I tried to make a discussion with you first.
Sorry Martin and Rick. My time is really limited. As Rick is concerned I tried to read LCS I pages carefully, but I don’t find time to read it through. But till now I could say only that is possible that Rick again read Bill’s text as he wanted and of course involved many of his notes so to look like he is right. I warmly recomend reading it once again carefully and put some citations of Bill’s text, so that members could see how Bill wrote about it.
The most problematic place in Rick’s Â»interpretationÂ« of Bill’s text is Â»Behavior involves… controlÂ«…. It would be ge good if you’ll find any Bill’s text that could support your interpretation. I’ll give an example :
The behavior column really lists consequences of the driver’s actions, consequences that are not determined by driver’s actions, but are only influenced by them.
HB : Your interpretation was simply that Â»Control is involvedÂ« in drivers actions. Can you prove it with other Bill’s citations ? And don’t read it with your references turned on. Â»EmptyÂ« your head as Bruce Nevin would probbaly suggest you. In that case you have chances to read text as it is, not as you want to read it.
As I said I read and write very hardly. I’m really in heavy Â»mentalÂ« state. So I don’t know when I’ll read all the text as it is not important only 172-176, but also text to 180. Maybe you could read themÂ slowly and accurate.
So if it’s really not something urgently or of high importance that can’t be answered with Bill’s literature, I’d be greatfull for a little piece. Â Just read it carefully word after word and sentecnes after sentence, if you want to do right thing, to inform others about what Bill wrote, not what you think he wrote. Anyway it was long time ago (36 years) and Bill somtimes changed his mind. But I doubt that he wrote anything contradicting to modern literature he wrote when his theory was really stable at least 20 years. Maybe he used some terms differently but I doubt that meaning has changed into it’s opposition.
And if you discover any mistakes in his terms he used, I doubt that you will manage to change all his literature to this moment, so to change the main point of PCT. I also doubt that Powers ladies would alove that.
So I think that it doesn’t matter in which time you are exploring his work it has to be the same everywhere. So it doesn’t matter if you are analysing his text in near past or in distant past. It will be always Â»Behavior : The Control of perceptionÂ«. If you doubt of something go read B:CP again and again.
If the driver had to execute any of the behaviors in Table 1 blindly, with no visual, auditory, kinestethic, or other sensory information to tell him the current status of the variable, it would be impossible for him to vary his actions so as to oppose unexpected disturbances. In Fact, we would find through continuing experiment that the only reliable consequences of the driver’s actions are those the driver can sense. This is a crucial hint about how this sort of phenomena is created (LCS I, p. 177)
Martin. If your final answer about Control and behavior is :
My “behaviour” is not control, but is the means by which the controller acts on the environment to influence the perception.
HB : I have no comment. I agree as I think this is also very close to Bill’s definitions. I put it in the conversation with Bruce. But you managed to Â»wake me upÂ«….
From: Bruce Nevin [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2015 4:34 AM
Subject: Re: Comman and Control (was Re: Examples of everyday control (was …))
Nice post, Martin.
BN : In the title Behavior: the control of perception, the colon is equivalent to is in the sentence "behavior is the control of perception.
HB : Please Bruce show me where Bill ever mentioned this equivalency ? Show me how it works through Bill’s generic diagram (LCS III for example).
And what does it mean if you say Â»Behavior is control of perceptionÂ« ? Does it mean that solo output is Â«controlling inputÂ«? Does it mean that people through their outputs can Â»controlÂ« other people inputs ? Like Rick was affirming some time ago that people are controlling other people behavior through their input. Animals included. All LCS inclusive J
BN : Consequently, in order to talk about “behavior” in this PCT sense we have to talk about the entire loop, because it is the entire loop that controls perception.
Cauld you be so kind Bruce and present any evidence that entire Â»control loopÂ« (I presume that you are talking about contol loop that is going through Â»outer environmentÂ«) controls perception ? Can you go step by step and present what is happening in functions, comprator, though the entire Â»control loopÂ« so that Perception is Â»controlledÂ« ? If you can explain all the Â»Control loopÂ« steps also with physiological means I’d be glad even more ?
BN : The reference value doesn’t control perception. The behavioral outputs don’t control perception.
Bill P. (LCS III) :
Therefor changing the reference signal (with active cooperation from the components in the control loop) very realibly changes the magnnitude or state of the input quantity…
It seems that you and Bill disagree.
My oppinion is that perception is controlled in comparator and the other components are supporting parts to this only Â»control actÂ« in the loop. If there is no comparator (nervous system) there is no control. If the Â»comparatorÂ« would be just a Â»full functionÂ« in Ashby’s terms (input-output), there would be no Control. In any part of control loop. At least this would aproximatelly suit to what is happening in nervous system. And PCT is general theory about how organisms work (including nervous system).
Other parts of the loop seems to be supporting parts so that control can be executed. Control can be executed also in other parts of organism and nervous system in many ways, without behavior and control loop going through the external evnironment.
PCT is about how organisms work. You also contributed to this cognition in participating to article 50th Anniversary.
Bill P. at all – including Rick Marken and Bruce Nevin - (50th Annivversary, 2011) :
Perceptual Control Theory (PCT) provides a general theory of functioning for organisms. At the core concept of the theory is the obervation that living things control perceived environment by means of their behavior. Consequently, the phenomen of control takes center stage in PCT, with observable behavior playing an important but supporting role.
HB : Could somebody explain to me what did you write in this article about, if extract shows most of what is written in all Bill’s literature ?
BN : Circular causation around the entire closed loop controls the perceptual input in accord with the reference value.
HB ; I think I expressed my view about this, one line up. It seems that you contradict yourself ?
Behavior: the control of perception is an in-your-face title. A wake-up slap in the face. It’s Bill telling his professors in the grad psych program that he abandoned that they are wrong. It’s Bill telling the gatekeepers, the reviewers of journal articles and grant proposals, that they are wrong. Of course it also brilliantly encapsulates the essential thing about control, but it does so by seemingly putting the emphasis on behavior rather than on control, and in so doing it insists on a technical definition of behavior that is at variance from everybody else’s usage of the word.
HB : Could you give me some examples from Bill’s literature that I’ll understand what you are talking about ? Are we talking here about what people do (output), and different interpretations of people, among which Bill’s interpretation of Â»BehaviorÂ« is right ?
Doing so, it creates a communication problem. Any difference between technical usage and common usage, or between technical usage in one field and technical usage of what we think is the “same word” in another field, creates problems of communication.
HB : Still I’d like an example ? What do you mean by Â»technical usageÂ« and Â»common usageÂ«.Â Are you trying to tell me that Â»behavior in technical usageÂ« is not describing behavior of organisms, but Â»common usageÂ« does ?
There are always problems in communication if pepole use different conotation about the same terms. So I’ve always proposed and I’m proposing that we use Bill’s terms as reference. I think that is here on CSGnet the only communication problem. Some are using Bill’s terms and some their own terms, like Rick for example.
BN : In common usage, and in the established schools of psychology, the word “behavior” refers to observable activity.
HB : Is this equal to Â»outputÂ« of LCS activity from the obervers point of view ? Or Bill is not refering to Â»observableÂ« activity ? What did you wanted to say ?
BN : In PCT-talk, behavior is the control of perceptual input.
HB : To avoid communication problem, can you offer at least one example from Bill’s literature where exactly did he mentioned that Â»behavior is the control of perceptual inputÂ«.
I propose to use as much as possible Bill’s terms and examples from his books. In this way I’m sure we can avoid Â»communication disturbancesÂ«.
I’ll just picked up an example from Bill’s literature :
Bill P :
Our only view of the real world is our view of the neural signals that represent it inside our own brains. When we act to make a perception change to our more desireble state … we have no direct knowledge of what we aree doing to the reality that is the origin of our neural signal; we know only the final result, how the result looks, feels, smells, sounds, tastes, and so forth…
HB : In this example I see that Bill is talking about Â»BehaviorÂ« or output which is Â»control emptyÂ«. So here we can clearly see that your statement that Â»Behavior is control of perceptionsÂ« doesn’t stand.
We don’t know what we are doing to environment. So how can we control anything ? And this is not supportable only by physiological evidences in Bill’s time (see literature in B:CP), but increadibly also in our time. He was really a genius and when people will understand his geniosity it could make future progress as you nicely described. But till then we have to achieve that at least all the members understand PCT in aproximately the same way. Â Â
So in the example there is no trace of control in behavior (with physiological evidences included). So behavior or output or whatever we call people’s activity is having no involvement of control. Just effects to environment. We are speaking of course about Â»behaviorÂ« as output through the Â»control loopÂ« in external environment.
I can found mostly examples which are talking about Â»control empty outputÂ«. Maybe some more…
Bill P :
The output function … represents the means this system has for caussing changes in it’s environment.
HB : I think that the output is just causing efects to outer environment as for example Martin wrote and again very close to Bill’s definition :
“Behaviour”, at least in PCT, is the consequences of the output signal that is distributed eventually to the organism’s environment.Â
OUTPUT FUNCTION : The portion of a system that converts the magnitude or state of a signal inside the system into a corresponding set of effects in the immediate environment of the systemâ€¦
HB : As I see Bill and Martin are talking about the same effects in the environment as consequence of â€œsignal inside the systemâ€?… Control in LCS seems to be bound to internal control structture which is maintaining homeostasis.
CONTROL : Achievement and maintenance of a preselected perceptual state in the controlling system, through actions on the environment that also cancel the effects of disturbances"
CONTROL SYSTEM : An organization that acts on its environment so as to keep itâ€™s inner perceptual signal matching an inner reference signal or reference condition.
HB : As I see it, the central terms of PCT are talking about Control as the phenomenon inside organism. So i don’t see any possible Â»controlÂ« in external environment, even not by behavior (output).
We can speak also about outputs in higher hierarchical level, but please find example only from 1-3 level. These levels are very good physiologoically supported (B:CP)… More we go higher in hierarchy less physiological evidences, more space for phylosophy and Â»pub discussionsÂ«.
Behavior in the sense of actions is the observable means of making an experience be the way we want it to be, but that is only part of the control loop.
HB : If I understood you right here, you are using behavior as a means of control as PCT does ?
In PCT-talk, we make the distinction with words like “behavioral outputs”, “actions”, and perhaps “control actions”. ’
HB ; What’s the difference between “behavioral outputs”, “actions” and so on. Can you explain what isÂ Â “control actions” ? You can maybe use Bill’s examples which I offered you up in text. But you are free to choose any example from Bill’s literature. It’s easier to think when we concretely see what it is about. Abstracting can cause Â»communication troublesÂ«.
Behavior’ in the familiar sense of “activity” is not controlled; behavior, in the technical PCT sense forced by Bill’s title, is control.
HB : This is hard for me to understand ?
Please some examples from Bill’s literature that Â»Behavior is ControlÂ« ? Any ? Where did Bill ever mentioned that Â»Behavior is ControlÂ« ? You can use all his literature. At least in article where you partcipate Â»BehaviorÂ« is mentoned as Â»supportingÂ« feature not aa control. Maybe you can find any example where we can see that what you are telling is true ?
BN : But these terminological specializations are a standing invitation to misunderstanding by our listeners and readers, and, frankly, an invitation to equivocation in those of us who claim to know something about PCT.
HB : Good point. I think that to know something about PCT means to read Bill’s literature. That’s most realiable from my point of view. Or to talk to Bill. I’ve talked a lot. That’s how I get used to his terminology. I admitt I had terrible troubles in understanding him at the beggining. It was good that Kents’ texts were available and Bruce Abbotts’. And afterwords Martin, also good choice to talk about PCT. And as miracle Rick in his best days (2007). It’s good that I didin’t start with PCT nin this days and talk to Rick. I would be probably totaly confused and Â»brain-washedÂ« and lost forever.
Another layer of potential confusion arises when we say (as Martin recently wrote) that imagining is a form of activity, closing the loop through perceptions at level n which form the (interior) environment for control of perceptions at level n+1.
That’s behavior (control of perception) without any observable activity, unless we count introspection as observation.
HB : I can understand that Â»imaginingÂ« is from of activity of nervous system. Can you show me how this example works in Chapters of B:CP, 2005. I’m speccialy interested in your explanation of perception Â»goingÂ«Â through first 3. levels ? What is happening to perception ? I really need something concretely to discuss. I hope it’s not distrubing your perception to much ?
Thanks for your answers Bruce. I’m looking forward for your further answers and insightsâ€¦
In one of your posts to Rick you defined behavior as :
BN : The key insight is that we do not control our behavior. Rather, behavior is variable in just the manner and extent necessary to make our experience be the way we want it to be. The title of the locus classicus of this science of psychology is Behavior: The control of perception, published in 1973 by William T. Powers.
HB : You didn’t mentioned that Â»Behavior is Control of PerceptionÂ« and from what you are saying it’s hardly possible that could be a conclusion.Â
On Wed, Oct 28, 2015 at 9:26 AM, Martin Taylor firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
[Martin Taylor 2015.10.28.08.54]
On 2015/10/28 1:08 AM, Boris Hartman wrote:
So if you and Rick don’t understand difference between Â»Behavior is ControlÂ« and Â»Behavior : The Control of perceptionÂ«, you wil have to read B:CP again to understand PCT.
I’m sorry you didn’t understand my attempt to point out one subtlety of the English language that is the reason for an arcane dispute between Rick and me. You apparently didn’t even realize that there was any dispute, as indeed I had not until quite recently. I had long thought Rick and I meant the same thing when we used the word “Behaviour” (or “Behavior”), and was quite surprised to find I was wrong.
The problem is in the difference between “Behaviour is Control” (Rick) and “Behaviour as Control” (Behaviour: the Control of Perception). Apparently you didn’t even notice that I was trying to explain to you the difference that you say I didn’t understand. If there’s a problem having two so-called English speakers recognize a subtle difference, it must be very hard for you, even if you say you do. After all, in the message that annoyed you, I concentrate on explaining a much more important difference, between both of those and “Control of Behaviour”, which to me is a nonsense concept that does not work in either engineering or psychology. You had used all three concepts as though they meant the same thing, and now you say I don’t understand the more subtle of the distinctions. Strange.
Please try to be a little more careful when you make severe judgments. You have often claimed that some mistake you have made might be due to your command of English, and that is a very fair proposition. I wondered when I wrote one of my recent messages whether you understood the difference between “command” and “control”, and I wonder whether your most recent diatribe might be because you didn’t. Just in case that was the problem, here’s an example to illustrate the difference.
In one of Shakespear’s plays (Henry IV?) there’s a scene between Owen Glendower and (I think) Hotspur. Geldower says something like “I can call spirits from the vasty deep”, to which Hotspur replies “Aye, and so can I and so can any man. But when you call, will they come?”
In that scene, Glendower says he can command the spirits, and Hotspur agrees that everyone can do that, but then he asks if Glendower can control them (of course, Shakespear didn’t know about control systems and the control of perception, but he did know the difference between Behaviour – calling the spirits – and perceiving the spirits rising out of the vasty deep. That’s the difference between command and control, between the output part of a control loop and the effect of the entire loop on what an observer can see being influenced by the Behaviour. Command may have the desired result, Control, but it often does not. When Command does not produce Control, reorganization may happen, but often does not. That’s why I included research on reorganization as one of the open areas for PCT research.
Reference values Command; the entire loop Controls. Command influences the environment of the control unit, Control is of perception and only of perception.
Anyway, I’m sorry you misunderstood my attempts at explanation, and I hope this helps.
rom: Martin Taylor [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2015 9:18 PM
Subject: Re: Examples of everyday control (was Re: Somebody should take this on)
[Martin Taylor 2015.10.27.15.52]
On 2015/10/27 9:41 AM, Boris Hartman wrote:
most questions in your answers are refering to problem what is Â»Control of behaviourÂ« or Â»Behaviour as ControlÂ«, Â»Behavior is ControlÂ«, etc.
To me, those are three quite different concepts. I would strongly object to the first, the second is almost the title of Bill’s book, while I’m beginning to realize that the third hides a disagreement I didn’t think I had with Rick, about the definition of the word “behaviour”.
Rick invented it and he is about to prove it with his spreadshit. I’m disapointed, because you didn’t Â»come inÂ« sooner to explain Rick what is behaviourÂ« and put him quaetions like you did to me.
That’s because I think Rick and I have the same underlying concept of control, whether we agree on the definitions of words or not. When you get away from the words into the mathematics and the experiments, we usually seem to agree. Words are slippery, even when two people have the same native language, as is almost the case between Rick (American English) and me (Anglo-Canadian English). It’s much harder when our native languages are as different as yours and ours.
As I read Rick [From Rick Marken (2015.10.27.1000)], his “behaviour” encompasses control. “Behaviour” in that sense is indistinguishable from “control”, BY DEFINITION. So I wonder why have two separate words for the same concept. in my usage. “behaviour” is a component of control, as is perception. My “behaviour” is not control, but is the means by which the controller acts on the environment to influence the perception. The difference between those definitions is so small that it often goes un-noticed (at least by me). I don’t like Rick’s definition because it seems like a waste of a word to use it as a substitute for a perfectly good word “control”, and makes it impossible to use a perfectly normal word to describe something one does have to talk about when discussing control.
As far other theories of psychological Â»Control loopsÂ« are concerned you can reed Carver&Scheier and Jeff Vancouver, etc. They are all grouped arround theories with common name Â»Self-regulatonÂ«. There you can see how it’s possible to make a control loop, where Behavior is Control.
I’ve never read Carver and Schrier. As for Jeff Vancouver, I never saw problems with his work that he discussed on CSGnet, but I guess he has a lot of other work that I haven’t read. If you get away from the word “Self-regulation” do you have a problem with what he actually claims happens in control?
MT : But maybe I can interpret it. You can correct me if I misinterpret. I think you may be referring to loops such as the Krebs Cycle and the myriads of loops that the physiologists find in their networks of chemical and neurological interconnections. These all provide a stable infrastructure on which the organism can reliably control perceptions of the outer world. Is that what you mean? If so, I agree, but it’s not an aspect of PCT any more than the electron orbital structure of the atoms, on which all chemistry depends, is a part of biochemistry. Biochemists can, if needed, use electron orbitals, and PCT researchers can, if needed, use internal physiological network structures. But normally they don’t
HB : Very close. But there is one problem left. PCT is by my oppinion also holding for this aspect and at least one aspect more, But for that the arrow to Â»intrisicÂ« or Â»essentialÂ« variables from genetic source has to be solved.
Along with a lot else. The actual set of levels in the hierarchy is one; whether the control structure is a hierarchy is another. How the different kinds of memory are stored and accessed and used is another. How many different kinds of reorganization is another. Is reorganization modular, nested modular, fractally modular, overlapped modular, non-modular …? In different animals and other organisms, what is the balance between learning over evolutionary time and learning within a lifetime?
I wouldn’t be surprised if one could write a book just listing such problems and discussing what the answers might imply. Many of them were mentioned by Bill either formally or informally. They are all unsolved, and mostly unaddressed. A wide field for PCT research.