Behavior, Perception & Control

I need some clarity. It seems quite acceptable to most everyone on
the list to say that "behavior controls perceptions," but since we are
dealing with a closed loop, and circularity, why isn't it equally correct
to say "perceptions (reference condition) control behavior"?

James R. Nord
Nanzan University
Nagoya, Japan
NORD@axia.ic.nanzan-u.ac.jp

[Martin Taylor 960628 11:00]

James R. Nord Fri, 28 Jun 1996 14:31:39

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why isn't it equally correct
to say "perceptions (reference condition) control behavior"?

The short answer is that behaviour can change all over the lot for any
value of a reference condition. Behaviour changes so that the perception
doesn't (assuming a fixed reference value). The value of the perception
(and of the corresponding CEV in the outer world) is what is stabilized,
not the value--or even the nature--of the actions that bring about this
stability.

There are long answers as well. But maybe this is enough?

Martin

[Hans Blom, 960628]

(Martin Taylor 960628 11:00) replying to James R. Nord Fri, 28 Jun 96

why isn't it equally correct
to say "perceptions (reference condition) control behavior"?

The short answer is that behaviour can change all over the lot for any
value of a reference condition. Behaviour changes so that the perception
doesn't (assuming a fixed reference value). The value of the perception
(and of the corresponding CEV in the outer world) is what is stabilized,
not the value--or even the nature--of the actions that bring about this
stability.

That's too easy, Martin. If you look carefully, you see that percept-
ions change continually as well. They're never exactly the same,
everything is in continuous motion, including our body and our
sensors.

My answer would be to say that it is equally correct to say that
perceptions (or rather the difference between perceptions and
references) control behavior. When you say that "the value of the
perception ... is stabilized", you must refer to some hypothetical
part or subset of perception. Perception as such -- all of it -- is
never stable. If it were, we would see nothing, as some impressive
psychological experiments have shown.

So at least _I_ think that a longer answer is required.

Greetings,

Hans