[From Bill Powers (2003.05.21.1622 MDT)]

It's late afternoon and we have company coming and I've done very little
but work on CSG posts all day. If I am ignoring someone's post and it's
very important, try again; otherwise I'm retiring from action for today.


Bill P.

[From Fred Nickols (2003.22.0850)] --

[From Bill Powers (2003.05.21.1622 MDT)]

It's late afternoon and we have company coming and I've done very little
but work on CSG posts all day. If I am ignoring someone's post and it's
very important, try again; otherwise I'm retiring from action for today.

Well, now that you've opened the door, so to speak...

A while back I responded to a post of yours in which I asked lots of
questions trying to clarify my understanding of your post (see below but
you don't need to re-read the whole thing). You graciously responded and
your response, or so I think, cleared up everything except one point, the
point in question being how the reference signal during the tracking
experiment can take the form of a single signal, namely, distance. I had
inquired about angular displacement as well as distance. For above and
below, as well as left and right (i.e., 0 degrees, 90 degrees, 180 degrees
and 270 degrees), I can see how reference and error signals take simple
positve and negative values but I don't see how that works when the angular
displacement is something like 45 degrees.


Fred Nickols

Earlier message cited above:


[From Fred Nickols (2003.05.13.0825)] --

I've been letting this sink in before responding so my apologies for any
perceived unusual delay.

Bill Powers (2003.05.10;-0857 MDT)]

Fred Nickols (2003.05.10.0545 EDT) --


In the pursuit-tracking experiments, the control system model represents
the task as that of controlling the distance between a cursor and a target,
with the reference-distance normally being zero. The following assumptions
are made:

Interesting. I would not have thought to word it that way. I've always
thought of the tracking experiment as essentially a matter of "keeping the
cursor on top of the target"

Yes, and this is how they still say it in engineering psychology. The way
they model it is to call the target the reference (signal), and say that it
is the error signal that the subject in the experiment perceives. I trust
that it seems strange to you to put the reference signal and conmparator in
the environment instead of in the brain.

Actually, that thought hadn't occurred to me but, now that you mention it,
it does. The reference signal, the error signal, the comparator, the
perception -- all are internal to the subject.

> .... This would suggest to me that when the experimenter tells the
subject to keep >the cursor one inch to the right of the target that the
"task" shifts from keeping >cursor and target aligned (i.e., the one on top
of the other and a distance of zero)
>to maintaining some kind of relative position between the two.

I agree that this is what would have to be done if we said that the
reference position was set by the target.

I'm not sure I get this. I buy the notion that the reference signal exists
in the subject and, as you say in the following, that no important shift
occurs in the subject's organization. But what you say below seems to rule
out any effect of angular displacement. Right or left are handled by
positive or negative numbers and so, presumably, are above and below but
what about keeping the cursor one inch from the target and at an angle of
45 degrees? How does that reduce to a distance only reference
signal? That's what I don't understand.

The rest of your response I think I get (but that could be unwarranted
optimism on my part).

[From Bill Powers (2003.05.22.1136 MDT)]

Fred Nickols (2003.22.0850) --

Well, now that you've opened the door, so to speak...

A while back I responded to a post of yours in which I asked lots of
questions ... cleared up everything except one point, the
point in question being how the reference signal during the tracking
experiment can take the form of a single signal, namely, distance. I had
inquired about angular displacement as well as distance.

Ah, yes, I remember thinking of the answer but it dropped out of sight.
It's one of the important questions that came up at the very beginning of
my investigations and the answer was critical to the way the model came out.

The PCT model assigns one control system to every degree of freedom of
experience (that is controllable).This means that we can set reference
signals independently for each degree of freedom, and control variables in
each "dimension" without limiting control of any other variable. If you
think about it, that's what we _mean_ by a "degree of freedom." If
something can move in the X and Y directions, there are two degrees of
freedom, meaning that movements in X are independent of movements in Y
(reasonable interactions excepted). We can therefore control in X
independently of controlling in Y. In the PCT model, control in more than
one dimension at a time requires more than one control system to be active
at the same time.

However, it's not necessary that a multidimensional experience always be
broken down into the same degrees of freedom. To locate a point in a plane,
you can give the coordinates as x,y (Cartesian coordinates), or you can
give them as radius and compass angle (polar coordinates). And you could
have a pair of control systems sensing and controlling position either way.
But you would always need two control systems to control position in two
dimensions. Obvviously, you need N control systems to control in N
dimensions or N degrees of freedom.

The other part of this is that given the degrees of freedom at one level of
perception, it is possible to derived perceptions in many different ways.It
would be possible to perceive a point in space as an X and Y position, and
then to construct a higher-level perception called distance (from the
origin) by computing the square root of X^2 + Y^2. Or maybe that would just
be another perception at the same level; the point is that given two
perceptions pertaining to location, we can compute distance and represent
it as a single number. It can be controlled by varying _both_ X and Y. This
doesn't mean that X and Y have to be specific numbers; all that is required
is that the square root of the sum of the squares match the reference level
for distance. If that number is held constant, X and Y can be varied to
control other things, too -- like angle. If D is distance from the origin,
the angle theta from the origin can be controlled by making X =
D*cosine(theta) and Y = D*sin(theta). Now angle is represented as (another)
single number.


Bill P.

[From Wolfgang Zocher (930504.0800 MEZ)]

     [Rick Marken (930503.1300)]
     [Gary Cziko 930503.2154 UTC]

I really have some problems to formulate correct english sentences:
it is painful for me. Please apologize for the disturbing words!
What I meant was:

  The behavior of living beings controls perception!





[From Kent McClelland (951027.1745 CDT)]

My apologies to everyone on the net for inadvertantly sending (at the end
of a long week!) a message with many long attached files to CSG net instead
of to Gary Cziko, for whom it was intended.

Gary, please let me know if the files came through at least to you OK or if
I need to resend them.

What I'm trying to do is get my "Perceptual Control and Social Power" paper
(recently published in Sociological Perspectives) in shape for the World
Wide Web, so I'm sending Gary "html" versions of that paper. Hopefully,
we'll get things sorted out in a few days and have that document available
along with the other items on the CSG home page. In the meantime, I'm
sorry for the inconvenience I've caused people. Hope everyone has a good
weekend anyway!


[From Fred Nickols (2004.12.18.0558 EST)] --

My apologies for littering the list with my comment about seeing Bryan's
response to my post but not seeing it myself. I recently shifted from the
digest version to individual messages and the default setting is norepro,
meaning I don't get copies of my own posts. I was used to seeing them in
the digest version and forgot I wouldn't see them when I shifted.


Fred Nickols, CPT
Senior Consultant
Distance Consulting
"Assistance at A Distance"

This is a public apology to Martin Taylor and to everyone else
on CSG-L. A short time ago I logged on to post a direct note,
following up on another I had sent early this morning. I learned
that the earlier private post was not so private after all. I
apologize to all of you, but most of all to Martin.
     In the direct post I intended to send this afternoon, I was
going to comment on the quality of the mail that had accumulated
during the holiday. I was especially impressed by the richness and
depth added to discussions of PCT by the presence on CSG-L of so
many different perspectives that were not included at the start.
In the holiday mail, those "new" perspectives were represented well
by Oded, Eileen, and Martin. From time to time, when someone comes
in with a different interest in PCT there is smoke and fire, at
least for a while, but the result is a deeper discussion on the
phenomenon of control and on PCT.
     Those were ideas I intended to explore in a post. But my
earlier flippant and hurtful post did more to damage the process I
wanted to praise than I care to imagine.

With apologies to all,

Tom Bourbon e-mail:
Magnetoencephalography Laboratory TBOURBON@UTMBEACH.BITNET
Division of Neurosurgery, E-17 TBOURBON@BEACH.UTMB.EDU
University of Texas Medical Branch PHONE (409) 763-6325
Galveston, TX 77550 USA FAX (409) 762-9961


From: Tom Bourbon (921228 15:50 CST)

(Tom Bourbon (921228 15:50 CST) ) --

my earlier flippant and hurtful post did more to damage the process I
wanted to praise than I care to imagine.

Tom, I winced when I read the earlier post, and my heart goes out
to you now. I remember with chagrin times I have made similar
gaffes. Knowing I am too liable to screw up who hears what I try
now to avoid saying privately what I would not want heard

And what this brought to mind (by way of going up a level, after
a fashion) was what gossip does for us--a recent topic. What I
give up if I keep private and public communications (more)
consistent with each other is this: If I say to you privately
something that you know I would not say publicly, I thereby
affirm the intimacy of our relationship. By entrusting you with
something that I would not want publicly attributed to me I offer
a token of my vulnerability. By disclosing it you could disrupt
my public face. (Can you tell I've been re-reading Goffman
lately?) I expect you to reciprocate, or perhaps it is I who am
reciprocating an earlier offering of yours. Of such
reciprocations are alliances made.

Despite the cost of giving up gossip, it does seem better to try
to make one's private face and public face more congruent to each
other, not by restricting private communications to a public
standard, but by seeking honorable and healing ways of being
forthright in the same ways in both spheres. Needless to say,
that's a goal, not an achievement--I'm not adept at controlling
that perception!

Underlying this are ancient mammalian processes of communication.
Bateson proposes that play originates in acting as if fighting,
but not hurting. There is no negation in pre-language
communication (or in imagination). To communicate friendship,
one appears as though acting as an enemy but in the same moment
refrains from acting as an enemy. Or one may become vulnerable
to the other (e.g. wolf rolling on back belly up) and experience
the other not attacking. Just so then gossip. Losing that
function of gossip is the cost of cleaving to a single standard.
But there are other ways of achieving reciprocal exchanges of
trust and vulnerability.

Thanks, Tom.


[Martin Taylor 921230 16:30]
(Bruce Nevin 921230 10:53 and Bill Powers 921229.2100) in response to
(Tom Bourbon 921228.1550 CST)

Both Bruce and Bill, from different viewpoints, argue that you should be
able to say the same things publicly or privately. As the one to whom
Tom was mainly apologizing, I don't think I agree. Bruce's argument was
essentially that one should be circumspect in both cases, and not say
anything privately that one would not wish to be made public (and that
it displayed trust to do otherwise--an independent point). Bill's point

A friend is someone
you can call a stupid sunuvabitch without fearing that it's
goodbye forever. Say what you think; we're all grown up around

Bill has said that before, on similar occasions. The problem arises not
with the friends, but with the lurkers who may not realize that these
things are said among friends, or if the insult is simed at someone who
may not be sure that the insulter thinks of the insultee as a friend.
To my friends and those whom I trust, I can be very insulting because I
know that they will take it in the proper context. But I don't normally
do it in public, because one of the aspects of social interaction is the
perception that third parties have of one's relationships. Courtesy is
important, except in private, and then only if the discourtesy is taken

Now I admit to being at fault, not following my own prescription on several
occasions. Like Bruce, I sometimes forget that we are not a closed
community. When I teased Rick with a comment I won't repeat because he
did find it insulting, I was thinking within a closed community consisting
of Rick, Bill P., Tom, Bruce, and one or two others, forgetting that there
are over 100 other people, some of whom may not know the depth of Rick's
understanding of PCT. I said the sort of thing I would have said to Rick
face to face over a beer. That is not appropriate on a public mailing list.

Tom's comment likewise was intended to be private. (I would have preferred
it to be Cc-ed to me--I like to know what people think of me, even if it
isn't complimentary). I answered him privately, and, I hope adequately
and not insultingly. I do not think Tom's comment should have been public,
and he didn't intend it so. Within the small closed community, I would
have no problem with it being public. As Bill said, "We're all grown up
around here." But there are listeners who might be tempted to chime in,
and the very last thing we want on CSG-L is a flame war like those that
occur on so many mailing lists and Usenet groups.


From Tom Bourbon (921231 15:14)

This is probably the final time I will use the "reply" function!

To Bruce Nevin, Bill Powers, and most of all to Martin Taylor, I am
happy to see that all of you "went up" what appears to be several
levels after my fat-fingered error. Martin, the ideas yuo discussed in
your post (921230) went directly to the heart of my concerns in the
apology: I use remarks much stringer than anything in the wayward post
iin conversations with friends, when we are in private places. And I
use far stronger remarks to characterize my own actions when I find
them wanting. (You might have been interested in my comments to
myself upon seeing a private post sitting in csg-l basket!)

My first concerns were that so many people are listening in the background,
and that Martin might (understandably) take the remarks as insulting. I
was not sure enough about how he perceived our interactions that I could
assume the post would pass as a casual and careless remark.

I have no experience with other nets and interest groups, but from all I
hear and see, the tone of csg-l is different from many others. I value
the content and the tone of the material on this net. And even more
than before, I value the sensitivities and kindnesses of the participants.

Until later,
Tom Bourbon