Control of perception, PCT research

[From Rick Marken (941020.1430)] --

Tom Bourbon (941017.1359) --

Bruce, I think Rick has left town for a few days, so you probably won't see
a reply from him until later in the week. When he returns, he can correct
me if need be, but I believe Rick would reply that the system does not
"respond to" any perceptual signal, whether of X or any other variable.

Deprivation is probably a disturbance to perceptions of variables specified
by intrinsic reference signals,

This is almost errie (how appropriate for Halloween). Tom commented on the
two points in Bruce Abbott's (941017.0900 EST) post on which I was going to
comment but didn't have time because I had to rush off; and Tom said exactly
what I was going to say -- only better, of course. Thanks, Tom.

PS. I have it on good authority (Tom's) that Tom has not been flooded out by
the Texas floods.

Martin Taylor (941017 16:15) --

I propose that you treat the LM [Bill's Little Man model] as an unknown test
subject, and see if you can determine the various controlled perceptions.

Great idea! Why don't you supply the code that allows the testing to be done.
The questions you ask cannot be answered unless the person can apply all
kinds of different disturbances to the hypothetical controlled vaiables. It
would also help to have a handy way to compare the behavior of the LM to the
behavior of a model of the LM that can be easily changed. I was able to
determine that people control in Cartesean rather than polar coordinates, for
example, because I compared their response to a one dimensional disturbance
in a two dimensional tracking task to that of a model that was controlling in
Cartesean vs polar coordinates.

Martin Taylor (941018 09:00)--

Your answers to Tom Bourbon's (941013.1359) questions

1. What, in _your_ opinion, is the aim of PCT research?

2. What do you think of as comprising "PCT research," that it would have
that aim, or those aims?

don't say much about how to go about studying living control systems. You
may want to be a "pure theorist" but, remember, even Isaac Newton did
experiments. Moreover, he spent a LOT of time comparing observations that had
already been made by others to the predictioins of his model. Ultimately,
theory doesn't count for much unless it accounts for observations.

The conventional theory includes the definitions of the 11 levels (about
some of which, as you probably are aware, I remain sceptical, and which
Bill P. often refers to as being tentative).

Skeptical, schmeptical. If you don't test you skepticism with observation,
who in the world cares whether you're skeptical or not?

Tom asks:

Do you think Rick (or Bill Powers or I or any other person who has actually
done the test and modeled the results) believes that once a CV is
identified, it must ever after remain the same?

Martin replies:

I have never thought that about you or Bill P., but Rick's language has
left me sometimes wondering about him. And I don't really believe it of
him. What I do think is that he wants newcomers to CSG-L to believe it.

Why would I want newcomers to "believe" that? The fact is that the simplest
way to study control is to study it one controlled variable at a time. This
is my message: start simple. It is often surprising how much apparently
complex behavior can be explained by a model that controls just one variable
(as will be revealed, I am sure, by the results of our simulations of operant

But, tell us (when you get back) Martin: what do YOU want newcomers to CSG- L
to believe about how to test and model control?