[From Rupert Young (2013.11.23 18.00 UT)]
Rick Marken (2013.11.22.0850)]
RM: Sorry I haven't been engaged much in this thread but that's because it doesn't seem to have much to do with PCT. The answer to the title question "Are goals predictions?" is simple: no. Goals (reference signals in PCT) are specifications for the states of perceptual variables.
If I had asked the question "are predictions goals", you would, I predict, have answered in the affirmative. That is, that the way the term "prediction" is often used is better explained by the term "goal", and that there is not actual prediction going on.
This is all relevant to PCT, I would say, if one is interested in promoting and explaining PCT, which, unfortunately, means having to explain why the all-pervading acceptance of the concept of prediction is invalid.
Part of the problem, I think, is in the vague definition of, and loose usage of, the term prediction, as demonstrated by my usage of "predict" in my first sentence; when I meant "guess".
However, for me, it would be useful to understand how control systems operate in different behavioural situations and exactly why prediction is the wrong way of thinking. Here are a few different situations:
1. something changes in your peripheral vision and you move your head to look at it
2. while driving you control your position on the road
3. in an art gallery you move your position until you can recognise what is in a picture
Now, the first two represent situations where a reference level pre-exists and you act to minimise error. But there is a difference between the two. #1, it seems, is a (unconscious) system that is always "active". #2 is only temporarily active, when required; not when sitting on couch. But what can "inactive" mean? Is the reference signal zero? Or do all the control system components have to be switched off? Neither of these require the concept of prediction.
The third concerns comprehension, and is similar to reading text or viewing random dot stereo-grams, in that we don't know what is to be perceived until we perceive it, so there is no goal (reference) specific to that perception. Does this mean that a control system for this perception becomes activated? Or just the input function? Is a full control system necessary for comprehension? In this last situation, particularly, prediction is invoked as being necessary for efficiency by pruning the possibilities.
My thinking on some of this is somewhat confused, and welcome any insights to restore clarity.
[From Rick Marken (2013.11.22.0850)]
Sorry I haven't been engaged much in this thread but that's because it doesn't seem to have much to do with PCT. The answer to the title question "Are goals predictions?" is simple: no. Goals (reference signals in PCT) are specifications for the states of perceptual variables.
As far as "priming" goes, I think that's a concept best left in the closet containing other animistic concepts, like "affordance", that just get in the way of explanations based on working models.
[From: Richard Pfau (2013.11.22 1043 EST)]
Ref: [From Erling Jorgensen (2013.11.21 1200EST)]
<tt>>I do think priming from above captures some of the flavor of addressing
that Powers was trying to explain in talking about reference signals. </tt>>>
Yes, priming from "above" (ex. via active goals) also seems to occur as well as priming from "below" (by sensing the environment) -- for example with priming from above making one more sensitive to perceptional signals related to a goal that one is consciously doing things to achieve (i.e., to reduce the error signals involved).
For those interested, such top-down and bottom-up priming seems consistent with the thinking of Lord and Levy who state that "we propose that instantiating a referent in a control system activates related cognitive structures." They also suggest that "the pursuit of one referent directly inhibits the activation of competing referents and their associated knowledge." Regarding such negative priming, they state that "We maintain that this capacity to inhibit competing cognitions is the primary mechanism by which one maintains focus on a particular task, problem, or line of thought until it is completed" (Robert G. Lord and Paul E. Levy, "Moving from Cognition to Action: A Control Theory Perspective," Applied Psychology: An International Review, 43 (3), 1994, p. 350).
From: Erling Jorgensen <<mailto:ejorgensen@RIVERBENDCMHC.ORG>ejorgensen@RIVERBENDCMHC.ORG>
To: CSGNET <<mailto:CSGNET@LISTSERV.ILLINOIS.EDU>CSGNET@LISTSERV.ILLINOIS.EDU>
Sent: Thu, Nov 21, 2013 12:28 pm
Subject: Re: Are goals predictions?
<tt>[From Erling Jorgensen (2013.11.21 1200EST)]
>Richard Pfau (2013.11.19? 1622 EST)]
>Could Hawkins use of the term "prediction" be considered instead as
>examples of "priming"?
Priming may be a helpful analogy, as long as we consider it as priming from
above, rather than priming from below. To think of it a priming from above
may come close to Powers' notion of a fragment of a past perception serving
as an address signal for _retrieving the rest_ of a constellation of
I am uncomfortable with how you describe priming, because it seems to put
the agency back out in the environment. For instance, your description:
>That is, (a) our environment through our senses is continuously priming
>neural networks that have developed in the past?based on?experience in
>similar contexts and situations, such that (b) when sensory impulses?are
>received that are quite different from?the neural networks primed, (c)
>what we in PCT call an error signal is produced that (d) may stimulate
>action aimed at reducing the difference/error signal.
This certainly sounds like neural networks getting primed by the
environment & then being compared to further sensory input from the
environment. I believe this loses the idea of goals or references being
generated from within or from above.
I do think priming from above captures some of the flavor of addressing
that Powers was trying to explain in talking about reference signals.
All the best,
On 22/11/2013 16:50, Richard Marken wrote:
On Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 7:43 AM, Richard H. Pfau <<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com> wrote:
Richard S. Marken PhD