Behavior (was Re: PCT Classic)

[From Rick Marken (980630.1445)]

Bruce Nevin (980630.1713)--

Is my (980630. EDT ) to Bill any clearer?

It's clear that you don't want to call coercion "control of behavior".
Why, I don't know. But it seems to cause you grief. But it's fun to
watch you go through the contortions required to avoid saying it.
This one was a particular beauty:

Coercion is behavior that prevents another's.

Another's _what_? (Don't say it if it hurts;-))

Me:

Coercion is control of aspects of the behavior of a living
control system by force if necessary. Simple.

Bruce:

Is your definition apt because it uses a commonsensical meaning
of "behavior"?

No. It is apt because most speakers of English would agree that
it describes what happens in the model of the interaction between
a stronger and weaker control system when the stronger system is
controlling the weaker system's output or controlled variable.

We don't think ordinarily of qi as an aspect of behavior.

Sure we do.

If Fred is hitting a golf ball, in ordinary usage we think of his
actions as his behavior, and the golf ball or the position of the
golf ball are aspects of his environment.

Oh, really!?!? I think a lot of people would say that the position
of the golf ball _is_ as aspect of his behavior too. Bob Hope wrote
a book called "Confessions of a Hooker"; apparently Bob considered
hooking (regularly hitting the ball in an arc that curves to the
left) one of his _behaviors_. I didn't read the book but I think
Bob really wanted to go _straight_; he wanted his golf driving
behavior (qi) to be consistently down the middle of the fareway.
A lot of people (me enthusiastically included) are attributing
those balls going out of every ballpark in the country to Mark
McGuire. Those home runs are Mark's behavior all right. You can
root for the environment; I'm rooting for Mark!

Best

Rick

ยทยทยท

--
Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: rmarken@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~rmarken

[From Bill Powers (980701.1212 MDT)]

Bruce Nevin (980630.980701 1101 EDT)--

You can't tell what a person is doing (their behavior) by watching what
they are doing (their "behavior," meaning their actions [qo] or the
environmental variables whose perception they are controlling [qi -- but
see below]). All that the coercer can control is the "behavior" (pre-PCT
sense) of the victim. The coercer cannot control what the person is doing,
their behavior in the PCT sense.

You are using this slogan in a way different from its original context,
which had to do with levels of control. Observing a person's behavior
(moving a stick up and down in a regular cadence) doesn't tell you what the
person's behavior is (conducting an orchestra).

This has nothing to do with the action-perception contrast at a single
level of observation. Let's move everything down a level. The conductor's
hand accelerates the stick upward, holds it in position, accelerates it
downward, and so forth in a series of _actions_ that affect the spatial
position and orientation of the stick. The immediate effect of these
actions is to create a pattern of stick movements (transitions), which are
maintained in a given state which we perceive as a regular cadence. Note
that the perceived effect of the stick movements is what we label as the
purpose of the movements; the perception that results. It is the
perception, not the action, that is controlled. If there is a disturbance
that alters the perception of cadence without altering the action, the
action will change to maintain the perception in a specific state. The
opposite does not hold: if there is a disturbance that changes the action
without affecting the perception, there will be no resistance to the
disturbance.

The term "behavior" is used outside PCT to refer to either the action or
its controlled result -- qo or qi -- indiscriminately. This is because you
need a model to see what the difference is, and outside PCT there is no
model to show what the difference is. The nearest you will find is some
language, like the concepts of means and ends. But very few people have
realized that while the means of behavior are closely associated with the
actions involved, the behavior itself is usually defined in terms of the
ends, which we recognize as the perceptual consequences. In fact normal
language usually conflates means and ends: we talk about scratching
movements or picking-up movements, being totally sloppy about what is an
action and what is its intended (perceptual) consequence. Language was
simply not designed with a hierarchical control system model in mind.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bruce Nevin (980630.980701 1101 EDT)]

Rick Marken (980630.1445)--

It's clear that you don't want to call coercion "control of behavior".
Why, I don't know.

Because you are using "behavior" in the pre-PCT sense of external
observables available to the coercer (and the observer).

You can't tell what a person is doing (their behavior) by watching what
they are doing (their "behavior," meaning their actions [qo] or the
environmental variables whose perception they are controlling [qi -- but
see below]). All that the coercer can control is the "behavior" (pre-PCT
sense) of the victim. The coercer cannot control what the person is doing,
their behavior in the PCT sense.

But it's fun to
watch you go through the contortions required to avoid saying it.
This one was a particular beauty:

Coercion is behavior that prevents another's.

Another's _what_? (Don't say it if it hurts;-))

I was trying for brevity. In any language, English no exception, you can
elide words that are predictable from context. "John got Mary's gift and
Mary got John's." Rick, you're a native speaker of English, you know what
repeated word was elided there. I guess you enjoy ridiculing people? What
are you doing when you do that? Is it getting you what you want?

Rick:

Coercion is control of aspects of the behavior of a living
control system by force if necessary. Simple.

Bruce:

Is your definition apt because it uses a commonsensical meaning
of "behavior"?

No. It is apt because most speakers of English would agree that
it describes what happens in the model of the interaction between
a stronger and weaker control system when the stronger system is
controlling the weaker system's output or controlled variable.

You're invoking common usage -- "most speakers of English would agree". How
is this different from "a commonsensical meaning of `behavior'" please?

I tried your definition on both meanings of "behavior". It seemed to fail
on both. You haven't answered that. Nor have you responded about the other
environmentally accessible factors in the victim's control loop. Here's how
I tried your definition on both meanings of "behavior":

Bruce:

Is your definition apt because it uses a commonsensical meaning of
"behavior"? We don't think ordinarily of qi as an aspect of behavior. [...]

Is your definition apt because it uses the PCT meaning of "behavior"? What
the coercer is controlling *would be* the observable behavior (actions) of
a living control system (if qo), or something in the environment that
*would be* affected intentionally by that behavior (if qi), *except* that
coercion prevents its behavior.

You have chosen to argue against my proposal that qi is not an aspect of
behavior (non-PCT sense). You must be agreeing that what you have in mind
is the non-PCT sense of "behavior." Otherwise, what I'm saying about qi
wouldn't matter to you, it would be irrelevant.

We don't think ordinarily of qi as an aspect of behavior.

Sure we do.

If Fred is hitting a golf ball, in ordinary usage we think of his
actions as his behavior, and the golf ball or the position of the
golf ball are aspects of his environment.

Oh, really!?!? I think a lot of people would say that the position
of the golf ball _is_ as aspect of his behavior too. Bob Hope wrote
a book called "Confessions of a Hooker"; apparently Bob considered
hooking (regularly hitting the ball in an arc that curves to the
left) one of his _behaviors_. I didn't read the book but I think
Bob really wanted to go _straight_; he wanted his golf driving
behavior (qi) to be consistently down the middle of the fareway.
A lot of people (me enthusiastically included) are attributing
those balls going out of every ballpark in the country to Mark
McGuire. Those home runs are Mark's behavior all right. You can
root for the environment; I'm rooting for Mark!

I hooked the ball. The damned ball flew into the rough. Bob hooked the
ball. It would have gone into the rough, except it bounced off that oak
tree back onto the fairway. Bummer! Mark hits another home run! Well it
would have been a home run, except the wind took it into the flagpole and
it bounced foul. Nah, I 'spect most people recognize the difference between
behavior and a ballistic trajectory, no matter how much "body English" they
put on it. Once you hit it, it's just an element of the environment. You
can perceive it, but it's not a perception that you, the hitter, can control.

What you control or reorganize for is trajectories of balls over multiple
trials, improving skill through practice. We don't have a good account of
learning, but it is clear that the trajectory of the ball can be part of
Bob's learning behavior, not part of his ball-hitting behavior.

You are saying that the thing in the environment that my behavior affects
is part of my behavior. If you really want to dangle out on that limb we
can see how prettily you twist once again. Are you up for another round of
absurd conclusions that follow from your premisses? You seem to have slept
through the last one, but the rest of us found it very entertaining.

That last paragraph was my attempt to emulate your jibes and ridicule. I
did it so you might perceive it from the other side of the interaction. I
am controlling a perception of you agreeing with me. Is this jibe going to
help me get what I want?

In actuality, I'm not clear about qi. It's the observer's measurement of an
aspect of the environment. It is singled out from the rest of the
environment because at least two control systems are controlling
perceptions of it concurrently. The observer is controlling a perception of
it in order to identify the controlled variable by disturbing it, and in
order to measure it for comparison with a model. Disturbance by the
experimenter is an example of conflict. When we observe and model conflict,
including coercion, there are at least three control systems controlling
perceptions of qi: the two in conflict and the experimenter. For the
control systems being observed, only p exists, though they each assume that
their perceptual input *is* a thing in the environment. I suspect that
maybe qi is an artifact of observation and of the protocols of experiment
and modelling. I think maybe what is happening is that we're reifying qi as
though we had direct insight into Boss Reality. That is what
intersubjective reality is about. In a model, qi is very clear and well
defined. When we start making claims about the status of qi in the actual
environment it's less clear. For most purposes, this doesn't matter. Flat
earth perceptions don't matter for most purposes.

  Bruce Nevin