Conflict in HPCT

[From Bruce Gregory (2003.11.25.03)]

Let me know if I have this right. Both my higher level control systems
and control systems associated more directly with survival establish
reference levels for the same lower level systems such as those which
determine whether my foot is on the the accelerator or the brake.
Getting to work is presumably under control of a fairly high level
system. This goal requires me to keep my foot on the accelerator and
maintain a speed of 75 mph. If the brake lights on the car in front of
me brighten, my survival level system rapidly moves my foot to the
brake and slams it down. This action would set up conflict with the
higher level goal, but the time constants are such that this system
will not attempt to restore my foot to the accelerator until the
problem has been sorted out. (Though not a part of HPCT, one could
imagine a model in which the survival system inhibits the higher level
goals, but this is not demanded by existing data.)

Bruce Gregory

[From Bill Powers (2003.11.25.1152 MST)]

Bruce Gregory (2003.11.25.03)-

Let me know if I have this right. Both my higher level control systems
and control systems associated more directly with survival establish
reference levels for the same lower level systems such as those which
determine whether my foot is on the the accelerator or the brake.
Getting to work is presumably under control of a fairly high level
system. This goal requires me to keep my foot on the accelerator and
maintain a speed of 75 mph. If the brake lights on the car in front of
me brighten, my survival level system rapidly moves my foot to the
brake and slams it down. This action would set up conflict with the
higher level goal, but the time constants are such that this system
will not attempt to restore my foot to the accelerator until the
problem has been sorted out. (Though not a part of HPCT, one could
imagine a model in which the survival system inhibits the higher level
goals, but this is not demanded by existing data.)

It's just amazing how a couple of hostile, sarcastic hecklers can drag the
whole level of a discussion into the gutter. You and Marc go on ahead,
Bruce -- I won't be coming with you. I have things to do with the grown-ups.

Bill P.

[From Bruce Gregory (2003.11.25.1453)]

Rick,

When you get a chance would you please tell me where I went wrong in my
example? Bill seems a bit too overwrought to be of any help right now.
Thanks,

Bruce Gregory

from [Marc Abrams (2003.11.25.1536)]

[From Bill Powers (2003.11.25.1152 MST)]

It's just amazing how a couple of hostile, sarcastic hecklers can drag the
whole level of a discussion into the gutter. You and Marc go on ahead,
Bruce -- I won't be coming with you. I have things to do with the

grown-ups.

See what I mean Jim B?

'Hostile, 'sarcastic', 'hecklers', that are dragging things into the gutter.

Is that what you got from Bruce's post?

I see Bruce bringing up a simple conflict he has come across in the
hierarchy. All little over the top, don't you think?

Marc

[From Rick Marken (2003.11.25.1340)]

Bruce Gregory (2003.11.25.1453)

Rick,

When you get a chance would you please tell me where I went wrong in my
example?

Why? Does it seem wrong to you?

Best

Rick

···

---
Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Senior Behavioral Scientist
The RAND Corporation
PO Box 2138
1700 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
Tel: 310-393-0411 x7971
Fax: 310-451-7018
E-mail: rmarken@rand.org

[From Bruce Gregory (2003.11.25.1741)]

Rick Marken (2003.11.25.1340)

Why? Does it seem wrong to you?

No, it seems correct. But from Bill's reaction, I assumed I had made
some sort of elementary error that greatly upset him. I just wanted to
be sure I understand what the model says in this example..

Bruce Gregory

[From Rick Marken (2003.11.25.1530)]

Bruce Gregory (2003.11.25.1741)

> Rick Marken (2003.11.25.1340)
>
> Why? Does it seem wrong to you?

No, it seems correct.

So there's no problem.

But from Bill's reaction, I assumed I had made some sort of elementary error
that greatly upset him.

The error (in the control theory sense) existed only for those of us who
understand how conflict between control systems actually works. Since your
analysis seemed correct to you then pointing out what your error is from a control
theory point of view would just create error (in the control theory sense) for
you.

I think you should just sit back, relax and enjoy your correctness.

Best regards

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Senior Behavioral Scientist
The RAND Corporation
PO Box 2138
1700 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
Tel: 310-393-0411 x7971
Fax: 310-451-7018
E-mail: rmarken@rand.org

[From Bruce Gregory (2003.11.25.1906)]

[From Rick Marken (2003.11.25.1530)]
The error (in the control theory sense) existed only for those of us
who
understand how conflict between control systems actually works. Since
your
analysis seemed correct to you then pointing out what your error is
from a control
theory point of view would just create error (in the control theory
sense) for
you.

I think you should just sit back, relax and enjoy your correctness.

I'm very disappointed. I thought you had more integrity than that.
Should everyone on the list assume that my analysis is correct? I guess
so.

Bruce Gregory

[From Rick Marken (2003.11.25.1715)]

Bruce Gregory (2003.11.25.1906)

> Rick Marken (2003.11.25.1530)

> I think you should just sit back, relax and enjoy your correctness.

I'm very disappointed. I thought you had more integrity than that.
Should everyone on the list assume that my analysis is correct? I guess
so.

Everyone on this list has to do what I did when I was learning PCT: figure things
out for themselves. This list does _not_ tell people how to think. But it does
give those who want to learn PCT a huge advantage over what I had when I was
learning it: regular access to help and tutoring from Bill Powers, who developed
PCT. I have found that I am better able to figure things out about PCT when I try
to learn from Bill instead of trying to get Bill to learn from me.

I don't believe that you want to learn from Bill because you say that you are
convinced that your "analysis" (it was more like a vague metaphor) of conflict is
correct even though you can tell that it is not seen that way by Bill. If Bill had
found my analysis of something to be that far off base I would not assume that I
was correct. Rather, I would assume that I had something seriously wrong and I
would want to know how to improve my understanding.

It just doesn't seem to me that you are really all that interested in learning
PCT. That's why I have no interest in explaining what is wrong with your
"analysis" of conflict. There are places people can go to learn the PCT approach
to understanding conflict. My "Cost of Conflict" demo at
http://www.mindreadings.com/ControlDemo/Conflict.html is one place. You can also
use my spreadsheet hierarchy (as noted in an earlier post to Bjorn). There are
chapters in Bill's books that discuss it. I think there is an informal discussion
of it in MSOB.

I'm not worried about people on CSGNet assuming that your "analysis" of conflict
is correct. Anyone who would consider that an "analysis", let alone a correct
one, is not going to be up to the discipline required to understand PCT anyway.

Best regards

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Senior Behavioral Scientist
The RAND Corporation
PO Box 2138
1700 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
Tel: 310-393-0411 x7971
Fax: 310-451-7018
E-mail: rmarken@rand.org

[From Bruce Gregory (2003.11.26.0627)]

[Rick Marken (2003.11.25.1715)

I'm not worried about people on CSGNet assuming that your "analysis"
of conflict
is correct. Anyone who would consider that an "analysis", let alone a
correct
one, is not going to be up to the discipline required to understand
PCT anyway.

Sorry to have wasted your time and Bill's. I'll leave PCT to those who
understand it.

[From Rick Marken (2003.11.26.0900)]

Bruce Gregory (2003.11.26.0627)

Sorry to have wasted your time and Bill's.

Not a waste of my time for me, at all. When I reviewed my "Cost of Conflict" demo
I realized that I have to fix it up because it does not illustrate a real conflict
between control systems. Right now the demo illustrates a situation where there is
a failure to control because of insuperable disturbances to the controlled
variable. The conflict doesn't really result from adopting incompatible goals for
the same perception. So this gives me something nice to work on between courses.

I'll leave PCT to those who understand it.

By removing yourself from the discussion, you will be leaving PCT to those who
_want_ to understand it. It is a far, far better thing you do than do have ever
done...

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Senior Behavioral Scientist
The RAND Corporation
PO Box 2138
1700 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
Tel: 310-393-0411 x7971
Fax: 310-451-7018
E-mail: rmarken@rand.org

[From Kenny Kitzke (2003.11.26.1252 EST)]

<Bill Powers (2003.11.25.1152 MST)>

<It’s just amazing how a couple of hostile, sarcastic hecklers can drag the whole level of a discussion into the gutter. You and Marc go on ahead, Bruce – I won’t be coming with you. I have things to do with the grown-ups.

Bill P.>

My, my, my. It looks like we have more real-life examples of conflict between human control systems right here on CSG-Net.

Are we ever going to learn anything from PCT/HPCT to help successfully resolve such human conflicts? Or, is cut and run the basic thing that fits the model?

I take it this evacuation of contact or giving up removes the input signals (or at least one’s attention to controlling this input) so that the error subsides and life and control can move on to something else?

Is this a step forward in understanding human behavior or human nature or human relationships? Serious observations are most welcome.

from [Marc Abrams (2003.11.26.1309)]

Hey Ken, how ya doin'? I hope this finds you and your family in good health
and spirits.

[From Kenny Kitzke (2003.11.26.1252 EST)]

Are we ever going to learn anything from PCT/HPCT to help successfully
resolve such human conflicts?

I don't think so Ken and a good number of years of CSGnet data support my
position. But I'm not sure PCT is supposed to answer those questions. It
might be able to tell you _when_ you _might_ have some conflict. I'm not so
sure it has the answers for how tp get _out_ of it.

Or, is cut and run the basic thing that fits the model?

Ken, I don't think anyone is cutting and running. Probably to the
disagreement of some on this list, PCT is _NOT_ about Bill Powers and Rick
Marken. If you believe in the concept you will _NEVER_ leave it. Oh, you my
log on or off CSCnet from time to time, and butt heads with Bill and Rick
from time to time, but if you do understand the significance and importance
of this work you will never leave it. If you don't understand it, and have
no desire to understand it, then it doesn't matter whether you stay or go. I
think sometimes we want and expect to much from people and things. PCT is
not the answer to the world's problems. It provides an _excellent_ basis for
_beginning_ to understand human behavior, but it currently does not explain
all aspects of human behavior.

I take it this evacuation of contact or giving up removes the input

signals

(or at least one's attention to controlling this input) so that the error
subsides and life and control can move on to something else?

Ken, can you 'model' this simple statement using the HPCT hierarchy with a
piece of paper and pen? If so I would like to see it. Actually I'd like to
see anyone do this. I have not been able to.

Is this a step forward in understanding human behavior or human nature or
human relationships? Serious observations are most welcome.

Behavior, if it's purposeful. Human nature, not a chance. Relationships?,
depends.

Ken and for any other American on this list who celebrates Thanksgiving, I
would like to wish everyone and their families a great holiday. For those of
you around the rest of the world I hope you have a great day.

On this list I am probably one of the most grateful for what I have. Give
someone you love a big hug tomorrow and cherish it.

Marc

[From Bruce Gregory (2003.11.26.1828))]

Rick Marken (2003.11.26.0900)

By removing yourself from the discussion, you will be leaving PCT to
those who
_want_ to understand it. It is a far, far better thing you do than do
have ever
done...

Boy, have you got that right.

As Einstein said, "The theory is beautiful beyond comparison. However,
only _one_ colleague has really been able to understand it."

Of course, he also said, "I believe that the present fashion of
applying the methods of physics to human life is not only a mistake but
heinous."

Einstein was talking about quantum mechanics, but had he known about
PCT, he might have said, "The Powers-Marken tranquilizing
philosophy--or religion?--is so delicately contrived that, for the time
being, it provides a gentle pillow for the true believer from which he
cannot easily be aroused. So let him lie there."

Bruce Gregory

[From Bruce Gregory (2003.11.27.0812)]

One more try. No "model." A few simple questions. My foot is on the
accelerator maintaining 75 mph. The reference level for the location
and position of my foot is established by a higher level perceptual
control system for "getting to work." This reference in turn is
established by a still higher-level control system "keep my job." This
reference level is established in terms of intrinsic survival goals. A
car unexpectedly cuts in front of me. I slam on the brakes.

According to HPCT, does a conflict exist?
If so, how does this conflict get resolved
If not, why not?

Happy Thanksgiving.

Bruce Gregory

[From Bill Powers (2003.11.27.0659 MST)]

Bruce Gregory (2003.11.27.0812)–

A few simple questions. My foot is
on the

accelerator maintaining 75 mph. The reference level for the
location

and position of my foot is established by a higher level perceptual

control system for “getting to work.” This reference in turn
is

established by a still higher-level control system “keep my
job.” This

reference level is established in terms of intrinsic survival goals.
A

car unexpectedly cuts in front of me. I slam on the brakes.

According to HPCT, does a conflict exist?

If so, how does this conflict get resolved

If not, why not?

There are several problems here, the first being the idea that intrinsic
reference levels are at the highest level of the hierarchy. They are not.
Intrinsic reference levels are not in the hierarchy at all. Intrinsic
error signals result in reorganization, which is a series of alterations
of parameters such as gain, or of the connections by which higher systems
in the hierarchy contribute to which lower reference signals. or of other
aspects of the physical circuitry. There could even be some selection of
reference signals at higher levels where no higher system exists, but
these would be randomly selected, perhaps from memories at that level,
not directed toward “survival” (unlikely to be at the highest
level) or any other specific goal. The only goals of the reorganizing
system are the intrinsic reference signals, none of which is
“survival.”
Understand that I am describing what the theory proposes, not claiming
that these are established facts. But you’re asking what the theory says.
The second problem is that conflicts can exist only between systems at
the same level. If there were a higher learned goal of survival, whatever
that means, it could not conflict with pushing on the brakes. Neither
could the goal of “getting to work on time.” Only another
system directly concerned with operating the brakes could issue a
contradictory reference setting for the position of the braking foot and
thus create a direct conflict. This follows from the formal definition of
conflict in HPCT. Conflict exists if and only if one variable must be in
two different states at the same time in order for two control systems to
correct their own errors. There are also degrees of conflict, from
harmless to devastating.
We might say that the system that wants to get to work on time tries to
increase the forward speed of the car (if its ETA predicts being late),
and the system that wants to avoid collisions tries to decrease the
forward speed of the car. Now we have two different reference levels for
the same variable, the forward speed of the car, and this constitutes a
conflict for the systems trying to adjust the speed of the car. The
car can’t go at two different speeds at once. Below the level of
controlling the forward speed of the car there is no conflict.
Unless some higher-level system intervenes by altering the reference
signals for one or both of the conflicted systems, those systems will
produce opposing adjustments of the reference signal for forward speed,
and the result will depend on the design details of the control systems
involved (see Kent McClelland’s simulations of conflicted systems). If
the two systems have identical static and dynamic characteristics, the
net reference speed, and the actual speed, will be the sum or perhaps the
average of the two reference settings (depending on exactly how the two
reference signals combine).
If a higher order system or set of systems exists that can perceive the
existence of the conflict and has learned how to resolve such conflicts
(say, by momentarily turning off the goal of getting to the meeting on
time), the conflict will immediately be resolved. Most conflicts are
resolved in this way and cause only momentary inconveniences. But if the
situation prevents any easy solution or there is no already-known
solution, the conflict will simply persist. If the result of its
persistence is to create significant large errors in other control
systems, reorganization will probably start, and there is then no way to
predict what the solution will be, if a solution is found.
Again, these are predictions from the theory that are roughly borne out
in my experience, but that have never been formally tested. One has to
know what the theory predicts, of course, before there can be any test of
it.
In the Crowd program, there is a conflict between collision avoidance and
the two other possible goals, following a person or getting to a
destination. The conflict is never resolved. What happens is that the
collision avoidance system experiences very large changes in error for
small adjustments of direction of travel, while the other systems’ errors
change much less, because the other person or the destination is much
farther away than the nearby obstable. In effect, the collision avoidance
system has much higher loop gain than the other two systems have, and it
overpowers the other two systems when a collision is imminent. When its
error returns close to zero, the other two systems simply go on operating
and progress continues.
These conflicts can persist when there is a large number of obstacles
present. However, the Crowd agents do have a very minor kind of
“reorganization” working, a small random signal added to the
perceptual signals. This signal assures that no action ever simply
repeats exactly; there is always a slight variation. So when an agent
gets stuck in a closed path, the path is randomly perturbed by a small
amount, and most of the time there is an eventual escape. It’s possible
that there would always be an escape, but I have never waited more
than five or ten minutes to see if that would happen.

I am curious, now. Was the above question a request for information, or
for something you could then sneer at or attack? You said

“The Powers-Marken tranquilizing philosophy–or religion?–is so
delicately contrived that, for the time being, it provides a gentle
pillow for the true believer from which he cannot easily be aroused. So
let him lie there.”

You seem to be in conflict about letting the true believer lie there, or
joining him.

Bill P.

David Goldstein (2003.11.27.954 EST)
[From Bruce Gregory (2003.11.27.0812)]

Hello Bruce,

I am not a modeler, but would still like to address your problem
situation. I am a clinical psychologist and try to help people resolve
internal conflicts all the time.

I don't think that you are describing a conflict situation. It does not
feel that way to me. I would guess that you think the conflict is to
brake or not brake. If the person brakes, the person will not get to
work on time and may lose his/her job. If the person does not brake, the
person may be in a fatal accident and may lose his/her life, which will
certainly lose the job through death. What is the conflict? It seems
that the choice is get to work late and alive or not get to work because
you are dead.

An internal conflict exists when a person wants to control a perception
in mutually incompatible ways. Who would give this situation even a
second thought? Would you feel a pull in the direction of continuing at
your current speed?

Also, you said something that I don't think is true, at least according
to my understanding of PCT. I don't think the the Reoganization System,
which contains innate(genetic), biological control systems that regulate
chemical and physiological goals, sets any particular goals at the
systems level. My understanding is that it controls something like total
error signals in the perceptual control system hierarchy, and has no
knowledge of what the error signals mean. I think that Bill Powers is
working on a model of this situation and will make it available on
CSGnet in the near future.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and all our Listmates.
David
David M. Goldstein, Ph.D.

···

-----Original Message-----
From: Control Systems Group Network (CSGnet)
[mailto:CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu] On Behalf Of Bruce Gregory
Sent: Thursday, November 27, 2003 8:15 AM
To: CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu
Subject: Re: Conflict in HPCT

[From Bruce Gregory (2003.11.27.0812)]

One more try. No "model." A few simple questions. My foot is on the
accelerator maintaining 75 mph. The reference level for the location and
position of my foot is established by a higher level perceptual control
system for "getting to work." This reference in turn is established by a
still higher-level control system "keep my job." This reference level is
established in terms of intrinsic survival goals. A car unexpectedly
cuts in front of me. I slam on the brakes.

According to HPCT, does a conflict exist?
If so, how does this conflict get resolved
If not, why not?

Happy Thanksgiving.

Bruce Gregory

[From Dick Robertson,2003,11.27.0953CST]

Bruce Gregory wrote:

[From Bruce Gregory (2003.11.27.0812)]

One more try. No "model." A few simple questions. My foot is on the
accelerator maintaining 75 mph. The reference level for the location
and position of my foot is established by a higher level perceptual
control system for "getting to work." This reference in turn is
established by a still higher-level control system "keep my job." This
reference level is established in terms of intrinsic survival goals. A
car unexpectedly cuts in front of me. I slam on the brakes.

According to HPCT, does a conflict exist?
If so, how does this conflict get resolved
If not, why not?

Happy Thanksgiving.

Bruce Gregory

One theoretical answer: The control system "getting to work" could be
considered a Program in HPCT terminology. In terms of HPCT theory it
would be controlled by a Principle level system, that you have named,
"keep my job." So far so good. But presumably other Principle level
systems are also functioning, say one you could call, "Exercise due
caution, "(or something on that order) . This one might incur an
increasing error signal when the brakelights flash on ahead, resulting in
decreasing strength of the virtual reference to the program level (from
the combination of all higher level contributions to the RS to the
Program), cascading down to the Relationship or Event control of foot
position and pressure, etc.

True there might be a momentary increase of error in the "keep my job"
Principle,
and maybe even other Principles involved in the RS to "getting to work,"
all of which should be instantly adjusted by a System level system (maybe
a little harder to name, how about "My organization as a person"?) to keep
giving priority to the caution input to the program while the red lights
continue. (See Bill's and Rick's demos of how multiple higher order
outputs combine as virtual RS to a lower order system.)

Does this help?

Best, Dick R.

from [Marc Abrams (2003.11.27.1117)]

David Goldstein (2003.11.27.954 EST)

I am not a modeler, ...

But that was _specifically_ what Bruce was asking about.

but would still like to address your problem
situation. I am a clinical psychologist and try to help people resolve
internal conflicts all the time.

Bruce's 'problem' was that the hierarchy could not predict what actually
happens in that situation.

David, I'm not attacking you or your work here, I think your post represents
what I call the 'PCT illusion'.

The PCT illusion is _very_ useful and quite helpful to many. The MOL is in
the category.

The PCT illusion is that most things _retrospectively_ can be explained
using _some_ kind of hierarchy and a control model. The devil though is in
the details (model). A good scientific model should be predictive. That is,
it should explain how things work _before_ they happen. Currently the HPCT
hierarchy cannot do this. So what we wind up with is the illusion that the
current HPCT model works. We assume that since we can explain an event in
terms of PCT with some undefined hierarchy that seems to fit (no argument
from me on either) that the _current_ model works as postulated.

Marc

[David Goldstein (2003.11.27.1209)]
[Marc Abrams (2003.11.27.1117)]

Marc,

Look at Bruce's last post. It starts off with something like "Models
aside..." And then it goes on to ask some questions about internal
conflict.

Both Richard Robertson and I, both of whom work with real conflicts in
real people, gave our answers. Richard Robertson actually gave a better
answer in terms of the current PCT model. It is not a conflct.

Bill Powers gave his theoretical answer and referred to some
demonstrations he has created to illustrate his points.

The problem situation was about the brake/no brake situation. Is this a
conflict? The answer from a clinical and theoretical perspective was no.

If I understand what you are saying, you are saying that PCT is all
post-hoc. Tom Bourbon did a demonstration one time in which he predicted
a person's behavior on a tracking task one year later.

The behavioral illusion refers to something different than what you seem
to mean. Take the knee jerk reflex to a rubber mallet stimulus. It looks
like the hammer hitting the knee cap causes the relex response. Bill
Powers has shown how this is an illusion. The control systems involved
are responsible. Without the control systems present, there would be no
knee jerk reflex. The hammer stimulus is a disturbance. If the control
systems were not controlling the variables they are, the hammer
stimulus, would not cause the knee jerk reflex.

As Bill Powers pointed out, the decision to stay on this list/or not
stay on the list comes much closer to a real life conflict. Something
pulls you to stay on the list. Other things push you to go off the list
and start your own list.

Why don't you try to model that conflict? See if you can come up with a
predictive model which predicts when you will stay on and when you will
go off. Consider this to be a challenge. If you need any help with this,
I am sure that Bill Powers and Rick Marken would be glad to help.

David
David M. Goldstein, Ph.D.

···

-----Original Message-----
From: Control Systems Group Network (CSGnet)
[mailto:CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu] On Behalf Of Marc Abrams
Sent: Thursday, November 27, 2003 11:42 AM
To: CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu
Subject: Re: Conflict in HPCT

From [Marc Abrams (2003.11.27.1117)]

David Goldstein (2003.11.27.954 EST)

I am not a modeler, ...

But that was _specifically_ what Bruce was asking about.

but would still like to address your problem
situation. I am a clinical psychologist and try to help people resolve

internal conflicts all the time.

Bruce's 'problem' was that the hierarchy could not predict what actually
happens in that situation.

David, I'm not attacking you or your work here, I think your post
represents what I call the 'PCT illusion'.

The PCT illusion is _very_ useful and quite helpful to many. The MOL is
in the category.

The PCT illusion is that most things _retrospectively_ can be explained
using _some_ kind of hierarchy and a control model. The devil though is
in the details (model). A good scientific model should be predictive.
That is, it should explain how things work _before_ they happen.
Currently the HPCT hierarchy cannot do this. So what we wind up with is
the illusion that the current HPCT model works. We assume that since we
can explain an event in terms of PCT with some undefined hierarchy that
seems to fit (no argument from me on either) that the _current_ model
works as postulated.

Marc