Anticipatory error signals ??

[From Dick Robertson,2003.07.08.1612CDT]

I don't really believe there is such a thing as an anticipatory error signal, I
just used that in hope of getting your attention, but I am interested in how the
following phenomenon might be accounted for.

Coming home and driving into our (attached ) garage I walked to the house door
and as I unlocked it the thought came into my mind, "Do Not push the door
closing button." Most of the time I just follow this injunction without
thinking anything consciously. I realised that in the 7 or so years we have
had this garage neither of us has ever pressed the garage door button when
preceding the other into the house. The reason this struck me as interesting is
that I have made many other kinds of errors while distracted, thinking of two or
three things at once, etc, as I have gotten to be an old foof. But, just like I
have never yet changed lanes on the highway without looking in the rear view
mirror (although it happened to me to the tune of $1700 damages by some young
guys), there are certain things like this that seem so far to have been immune
to thoughtless errors.

I started to wonder whether one might think about it in terms of some Principles
(I think that's the right level) being more "powerful" than others, although I
have no idea what that might mean. Or, might some Programs be restricted/curbed
by the Principles that might command them so as to seem as if their execution
came under anticipatory error signals? I concede in advance that this might be
a non-issue, if I were thinking about it correctly in PCT terms, but at the
moment I'm puzzled as to how to view it.
??

Hey Bryan,

I liked your last post, but what is M@ar[ ?

Thanks, Dick R

···

[From Bill Powers (2003.07.08.1519 MDT)]

Dick Robertson,2003.07.08.1612CDT --

Coming home and driving into our (attached ) garage I walked to the house door
and as I unlocked it the thought came into my mind, "Do Not push the door
closing button."

....

I started to wonder whether one might think about it in terms of some
Principles
(I think that's the right level) being more "powerful" than others, although I
have no idea what that might mean. Or, might some Programs be
restricted/curbed
by the Principles that might command them so as to seem as if their execution
came under anticipatory error signals? I concede in advance that this
might be
a non-issue, if I were thinking about it correctly in PCT terms, but at the
moment I'm puzzled as to how to view it.

Any time the explanation has to do with one motive being "stronger" than
another, you're talking about conflict (it implies that both motives are
active at once -- if they weren't, or if you could obey them both at once,
there wouldn't be a problem). After talking this over with Mary, we
independently decided that you have to be talking about a _past_ error
signal (real or imagined), which led to establishing the rule you now
follow: "if first one in, don't push the button."

Mary pointed out that when she gets groceries, she stops at the car's trunk
to put the groceries in before going to the front to unlock the door. And
just before she closes the trunk, she pats her pocket to see if the car
keys are there. The reason, of course, is that if she dropped the keys in
the trunk and then closed it, she would be standing outside a completely
locked car with no keys. This has never actually happened, although she's
locked herself out by other means, so evidently the rule was set up because
of an imagined situation that _might_ occur. I think we all do this: we
imagine something happening, and then act to keep it from happening "again"
(though it hasn't actually ever happened -- yet). You see a kid place a
full glass of water right at the edge of the table, and without even
thinking you move it further from the edge. Why? Because you have either
seen a glass get knocked off the table, or have imagined it being knocked off.

So the question is, why does it matter to you that the first person should
not press the button to close the garage door? I would guess that you
either imagined something undesirable that might happen, or something
actually did happen. Either way, the experience was upsetting enough to
warrant reorganizing a little and setting up that rule.

Alternatively, this might be explained if we always extrapolate from the
present into the future, running a mental model in imagination. If we see
an error occurring a short time into the imagined future (my glasses are on
the arm of the chair right over the wastebasket and I imagine them falling
into it) we do something to the present situation to keep it from
happening. This wouldn't require setting up a permanent rule, which is why
I bring it up. There are probably equally good examples of doing things to
make sure something _does_ happen, when you can see it won't happen unless
you do something.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Dick Robertson,2003.07.09.1145CDT]

Bill Powers wrote:

[From Bill Powers (2003.07.08.1519 MDT)]

Dick Robertson,2003.07.08.1612CDT --

>Coming home and driving into our (attached ) garage I walked to the house door
>and as I unlocked it the thought came into my mind, "Do Not push the door
>closing button."
....
Any time the explanation has to do with one motive being "stronger" than
another, you're talking about conflict (it implies that both motives are
active at once -- if they weren't, or if you could obey them both at once,
there wouldn't be a problem). After talking this over with Mary, we
independently decided that you have to be talking about a _past_ error
signal (real or imagined), which led to establishing the rule you now
follow: "if first one in, don't push the button."

etc.

OK, that makes sense. Thanks.

···

Best, Dick R.