ANAS, NILES HANSEN, GEOFFREY HEWINGS, LARRY LONG, EDWIN S. MILLS, RISA PALM and RICHARD L. MERRILL

      The study of urban areas and of the forces that affect their growth and decline has become more technically focused and theoretically advanced since 1960. At the same time, the practical importance and visibility of issues raised in the study of metropolitan regions has been attenuated. On the one hand, basic inquiry has provided real insights into such complex phenomena as household and firm location, mobility, neighborhood change, and interregional migration. On the other hand, the recognition of interconnections by policymakers has led to a stronger role in urban and regional development by higher levels of government and to the...

    • 21 Legal Processes
      (pp. 455-476)
      ROBERT A. KAGAN, MARC GALANTER, JOEL F. HANDLER, SUSAN S. SILBEY, STANTON WHEELER and LAWRENCE M. FRIEDMAN

      Observers of contemporary society frequently are struck, and sometimes dismayed, by the apparent increase in recourse to law and formal legal processes. In recent decades, and particularly in the United States, statute books and the Code of Federal Regulations have swollen at a startling pace. Parents bring lawsuits against school systems, rejected mistresses sue their former paramours, patients file malpractice claims against their doctors, and business corporations hire teams of specialists to deal with a growing web of regulatory obligations and liability rules (Friedman, 1985). Government bodies are drawn into litigation by Indian tribes, civil rights organizations, prisoners, and public...

  8. PART V SOCIETIES AND INTERNATIONAL ORDERS
    • 22 Culture and Ideology
      (pp. 479-496)
      JAMES W. FERNANDEZ, KEITH H. BASSO, KAREN BLU, KENNETH BOULDING, MURRAY EDELMAN, STEPHEN GUDEMAN, IVAN KARP, MICHAEL KEARNEY, GEORGE MARCUS, DENNIS McGILVARY, EMIKO OHNUKI-TIERNEY, WILLIAM SEWELL, ANN SWIDLER and SHERRY ORTNER

      Our work group had a particularly challenging task not only because its two terms of reference are among the most contested in the literature—the term culture, for example, has been subject to voluminous and recurrent definition in anthropology alone—but also because the subject matter is not self-contained. It implicates itself as it reflects upon the researcher. Thus the reflexivity, the intense self-examination, that has been going on in the behavioral sciences over the last decade becomes inevitably a part of this topic. The familiar parodic declension suggests the problem: “I have considered views of social reality, you have...

    • 23 Religion and Political Change
      (pp. 497-506)
      DANIEL H. LEVINE, LEONARD BINDER, THOMAS BRUNEAU, JEAN COMAROFF, SUSAN HARDING, CHARLES KEYES, ROBERT WUTHNOW and KENNETH PREWITT

      There is now a great deal of empirically grounded, theoretically significant research on religion and politics that has been developed in different disciplines. Hence, this is an appropriate time to encourage and stimulate communication and collaborative work.

      Across the board in the social sciences, scholars working on widely varying cultural and religious traditions and regions display remarkable convergence in theoretical concerns. Researchers are showing a general interest in reassessing and going beyond the concepts and assumptions inherited from the classic works of Weber, Durkheim, and de Tocqueville, and much of the more recent, influential literature of the modernization school, which...

    • 24 Social Studies of Modern Science and Technology
      (pp. 507-524)
      DANIEL J. KEVLES, JOHN HEILBRON, DOROTHY NELKIN, GLENN PORTER, MERRITT ROE SMITH, CHARLES ROSENBERG and BARBARA GUTMANN ROSENKRANTZ

      For a quarter-century after World War II, American science and technology led the world, but since the early 1970s that hegemony has been increasingly challenged. Economic and scientific competition from Japan and Western Europe grow stronger every year, while the Soviet Union continues to raise technical problems for American national security. Both economic and military circumstances have thus revived the post-Sputnik concern over the strength of American science and technology, particularly with regard to the recruitment of talented people, the vitality of the research enterprise, and the nation’s technological resourcefulness in both the military and the economic arenas.

      At the...

    • 25 Social Knowledge-Producing Institutions
      (pp. 525-548)
      THEDA SKOCPOL, MARTIN BULMER, THOMAS JUSTER, DONALD McCLOSKEY, DOROTHY ROSS, ARNOLD THACKRAY, CAROL WEISS and BARBARA GUTMAN ROSENKRANTZ

      While other working groups considered research by social scientists, ours considered researchaboutsocial scientists as well as by them. We inquired into the present state and future prospects of research about the institutions through which social knowledge is produced and disseminated—institutions in which all of us are participant observers as well as scholarly practitioners. Our deliberations also encompassed research on the relations between the social sciences and other parts of society, especially government.

      Our working group brought together scholars with contrasting outlooks on the nature and significance of the social sciences and benefited from their varied substantive interests...

    • 26 The Outlook for Comparative International Social Science Research
      (pp. 549-568)
      PETER EVANS, BRUCE CUMINGS, ALBERT FISHLOW, PETER GOUREVITCH, JOHN MEYER, ALEJANDRO PORTES, BARBARA STALLINGS and NEIL J. SMELSER

      Recent developments in both comparative and international research have important implications for social science research in general. A range of research previously conceived as “domestic,” or as concerned with analytical propositions assumed invariant across national boundaries, clearly needs to be reconceptualized in the light of recent comparative/international findings. In this report we have not tried to survey the field. Instead, we have illustrated the importance of comparative/international research by choosing a small number of areas in which significant work has been done over the past ten years and that show substantial promise for future contribution.¹

      We have looked first at...

    • 27 International Security and Crisis Management
      (pp. 569-584)
      ROBERT JERVIS, JOSHUA LEDERBERG, ROBERT NORTH, STEVEN ROSEN, JOHN STEINBRUNER, DINA ZINNES and KENNETH PREWITT

      Most of us, scholars and citizens alike, are deeply concerned with current national security problems, primarily centering on Soviet–American relations. But the subject is not limited to a particular time period or pair of countries. Scholars may be as interested in understanding the security problems and policies of Athens and Sparta (see, for example, Kagan, 1969, 1974, 1981) or the origins of World War I (International Security, Summer 1984) as they are in problems of nuclear weapons. This would be true even if earlier eras did not shed light on current predicaments. In fact, they almost certainly do, at...

  9. PART VI DATA AND ANALYSIS
    • 28 Large-Scale Data Needs
      (pp. 587-610)
      WARREN E. MILLER, JEROME CLUBB, MARTIN DAVID, JAMES A. DAVIS, BRUCE RUSSETT and JAMES N. MORGAN

      One of the central trends in the social sciences since the 1960s has been a spectacular increase in the size of the data bases employed in research. Rather than a passing developmental phase, that trend can better be seen as a reflection of progress toward improved understanding of human behavior and social processes and as a requirement for continued progress. The need for very large data bases has come as a direct product of growth of knowledge. The foreseeable future is unlikely to bring diminution in the magnitude and complexity of data needs in the social sciences; the greater likelihood...

    • 29 Measurement and Scaling
      (pp. 611-632)
      A. KIMBALL ROMNEY, NORMAN BRADBURN, J. DOUGLAS CARROLL, ROY D’ANDRADE, JEAN CLAUDE FALMAGNE, PAUL HOLLAND, LAWRENCE HUBERT, EDWARD E. LEAMER and R. DUNCAN LUCE

      The social and behavioral sciences, like all sciences, depend upon experimental and observational discoveries as the “raw material” for increased understanding. The gathering of data is, however, only the first step in the quest for understanding. The data must then be analyzed and interpreted with the aid of theory. The task of theory is to develop models—often mathematical or biological, and in more recent years, computer models—for the mechanisms or processes that underlie the phenomena, to deduce, or in some cases to calculate, the properties of the models, and to test these properties through comparisons with the observations...

    • 30 Statistical Analysis
      (pp. 633-670)
      JOHN W. PRATT, CLIFFORD C. CLOGG, BERT F. GREEN, MICHAEL HANNAN, JERRY A. HAUSMAN, WILLIAM H. KRUSKAL, DONALD B. RUBIN, I. RICHARD SAVAGE, JOHN W. TUKEY, KENNETH W. WACHTER and LEO A. GOODMAN

      Statistics develops and investigates ways of gathering and interpreting naturally variable data. It elucidates almost every field of human endeavor, from gambling and sports to the census and opinion surveys, from the social sciences to biology and physics. It encompasses the intellectually self-conscious study of making inferences and reaching conclusions about regularity and causality from erratic observations. The necessity of statistical thinking arises whenever inherent variation or measurement fluctuations make it difficult to understand data or judge the import of observed relationships. For example, is a sharp monthly or yearly increase in the juvenile delinquency or unemployment rate in a...

  10. Name Index
    (pp. 671-688)
  11. Subject Index
    (pp. 689-705)