B:CP Chapter 17 Emotion

[David Goldstein (2013.11.10.11:41)]

B:CP Chapter 17 Emotion

Here are a few statements which summarize this
chapter.

“An emotion is the combination of a goal and a
feeling in which the appropriate action is blocked.� Page 256.

In terms of Figure 14-1 on Page 191, intrinsic error
signals are the source of the feelings.

The intrinsic reference signals which result in the
feelings can even include things like a sense of beauty. Page 260.

Bill hypothesizes two negative feedback
hierarchies—one behavioral and one biochemical –which join at levlevels two or
three. Page 258-259. The behavioral branch controls muscular actions while the biochemical
branch provides the necessary support for these actions in the environment.

I refer my CSG listmates to:

http://pctweb.org/Goldsteinetal2011.pdf

This article applies PCT to the topic of emotion as
well as personality and psychopathology.

···

[From Rick Marken (2013.11.10.1020)]

I would just like to add that it might be interesting to discuss why we have emotions; that is, what is the functional significance of emotion perceptions?

We should start Ch. 16 on Experimental Methods this week. I will try to have a discussion of it out by the end of the week.

Best

Rick

···

On Sun, Nov 10, 2013 at 9:14 AM, D GOLDSTEIN davidmg@verizon.net wrote:

[David Goldstein (2013.11.10.11:41)]

B:CP Chapter 17 Emotion

Here are a few statements which summarize this
chapter.

“An emotion is the combination of a goal and a
feeling in which the appropriate action is blocked.” Page 256.

In terms of Figure 14-1 on Page 191, intrinsic error
signals are the source of the feelings.

The intrinsic reference signals which result in the
feelings can even include things like a sense of beauty. Page 260.

Bill hypothesizes two negative feedback
hierarchies—one behavioral and one biochemical –which join at levels two or
three. Page 258-259. The behavioral branch controls muscular actions while the biochemical
branch provides the necessary support for these actions in the environment.

I refer my CSG listmates to:

http://pctweb.org/Goldsteinetal2011.pdf

This article applies PCT to the topic of emotion as
well as personality and psychopathology.


Richard S. Marken PhD
rsmarken@gmail.com
www.mindreadings.com

[From Rupert Young (2013.11.10 20.30 UT)]

This chapter makes an important point that we can perceive, and control, internal states of the body in addition to perceptions related to environmental events and high-level abstract concepts.

There are a few things in this chapter, though, that don't sound right to me.

1. On p255 it says "when one does detect a feeling-state, reorganisation is probably taking place". Why? When we feel hunger it is a simple matter to control it, without reorganisation.
2. On p256 it says "the goal of fleeing produces fear" etc. This sounds the wrong way around to me, and contrary to the principle of PCT. Surely we control our feeling of fear by fleeing?
3. On p257 it says "Emotion is a state of intrinsic error" and will reorganize until zero error. It may be the case that it is desired to get rid of negative feelings and emotions, fear, pain etc but not with regards to positive emotions. Love or happiness, for example, are states of mind that are actively sought. Therefore, it doesn't seem valid to conflate emotions with error, intrinsic or otherwise.
Leading questions
1. Yes.
2. 186,000.
3. 6.62606957 × 10-34.
4. 3.14159.
5. 42.
Regards,
Rupert

[David Goldstein (2013.11.10.11:41)]

B:CP Chapter 17 Emotion
Here are a few statements which summarize this chapter.

“An emotion is the combination of a goal and a feeling in which the appropriate action is blocked.� Page 256.

In terms of Figure 14-1 on Page 191, intrinsic error signals are the source of the feelings.
The intrinsic reference signals which result in the feelings can even include things like a sense of beauty. Page 260.
Bill hypothesizes two negative feedback hierarchies—one behavioral and one biochemical –which join n at levels two or three. Page 258-259. The behavioral branch controls muscular actions while the biochemical branch provides the necessary support for these actions in the environment.
I refer my CSG listmates to:
<http://pctweb.org/Goldsteinetal2011.pdf>http://pctweb.org/Goldsteinetal2011.pdf
This article applies PCT to the topic of emotion as well as personality and psychopathology.
Â
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···

On 10/11/2013 17:14, D GOLDSTEIN wrote:

[From David
Goldstein (2013.11.11.08:54)]
[Re. Rupert Young (2013.11.10 20.30
UT)]

      Rupert says: "On p255 it says "when one does detect a feeling-state,

reorganisation is probably taking place". Why? When we feel
hunger it is a simple matter to control it, without
reorganisation."

Do you think this is true for an infant? Is it true for a person stranded on an island? The point that I am making is that reorganization needs to take place in these new, or unusual circumstances. In the case study that I presented at a csg meeting, I summarized in a diagram Bill’s idea that there is a voluntary and involuntary component to the reorganization system. See http://www.dmghelpcenter.com/Case_Studies/MOL%20Therapy%20Case%20of%20AF.pdf

Go to page 22 or 25.

      Rupert says: "On p256 it says "the goal of fleeing produces fear" etc.

This sounds the wrong way around to me, and contrary to the
principle of PCT. Surely we control our feeling of fear by
fleeing?" I think you might be misunderstanding what is written. Bill’s point is that the blocking of the appropriate action is what produces the experience of fear.

      Rupert says: "On p257 it says "Emotion is a state of intrinsic error" and

will reorganize until zero error. It may be the case that it
is desired to get rid of negative feelings and emotions, fear,
pain etc but not with regards to positive emotions. Love or
happiness, for example, are states of mind that are actively
sought. Therefore, it doesn’t seem valid to conflate emotions
with error, intrinsic or otherwise."

In the article on pctweb.org, http://pctweb.org/Goldsteinetal2011.pdf, we say:

Negative emotions (for example, anger, fear,
sadness, disgust)
involve sensations that are a person’s
perception of his/her state of physiological arousal
(stress), as well as perceptual goals and the resulting
effort to control a perception that the person wants to

experience less of, or avoid. The error signal (the
difference between the perceptual signal p and the
reference signal r) results in the body feeling distressed
because the error signal specifies strong
action and
corresponding physiological preparation for action (felt
as having a strong feeling/emotion, etc.). The error signal
decreases when the negatively valued experience is
avoided. The amount of effort and the changes in
the
experienced physiological state backing up that effort
show how important the perception is to the person (the
gain of the control system). Thus, a negative emotional
experience can be the result of any control
process
that does not lead to satisfactory control, especially
when the action does not take place and the error
persists.
Positive emotions (for example, joy, acceptance,
anticipation, surprise) involve the
control of perceptions
which a person wants to experience more of, or
approach. The error signal in this case decreases when a
person is experiencing the positively valued experience.
A person may or may not be
aware of the emotional
experience, but can at least usually articulate what action
they wanted to carry out, for example, run, hit, cry, laugh.
There is no specific list of emotions/feelings proposed in
PCT. Errors in any control system
could potentially result
in an emotional experience. Given what others have said
about emotions/feelings, it is likely that they involve
lower level learned perceptions or unlearned biological
control systems.
PCT compatible ideas about
emotion can be found in
Plutchik, (2003). For example, Plutchik’s ideas about fear
can be stated in PCT terms as: fear is the emotion
experienced with the perception of “dangerâ€? from some
“threatâ€? (disturbance),
the reference perception of “zero
amount of danger (avoid perceiving danger),� and the
action of “escapeâ€? or increasing the distance from the
disturbing stimulus. A person who experiences fear often
and in many
situations may be described by others as
showing the individual difference variable or trait of
being “timid.â€? The person may “defendâ€? or unconsciously
reduce the intensity of fear by “repressionâ€? (which does
not
alter the neural signals of fear) by redirecting
awareness away from the control system involved in the
perception of danger (which does alter the conscious
experience of fear); or consciously reduce the intensity of
fear
by the coping style of “avoidance,â€? which imagines
the disturbing stimulus before it happens and prevents it
from occurring. If the experience of fear becomes part of
the person’s self-image, the personality diagnosis
disorder
of “dependent or avoidantâ€? may be applied by
others to describe the person. In summary,
feelings/emotions are perceptions, not the cause of
behavior, and are understood in PCT to be the result
of
control processes within a person.

Hopefully, this will clarify how PCT handles negative and positive emotions.

Rupert, thanks very much for you questions and participation in general.

David

Perhaps not. Yes. As far as I can see Bill’s point was general and
not pertaining to new circumstances. There are many feelings one can
have tiredness, sadness, joy, that don’t seem to require
reorganisation.
Why would that be the case? If you didn’t feel the fear why would
you flee? I would say you would feel fear even if the action was not
blocked; if you were able to flee. One could feel fear even if there
was nothing tangible to fear, such walking down a dark street. One
could feel joy sitting on the couch watching a movie; there is no
action to be blocked, though action may have been taken to choose
the film in order to feel joy (i.e controlling the perception of
joy).
These seem to be saying different things for the two types of
emotions. The former that the emotion is experienced when the error
is high and the latter that the emotion is experienced when the
error is low. I would have thought that in both cases we experience the emotions
when the perception is high (or present), but that in the former our
reference is for low (or absent).
Regards,
Rupert

···

[From Rupert Young (2013.11.11 20.30
UT)]

  On 11/11/2013 14:17, D GOLDSTEIN wrote:
      Rupert

says: “On p255 it says “when one does detect a feeling-state,
reorganisation is probably taking place”. Why? When we feel
hunger it is a simple matter to control it, without
reorganisation.”

      Do you

think this is true for an infant? Is it true for a person
stranded on an island? The point that I am making is that
reorganization needs to take place in these new, or unusual
circumstances.

      Rupert

says: “On p256 it says “the goal of fleeing produces fear”
etc. This sounds the wrong way around to me, and contrary to
the principle of PCT. Surely we control our feeling of fear by
fleeing?” I think you might be misunderstanding what is
written. Bill’s point is that the blocking of the appropriate
action is what produces the experience of fear.

      Rupert

says: “On p257 it says “Emotion is a state of intrinsic error”
and will reorganize until zero error. It may be the case that
it is desired to get rid of negative feelings and emotions,
fear, pain etc but not with regards to positive emotions. Love
or happiness, for example, are states of mind that are
actively sought. Therefore, it doesn’t seem valid to conflate
emotions with error, intrinsic or otherwise.”

      In the

article on pctweb.org, http://pctweb.org/Goldsteinetal2011.pdf ,
we say:

Negative emotions
(for example, anger, fear,

      sadness,     disgust)     ...          The     error   

signal (the

      difference     between     the     perceptual     signal   

p and the

      reference    signal    r)    results    in     the    body   

feeling distressed

      ....       

      Positive     emotions             

(for example, joy, acceptance,

      anticipation,    surprise)    ...    The    error    signal   

in this case decreases when a

      person    is    experiencing    the    positively    valued   

experience…

  > Rupert, thanks very much

for you questions and participation in general.

  You're welcome. It is very interesting to re-read the book and

there is a lot of interesting things coming out from it.

[From Erling Jorgensen (2013.11.11 16.40 EST)]

Rupert Young (2013.11.11 20.30 UT)

As far as I can see Bill's point was general and not
pertaining to new circumstances. There are many feelings one can have
tiredness, sadness, joy, that don't seem to require reorganisation.

Would we include modifications of a gain amplifier as examples of
reorganization? What if the gain modifications were reversible?

A hypothesis that I think I have floated before is that the very purpose
of an emotional system is to provide easily modified or reversible
variations in gain. Purpose isn't quite the right word there, but such
may the evolutionary reason for an emotional system to exist: it provides
rapid and fluid ways to adjust parameters such as gain.

I realize this is different from Bill Power's perspective, that feelings
are essentially the perceptions arising from the body's preparations to
take action, with no real difference from other perceptions except as to
having interoceptive origins.

It seems to me that changing muscle tone and heart rate and all sorts of
other hormonally-induced preparatory changes are themselves instances of
giving more leverage to the ensuing behavior. Thus, I would classify
them under the vaguely-defined but essential parameter called "gain."

If that proposal holds, then it seems that emotions offer to the organism
a way to do reorganization-on-the-fly, sticking around long enough for
the purposes at hand, but subject to a relatively rapid decay back to
baseline, as hormonal levels in the body decrease again.

A further advantage of such a proposal is that it offers a way to
understand some forms of what is called (in therapeutic circles) "emotion
dysregulation." If a given control system is controlling poorly,
amplifying the gain will often make the situation worse. Systems may
tip over into runaway positive feedback, or oscillate wildly between too
much and too little. Working as a therapist, there certainly seem to be
anxiety difficulties, or situations summarized with the term "borderline
personality", where thinking in terms of runaway feedback control
(actually lack of control) is a helpful way to frame the issues at stake.

I don't know if this gives a different slant, Rupert, on the legitimate
questions you are raising. Thanks for your contributions.

All the best,
Erling

[From Rick Marken (2013.11.12.1550)]

All this talk about emotion has been very interesting. And I think I now understand the role of emotion in learning in a way I never did. I thnik emotions are the perceptions the are the basis of reorganization. I used to think of the perception of error by the reorganizing system as what drives reorganization but what is to be perceived about error? It’s just a neural signal. So what I think the reorganizing system perceives are the physiological consequences of error. So when we are experiencing emotion it is us, as the reorganizing system – the conscious Observer (Bill’s term for conscious awareness) us, not the hierarchy of control us – that is experiencing the emotion.

Reorganization is always going on, presumably; it’s the rate of reorganization-- the inverse of the time between “tumbles” (in the E. coli sense) or “tweeks” to the hierarchy – that varies as a function of the magnitude of control error (perceived as negative emotion; positive emotions probably represent the sudden reduction of error for some reason, like when your team wins the game).

What all this made me understand (for some reason) is why MOL works. I was always puzzled by the fact that the successful MOL sessions I have seen never seem to end up with the person articulating a solution; they just feel better. Now I understand why. Articulating things – saying things to yourself; the talking that goes on in your hear – is not consciousness; it’s just theoperation of the control hierarchy; and what I realized is that the control hierarchy cannot solve it’s own control problems; it’s only processes outside of the hierarchy – reorganization – that can solve these problems. So all MOL can do is direct the reorganization to the part of the hierarchy that is have the problem; the organization then does it’s random tweeking – which is not the same as talking to yourself about possible solutions to the problem – again, that’s going on in the hierarchy itself; problems of the hierarchy cannopt be solved from withing the hierarchy!!! – and hopefully ends up with a solution. If there is a solution you might not even be able to articulate it because it might a solution that your hierarchy is incapable of perceiving. And consciousness is just watching from the outside and directing the reorganization process to different parts of the hierarchy; so it does “know” anything about the solution; that kind of understanding requires the perceptual capabilities of the highest levels of the hierarchy: program, principles and system concepts.

Anyway, this is all just thrown out as a possible insight. It needs considerable development but I think it might be on the right track.

If this is not completely incoherent I’d really appreciate your comments on this, especially from people who use MOL regularly.

Best

Rick

···

On Mon, Nov 11, 2013 at 2:18 PM, Erling Jorgensen ejorgensen@riverbendcmhc.org wrote:

[From Erling Jorgensen (2013.11.11 16.40 EST)]

Rupert Young (2013.11.11 20.30 UT)

As far as I can see Bill’s point was general and not

pertaining to new circumstances. There are many feelings one can have

tiredness, sadness, joy, that don’t seem to require reorganisation.

Would we include modifications of a gain amplifier as examples of

reorganization? What if the gain modifications were reversible?

A hypothesis that I think I have floated before is that the very purpose

of an emotional system is to provide easily modified or reversible

variations in gain. Purpose isn’t quite the right word there, but such

may the evolutionary reason for an emotional system to exist: it provides

rapid and fluid ways to adjust parameters such as gain.

I realize this is different from Bill Power’s perspective, that feelings

are essentially the perceptions arising from the body’s preparations to

take action, with no real difference from other perceptions except as to

having interoceptive origins.

It seems to me that changing muscle tone and heart rate and all sorts of

other hormonally-induced preparatory changes are themselves instances of

giving more leverage to the ensuing behavior. Thus, I would classify

them under the vaguely-defined but essential parameter called “gain.”

If that proposal holds, then it seems that emotions offer to the organism

a way to do reorganization-on-the-fly, sticking around long enough for

the purposes at hand, but subject to a relatively rapid decay back to

baseline, as hormonal levels in the body decrease again.

A further advantage of such a proposal is that it offers a way to

understand some forms of what is called (in therapeutic circles) "emotion

dysregulation." If a given control system is controlling poorly,

amplifying the gain will often make the situation worse. Systems may

tip over into runaway positive feedback, or oscillate wildly between too

much and too little. Working as a therapist, there certainly seem to be

anxiety difficulties, or situations summarized with the term "borderline

personality", where thinking in terms of runaway feedback control

(actually lack of control) is a helpful way to frame the issues at stake.

I don’t know if this gives a different slant, Rupert, on the legitimate

questions you are raising. Thanks for your contributions.

All the best,

Erling


Richard S. Marken PhD
rsmarken@gmail.com
www.mindreadings.com

[From David Goldstein (2013.11.13.09:50)]

[Re: Rick Marken (2013.11.12.1550)]

[Re: Erling Jorgensen (2013.11.11 16.40 EST)]

Rick and Erling ,

What you said is consistent with the communication that I had with Bill. The reorganization system has a voluntary and involuntary component.

See the diagram on: Page 22 of 25 in

http://www.dmghelpcenter.com/Case_Studies/MOL%20Therapy%20Case%20of%20AF.pdf

The observer self, as part of the reorganization system, has awareness and will. It is humbling for a therapist to realize that he/she cannot cause change

in a person. A therapist, by following the steps in MOL therapy, may help a person direct awareness to those parts of the hierarchy where the real problem

is happening.

Bill talked about the gain of a control system in terms of changing the importance a person places on controlling a particular perception. An emotion may

function to change the importance a person places on a particular perception.

David


···

From: Richard Marken rsmarken@GMAIL.COM
To: CSGNET@LISTSERV.ILLINOIS.EDU
Sent: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 6:53 PM
Subject: Re: B:CP Chapter 17 Emotion

[From Rick Marken (2013.11.12.1550)]

All this talk about emotion has been very interesting.
And I think I now understand the role of emotion in learning in a way I never did. I thnik emotions are the perceptions the are the basis of reorganization. I used to think of the perception of error by the reorganizing system as what drives reorganization but what is to be perceived about error? It’s just a neural signal. So what I think the reorganizing system perceives are the physiological consequences of error. So when we are experiencing emotion it is us, as the reorganizing system – the conscious Observer (Bill’s term for conscious awareness) us, not the hierarchy of control us – that is experiencing the emotion.

Reorganization is always going on, presumably; it’s the rate of reorganization-- the inverse of the time between “tumbles” (in the E. coli sense) or “tweeks” to the hierarchy – that varies as a function of the magnitude of control error (perceived as negative emotion; positive emotions probably represent the sudden reduction of error for some reason, like when your team wins the game).

What all this made me understand (for some reason) is why MOL works. I was always puzzled by the fact that the successful MOL sessions I have seen never seem to end up with the person articulating a solution; they just feel better. Now I understand why. Articulating things – saying things to yourself; the talking that goes on in your hear – is not consciousness; it’s just theoperation of the control hierarchy; and what I realized is that the control hierarchy cannot solve it’s own control problems; it’s only processes outside of the hierarchy – reorganization – that can solve these problems. So all MOL can do is direct the reorganization to the part of the hierarchy that is have the problem; the organization then does it’s random tweeking – which is not the same as talking to yourself about possible solutions to the problem – again, that’s going on in the hierarchy itself; problems of the hierarchy cannopt be solved from
withing the hierarchy!!! – and hopefully ends up with a solution. If there is a solution you might not even be able to articulate it because it might a solution that your hierarchy is incapable of perceiving. And consciousness is just watching from the outside and directing the reorganization process to different parts of the hierarchy; so it does “know” anything about the solution; that kind of understanding requires the perceptual capabilities of the highest levels of the hierarchy: program, principles and system concepts.

Anyway, this is all just thrown out as a possible insight. It needs considerable development but I think it might be on the right track.

If this is not completely incoherent I’d really appreciate your comments on this, especially from people who use MOL regularly.

Best

Rick

On Mon, Nov 11, 2013 at 2:18 PM, Erling Jorgensen ejorgensen@riverbendcmhc.org wrote:

[From Erling Jorgensen (2013.11.11 16.40 EST)]

Rupert Young (2013.11.11 20.30 UT)

As far as I can see Bill’s point was general and not

pertaining to new circumstances. There are many feelings one can have

tiredness, sadness, joy, that don’t seem to require reorganisation.

Would we include modifications of a gain amplifier as examples of

reorganization? What if the gain modifications were reversible?

A hypothesis that I think I have floated before is that the very purpose

of an emotional system is to provide easily modified or reversible

variations in gain. Purpose isn’t quite the right word there, but such

may the evolutionary reason for an emotional system to exist: it provides

rapid and fluid ways to adjust parameters such as gain.

I realize this is different from Bill Power’s perspective, that feelings

are essentially the perceptions arising from the body’s preparations to

take action, with no real difference from other perceptions except as to

having interoceptive origins.

It seems to me that changing muscle tone and heart rate and all sorts of

other hormonally-induced preparatory changes are themselves instances of

giving more leverage to the ensuing behavior. Thus, I would classify

them under the vaguely-defined but essential parameter called “gain.”

If that proposal holds, then it seems that emotions offer to the organism

a way to do reorganization-on-the-fly, sticking around long enough for

the purposes at hand, but subject to a relatively rapid decay back to

baseline, as hormonal levels in the body decrease again.

A further advantage of such a proposal is that it offers a way to

understand some forms of what is called (in therapeutic circles) "emotion

dysregulation." If a given control system is controlling poorly,

amplifying the gain will often make the situation worse. Systems may

tip over into runaway positive feedback, or oscillate wildly between too

much and too little. Working as a therapist, there certainly seem to be

anxiety difficulties, or situations summarized with the term "borderline

personality", where thinking in terms of runaway feedback control

(actually lack of control) is a helpful way to frame the issues at stake.

I don’t know if this gives a different slant, Rupert, on the legitimate

questions you are raising. Thanks for your contributions.

All the best,

Erling


Richard S. Marken PhD
rsmarken@gmail.com
www.mindreadings.com

[From Rupert Young (2013.11.16 13.30 UT)]

(Erling Jorgensen (2013.11.11 16.40 EST)

EJ: A hypothesis that I think I have floated before is that the very purpose
of an emotional system is to provide easily modified or reversible
variations in gain.

(Rick Marken (2013.11.12.1550)

RM: So when we are experiencing emotion it is us, as the reorganizing system -- the conscious Observer (Bill's term for conscious awareness) us, not the hierarchy of control us -- that is experiencing the emotion.

My main query is why are feelings and emotions being regarded as different from other perceptions, and particularly related to intrinsic error? Why should a perception of a physiological variable, such as feeling full, be any different to an environmental variable such as brightness of light? In fact, aren't they both environmental variables?

RM: So what I think the reorganizing system perceives are the physiological consequences of error.

Though this is an interesting point, I need to think about it some more.

Regards,
Rupert

[Martin Taylor 2013.11.21.14.47]

Rick said I should not apologize for sending
[Martin Taylor 2013.11.17.09.13] and actually commended it, so I am

encouraged to continue.

In that message I pointed out some implications of Bill's suggestion

that each reference input value is the output of an associative
memory “cell” addressed by the many output values of relevant
higher-level control units. In this message, I continue with another
implication, relating the perception of emotion to the storage of
perceptual “situations” for later use as reference values. In a
later message I will address control of avoidance, and
“approach-avoidance conflict”, which is another implication of
Bill’s vector-addressed memory (or so I think at the moment).

To recap, Bill proposed that the content of the associative memory

cells would be the values of earlier perceptions, but he did not
suggest why the perceptual values to be stored might be selected
from the continuum of values that would have been experienced for
any particular perception. I suggested that the stored perceptual
values might be those that exist when error values are changing
sharply – in other words at moments of events at the control level
in question.

In this context an "event" is not the same as the "event level" of

the hierarchy. An event at a level occurs when either the perceptual
value or the reference value changes abruptly. It is an edge,
whether across time or across the related perceptions at a level, or
(commonly) at both.

An emotion is a perception. As such, it presumably is part of the

array of perceptions that are stored when perceptions are stored for
later retrieval. But it is a rather special kind of perception,
because, unlike other perceptions, it has a quality of being
desirable or undesirable. Would you or would you not want to repeat
the situation in which you perceived this emotion? Moreover, emotion
is likely to depend more on control (or lack of it) in imagination
rather than on the actual ongoing control through the environment,
though both do happen. If one is in a situation in which one
imagines good things will happen by one’s efforts, one is likely to
feel a “good” emotion. and conversely.

When perceptions are being well controlled, the error value is not

changing very much, and the controlled perception is unlikely to be
in one’s conscious perceptual field. Nor does one perceive any
associated emotion, at least if in imagination good control
continues – unless this good control comes after a period in which
the perception had been out of control. Such gain-of-control moments
are usually associated with good feelings: “I finally managed to
pull it off!”, “This music is just perfect for me right now”. It is
an “event”, as described above. But when a perception is not well
controlled, the error value can fluctuate strongly, a situation not
ordinarily associated with pleasant emotions. Under such
circumstances, the imagined future possibilities might be dire, and
the emotion might be fear.

Some people enjoy putting themselves into a situation they also

fear. In fact, it is rather normal to do so – getting into a formal
competition or game, climbing a mountain, driving fast in a race,
and so forth. The person imagines they might lose, or even die. Why
should we enjoy fear, especially when the fear could be of death
rather than just of losing the game or the race? I suggest it is
because there is a conflict between avoiding the feared situation
and attaining the other emotion, the emotion we perceive when we
achieve control in the fear-inducing situation. We imagine getting
out of the feared situation by our own actions, and maybe we
succeed. We win the game, get to the mountain top, and what had been
uncontrolled is now controlled. We remember the fear and its
elimination. The state of “having achieved” is one we want to be
able to repeat, or at least in our imagination to recover, even if,
or perhaps especially if, the uncontrolled state had included the
emotion of fear.

Bill proposes that emotion is associated with reorganization.

Reorganization involves change in the way we act through the
environment to control perceptions. If the above account makes
sense, reorganization should usefully happen when failure to control
persists or error continues to increase. There is no point in
reorganizing one’s climbing technique when scaling a difficult cliff
just because one is scared of a possibly fatal fall. The random
component of reorganization allows for no second chances if an
e-coli move is in the wrong direction. Once you have fallen off the
cliff, you cannot go back and do it differently, at least not on a
cliff that induces serious fear.

I suggest that emotion has a different function, although prolonged

unpleasant emotion is indeed likely to occur along with
reorganization. Accepting Bill’s association between chemical and
neuro(-electrical) hierarchies of control, I suggest that the main
effect during the emotion is to chemically alter the gain of some
neural control systems and to switch some control systems to
controlling in “avoidance mode” instead of “attraction mode”). A
situation associated with a good emotion is one that should be
repeated if the occasion arises, whereas one associated with bad
feelings is one to be avoided in future. When it comes to storing
perceptions in the associative memory system that produces reference
values, I suggest that the stored perceptual emotion has the effect
of a switch.

Either way, I suggest that the emotion occurs when perceptions are

stored, and, possibly coincidentally, when one is conscious of those
perceptions. The linkage between consciousness and memory may be
purely coincidental and loose, but it could be deeper and tighter.

···
The above brings up an issue that has not been discussed recently on

CSGnet, though it did come up a long time ago: “avoidance control”:
“Don’t go near the bully, but go anywhere else, the further from the
bully the better”.

This is a topic separate from emotion, and has some possibly

unexpected ramifications involving situation (vector) control, so I
will treat it in a separate thread. In particular, we need to
discuss how a control system could control a perception to be “not
near” a reference value. I will argue that this cannot usefully be
done with a scalar control system, because the controlled perception
cannot cross the value to be avoided; it needs vector control in
more than one dimension.

Martin