[From Rick Marken (930426.0800)]
Well, it's sour grapes time again on ol' CSGNet. My paper
"Hierarchical behavior of perception" was rejected by the
journal "New Ideas in Psychology" which claims to be interested
in publishing papers dealing with "innovative theory in
psychology" (I guess PCT is a little TOO innovative). The
rejection was based on the comments of one (and,apparently,
the only) reviewer of the manuscript. The comments of this
reviewer are rather brief and so entertaining that I thought
it would be fun to share them on the net.
The reviewer made four (numbered) points:
1) "The author" ... did not cite the ..."current literature
on the control of, or production of a behavioral skill which
would allow the reader to get a perspective of how Powers'
model of controlling perception relates to other models".
This first "criticim" of the paper was was apparently the
main basis for rejecting it. The reviewer went on to suggest
that I should have delt, in particular, with the "ecological
and biological approach to motor skill control" described by
Turvey, et al. The ecological approach (says the reviewer)
also "treats action and perception as two sides of the same
coin, in that one implies the other". Of course, my paper was
not about action and perception being two sides of the same
coin. It was about the fact that behavior IS controlled
perception -- ie. it's all perception. Moreover, I specifically
went out of my way to make this paper a positive statement about
PCT; I didn't make a single negative comment about alternative
theories, though I referred to a lot of the conventional psych-
ological literature, pointing out how data obtained by many
different researchers is consistent with the idea that behavior
is the control of a hierarchy of perceptual variables. I was
trying to be nice in this paper for several reasons: a) I am
always told that I get the non-PCT theory wrong when I do try
to contrast PCT with some existing theory, b) I have been told
numerous times that I should be less contentious in my
presentation of PCT and c) I'm tired of tilting at what turn out
to be windmills anyway. So now this reviewer is taking me to task
for doing what many other reviewers (and fellow PCTers) have
suggested as the best approach to presenting PCT to a conventional
audience. I'm must admit that I am now completely out of strategies;
I guess it's time to submit to Closed Loop.
2) "The type of tasks used to support the model have focussed
on lower order control systems (tracking tasks) (see Amundson
et al, (1992) ... This article was a response to an article by
Cziko on "Purposeful behavior as the control of perception" and
has implications for a logical positivist paradigm). An example
of how the hierarchical model would apply to a complex human skill
such as shooting a basketball would be appropriate."
So the second criticism is that PCT is only supported by tracking
tasks. In fact, if the reviewer had read my paper he might have
noticed that I used very few tracking task examples. As examples of
how the hierarchical control model applies to a complex human skill
I described a person typing at a keyboard. I talked about (and
described data relevent to) control of sequences and even programs.
So the reviewer either failed to read the paper (past the first page)
or could not see past his preconceptions about this "New Idea"
Besides, I don't see why my paper should stand or fall on the
basis of the work of this Cziko character, who apparently wrote a
paper showing that PCT only applies to tracking tasks. I wish
the reviewer had never came across it. Worse yet, the reviewer
also read what must have been the incisive criticism of the Cziko
paper by Amundson, et al. I have not read the Amundson et al paper
but it obviously reveals the Achilles heel of PCT. If anyone
could sent me a copy of that paper, I would sure like to read it.
Boy, if I ever get my hands on that Cziko character I'll ...
3) "The figures ... are difficult to interpret. Cziko ... has an
excellent figure to represent a control system".
Well, that's it! Cziko has a better figure than I do, does he?
Well I NEVER! I'll show that Cziko character what a disturbance
is -- and just how informative it can be, too!
4) "One of the strengths of the manuscript is the study presented
by the author... Were the findings consistent among all subjects.
How many subjects were involved in the study"
Well, since the paper was rejected (without request for rewrite,
I might add) I guess the poor reviewer will never find out.
Since I offered (in the paper) to send the HyperCard experiment
to anyone who asked for it, it seems like curious people could find
out for themselves whether the results are consistent among
subjects; since every reader is a potential subject they can see if
their own results are consistent with the one's I report.
Anyway, that's it for this paper. Now all I want to know is how
to submit this paper to Closed Loop. Greg - should I send it
e-mail. There are some figures but I can send them to you via
snail mail. Is that OK?
PS. Gary -- I really would like to see a copy of the Amundson et al
paper. Could you send me a copy. I need a good laugh.