RM: Conventional psychologists can’t be looking at qo = G^-1(qe) or qo = F(qe) because they can’t see qe !
AM: Sure they can, qe is H(qd), by definition. You claim explicitly “RM: experimental psychologists assume that h() is a multiplier of 1.”, so qe = qd, and all the equations hold, and the experimental psychologists are really seeing qo = G^-1(qd), while they think they are seeing qo = F(qd).
RM: Assuming h() is a multiplier of 1 doesn’t make h() a multiplier of 1. Bill’s analysis is based on the fact that the independent variable in an experiment, qd, is what the experimenter sees as the cause of the behavior. So you correctly state that what psychologists think they are seeing is qo = F(qd), since experimental psychologists implicitly assume that h() is a multiplier of 1.0. But what that are really seeing (if the system under study is a control system) is qo = G^-1 [h(qd)] not qo = G^-1(qd).
AM: If the H is not really the multiplier with 1, but some other function, they will absolutely see qo = G^-1(qe), or equivalently qo = G^-1( H(qd)), while they might think qo = F(qd).
RM: And that fact is captured by writing what they actually see as qo = G^-1 [h(qd)] . Your introduction of the variable qe just confuses things.
AM: But you’ve missed the point:
They are looking at qo = G^-1 ( H (qd)).
They think they are looking at qo = F(H(qd)).
RM: I think it’s better to say that they think the are looking at qo = f(qd) since scientific psychologists have no notion that qd is a disturbance to a controlled variable, which is what H(qd) implies.
AM: There, now with H. The only difference between these two equations is that the F is replaced by G^-1.
RM: Yes, it is the behavioral illusion experienced by psychologists doing conventional psychological experiments.
AM: That is the behavioral illusion. Taking a wrong model, a zero feedback system, as the model of organism behavior. That is the point of the whole section of the 1978 paper that talks about the behavioral illusion, although not the general point of the paper.
RM: Yes, indeed.
AM: The preceding part is complete nonsense:
RM You can’t tell anything about the behavior of a living control system – an N-System – by studying relationships between independent (stimulus) and dependent (response) variables.
RM: I take it that you mean the “succeeding part” that you quoted as what is complete nonsense. Would it be less nonsensical if I had said: When the organism under study is an N-System the form of the dependence of qo (DV) on qd (IV), which appears to reveal something about the organism under study, actually reflects only properties of the local environment. Maybe it sounds less nonsensical when Bill says it;-)
AM: Qd and qo are stimuli and responses. The tracking task is a careful examination of the relationship between a continuous stimulus and continuous response. Any test for the controlled variable is going to be conducted by applying a stimulus that possibly disturbs the controlled variable and examining the relationship between the stimulus and the response, and other variables we can calculate from the stimulus, the response and our model of the system, including the hypothetical controlled variable qi. If the response ‘cancels’ the stimulus, and qi is near zero, that is a good hint we found the controlled variable, for example. But we are still doing stimulus-response experiments. The difference is that stimuli and responses are continuous, so we allow feedback from the behavior to the controlled variable, and we study individuals and their behavior, and not averages of stimuli and responses in groups.
RM: I don’t think it’s helpful to call experiments based on an understanding of organisms as control systems stimulus-response experiments. The main goal of PCT-based experiments is to identify controlled variables. You do this by manipulating IVs (S) which could be called stimuli. But what you are looking for as the DV ® is lack of effect S on the hypothetical controlled variable. If S has an effect then you try a new hypothesis about the controlled variable, testing it using different Ss. It’s an iterative process. Of course, when you have identified a controlled variable there will be S-R relationships between disturbances to that variable and system outputs that compensate for those disturbances. But these S-R relationships are only of incidental interest. Once you know what variable(s) the system is controlling you know how the system will respond ® to any disturbances (S) to those variables.
AM: You need to find a better way of saying the sentence I quoted. Maybe: “You can’t find the organism function by looking at the S-R plot”. or “S-R experiments focused at finding controlled variables can reveal important things about the organism”
RM: I think I’ll just stick with describing the research as testing for controlled variables and leave the S-R out of it.
RM: The behavioral illusion doesn’t result from an error in system identification; it reveals an error in system identification. And it shows that this error in system identification results from failure to see that the system is a control system
AM: “System identification” in this context means identifying the system, organism, as a Z or N system. so your second sentence is “And it shows that this error in system identification results from a failure of system identification.”
RM: You’re right. The way I said it could be rephrased as a tautology. It would have been better to say: the behavioral illusion shows that the error in system identification that you are making – taking an N-system for a Z system – results from failure to notice the existence of controlled variables: the fact of control.
RM: I did that on purpose because I was well aware of the fact that the power law is not an example of the S-R illusion that Powers describes in the 1978 paper.
AM: Then you redefine behavioral illusion to be different from the 1978 definition. Instead of the “organism function” you put “something about the mechanisms that produce behavior”.
Why the redefinition while still quoting the 1978 paper? Why even call it “a” behavioral illusion, instead of just “statistical artifact”. This way is sounds like the the 1978 behavioral illusion is just some statistical artifact.
RM: So you’re complaint is about me calling the power law a behavioral illusion? What do you think it is?
AM: I don’t know where you get this silly idea that side effects don’t tell you anything about the system. They don’t tell you what is the controlled variable, and that is the main thing to discover, I agree, but the various side effects can certainly be useful in finding other parameters of the system. After finding the controlled variable, you can look at responses at different frequencies, examine delays, speeds, amplitudes… All reveal something about the system, while not being the main effect.
RM: Some of these are not side effects, from my point of view. A side effect is an observed aspect of the behavior of a control system that has nothing to do with its operation; it’s something you don’t have to put into a model of the control system in order to produce the observed behavior. Behavioral illusions are side effects of control in that sense. The fact that the observed relationship between qd and qo is the inverse of the feedback function (the S-R behavioral illusion described in the 1978 paper) is a side effect of control in this sense. Same for the power law;you don’t have to put anything into the control model to make the power law appear.