Another Misunderstanding of PCT

[From Bill Powers (2000.09.20.0216 MDT)]

Bjoern Simonsen (2000.09.19.0915 GMT+1)--

From your B:CP I have learned to control my perceptions.

I hope that's not true. I think you always have controlled your
perceptions, even before you read B:CP!

If the police in your example knows about PCT he could say: "I will apply
carefully-selected disturbances to a variable that the other person is
likely
to be controlling".
If the police don't ever have heard about PCT (as I think) he could say: I
will
force (coerce) that driver to behave as I want".
Most people haven't heard about PCT. I neither think they know about
behaviorism
or cognitive styles. They just follow their impulses and use the "flashing
lights
and siren".

Yes, but according to PCT, the reason this works, the reason it makes the
drivers slow down and stop, is that the drivers are trying to avoid the
penalties for evading the police. PCT explains why the flashing lights and
siren have the expected effect -- it's not because they are stimuli that
cause the response of stopping. PCT also allows us to propose an
explanation of why some drivers don't stop: they perceive that they have
more to lose by stopping than by trying to escape (10 kilos of heroin in
plain sight on the back seat of the car).

I am not sure this police really control the behavior of every one he stops.

The driver could in this situation have a reference for being at place A
where
he shall have a meeting at 2 o'clock PM. His perceptions could be the watch
showing
01:40. Another perception also controlling against the mentioned reference
could be
"the picture of the traffic". The perception of the "flashing lights and
siren" could
also be controlled against the mentioned reference and the "pulling over and
stopping" could
be a side effect of having a meeting at 2 o'clock PM.

If this was the situation for the driver, he would continue to control his
perceptions
with the reference "being at a meeting at 2 o'clock PM.

Yes, of course. We have more than one goal at a time, and sometimes goals
conflict. The policeman will not, however, accept wanting to be at the
meeting on time as an excuse. If the driver fails to stop, the policeman
will call for assistance and when it arrives, he or another officer will
use stronger methods, including setting up road-blocks, or getting ahead of
the driver and forcing him off the road, or shooting out his tires. If the
driver doesn't behave as expected, the level of force will simply be
increased until he does.

As you write above: "He could be wrong, of course,......"

And I think people using the test or their impulses often "are wrong". And
it
is a wrong guide if I believe I have controlled my neighbors behavior just
because
he showed the actions I assumed when I used the test.

Yes, you could be wrong, but I assume you wouldn't base this belief on a
single example. If you were trying seriously to find out what your neighbor
was controlling, you would do an extensive series of tests, applying all
kinds of different disturbances and seeing whether the predicted
counter-action happened. You would try to think of alternate explanations
for your neighbor's behavior, and then devise tests to see if they could be
disproven.

When we use examples like these, we aren't really saying that our
explanations are necessarily true. It's more like showing what would be
going on IF the PCT explanation happened to be true in this case.
Establishing the truth or falsity of the PCT explanation would require much
more intensive investigation than causal encounters between policemen and
drivers would permit. At this level of discourse we're just trying to
describe the world as seen through PCT eyes, not to prove that this is the
correct view. Of course the same applies to any _other_ explanations of the
same events. _Any_ explanation is only a description of what would be going
on it a particular theory were proven true. When we use examples like
these, we're not trying to show that PCT is correct. We're only trying to
describe what the correct explanation would be like, if PCT should prove to
be correct.

That's one reason why these "thought-experiments" are of limited
usefulness. their only real use to to illustrate what you mean by some
principle.

I know special Rick uses the test with certainty, but I find it difficulty.
Therefore I am insecure when I try to control other peoples behavior.
Another aspect is the ethical part of doing so.

You're taking the made-up examples too seriously. They're meant only to
illustrate principles. If you really want to know the truth, then you
simply have to do the experiments that are required before you can know it.
You have to form hypotheses about what another person is controlling, and
then systematically apply disturbances to see if _every aspect_ of your
definition is correct or needs to be modified. When you can reliably
predict how a person will react (or not react) to a given disturbance,
_then_ you can be secure about controlling his behavior.

Note: there is nothing unethical about controlling another person's
behavior. This is because the only way you can do it is to apply
disturbances that the other person can _successfully resist_ without any
inconvenience. Applying the disturbance thus does not alter anything that
the other person cares about. It only alters his actions (the ones he uses
to resist the disturbance), and when people are controlling something, they
don't care about the actions they use (as long as there are no unpleasant
side-effects of producing those actions).

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bruce Gregory (2000.0915.1642)]

Let me begin by excusing Rick and Bill. The following post will only
reveal my abysmal misunderstanding of PCT so I advise you to spare
yourself aggravation and skip it. Thanks.

Now that we are alone, I will briefly state why my (mistaken) emphasis
on the control of perception is essential to understanding certain
issues we have "discussed" _ad nauseum_. I will not mention RTP, which
has suffered quite enough, but return to slightly less emotional example
of the state trooper who monitors my speed on the highway. Is he
controlling my actions? I maintain that this use of the word control is
based on a flawed pre-PCT understanding of control. What the trooper is
controlling is his perception that the laws of the state are being
honored sufficiently well (Give 'em 5 mph; let 'em take 10; and nab 'em
at 15). Only if I disturb this perception will he turn on his flashing
lights and pursue me. In this case, he is acting to counter a
disturbance and restore his perception to its reference level. To say he
is "controlling my actions" simple muddles the situation by using the
word "control" in the pre-PCT way.

If anyone chooses to comment on this post, please follow the convention
of first excusing Rick and Bill. Thank you.

BG

Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by.

           W. B. Yeats

[Bill Curry (2000.09151830 EST)]

Bruce Gregory (2000.0915.1642)--

If anyone chooses to comment on this post, please follow the convention
of first excusing Rick and Bill. Thank you.

You're not going to control my actions--I resent this limiting
pseudo-choice ; -)

<snip> ...example
of the state trooper who monitors my speed on the highway. Is he
controlling my actions? I maintain that this use of the word control is
based on a flawed pre-PCT understanding of control. What the trooper is
controlling is his perception that the laws of the state are being
honored sufficiently well (Give 'em 5 mph; let 'em take 10; and nab 'em
at 15).

Not the trooper, again. Oye! Plus, you forgot to supply the data...did
you perform the Test? For now let's assume you did determine the trooper
was indeed controlling this perception rather than one of flagging down
blondes in red Boxsters, or hassling profiled minorities, or...

Only if I disturb this perception will he turn on his flashing
lights and pursue me. In this case, he is acting to counter a
disturbance and restore his perception to its reference level.

Great PCT analysis...pure as the driven snow. Really super stuff, Bruce!

To say he
is "controlling my actions" simple muddles the situation by using the
word "control" in the pre-PCT way.

Agree. How could he be controlling my actions relative to the speed limit,
if the first time I see him is on my bumper with lights flashing and siren
screaming? At this point, I concede that he is a very serious disturbance
to my "exceed the limit but don't get caught" reference that I have been
controlling. Once flagged down though, I start immediate control of a
higher gain reference to "cooperate with cops" to contain the damage. I
will slow down and judiciously pull over but it's my control all the way.
His presence is affecting my actions but I am successfully controlling for
my "cooperative" perceptions. I did have the option of putting the hammer
down and bolting but that was a nonstarter under my principles.

This is a semantics problem, not one of PCT analysis: Two interpretations
of the word "control". I like the one that describes control as the
process of comparing a perceptual signal with its reference signal, and
acting on any difference to reduce it to zero. Funny, I thought that was
the coinage used here.

Does my agreeing with you mean I know as little about PCT as you do? It
sure is a lonely world here in PCT land sometimes;-)

Waiting anxiously for the next shoe to drop,

Bill

···

--
William J. Curry
Capticom, Inc.
capticom@landmarknet.net

[From Bill Powers (2000.09.16.0346 MDTR)]

Bruce Gregory (2000.0915.1642)--

Let me begin by excusing Rick and Bill. The following post will only
reveal my abysmal misunderstanding of PCT so I advise you to spare
yourself aggravation and skip it. Thanks.

I'll decide what to skip. The problem, Bruce, is that there _are_ a few
holes in your understanding of PCT. Nothing major, but enough to make you
miss certain points. Elaborate sarcasm is not enough to fill those holes.

The basic mechanism by which one person can control the actions of another
is to apply carefully-selected disturbances to a variable that the other
person is likely to be controlling. For example, suppose that state trooper
wants to control your actions by making you pull your car over to the side
of the road and stop. What he has to do is disturb some variable that he
thinks you will be controlling, and which he has reason to believe you will
control by pulling over and stopping. He could be wrong, of course, but if
he is right you will perform exactly the action he wants to see. When he
applies the disturbance -- the flashing lights and siren -- he assumes that
you know what will happen if you do not pull over and stop when that signal
is given, and he also assumnes (just as importantly) that you don't want
that to happen. So to keep it from happening, you pull over and stop, which
is the behavior he wanted to see.

At a different level -- don't ask me which one, it's a relative idea -- the
trooper is acting as an arm of law enforcement with the purpose of holding
down speeding (perceived speeding, of course, but the effect is somewhat
similar). The hoped-for procedure is to apply sanctions to speeders which
strongly disturb variables important to the speeder, by means such as
fines, loss of driving privileges, or even jail terms. The speeder can
avoid repetitions of such disturbances and their effects by slowing down,
at least when within radar range (perceptual range) of a trooper. Speeders
for whom speed limits are a challenge to their egos, or who depend on
speeding to make a better living (long-distance truckers) take
countermeasures such as radar detectors and a CB network to warn each other
and avoid observation. But once they see that flashing light in the rear
view mirror and hear the peremptory blip of the siren, they do what is
necessary to avoid being busted for evasion, which will cost them a lot
more than a speeding ticket would. The trooper thus makes them pull over
and stop. And if the speeder successfully prevents further stops and
penalties, at least the speeder's behavior will be controlled while under
observation by a trooper.

This phenomenon of interlocking control processes can be illustrated easily
with the rubber bands. Let A keep the knot over the dot. B can then make A
move his hand anywhere B wants by moving B's end of the rubber bands
appropriately. As long as A is using his action to keep the knot over the
dot, B can control A's action. Of course A can thwart B's control by giving
up the goal of keeping the knot over the dot. When B no longer knows what A
is controlling, B loses control of A's actions.

B can also thwart his own attempts to control A's behavior by forcing an
action that causes A more error than would be caused by giving up control
of the knot -- for example, making A move his hand so it gets burned on a
coffeepot.

I'm sure you can take it from there.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bruce Gregory (2000.0916.1358)]

Since highway police are so controversial, let's consider a more benign
control system--the control system in my house designed to keep the
temperature below 130 F. Needless to say, this system has worked flawlessly
(we've had no fires except in the wood stove) and consumes almost no energy
in the process--it is highly efficient. But my goal is no to sell you one of
these remarkable systems (altough I might be persuaded to) but to notice the
reaction of different people when I tell them that the system is controlling
the temperature in the house. Bill and Rick have no problem accepting me at
my word. Everything they see is consistent with my claim, but they would
want to perturb the system by increasing the the temperature in the house
(or,more practically, in the vicinity of the thermostat that is part of the
control system) to above 130 degrees F. to determine if the cooling system
turns on to maintain the temperature at 130 degrees F (the Test).

Most people are less sanguine. They are concerned that the temperature,
supposedly maintained by the system, varies over a large range. They are
also concerned that the cooling system has _never_ turned on during the many
years we have owned the house. To ease their concerns, I tell them that the
system is controlling its perception of the temperature (rather than the
temperature of the house) and that if it ever perceives a temperature above
130, it will cool the house until the temperature it perceives is below 130
degrees. In other words, we will only become aware of the systems efforts to
control if the house becomes _very_ warm.

I maintain that I have told Bill and Rick and the incredulous guests _the
same_ story, but I've phrased it in a way that each is comfortable with.

BG

[From Bill Powers (2000.09.16.1208 MDT)]

Bruce Gregory (2000.0916.1358)--

Since highway police are so controversial, let's consider a more benign
control system--the control system in my house designed to keep the
temperature below 130 F.

... But my goal is not to sell you one of

these remarkable systems (altough I might be persuaded to) but to notice the
reaction of different people when I tell them that the system is controlling
the temperature in the house. Bill and Rick have no problem accepting me at
my word. Everything they see is consistent with my claim, but they would
want to perturb the system by increasing the the temperature in the house
(or,more practically, in the vicinity of the thermostat that is part of the
control system) to above 130 degrees F. to determine if the cooling system
turns on to maintain the temperature at 130 degrees F (the Test).

Yes, that's right. We call this a one-way control system (a two-way system
would keep the temperature _at_ a specific level, and would require either
heating and refrigeration, or an environment that continuously supplied
heat to or drained heat from the house.

Most people are less sanguine. They are concerned that the temperature,
supposedly maintained by the system, varies over a large range. They are
also concerned that the cooling system has _never_ turned on during the many
years we have owned the house. To ease their concerns, I tell them that the
system is controlling its perception of the temperature (rather than the
temperature of the house) and that if it ever perceives a temperature above
130, it will cool the house until the temperature it perceives is below 130
degrees. In other words, we will only become aware of the systems efforts to
control if the house becomes _very_ warm.

I maintain that I have told Bill and Rick and the incredulous guests _the
same_ story, but I've phrased it in a way that each is comfortable with.

I don't see that you've said it in two different ways. Could you be more
explicit about just what the difference is? I seem to have missed something.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bruce Gregory (2000.0916.1424)]

Bill Powers (2000.09.16.1208 MDT)

I don't see that you've said it in two different ways. Could you be more
explicit about just what the difference is? I seem to have missed

something.

You've missed nothing at all. Only if you said I was saying different things
would we have had a disagreement.

BG

[From Bjoern Simonsen (2000.09.19.0915 GMT+1)]

from Bill Powers (2000.09.16.0346 MDTR)

The basic mechanism by which one person can control the actions of another
is to apply carefully-selected disturbances to a variable that the other
person is likely to be controlling. For example, suppose that state

trooper

wants to control your actions by making you pull your car over to the side
of the road and stop. What he has to do is disturb some variable that he
thinks you will be controlling, and which he has reason to believe you will
control by pulling over and stopping. He could be wrong, of course, but if
he is right you will perform exactly the action he wants to see. When he
applies the disturbance -- the flashing lights and siren -- he assumes that
you know what will happen if you do not pull over and stop when that signal
is given, and he also assumes (just as importantly) that you don't want
that to happen. So to keep it from happening, you pull over and stop, which
is the behavior he wanted to see.

from your B:CP I have learned to control my perceptions. That's what I do
conscious and unconscious. All day and all night.
I find PCT as an unique theory explaining my own behavior.
I understand it as if everybody's behavior is their control of what they
perceive
either they know about PCT or not.
Again. PCT is an unique theory explaining the behavior of the individual.
And I
agree with Rick who in [From Rick Marken (990318.0810)] put forward the
following
proposal:" How about "behavior is the control of perceptual variables"?"

I find it more difficulty to use PCT explaining my neighbors behavior or
your
behavior. I know the test and I try to use it. But still I find it
difficulty.

I also understand that you will give the expression that a person can
control the
actions of another. You have described it in the lines above.
If the police in your example knows about PCT he could say: "I will apply
carefully-selected disturbances to a variable that the other person is
likely
to be controlling".
If the police don't ever have heard about PCT (as I think) he could say: I
will
force (coerce) that driver to behave as I want".
Most people haven't heard about PCT. I neither think they know about
behaviorism
or cognitive styles. They just follow their impulses and use the "flashing
lights
and siren".

I am not sure this police really control the behavior of every one he stops.

The driver could in this situation have a reference for being at place A
where
he shall have a meeting at 2 o'clock PM. His perceptions could be the watch
showing
01:40. Another perception also controlling against the mentioned reference
could be
"the picture of the traffic". The perception of the "flashing lights and
siren" could
also be controlled against the mentioned reference and the "pulling over and
stopping" could
be a side effect of having a meeting at 2 o'clock PM.

If this was the situation for the driver, he would continue to control his
perceptions
with the reference "being at a meeting at 2 o'clock PM.

If the police knew about PCT he would have said " I have applied
carefully-selected
disturbances to a variable that the other person is likely to be
controlling" and I have
controlled his behavior.

As you write above: "He could be wrong, of course,......"

And I think people using the test or their impulses often "are wrong". And
it
is a wrong guide if I believe I have controlled my neighbors behavior just
because
he showed the actions I assumed when I used the test.

I know special Rick uses the test with certainty, but I find it difficulty.
Therefore I am insecure when I try to control other peoples behavior.
Another aspect is the ethical part of doing so.

Summary
PCT is unique for the individual.
There is a high degree of insecurity when L is controlling the actions
(behavior) of M.
There is also an ethical part when L is controlling the actions of M

Best

Bjoern