Changing Reference Signal

[From Fred Nickols (2015.11.14.1604)]

A snippet from Bill’s original paper for PCT beginners got me thinking again. Here’s the snippet

“Note that if the reference standard changes that, too, creates a deviation which the control system will act to correct.”

Here’s an example. When driving, I typically try to keep my car in the center of its lane. However, on two-lane roads, when I encounter oncoming traffic, I generally move to the right side of my lane. This is especially the case on hilly, two-lane roads because when I am going uphill and approaching a crest, I have seen way too many oncoming cars cresting the hill on my side of the road. So, at some higher level there’s a “stay safe” control system that changes my reference signal for lane position.

I can see how a changed reference signal creates a deviation and that actions are taken so that the perceived position matches the new reference signal. So, as near as I can tell, there is no “disturbance” at the lane position level. But it seems to me that oncoming traffic and hilly two-lane roads are disturbances at the “stay safe” level. Do I have that right?

Regards,

Fred Nickols, CPT

DISTANCE CONSULTING

“Assistance at a Distance”

The Knowledge Workers’ Tool Room

Be sure you measure what you want.

Be sure you want what you measure.

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.15.0900)]

···

 Fred Nickols (2015.11.14.1604)

Â

FN: A snippet from Bill’s original paper for PCT beginners got me thinking again. Here’s the snippet

Â

“Note that if the reference standard changes that, too, creates a deviation which the control system will act to correct.�

 Â

FN: I can see how a changed reference signal creates a deviation and that actions are taken so that the perceived position matches the new reference signal. So, as near as I can tell, there is no “disturbance� at the lane position level. But it seems to me that oncoming traffic and hilly two-lane roads are disturbances at the “stay safe� level. Do I have that right?

RM: Disturbances don’t go away when you vary your references. So at any time the error in a control system is being influenced simultaneously by variations in the reference signal, r, system output, Q.o, and disturbances, d. The control system doesn’t “care” why there is error; it just automatically acts to eliminate it. The result is that the system will keep the controlled variable, Q.i, matching a varying r while protecting that it from disturbances that are occurring while r is varying.Â

RM: This is what we are seeing when we see a person doing anything that involves changes in a variable over time. In your car driving example, when you change lanes (or change your position in a lane) you are changing your reference for the state of a controlled variable – the position of your car on the road. When you do this your outputs (variations in steering wheel position) are bringing the car to a new reference state (new position in the lane) while at the same time compensating for disturbances to this variable, such as variations in the yaw of the road surface.Â

RM: I find it best to think of what is happening when we vary a reference signal as “causing” concomitant variations in the corresponding controlled variable. This way of thinking about it is reflected in the PCT equations that describe the relationship between the controlled variable, Q.i, and r:Â

Q.i = r - (1/k.g)*d

where k.g is loop gain. So Q.i basically follows variations in r (your intention) while being hardly affected at all by disturbances, d.Â

If it’s difficult to understand this in terms of the math, you can get a feel for it (perhaps) from my celebrated Mindreading demo (well, Bill and Mary liked it a lot;-):

http://www.mindreadings.com/ControlDemo/Mindread.html

Here when you intentionally move one of the avatars around the screen your are making the position of that avatar match your changing reference for its position; and you are doing it while compensating for disturbances that would keep the avatar from being in the changing positions that you intend it to be in.Â

BestÂ

Rick

Richard S. MarkenÂ

www.mindreadings.com
Author of  Doing Research on Purpose
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

[From Fred Nickols (2015.11.15.1235)]

I understand what you’re saying, Rick (I think) but I don’t think that answers my question. I’ll try it again.

Can a disturbance at a higher-level system lead to it changing the reference signal it sets for a lower-level system?

I think so but I don’t know for sure.

Fred Nickols

···

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, November 15, 2015 11:58 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: Changing Reference Signal

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.15.0900)]

Fred Nickols (2015.11.14.1604)

FN: A snippet from Bill’s original paper for PCT beginners got me thinking again. Here’s the snippet

“Note that if the reference standard changes that, too, creates a deviation which the control system will act to correct.�

FN: I can see how a changed reference signal creates a deviation and that actions are taken so that the perceived position matches the new reference signal. So, as near as I can tell, there is no “disturbance� at the lane position level. But it seems to me that oncoming traffic and hilly two-lane roads are disturbances at the “stay safe� level. Do I have that right?

RM: Disturbances don’t go away when you vary your references. So at any time the error in a control system is being influenced simultaneously by variations in the reference signal, r, system output, Q.o, and disturbances, d. The control system doesn’t “care” why there is error; it just automatically acts to eliminate it. The result is that the system will keep the controlled variable, Q.i, matching a varying r while protecting that it from disturbances that are occurring while r is varying.

RM: This is what we are seeing when we see a person doing anything that involves changes in a variable over time. In your car driving example, when you change lanes (or change your position in a lane) you are changing your reference for the state of a controlled variable – the position of your car on the road. When you do this your outputs (variations in steering wheel position) are bringing the car to a new reference state (new position in the lane) while at the same time compensating for disturbances to this variable, such as variations in the yaw of the road surface.

RM: I find it best to think of what is happening when we vary a reference signal as “causing” concomitant variations in the corresponding controlled variable. This way of thinking about it is reflected in the PCT equations that describe the relationship between the controlled variable, Q.i, and r:

Q.i = r - (1/k.g)*d

where k.g is loop gain. So Q.i basically follows variations in r (your intention) while being hardly affected at all by disturbances, d.

If it’s difficult to understand this in terms of the math, you can get a feel for it (perhaps) from my celebrated Mindreading demo (well, Bill and Mary liked it a lot;-):

http://www.mindreadings.com/ControlDemo/Mindread.html

Here when you intentionally move one of the avatars around the screen your are making the position of that avatar match your changing reference for its position; and you are doing it while compensating for disturbances that would keep the avatar from being in the changing positions that you intend it to be in.

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken

www.mindreadings.com
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.

Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

[Martin Taylor 2015.11.15.12.54]

Yes, that's exactly what it does, and it is why we can control (to

some extent) our perception of someone else’s actions.
You can see this by looking at the effect of a change in disturbance
value on the output value. The output must change to compensate for
the changed disturbance. Where does that changed output actually go?
It doesn’t go to the environment of the organism, it goes to the
reference inuts of control systems at the level below. Only after
going down through all the levels until it reaches the physical
muscles does the changed output at the high level appear as visibly
changed action to compensate for the changed disturbance.
In my opinion, the changed action is “behaviour” from the viewpoint
of an outside observer who doesn’t have access to the TCV. (Rick’s
suggestion of getting the hammerer to hammer nails into many
different boards won’t tell that getting the nail flush in that
particular board is why he is hammering this particular nail. He
could be doing it because he is angry with his wife and wants to hit
something other than her, and has no interest in how flush the nail
is. He just wants to hit it. And maybe he is using the protruding
nails in the other boards as an art exhibit.)
From a theoretical viewpoint, I would limit the term "behaviour to
the output of an ECU (Elementary Control Unit) as distributed to the
various reference values at the level below. “Behaviour” would thus
include (at the theoretical level) the means whereby the perception
was influenced by the output. Behaviour does not always (or usually?) in the real world control
perfectly or even excellently, except in the special case of
professional athletes performing their specialties. Sometimes our
behaviour has effects we label “counterproductive”, influencing the
perception oppositely to what was intended. It’s still behaviour FOR
the control of the variable, but you sure wouldn’t know that by
observing the results from outside. Fred’s nail may need to be flush
for the hammerer to feel a smooth surface, but by hammering (and
sometimes missing the nailhead) the plank gets dented and looks
worse than it did with the nail protruding. To me, the behaviour
from an outside observer’s viewpoint was not “getting the nail
flush” or “producing a smooth surface” or “abstaining from hitting
wife”. It was “hammering”. From a theoretical viewpoint, it was
controlling whatever higher-level perception produced outputs that
influenced the reference values that controlled most directly the
hammering actions.
A long-winded way of saying “Yes”.
Martin

···
        [From

Fred Nickols (2015.11.15.1235)]

        I

understand what you’re saying, Rick (I think) but I don’t
think that answers my question. I’ll try it again.

        Can

a disturbance at a higher-level system lead to it changing
the reference signal it sets for a lower-level system?

        I

think so but I don’t know for sure.

        Fred

Nickols

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.15.1440)]

···

Martin Taylor (2015.11.15.12.54)

        FN: Can

a disturbance at a higher-level system lead to it changing
the reference signal it sets for a lower-level system?

        FN: I

think so but I don’t know for sure.

MT: Yes, that's exactly what it does, and it is why we can control (to

some extent) our perception of someone else’s actions.

RM: Excellent answer.

MT: From a theoretical viewpoint, I would limit the term "behaviour to

the output of an ECU (Elementary Control Unit) as distributed to the
various reference values at the level below. “Behaviour” would thus
include (at the theoretical level) the means whereby the perception
was influenced by the output.

RM: But this completely conflates theory and observation. If “behavior” is the output of an ECU then what is the ECU there to explain? I think the ECU is a theory that is meant to explain the the existence of reference of controlled variables. So if the ECU is a theory of “behavior” then that term (“behavior”) should certainly include controlled variables and the reference states thereof.

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken

www.mindreadings.com
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

[Martin Taylor 2015.11.15.17.54]

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.15.1440)]

How so, given that I started the paragraph with "From a theoretical

viewpoint" and emphasised that by a bracketed “at thr theoretical
level”, and did so immediately after a paragraph in which I
discussed the observational aspect.

This doesn't parse, so I can't comment. But I can read the first

sentence, and I don’t see how it relates to my post. In the
theoretical part of what I wrote, I didn’t suggest that “behaviour”
is the output of an ECU, did I?

I think I suggested that it was a complex of the output and the way

the output was distributed to lower level reference inputs, as part
of a response to Fred’s question about higher level system outputs
changing lower-level reference inputs. In my theoretical view, the
control systems affected by those changed reference values all have
their own behaviours. Their behaviours are all parts of what an
outside observer can see, and it’s hard for the outside observer to
separate them. In Fred’s example, there’s a behaviour “getting the
nail flush” a behaviour “hammering a nail”, a behaviour “swinging a
hammer”, a behaviour “gripping a hammer handle”, and so on. I think
those ought to be kept separate at a theoretical level, even though
they all necessarily occur at the same time, and to an observer
would be only a part of what the observer sees as the hammerer’s
behaviour, which might include being unskilled, being angry,
kneeling on a roof, swearing … The hammerer might equally have a
behaviour “getting the nail flush” by “calling a carpenter”.

That's why I distinguished the two uses of the word, the

observational and the theoretical, which you say I completely
conflated by being so careful to keep them distinct…

Martin
···
            Martin Taylor

(2015.11.15.12.54)

                      FN:

Can a disturbance at a higher-level system
lead to it changing the reference signal it
sets for a lower-level system?

                      FN:

I think so but I don’t know for sure.

            MT: Yes, that's exactly what it does, and it is

why we can control (to some extent) our perception of
someone else’s actions.

RM: Excellent answer.

            MT: From a theoretical viewpoint, I would limit the term

"behaviour to the output of an ECU (Elementary Control
Unit) as distributed to the various reference values at
the level below. “Behaviour” would thus include (at the
theoretical level) the means whereby the perception was
influenced by the output.

          RM: But this completely conflates theory and

observation.

          If "behavior" is the output of an ECU then what is the

ECU there to explain? I think the ECU is a theory that is
meant to explain the the existence of reference of
controlled variables. So if the ECU is a theory of
“behavior” then that term (“behavior”) should certainly
include controlled variables and the reference states
thereof.

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.15.1718)]

I got blisters on my fingers! :wink:

···
MT: How so, given that I started the paragraph with "From a theoretical

viewpoint" and emphasised that by a bracketed “at thr theoretical
level”, and did so immediately after a paragraph in which I
discussed the observational aspect.

RM: Because you are defining the phenomenon to be explained, “behavior” in terms of a component of theory that explains that phenomenon.

MT: This doesn't parse, so I can't comment. But I can read the first

sentence, and I don’t see how it relates to my post. In the
theoretical part of what I wrote, I didn’t suggest that “behaviour”
is the output of an ECU, did I?

RM: You said: "From a theoretical viewpoint, I would limit the term “behaviour to the output of an ECU” which sounds to me like you do suggest that behavior (what we see people doing) is the output of an ECU. So you are again insisting that controlled variables and the reference states thereof are not part of what we see as “behavior”. This is a very important omission because, as Powers states on p. 175 of LCS I “In these reference states we have the heart of the problem to which control theory is addressed”. From a control theory perspective, the reference states of controlled variables are the most important aspect of “behavior” because only control theory can explain why they exist.

RM: When you define behavior as the output of an ECS you are basically defining behavior in the same way as do conventional psychologists:as an output. Saying it is the output of an ECS doesn’t make things any better; behavior is still just an output. Defining behavior this way ignores what is most important about it from a control theory perspective: the fact that behavior can be seen to be a process of keeping variables in reference states, protected from disturbance. That is, behavior IS control.

Best

Rick

I think I suggested that it was a complex of the output and the way

the output was distributed to lower level reference inputs, as part
of a response to Fred’s question about higher level system outputs
changing lower-level reference inputs. In my theoretical view, the
control systems affected by those changed reference values all have
their own behaviours. Their behaviours are all parts of what an
outside observer can see, and it’s hard for the outside observer to
separate them. In Fred’s example, there’s a behaviour “getting the
nail flush” a behaviour “hammering a nail”, a behaviour “swinging a
hammer”, a behaviour “gripping a hammer handle”, and so on. I think
those ought to be kept separate at a theoretical level, even though
they all necessarily occur at the same time, and to an observer
would be only a part of what the observer sees as the hammerer’s
behaviour, which might include being unskilled, being angry,
kneeling on a roof, swearing … The hammerer might equally have a
behaviour “getting the nail flush” by “calling a carpenter”.

That's why I distinguished the two uses of the word, the

observational and the theoretical, which you say I completely
conflated by being so careful to keep them distinct…

Martin


Richard S. Marken

www.mindreadings.com
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

            MT: From a theoretical viewpoint, I would limit the term

"behaviour to the output of an ECU (Elementary Control
Unit) as distributed to the various reference values at
the level below. “Behaviour” would thus include (at the
theoretical level) the means whereby the perception was
influenced by the output.

          RM: But this completely conflates theory and

observation.

          RM: If "behavior" is the output of an ECU then what is the

ECU there to explain? I think the ECU is a theory that is
meant to explain the the existence of reference of
controlled variables. So if the ECU is a theory of
“behavior” then that term (“behavior”) should certainly
include controlled variables and the reference states
thereof.

[Martin Taylor 2015.11.15.23.30]

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.15.1718)]

I guess you win. I have no way of countering comments on what I write that have no relation to what I write even after I have explained the misreading.

Martin

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.16.1515)]

···

Martin Taylor (2015.11.15.23.30)–

Rick Marken (2015.11.15.1718)

MT: I guess you win. I have no way of countering comments on what I write that have no relation to what I write even after I have explained the misreading.

RM: I wasn’t trying to win anything. And I don’t know what it was that I was misreading but I humbly accept your resignation.

Best

Rick

Martin

Richard S. Marken

www.mindreadings.com
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

[Martin Taylor 2015.11.16.23.45]

I take your word for it that you didn't know what you were

misreading initially and that you didn’t know you made the same
misreading after my attempt to point out what you had apparently
misread the first time. It hinges on this, which immediately
followed a paragraph about “behaviour” from an observer’s viewpoint:
---- [Martin Taylor 2015.11.15.12.54]-----
From a theoretical viewpoint, I would limit the term “behaviour to
the output of an ECU (Elementary Control Unit) as distributed to the
various reference values at the level below. “Behaviour” would thus
include (at the theoretical level) the means whereby the perception
was influenced by the output. —end quote-----
You made two observations about this, both repeated after my attempt
to correct you. Firstly that I conflated the observer’s and
theorist’s views rather than keeping them distinct, about which I
corrected you, since I had been careful to emphasise the
distinction. Secondly, and more important, you started a
comment/question with " If “behavior” is the output of an ECU” as
though that was something I said. I responded with
—[Martin Taylor 2015.11.15.17.54]—
In the theoretical part of what I wrote, I didn’t suggest that
“behaviour” is the output of an ECU, did I?
I think I suggested that it was a complex of the output and the way
the output was distributed to lower level reference inputs, as part
of a response to Fred’s question about higher level system outputs
changing lower-level reference inputs.
—end quote—
to which you commented: "RM: You said: “From a theoretical
viewpoint, I would limit the term “behaviour to the output of an
ECU”” which was exactly what I did NOT say. I said it was the output
of the ECU AS DISTRIBUTED TO THE VARIOUS REFERENCE VALUES AT THE
LEVEL BELOW. In other words, it is precisely NOT the output, but the
effect the output has on the controlled perceptions at the next
lower level.
There’s no “behaviour” in the output alone, except in the sense that
the variations of any variable can be called its behaviour. When you
include the distribution to the reference inputs below, you are
saying how that output manifests itself in its environment. It takes
into account how the individual has reorganized. That makes the
theoretical “behaviour” map pretty well onto the observed
“behaviour” while keeping them as distinct as the theoretical and
everyday uses of the word “perception”.
This use of the word “behaviour” doesn’t mix up the levels, as I
pointed out in my attempt to explain your initial misreading:

BasicECUHierarchy.jpg

···

On 2015/11/16 6:16 PM, Richard Marken
wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.16.1515)]

          Martin

Taylor (2015.11.15.23.30)–

            Rick

Marken (2015.11.15.1718)

          MT: I guess you win. I have no way of countering comments

on what I write that have no relation to what I write even
after I have explained the misreading.

          RM:   I wasn't  trying to win anything. And I don't

know what it was that I was misreading but I humbly accept
your resignation.

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.17.1100)]

BasicECUHierarchy.jpg

···

Martin Taylor (2015.11.16.23.45)–

MT: You made two observations about this, both repeated after my attempt

to correct you. Firstly that I conflated the observer’s and
theorist’s views rather than keeping them distinct, about which I
corrected you, since I had been careful to emphasise the
distinction. Secondly, and more important, you started a
comment/question with " If “behavior” is the output of an ECU" as
though that was something I said.

RM: I think the problem is that, for me, the word “behavior” always refers to an observable phenomenon; the phenomenon to be explained by a theory of behavior. So when you say:

MT: From a theoretical viewpoint, I would limit the term "behaviour to the output of an ECU (Elementary Control Unit) as distributed to the various reference values at the level below. “Behaviour” would thus include (at the theoretical level) the means whereby the perception was influenced by the output.

RM: I find it very confusing.

MT: In my view, "behaviour" refers to the "How" of control, not

to control itself. And that “How” is provided by what the lower
level control systems accomplish. “Behaviour” isn’t “control”, in my
view; it’s “how” control is accomplished.

RM: So you don’t include the reference states of variable aspects of the environment in your definition of “behavior”; just the means used to maintain those variables in reference states. Since PCT is the explanation for the existence of these reference states (Powers, LCS I, p. 175 para 2) do you think it would have been wiser for Powers to have titled his book: The Reference States of Variable Aspects of the Environment: The Control of Perception"?

Best

Rick


Richard S. Marken

www.mindreadings.com
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

[Martin Taylor 2015.11.18.13.34]

I have no problem with that. But a theory of light propagation is

not light propagation, and a theory of behaviour is not behaviour.
Maxwell’s theory explains light propagation and more besides. PCT
explains behaviour and a lot more besides. I’ll leave it to others to determine for themselves whether
separating out what one observes from a theoretical explanation of
what one observes confuses them.
According to Bill’s hierarchical version of PCT, when one observes
someone “hammering” one is observing the results of the control of
many layers of control systems, which at some moderately high level
are controlling perceptions at reference values set by the control
of a perception one level higher, that one is “hammering”. Those
settings are the output of the “hammering” control unit distributed
to the reference inputs of the next level units down, and so on down
through the levels until one arrives at whatever control units
eventually result in the complicated muscular events. The column
called “Means” in the table on P 172 of LCS I list a few of the
enormous number of such lower-level control units.
Correct. That use of the word for the theorized means of control
maps directly onto to the everyday observable version of
“behaviour”. However, as I explained in trying to disabuse you of
you repeated misreading, it does include the setting of the
reference states of what Bill called the “Means” controlled
perceptions in that table.
Nice polemical non-sequitur, a tactic well learned from politicians,
but disappointingly illogical for a scientist. It doesn’t even
properly represent PCT, let alone anybody’s notion of the referent
of the word “behaviour” (unless it is yours).
We went through the whole discussion about that paper in LCS I some
time ago, and I don’t see the point of bringing it up here without
having something new technically to add to that discussion.
Martin

···

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.17.1100)]

            Martin Taylor

(2015.11.16.23.45)–

            MT: You made two

observations about this, both repeated after my attempt
to correct you. Firstly that I conflated the observer’s
and theorist’s views rather than keeping them distinct,
about which I corrected you, since I had been careful to
emphasise the distinction. Secondly, and more important,
you started a comment/question with " If “behavior” is
the output of an ECU" as though that was something I
said.

          RM: I think the problem is that, for me, the word

“behavior” always refers to an observable phenomenon; the
phenomenon to be explained by a theory of behavior.

So when you say:

            MT: From a

theoretical viewpoint, I would limit the term "behaviour
to the output of an ECU (Elementary Control Unit) as
distributed to the various reference values at the level
below. “Behaviour” would thus include (at the
theoretical level) the means whereby the perception was
influenced by the output.

RM: I find it very confusing.

            MT: In my view,

“behaviour” refers to the “How” of control, not to
control itself. And that “How” is provided by what the
lower level control systems accomplish. “Behaviour”
isn’t “control”, in my view; it’s “how” control is
accomplished.

          RM: So you don't include the reference states of

variable aspects of the environment in your definition of
“behavior”; just the means used to maintain those
variables in reference states.

          Since PCT is the explanation for the existence of

these reference states (Powers, LCS I, p. 175 para 2) do
you think it would have been wiser for Powers to have
titled his book: The Reference States of Variable Aspects
of the Environment: The Control of Perception"?

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.18.1330)]

···

Martin Taylor (2015.11.18.13.34)–

MT: According to Bill's hierarchical version of PCT, when one observes

someone “hammering” one is observing the results of the control of
many layers of control systems, which at some moderately high level
are controlling perceptions at reference values set by the control
of a perception one level higher, that one is “hammering”.

RM: Right, but what are the “results of the control of many layers of control systems” that one observes? I say the results that are observed are what Bill describes in Table 1, p. 172 of LCS I: controlled variables, their reference states and the means used to maintain those variables in reference states. You say the results that are observed are only the means used to control perceptions. You have never included the reference states of controlled variables as being among the “results of the control of many layers of control systems” that are observed. You seem to be blind to their existence – the existence of the main phenomenon that PCT explains.I think you might be suffering from a condition that Warren Mansell and some of his students have discovered called “Control Blindness”. It can be easily corrected with a pair of control theory glasses;-)

MT: Correct. That use of the word for the theorized means of control 

maps directly onto to the everyday observable version of
“behaviour”. However, as I explained in trying to disabuse you of
you repeated misreading, it does include the setting of the
reference states of what Bill called the “Means” controlled
perceptions in that table.

RM: OK, so the reference states of controlled variables aren’t part of the way you want to define “behavior”. But do you at least agree that they are observable phenomena that most people would refer to as “behavior”. For example, apparently you would call “extension of the leg” a “behavior” because, according to PCT, it is the means of controlling the perception of the clutch being pressed. But, as you can see from Table 1, p. 172, it is listed as a controlled variable with the reference state “fully extended”. So do agree that “extension of the leg” is a controlled variable with a reference state “fully extended”? And that the fact that this is a controlled variable can be objectively (experimentally) determined. A simple “yes” or “no” will do. And if the answer is “yes” then why not include them in the definition of “behavior”?

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken

www.mindreadings.com
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

          RM: So you don't include the reference states of

variable aspects of the environment in your definition of
“behavior”; just the means used to maintain those
variables in reference states.

[Martin Taylor 2015.11.19.23.36]

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.18.1330)]

Correct, and for good reason, as I explained in [Martin Taylor

2015.11.15.12.54]:

-----quote----
(Rick's suggestion of getting the hammerer to hammer nails into many

different boards won’t tell that getting the nail flush in that
particular board is why he is hammering this particular nail. He
could be doing it because he is angry with his wife and wants to hit
something other than her, and has no interest in how flush the nail
is. He just wants to hit it. And maybe he is using the protruding
nails in the other boards as an art exhibit.)

---end quote---

What is THE reference state observed by a person watching the

hammering? The behaviour is easily observed; I believe it is called
“hammering” in everyday language appropriate to the outside
observer, who you say can observe the reference value for the
controlled perception. So what IS the reference value that the
disinterested observer would see in this case?

I believe I referred to "holding a telescope to one's blind eye"

rather recently. I believe I am observing that behaviour in this
thread.

Martin
···
            Martin Taylor

(2015.11.18.13.34)–

            MT: According to Bill's hierarchical version of PCT,

when one observes someone “hammering” one is observing
the results of the control of many layers of control
systems, which at some moderately high level are
controlling perceptions at reference values set by the
control of a perception one level higher, that one is
“hammering”.

          RM: Right, but what are the "results of the control of

many layers of control systems" that one observes? I say
the results that are observed are what Bill describes in
Table 1, p. 172 of LCS I: controlled variables, their
reference states and the means used to maintain those
variables in reference states. You say the results that
are observed are only the means used to control
perceptions. You have never included the ** reference
states of controlled variables** as being among the
“results of the control of many layers of control systems”
that are observed.

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.20.1130)

···

Martin Taylor (2015.11.19.23.36)–

MT: Correct, and for good reason, as I explained in [Martin Taylor

2015.11.15.12.54]:

-----quote----


(Rick's suggestion of getting the hammerer to hammer nails into many

different boards won’t tell that getting the nail flush in that
particular board is why he is hammering this particular nail. He
could be doing it because he is angry with his wife and wants to hit
something other than her, and has no interest in how flush the nail
is. He just wants to hit it. And maybe he is using the protruding
nails in the other boards as an art exhibit.)

---end quote---

RM: The fact that you are looking at the reference states of controlled variables when you look at behavior is based on knowing exactly what variables are being controlled at what reference states. It is based on recognition of the fact that what we see as behaviors are consistent results produced in the face of unpredictably (and often invisibly) varying disturbances. This is why I referred you to Bill’s example of “extension of the leg” as the controlled variable in the behavior “Depressing the clutch” in Table 1, p. 172 of LCS I. The point was to see whether, despite excluding them from your definition of behavior, you at least agreed that the reference states of controlled variables exist as observable phenomena (a point Powers made rather explicitly on p. 175, para 2 of LCS I), being that, as Powers notes, p. 175, para 3, “In these reference states we have the heart of the problem to which control theory is addressed.” As I said in my previous post:

RM: So do you agree that “extension of the leg” is a controlled variable with a reference state “fully extended”? And that the fact that this is a controlled variable can be objectively (experimentally) determined. A simple “yes” or “no” will do. And if the answer is “yes” then why not include them in the definition of “behavior”?

RM: I would really like to hear what your answer is to this.

Best

Rick


Richard S. Marken

www.mindreadings.com
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

RM: You have never included the ** reference
states of controlled variables** as being among the
“results of the control of many layers of control systems”
that are observed.

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.20.1150)]

I made a critical mistake in the first sentence of my reply; I left out the word “not”. Here is the corrected version pf the post:

···

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.20.1130)

Martin Taylor (2015.11.19.23.36)–

MT: Correct, and for good reason, as I explained in [Martin Taylor

2015.11.15.12.54]:

-----quote----


(Rick's suggestion of getting the hammerer to hammer nails into many

different boards won’t tell that getting the nail flush in that
particular board is why he is hammering this particular nail. He
could be doing it because he is angry with his wife and wants to hit
something other than her, and has no interest in how flush the nail
is. He just wants to hit it. And maybe he is using the protruding
nails in the other boards as an art exhibit.)

---end quote---

RM: The fact that you are looking at the reference states of controlled variables when you look at behavior is not based on knowing exactly what variables are being controlled at what reference states. It is based on recognition of the fact that what we see as behaviors are consistent results produced in the face of unpredictably (and often invisibly) varying disturbances. This is why I referred you to Bill’s example of “extension of the leg” as the controlled variable in the behavior “Depressing the clutch” in Table 1, p. 172 of LCS I. The point was to see whether, despite excluding them from your definition of behavior, you at least agreed that the reference states of controlled variables exist as observable phenomena (a point Powers made rather explicitly on p. 175, para 2 of LCS I), being that, as Powers notes, p. 175, para 3, “In these reference states we have the heart of the problem to which control theory is addressed.” As I said in my previous post:

RM: So do you agree that “extension of the leg” is a controlled variable with a reference state “fully extended”? And that the fact that this is a controlled variable can be objectively (experimentally) determined. A simple “yes” or “no” will do. And if the answer is “yes” then why not include them in the definition of “behavior”?

RM: I would really like to hear what your answer is to this.

Best

Rick


Richard S. Marken

www.mindreadings.com
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

RM: You have never included the ** reference
states of controlled variables** as being among the
“results of the control of many layers of control systems”
that are observed.

Richard S. Marken

www.mindreadings.com
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

[Martin Taylor 2015.11.20/16/36]

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.20.1150)]

      I made a critical mistake in the first sentence of my

reply; I left out the word “not”. Here is the corrected
version pf the post:

The answer is NO.

Now let's see why. Firstly because you ask two separate questions.

The answer to the first is “An observer might so assume, but there’s
no way for the observer to know”. Only if the observer knows what
perception was being controlled can the observer even see the state
of the environmental referent of the controlled perception, and only
if control is perfect and the observer knew that control was perfect
would the observer be able to see its reference state. Bill covered
the first point in the paragraph to which you referred when he said:
“once behaviour has been defined in terms of an appropriate
variable”. As soon as he needed that precursor condition, he was
into theory, not observation. At the end of this message, I refer
you to a recent (yesterday, I believe) statement of yours which
argues the same point.

Bill did not mention my second and third points, perhaps continuing

to assume that the observer was omniscient, but I think they are
equally important. So my answer can be restated as: “If I had to bet
on it, I’d certainly bet that the leg extension would have been
controlled, but I wouldn’t have bet that the reference level was
‘fully extended’ unless the driver was a rather short lady with the
seat set for an average man”.

The answer to your second question is almost always "No" in the real

world where the Test for the Controlled variable is seldom
available. Once the driver has depressed the clutch, he won’t want
to do it again unless he was unsuccessful in getting the car into
gear. If you disturbed the “depressing the clutch” control system
by, say, lifting the pedal further than its resting position (if
that is mechanically possible) the driver won’t resist your
disturbance until he wants to change gear again, which could be a
very long time if he’s on the highway. You didn’t try using that
disturbance on the occasion that was observed, but it’s still a
pretty good assumption that the driver depressed the clutch because
he wanted to perceive the clutch as depressed, and the action to
achieve that was a controlled extension of the leg to a reference
value determined by the success of the clutch depression. A pretty
good assumption is all it is, and it’s an assumption that can not be
tested experimentally. It’s not an observable fact.

Let's just suppose that the reference value for leg extension was

“fully extended”, but the clutch pedal got in the way and prevented
the leg from being stretched out the way the driver wanted it (to
relieve some ache?). The clutch was now depressed, so the car was
out of gear. Did the driver do something about that disturbance to a
presumed controlled perception of the car being in gear, and in a
particular gear at that? You have to ask about the driver’s actions
with regard to the gear-shift lever. If the driver did move the
gear-shift lever, does that mean the original leg extension was done
in order to change gear, or was it because the leg extension put the
car out of gear and that created a disturbance to the perception of
what gear the car was in? We are presented with an indefinitely long
recursion that needs a whole lot of assumptions, most of them highly
reasonable, none of them observed directly.

In my _***theoretical***    _ way of looking at the situation,

the leg extension is a behaviour that occurred because the output of
a hypothesized clutch position control system was distributed to the
reference input of the leg angle control system (through, I would
presume, a few intermediate stages). That’s all there is to it, but
it is theoretical. The observer could have seen the behaviour of leg
extension, and the behaviour of clutch depression, but that’s all.
The observer could not have seen the states being controlled in the
environment, nor if those could have been seen, their reference
values. Again in my theoretical view, if the leg had been paralyzed,
some other behaviour would have served the pedal position control
function, such as pushing the pedal with a hand-held stick or asking
someone else to push it. The clutch depression behaviour would have
been the same, but the leg extension behaviour would not. But you
could never test that presumption observtionally or experimentally,
because on another occasion on which you experimentally paralyzed
the leg, the driver might not want the clutch pushed – and maybe he
didn’t on the occasion you observed, though he probably did.

Now I ask you to answer the points re-made in the message to which

you responded. What is the reference and what perception is being
controlled in the hammering scenario? Is the controlled perception
something about the relationship between the nail and the board, or
a sound that fit beautifully into the percussion music he was
improvising, or creating a pattern of nails to symbolize the plight
of Syrian refugees, or finding a way to reduce a feeling of great
anger? Which of these (or some other) is easy for the observer to
see and to observe the reference value for?

You refer to Powers, LCS I, p175, para 2. So do I, and I repeat a

rather important phrase that you omitted: “once behaviour has been
defined in terms of an appropriate variable”. That definition (as
you often observe, most recently to Bruce Abbott in [From Rick Marken
(2015.11.2240)]) is not available to the observer. I quote:

···

[From Rick Marken (2015.11.20.1130)

                      Martin

Taylor (2015.11.19.23.36)–

                      MT: Correct, and for good reason, as I

explained in [Martin Taylor 2015.11.15.12.54]:

                        -----quote----

                          (Rick's suggestion of getting the hammerer

to hammer nails into many different boards
won’t tell that getting the nail flush in
that particular board is why he is
hammering this particular nail. He could
be doing it because he is angry with his
wife and wants to hit something other than
her, and has no interest in how flush the
nail is. He just wants to hit it. And
maybe he is using the protruding nails in
the other boards as an art exhibit.)

                         ---end quote---
                    RM: The fact that you are looking at the

reference states of controlled variables when
you look at behavior is not based on
knowing exactly what variables are being
controlled at what reference states. It is based
on recognition of the fact that what we see as
behaviors are consistent results produced in the
face of unpredictably (and often invisibly)
varying disturbances. This is why I referred you
to Bill’s example of “extension of the leg” as
the controlled variable in the behavior
“Depressing the clutch” in Table 1, p. 172 of
LCS I. The point was to see whether, despite
excluding them from your definition of behavior,
you at least agreed that the reference states of
controlled variables exist as observable
phenomena (a point Powers made rather explicitly
on p. 175, para 2 of LCS I), being that, as
Powers notes, p. 175, para 3, ** “In these
reference states we have the heart of the
problem to which control theory is addressed.”**
As I said in my previous post:

                      RM:  So do you agree

that “extension of the leg” is a controlled
variable with a reference state “fully
extended”? And that the fact that this is a
controlled variable can be objectively
(experimentally) determined. A simple “yes” or
“no” will do. And if the answer is “yes” then
why not include them in the definition of
“behavior”?

                    RM: I would really like to hear what your

answer is to this.

                                  RM:  You have never included

the ** reference states of
controlled variables** as
being among the “results of the
control of many layers of control
systems” that are observed.