Controlling Sequences and Programs

[Bruce Nevin 2018-02-15_07:45:47 ET]

Given an initial state (a red or blue square or circle in one of the four positions on the circle), the structure of the program that is running in the computer may perhaps be stated as follows:

while i < runtime do

 If shape=circleÂ

then colornext=blue

 else colornext=red

 if even(getrandom)Â

then shape=square

 else shape=circle

 fi

 position=position+1

 paint shape at position

 i=i+1

done

(The fi marks the scope of the if, just as done marks the scope of the while loop, as in UNIX shell scripting.)

Given the instructions about the program and the initial state, the program I learn to control may be stated as follows:

while colored shapes are being displayed do

 if {sequence shape=circle then colornext=redÂ

or sequence shape=square then colornext=blue}

 then perceive a bar press

 fi

done

“Perceive a bar press” is a reference signal to control lower-level perceptions.Â

To the observer with inside knowledge of the computer program, it certainly looks as though I am controlling a perception of the computer program, but I am not.

I believe the same behavior could result from controlling the following two sequences concurrently:

square then blue then press

circle then red then press

Whenever the input functions of either of these sequence-control systems successfully controls the requisite perceptual inputs for the first two terms of the sequence it proceeds to control the third term of the sequence. Difficulty controlling two disparate sequences simultaneously will surely hamper performance at higher rates of changing the display.

I have not invested the practice time to test this belief.Â

···

On Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 6:04 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[Rick Marken 2018-02-12_15:04:18]

Eetu Pikkarainen (2018-02-12_11:46:55 UTC)–

Â

EP: Sorry, I seem not to have patience enough - 1,5 min is too long for meÂ

 RM: I understand. I do think it might be worth it to try, though.Â

EP: But more seriously I feel that the concept of sequence is problematic for me here. The program can continue the whole time but isn’t the sequence always only three events long.

RM: Yes.Â

Â

EP: So to
control these sequences I must keep counting 1,2,3 again and again.

RM: Yes, I do that too; or I say “small, medium, large, small, medium…”. There is a lot of cognitive activity going on when I control the sequence or the program perception; apparently this is part of process involved in perceiving sequences and programs. It may be a feature rather than a bug.

Â

EP: If I miss one event from counting then the sequence changes to
“medium”, “large”, “small”.

RM: Yes, but I do think we are able to perceive (and thus control for) repeating sequences even when there is no demarcation of the beginning and end of the sequence. This certainly happens with speech sequences, where there is often no acoustical marker (like a pause) signaling the beginning and end of phoneme sequences that make up words. I can control the sequence pretty easily in that demo; with some practice I’m sure you could learn to do it too.Â

EP: And I confuse the counting every time I must press space bar. Should there be some mark for beginning of every sequence?

RM: I don’t think so. Try controlling the sequence at the “Slow” rate before moving on to the “Medium” rate. Don’t give up. The pay-off will be experiencing two of the more “cognitive” types of perceptual variable that Bill Powers discussed in B:CP: sequence and program.Â

Best

Rick

Â

Â

Eetu

Â

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2018 4:09 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: Controlling Sequences and Programs

Â

[Rick Marken 2018-02-10_18:08:32]

Â

RM: Based on some of Bruce’s comments I’ve put up what I think is an improved version of the sequence/program control demo at:Â

Â

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

RM: The easiest change was to have the shapes appear sequentially in different random positions along the central horizontal axis of the display. Somewhat more difficult was to tidy up some things that weren’t quite right. One was making sure that the computation
of the measure of control (proportion of trial on target) gave the right result. Now it should be true that if you are unable to control either the sequence or the program (as should be the case at the “Fast” display rate) the proportion of the trial on target
for both variables should be ~0.5.

Â

RM: If you can control the sequence but not the program (as should be the case at the “Medium” display rate) then the
proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the sequence should be >0.8 for the sequence and ~0.5 for the program; and the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are unsuccessfully controlling the program should by ~0.5 for
both the program and the sequence.

Â

RM: And if you can control both the sequence and the program (as should be the case at the “Slow” display rate) then the proportion
of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the sequence should be >0.8 for the sequence and ~0.5 for the program; and the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the program should be should be >0.8 for the program
and ~0.5 for the sequence.Â

Â

RM: And I’ve cut down the time per trial from 2 to 1 1/2 minutes. But it’s still a pretty demanding task.Â

Â

Eetu Pikkarainen (2018-02-09_07:02:19 UTC)Â

Â

EP: Bruce, I think that you (like I) are controlling both programs 1 and 2. Program 1 is the main perception to be controlled but in addition to that we control
also 2.

Â

RM: If that were the case, then wouldn’t it also be the case for the sequence? Sequence 1 would be the main one (small, medium, large) and sequence 2 would be (small, large, medium, press; small, medium large, don’t press).
I agree that program 1 is the main program controlled when you are controlling the program perception but I don’t think program 2 is actually a controlled perception. If you try to build a model of what you are doing in this demo I think you will find that
the bar press has to be the output that is used to keep the “main” program perception under control. Same with control of the sequence; the bar press is not part of the main sequence perception that is controlled; it is the means by which you keep that perception
under control.Â

Â

RM: But, again, the main point of this demo is to show what we mean in PCT when we hypothesize that a program (or sequence) of events (including one’s own actions) is a
type of perceptual variable that is controlled.Â

Â

Martin Taylor (2018.02.09.17.28)–

Â

RM: Did no one try this?

Â

MT: I did, briefly, but I figured it would take many hours of practice to allow my hierarchy to reorganize to the point where I would
be testing the hierarchic levels rather than conscious perception, and I didn’t think I had the time to spare. But it’s a neat idea. How long did it take you to reorganize so that you were no longer controlling conscious perceptions? If it wasn’t as long as
I imagine, I might try again.

Â

RM: I don’t think you have to worry about whether this is “testing hierarchic levels rather than conscious perception”. I consider this demo to be an extension of Bill’s demonstration of the control of different types
of variables that can be found in “STEP H: BEYOND TRACKING” in Adam Matic’s phenomenally good javascript rewrites of Bill’s original Pascal demonstrations of PCT at:

Â

http://www.pct-labs.com/tutorial1/index.html

Â

RM: In STEP H you are given the option of controlling variables that include the relative size of two objects, the orientation of a shape, the shape of an object, the pitch of a sound and the size of a number. My demo
adds to this list a sequence of shape sizes  and a program of contingencies between shapes and colors.Â

Â

RM: I don’t think it takes that long to learn to control these variables; you should be able to do whatever reorganization is necessary for reasonably successful control after two or three trials in the “Slow” condition
(which I would suggest that everyone start with first).Â

Â

RM: It would be great if a number of you could do this demo and report the result (in terms of the proportion of a trial that the controlled variable – sequence or program – is kept on target when you try to control
these variables at the different display rates: Fast, Medium and Slow. Then maybe we could start discussing what the results mean and how to build a model – or, even better, a robot --Â that can imitate the behavior we see in this demo.Â

Â

Best regards

Â

Rick

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you

have nothing left to take away.�

                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Rick Marken 2018-02-15_10:37:34]

Bruce Nevin (2018-02-15_07:45:47 ET) --
BN: Given an initial state (a red or blue square or circle in one of the four positions on the circle), the structure of the program that is running in the computer may perhaps be stated as follows:
Â
while i < runtime do
 If shape=circleÂ
then colornext=blue
 else colornext=red
 if even(getrandom)Â
then shape=square
 else shape=circle
 fi
 position=position+1
 paint shape at position
 i=i+1
done

Â
RM: Not quite but irrelevant to the results.Â

BN: To the observer with inside knowledge of the computer program, it certainly looks as though I am controlling a perception of the computer program, but I am not.

RM: It looks like you are controlling a program because you are keeping the program happening, protected from disturbances. I don't know why you want to imagine that you are not controlling a program. But if you are keeping the program "on target" more than 80% of the time then you are controlling a program.Â
Â

BN: I believe the same behavior could result from controlling the following two sequences concurrently:

square then blue then press

circle then red then press

 RM: Those are "if-then" contingencies, not sequences; you just left off the "ifs" at the beginning.

BN: Whenever the input functions of either of these sequence-control systems successfully controls the requisite perceptual inputs for the first two terms of the sequence it proceeds to control the third term of the sequence. Difficulty controlling two disparate sequences simultaneously will surely hamper performance at higher rates of changing the display.

BN: I have not invested the practice time to test this belief.Â

RM: Good decision; it would be a terrible waste of time. I think it would be much better to spend the time reading the section of B:CP on the coin game (pp. 236-238 in the 2nd edition). Then you would see that we are in the position of the E and S in that game. The E concludes that S is controlling for the letter N while S protests that he was controlling for the letter Z. As Bill says "If they are both word oriented types, E and S may argue about whose definition is the "right" one, forgetting that E has discovered what S was in fact controlling, whatever either of them like to call it". The demo shows that you are controlling for what I call a program: if circle then blue else red. You like to call it a sequence. But whatever you call it, when the on target score for what I call "program" goes above 80% I know that you are controlling for "if circle then blue else red".

Best
Rick
 >

[Rick Marken 2018-02-12_15:04:18]

Eetu Pikkarainen (2018-02-12_11:46:55 UTC)--

Â

EP: Sorry, I seem not to have patience enough - 1,5 min is too long for meÂ

 RM: I understand. I do think it might be worth it to try, though.Â

EP: But more seriously I feel that the concept of sequence is problematic for me here. The program can continue the whole time but isn’t the sequence always only three events long.

RM: Yes.Â

Â

EP: So to control these sequences I must keep counting 1,2,3 again and again.

RM: Yes, I do that too; or I say "small, medium, large, small, medium...". There is a lot of cognitive activity going on when I control the sequence or the program perception; apparently this is part of process involved in perceiving sequences and programs. It may be a feature rather than a bug.

Â

EP: If I miss one event from counting then the sequence changes to "medium", "large", "small".

RM: Yes, but I do think we are able to perceive (and thus control for) repeating sequences even when there is no demarcation of the beginning and end of the sequence. This certainly happens with speech sequences, where there is often no acoustical marker (like a pause) signaling the beginning and end of phoneme sequences that make up words. I can control the sequence pretty easily in that demo; with some practice I'm sure you could learn to do it too.Â

EP: And I confuse the counting every time I must press space bar. Should there be some mark for beginning of every sequence?

RM: I don't think so. Try controlling the sequence at the "Slow" rate before moving on to the "Medium" rate. Don't give up. The pay-off will be experiencing two of the more "cognitive" types of perceptual variable that Bill Powers discussed in B:CP: sequence and program.Â
Best
Rick
 >>>

Â

Eetu

Â

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com>rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2018 4:09 AM
To: <mailto:csgnet@lists.illinois.edu>csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: Controlling Sequences and Programs

Â

[Rick Marken 2018-02-10_18:08:32]

Â

RM: Based on some of Bruce's comments I've put up what I think is an improved version of the sequence/program control demo at:Â

Â

<https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mindreadings.com%2FControlDemo%2FProgramControl.html&data=02|01||d1c2ab52ea834f30a10308d570f47e19|9f9ce49a51014aa38c750d5935ad6525|0|0|636539117779959700&sdata=5LS4uXUiJxa%2ByyxmNc1J4VNJC9MgccYUj79gLgt%2Bo5g%3D&reserved=0>>>> http://www.mindreadings.com/ControlDemo/ProgramControl.html

RM: The easiest change was to have the shapes appear sequentially in different random positions along the central horizontal axis of the display. Somewhat more difficult was to tidy up some things that weren't quite right. One was making sure that the computation of the measure of control (proportion of trial on target) gave the right result. Now it should be true that if you are unable to control either the sequence or the program (as should be the case at the "Fast" display rate) the proportion of the trial on target for both variables should be ~0.5.

Â

RM: If you can control the sequence but not the program (as should be the case at the "Medium" display rate) then the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the sequence should be >0.8 for the sequence and ~0.5 for the program; and the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are unsuccessfully controlling the program should by ~0.5 for both the program and the sequence.

Â

RM: And if you can control both the sequence and the program (as should be the case at the "Slow" display rate) then the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the sequence should be >0.8 for the sequence and ~0.5 for the program; and the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the program should be should be >0.8 for the program and ~0.5 for the sequence.Â

Â

RM: And I've cut down the time per trial from 2 to 1 1/2 minutes. But it's still a pretty demanding task.Â

Â

Eetu Pikkarainen (2018-02-09_07:02:19 UTC)Â

Â

EP: Bruce, I think that you (like I) are controlling both programs 1 and 2. Program 1 is the main perception to be controlled but in addition to that we control also 2.

Â

RM: If that were the case, then wouldn't it also be the case for the sequence? Sequence 1 would be the main one (small, medium, large) and sequence 2 would be (small, large, medium, press; small, medium large, don't press). I agree that program 1 is the main program controlled when you are controlling the program perception but I don't think program 2 is actually a controlled perception. If you try to build a model of what you are doing in this demo I think you will find that the bar press has to be the output that is used to keep the "main" program perception under control. Same with control of the sequence; the bar press is not part of the main sequence perception that is controlled; it is the means by which you keep that perception under control.Â

Â

RM: But, again, the main point of this demo is to show what we mean in PCT when we hypothesize that a program (or sequence) of events (including one's own actions) is a type of perceptual variable that is controlled.Â

Â

Martin Taylor (2018.02.09.17.28)--

Â

RM: Did no one try this?

Â

MT: I did, briefly, but I figured it would take many hours of practice to allow my hierarchy to reorganize to the point where I would be testing the hierarchic levels rather than conscious perception, and I didn't think I had the time to spare. But it's a neat idea. How long did it take you to reorganize so that you were no longer controlling conscious perceptions? If it wasn't as long as I imagine, I might try again.

Â

RM: I don't think you have to worry about whether this is "testing hierarchic levels rather than conscious perception". I consider this demo to be an extension of Bill's demonstration of the control of different types of variables that can be found in "STEP H: BEYOND TRACKING" in Adam Matic's phenomenally good javascript rewrites of Bill's original Pascal demonstrations of PCT at:

Â

<https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pct-labs.com%2Ftutorial1%2Findex.html&data=02|01||d1c2ab52ea834f30a10308d570f47e19|9f9ce49a51014aa38c750d5935ad6525|0|0|636539117779959700&sdata=VYs%2FT%2F4Pr%2BvoKrKhm4DdANQUE%2FFuvNUW%2F%2FbCi4V66n4%3D&reserved=0>>>> http://www.pct-labs.com/tutorial1/index.html

Â

RM: In STEP H you are given the option of controlling variables that include the relative size of two objects, the orientation of a shape, the shape of an object, the pitch of a sound and the size of a number. My demo adds to this list a sequence of shape sizes  and a program of contingencies between shapes and colors.Â

Â

RM: I don't think it takes that long to learn to control these variables; you should be able to do whatever reorganization is necessary for reasonably successful control after two or three trials in the "Slow" condition (which I would suggest that everyone start with first).Â

Â

RM: It would be great if a number of you could do this demo and report the result (in terms of the proportion of a trial that the controlled variable -- sequence or program -- is kept on target when you try to control these variables at the different display rates: Fast, Medium and Slow. Then maybe we could start discussing what the results mean and how to build a model -- or, even better, a robot -- that can imitate the behavior we see in this demo.Â

Â

Best regards

Â

Rick

--

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

--
Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you

···

On Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 6:04 PM, Richard Marken <<mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com>rsmarken@gmail.com> wrote:

have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

--
Richard S. MarkenÂ
"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Bruce Nevin 2018-02-16_12:27:28 ET]

RM:Â

RM: It looks like you are controlling a program because you are keeping the program happening, protected from disturbances. I don’t know why you want to imagine that you are not controlling a program. But if you are keeping the program “on target” more than 80% of the time then you are controlling a program.Â

Well, yes. I was controlling a perception of a program as means of controlling a perception of succeeding at your demo. But what program? And did I continue controlling the program after I figured out what to do?

To control a perception of succeeding at your demo I attempted to follow the instructions. The instructions describe what your program is doing, and then say if it starts doing something else press the spacebar to get it to resume executing that program. The program is described as

“if the shape is circle, the next color is blue; else, the next color is red”

The interpretation is that I perceive when the program is running and when it is not. I found it not a simple matter to recognize when the program is running. I have described how I used verbal ‘training wheels’, saying “blue next” when I saw a circle. And then after a delay adding “red next” when I saw a square, so I was controlling both “circle-blue” and “square-red”.Â

As my performance improved, it seemed to me that I was controlling sequence perceptions: a circle-blue sequence and a square-red sequence. A bit tricky, controlling two contra-related sequences concurrently.

You reply “No, those aren’t sequences, those are if-then contingencies. You just left of the ‘if’.” But then you say it’s just a matter of our using different words, drawing an analogy to the coin game illustration in B:CP.

Then you would see that we are in the position of the E and S in that game. The E concludes that S is controlling for the letter N while S protests that he was controlling for the letter Z. As Bill says “If they are both word oriented types, E and S may argue about whose definition is the “right” one, forgetting that E has discovered what S was in fact controlling, whatever either of them like to call it”. The demo shows that you are controlling for what I call a program: if circle then blue else red. You like to call it a sequence. But whatever you call it, when the on target score for what I call “program” goes above 80% I know that you are controlling for “if circle then blue else red”.

Z and N are the same configuration with a different angular rotation, and there are well-established and well-practiced input functions for both those configurations, and, obviously, both are at the same level of the perceptual hierarchy.Â

Here’s another program that I should do the same thing:

color=red

while i<121 do

  if odd(random) then

  paint(circle, color)

  color=blue

  else

  paint(square, color)

  color=red

  fi

  i=i+1

done

The only contingency is to determine whether to paint a circle or a square as determined by a random number generator. I don’t know which program is running in the computer. So implement that, use a random process to run first one and then the other, and see if you can perceive the program that is running.

But I don’t need to generate the series of colored shapes, nor do I need to recognize what program is running. I only need to press the spacebar when I perceive either of two sequences:

a circle followed by a red shape

a square followed by a blue shape

So that’s all I look for to exercise the demo. I just need those two sequence-level input functions. Then the whack-a-mole sequences are

circle-red-bang!

square-blue-bang!

Sorry to be a bad student, but that’s what I’m actually doing. Having figured out how to work it, I’m neither perceiving nor controlling either of the above two programs.

···

On Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 1:37 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[Rick Marken 2018-02-15_10:37:34]

Bruce Nevin (2018-02-15_07:45:47 ET) –

BN: Given an initial state (a red or blue square or circle in one of the four positions on the circle), the structure of the program that is running in the computer may perhaps be stated as follows:

Â
while i < runtime do
 If shape=circleÂ
then colornext=blue
 else colornext=red
 if even(getrandom)Â
then shape=square
 else shape=circle
 fi
 position=position+1
 paint shape at position
 i=i+1
done
Â

RM: Not quite but irrelevant to the results.Â

BN: To the observer with inside knowledge of the computer program, it certainly looks as though I am controlling a perception of the computer program, but I am not.

RM: It looks like you are controlling a program because you are keeping the program happening, protected from disturbances. I don’t know why you want to imagine that you are not controlling a program. But if you are keeping the program “on target” more than 80% of the time then you are controlling a program.Â

Â

BN: I believe the same behavior could result from controlling the following two sequences concurrently:

square then blue then press

circle then red then press

 RM: Those are “if-then” contingencies, not sequences; you just left off the “ifs” at the beginning.

BN: Whenever the input functions of either of these sequence-control systems successfully controls the requisite perceptual inputs for the first two terms of the sequence it proceeds to control the third term of the sequence. Difficulty controlling two disparate sequences simultaneously will surely hamper performance at higher rates of changing the display.

BN: I have not invested the practice time to test this belief.Â

RM: Good decision; it would be a terrible waste of time. I think it would be much better to spend the time reading the section of B:CP on the coin game (pp. 236-238 in the 2nd edition). Then you would see that we are in the position of the E and S in that game. The E concludes that S is controlling for the letter N while S protests that he was controlling for the letter Z. As Bill says “If they are both word oriented types, E and S may argue about whose definition is the “right” one, forgetting that E has discovered what S was in fact controlling, whatever either of them like to call it”. The demo shows that you are controlling for what I call a program: if circle then blue else red. You like to call it a sequence. But whatever you call it, when the on target score for what I call “program” goes above 80% I know that you are controlling for “if circle then blue else red”.

Best

Rick

Â


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

On Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 6:04 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[Rick Marken 2018-02-12_15:04:18]

Eetu Pikkarainen (2018-02-12_11:46:55 UTC)–

Â

EP: Sorry, I seem not to have patience enough - 1,5 min is too long for meÂ

 RM: I understand. I do think it might be worth it to try, though.Â

EP: But more seriously I feel that the concept of sequence is problematic for me here. The program can continue the whole time but isn’t the sequence always only three events long.

RM: Yes.Â

Â

EP: So to
control these sequences I must keep counting 1,2,3 again and again.

RM: Yes, I do that too; or I say “small, medium, large, small, medium…”. There is a lot of cognitive activity going on when I control the sequence or the program perception; apparently this is part of process involved in perceiving sequences and programs. It may be a feature rather than a bug.

Â

EP: If I miss one event from counting then the sequence changes to
“medium”, “large”, “small”.

RM: Yes, but I do think we are able to perceive (and thus control for) repeating sequences even when there is no demarcation of the beginning and end of the sequence. This certainly happens with speech sequences, where there is often no acoustical marker (like a pause) signaling the beginning and end of phoneme sequences that make up words. I can control the sequence pretty easily in that demo; with some practice I’m sure you could learn to do it too.Â

EP: And I confuse the counting every time I must press space bar. Should there be some mark for beginning of every sequence?

RM: I don’t think so. Try controlling the sequence at the “Slow” rate before moving on to the “Medium” rate. Don’t give up. The pay-off will be experiencing two of the more “cognitive” types of perceptual variable that Bill Powers discussed in B:CP: sequence and program.Â

Best

Rick

Â

Â

Eetu

Â

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2018 4:09 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: Controlling Sequences and Programs

Â

[Rick Marken 2018-02-10_18:08:32]

Â

RM: Based on some of Bruce’s comments I’ve put up what I think is an improved version of the sequence/program control demo at:Â

Â

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

RM: The easiest change was to have the shapes appear sequentially in different random positions along the central horizontal axis of the display. Somewhat more difficult was to tidy up some things that weren’t quite right. One was making sure that the computation
of the measure of control (proportion of trial on target) gave the right result. Now it should be true that if you are unable to control either the sequence or the program (as should be the case at the “Fast” display rate) the proportion of the trial on target
for both variables should be ~0.5.

Â

RM: If you can control the sequence but not the program (as should be the case at the “Medium” display rate) then the
proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the sequence should be >0.8 for the sequence and ~0.5 for the program; and the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are unsuccessfully controlling the program should by ~0.5 for
both the program and the sequence.

Â

RM: And if you can control both the sequence and the program (as should be the case at the “Slow” display rate) then the proportion
of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the sequence should be >0.8 for the sequence and ~0.5 for the program; and the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the program should be should be >0.8 for the program
and ~0.5 for the sequence.Â

Â

RM: And I’ve cut down the time per trial from 2 to 1 1/2 minutes. But it’s still a pretty demanding task.Â

Â

Eetu Pikkarainen (2018-02-09_07:02:19 UTC)Â

Â

EP: Bruce, I think that you (like I) are controlling both programs 1 and 2. Program 1 is the main perception to be controlled but in addition to that we control
also 2.

Â

RM: If that were the case, then wouldn’t it also be the case for the sequence? Sequence 1 would be the main one (small, medium, large) and sequence 2 would be (small, large, medium, press; small, medium large, don’t press).
I agree that program 1 is the main program controlled when you are controlling the program perception but I don’t think program 2 is actually a controlled perception. If you try to build a model of what you are doing in this demo I think you will find that
the bar press has to be the output that is used to keep the “main” program perception under control. Same with control of the sequence; the bar press is not part of the main sequence perception that is controlled; it is the means by which you keep that perception
under control.Â

Â

RM: But, again, the main point of this demo is to show what we mean in PCT when we hypothesize that a program (or sequence) of events (including one’s own actions) is a
type of perceptual variable that is controlled.Â

Â

Martin Taylor (2018.02.09.17.28)–

Â

RM: Did no one try this?

Â

MT: I did, briefly, but I figured it would take many hours of practice to allow my hierarchy to reorganize to the point where I would
be testing the hierarchic levels rather than conscious perception, and I didn’t think I had the time to spare. But it’s a neat idea. How long did it take you to reorganize so that you were no longer controlling conscious perceptions? If it wasn’t as long as
I imagine, I might try again.

Â

RM: I don’t think you have to worry about whether this is “testing hierarchic levels rather than conscious perception”. I consider this demo to be an extension of Bill’s demonstration of the control of different types
of variables that can be found in “STEP H: BEYOND TRACKING” in Adam Matic’s phenomenally good javascript rewrites of Bill’s original Pascal demonstrations of PCT at:

Â

http://www.pct-labs.com/tutorial1/index.html

Â

RM: In STEP H you are given the option of controlling variables that include the relative size of two objects, the orientation of a shape, the shape of an object, the pitch of a sound and the size of a number. My demo
adds to this list a sequence of shape sizes  and a program of contingencies between shapes and colors.Â

Â

RM: I don’t think it takes that long to learn to control these variables; you should be able to do whatever reorganization is necessary for reasonably successful control after two or three trials in the “Slow” condition
(which I would suggest that everyone start with first).Â

Â

RM: It would be great if a number of you could do this demo and report the result (in terms of the proportion of a trial that the controlled variable – sequence or program – is kept on target when you try to control
these variables at the different display rates: Fast, Medium and Slow. Then maybe we could start discussing what the results mean and how to build a model – or, even better, a robot --Â that can imitate the behavior we see in this demo.Â

Â

Best regards

Â

Rick

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you

have nothing left to take away.�

                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Rick Marken 2018-02-16_18:30:16]

···

Bruce Nevin (2018-02-16_12:27:28 ET)–

RM: It looks like you are controlling a program because you are keeping the program happening, protected from disturbances. I don’t know why you want to imagine that you are not controlling a program. But if you are keeping the program “on target” more than 80% of the time then you are controlling a program.Â

BN: Well, yes. I was controlling a perception of a program as means of controlling a perception of succeeding at your demo. But what program? And did I continue controlling the program after I figured out what to do?

BN: To control a perception of succeeding at your demo I attempted to follow the instructions. The instructions describe what your program is doing, and then say if it starts doing something else press the spacebar to get it to resume executing that program. The program is described as

“if the shape is circle, the next color is blue; else, the next color is red”

BN: The interpretation is that I perceive when the program is running and when it is not. I found it not a simple matter to recognize when the program is running. I have described how I used verbal ‘training wheels’, saying “blue next” when I saw a circle. And then after a delay adding “red next” when I saw a square, so I was controlling both “circle-blue” and “square-red”.Â

BN: As my performance improved, it seemed to me that I was controlling sequence perceptions: a circle-blue sequence and a square-red sequence. A bit tricky, controlling two contra-related sequences concurrently.

BN: You reply “No, those aren’t sequences, those are if-then contingencies. You just left of the ‘if’.” But then you say it’s just a matter of our using different words, drawing an analogy to the coin game illustration in B:CP.

Then you would see that we are in the position of the E and S in that game. The E concludes that S is controlling for the letter N while S protests that he was controlling for the letter Z. As Bill says “If they are both word oriented types, E and S may argue about whose definition is the “right” one, forgetting that E has discovered what S was in fact controlling, whatever either of them like to call it”. The demo shows that you are controlling for what I call a program: if circle then blue else red. You like to call it a sequence. But whatever you call it, when the on target score for what I call “program” goes above 80% I know that you are controlling for “if circle then blue else red”.

BN: Z and N are the same configuration with a different angular rotation, and there are well-established and well-practiced input functions for both those configurations, and, obviously, both are at the same level of the perceptual hierarchy.Â

BN: Here’s another program that I should do the same thing:

color=red

while i<121 do

  if odd(random) then

  paint(circle, color)

  color=blue

  else

  paint(square, color)

  color=red

  fi

  i=i+1

done

BN: The only contingency is to determine whether to paint a circle or a square as determined by a random number generator. I don’t know which program is running in the computer. So implement that, use a random process to run first one and then the other, and see if you can perceive the program that is running.

BN: But I don’t need to generate the series of colored shapes, nor do I need to recognize what program is running. I only need to press the spacebar when I perceive either of two sequences:

a circle followed by a red shape

a square followed by a blue shape

BN: So that’s all I look for to exercise the demo. I just need those two sequence-level input functions. Then the whack-a-mole sequences are

circle-red-bang!

square-blue-bang!

BN: Sorry to be a bad student, but that’s what I’m actually doing. Having figured out how to work it, I’m neither perceiving nor controlling either of the above two programs.

RM: I really appreciate your comments. But before I try to answer them I would like to know what your point is. Is your point that we (or you) don’t control programs? Or is that that my demo doesn’t demonstrate control of programs very well? Or is it something else?

BestÂ

Rick

Â

On Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 1:37 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[Rick Marken 2018-02-15_10:37:34]

Bruce Nevin (2018-02-15_07:45:47 ET) –

BN: Given an initial state (a red or blue square or circle in one of the four positions on the circle), the structure of the program that is running in the computer may perhaps be stated as follows:

Â
while i < runtime do
 If shape=circleÂ
then colornext=blue
 else colornext=red
 if even(getrandom)Â
then shape=square
 else shape=circle
 fi
 position=position+1
 paint shape at position
 i=i+1
done
Â

RM: Not quite but irrelevant to the results.Â

BN: To the observer with inside knowledge of the computer program, it certainly looks as though I am controlling a perception of the computer program, but I am not.

RM: It looks like you are controlling a program because you are keeping the program happening, protected from disturbances. I don’t know why you want to imagine that you are not controlling a program. But if you are keeping the program “on target” more than 80% of the time then you are controlling a program.Â

Â

BN: I believe the same behavior could result from controlling the following two sequences concurrently:

square then blue then press

circle then red then press

 RM: Those are “if-then” contingencies, not sequences; you just left off the “ifs” at the beginning.

BN: Whenever the input functions of either of these sequence-control systems successfully controls the requisite perceptual inputs for the first two terms of the sequence it proceeds to control the third term of the sequence. Difficulty controlling two disparate sequences simultaneously will surely hamper performance at higher rates of changing the display.

BN: I have not invested the practice time to test this belief.Â

RM: Good decision; it would be a terrible waste of time. I think it would be much better to spend the time reading the section of B:CP on the coin game (pp. 236-238 in the 2nd edition). Then you would see that we are in the position of the E and S in that game. The E concludes that S is controlling for the letter N while S protests that he was controlling for the letter Z. As Bill says “If they are both word oriented types, E and S may argue about whose definition is the “right” one, forgetting that E has discovered what S was in fact controlling, whatever either of them like to call it”. The demo shows that you are controlling for what I call a program: if circle then blue else red. You like to call it a sequence. But whatever you call it, when the on target score for what I call “program” goes above 80% I know that you are controlling for “if circle then blue else red”.

Best

Rick

Â


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

On Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 6:04 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[Rick Marken 2018-02-12_15:04:18]

Eetu Pikkarainen (2018-02-12_11:46:55 UTC)–

Â

EP: Sorry, I seem not to have patience enough - 1,5 min is too long for meÂ

 RM: I understand. I do think it might be worth it to try, though.Â

EP: But more seriously I feel that the concept of sequence is problematic for me here. The program can continue the whole time but isn’t the sequence always only three events long.

RM: Yes.Â

Â

EP: So to
control these sequences I must keep counting 1,2,3 again and again.

RM: Yes, I do that too; or I say “small, medium, large, small, medium…”. There is a lot of cognitive activity going on when I control the sequence or the program perception; apparently this is part of process involved in perceiving sequences and programs. It may be a feature rather than a bug.

Â

EP: If I miss one event from counting then the sequence changes to
“medium”, “large”, “small”.

RM: Yes, but I do think we are able to perceive (and thus control for) repeating sequences even when there is no demarcation of the beginning and end of the sequence. This certainly happens with speech sequences, where there is often no acoustical marker (like a pause) signaling the beginning and end of phoneme sequences that make up words. I can control the sequence pretty easily in that demo; with some practice I’m sure you could learn to do it too.Â

EP: And I confuse the counting every time I must press space bar. Should there be some mark for beginning of every sequence?

RM: I don’t think so. Try controlling the sequence at the “Slow” rate before moving on to the “Medium” rate. Don’t give up. The pay-off will be experiencing two of the more “cognitive” types of perceptual variable that Bill Powers discussed in B:CP: sequence and program.Â

Best

Rick

Â

Â

Eetu

Â

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2018 4:09 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: Controlling Sequences and Programs

Â

[Rick Marken 2018-02-10_18:08:32]

Â

RM: Based on some of Bruce’s comments I’ve put up what I think is an improved version of the sequence/program control demo at:Â

Â

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

RM: The easiest change was to have the shapes appear sequentially in different random positions along the central horizontal axis of the display. Somewhat more difficult was to tidy up some things that weren’t quite right. One was making sure that the computation
of the measure of control (proportion of trial on target) gave the right result. Now it should be true that if you are unable to control either the sequence or the program (as should be the case at the “Fast” display rate) the proportion of the trial on target
for both variables should be ~0.5.

Â

RM: If you can control the sequence but not the program (as should be the case at the “Medium” display rate) then the
proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the sequence should be >0.8 for the sequence and ~0.5 for the program; and the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are unsuccessfully controlling the program should by ~0.5 for
both the program and the sequence.

Â

RM: And if you can control both the sequence and the program (as should be the case at the “Slow” display rate) then the proportion
of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the sequence should be >0.8 for the sequence and ~0.5 for the program; and the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the program should be should be >0.8 for the program
and ~0.5 for the sequence.Â

Â

RM: And I’ve cut down the time per trial from 2 to 1 1/2 minutes. But it’s still a pretty demanding task.Â

Â

Eetu Pikkarainen (2018-02-09_07:02:19 UTC)Â

Â

EP: Bruce, I think that you (like I) are controlling both programs 1 and 2. Program 1 is the main perception to be controlled but in addition to that we control
also 2.

Â

RM: If that were the case, then wouldn’t it also be the case for the sequence? Sequence 1 would be the main one (small, medium, large) and sequence 2 would be (small, large, medium, press; small, medium large, don’t press).
I agree that program 1 is the main program controlled when you are controlling the program perception but I don’t think program 2 is actually a controlled perception. If you try to build a model of what you are doing in this demo I think you will find that
the bar press has to be the output that is used to keep the “main” program perception under control. Same with control of the sequence; the bar press is not part of the main sequence perception that is controlled; it is the means by which you keep that perception
under control.Â

Â

RM: But, again, the main point of this demo is to show what we mean in PCT when we hypothesize that a program (or sequence) of events (including one’s own actions) is a
type of perceptual variable that is controlled.Â

Â

Martin Taylor (2018.02.09.17.28)–

Â

RM: Did no one try this?

Â

MT: I did, briefly, but I figured it would take many hours of practice to allow my hierarchy to reorganize to the point where I would
be testing the hierarchic levels rather than conscious perception, and I didn’t think I had the time to spare. But it’s a neat idea. How long did it take you to reorganize so that you were no longer controlling conscious perceptions? If it wasn’t as long as
I imagine, I might try again.

Â

RM: I don’t think you have to worry about whether this is “testing hierarchic levels rather than conscious perception”. I consider this demo to be an extension of Bill’s demonstration of the control of different types
of variables that can be found in “STEP H: BEYOND TRACKING” in Adam Matic’s phenomenally good javascript rewrites of Bill’s original Pascal demonstrations of PCT at:

Â

http://www.pct-labs.com/tutorial1/index.html

Â

RM: In STEP H you are given the option of controlling variables that include the relative size of two objects, the orientation of a shape, the shape of an object, the pitch of a sound and the size of a number. My demo
adds to this list a sequence of shape sizes  and a program of contingencies between shapes and colors.Â

Â

RM: I don’t think it takes that long to learn to control these variables; you should be able to do whatever reorganization is necessary for reasonably successful control after two or three trials in the “Slow” condition
(which I would suggest that everyone start with first).Â

Â

RM: It would be great if a number of you could do this demo and report the result (in terms of the proportion of a trial that the controlled variable – sequence or program – is kept on target when you try to control
these variables at the different display rates: Fast, Medium and Slow. Then maybe we could start discussing what the results mean and how to build a model – or, even better, a robot --Â that can imitate the behavior we see in this demo.Â

Â

Best regards

Â

Rick

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you

have nothing left to take away.�

                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I think the point is that you can’t tell what someone is doing by watching what they’re doing. ;->Â But to be less flip about it, w
hen I am controlling a perception of program A, System B that perceives the program and perhaps controls its perception of the program (at least to the extent of “is it running or not”) is distinct from program A, the program that I am perceiving, andÂ
the real problem is that System B is controlling perceptions of the output of program A. Is System B executing the relevant if-then expression from program A (“square – if square then red – is the next shape red?”)? Only long enough to figure out the practicable cue-and-response sequences. During the learning phase System C uses programmatic control to analyse the consequences of the program structure (which was a given, in the instructions) and extract those criterial cues: if square, then red; if circle, then blue.

When I perform your demo, what I am controlling is a predictable sequence-pattern of shapes and colors. There’s more than one way to recognize the pattern so that I can press the spacebar when the pattern fails to occur. There’s more than one way to recognize it because there’s more than one way to generate it, or to generate a pattern that mimics it closely enough to serve the purpose. Maybe there’s more than one if-then program that would produce that observed pattern. The one that I offered might qualify. As a limiting case there’s a simple computer program which mimics the behavior but doesn’t involve if then " contingencies: a list of colored shapes which for a sufficient duration mimics output of the program (admitting no circle followed by red or square followed by blue), a second list that doesn’t comply, a random switching from one list to the other, and reversion to the ‘correct’ list with a bar press.Â

So as I said, what I think I am doing is recognizing and being alert for the two ‘fail’ sequences, circle followed by red color or square followed by blue color. That can be expressed by the program expressionÂ

if sequence (circle, red)Â

 or

  sequence (square, blue)

 then press

fi

To get there, I did indeed start by controlling a perception of the program that the computer is running to generate the changing shapes and colors, which was enabled by controlling perceptions of your description of that program. But I very quickly transformed that into a description of an algorithm for what I needed to do. While I am executing that algorithm, I am no longer controlling a perception of the program that the computer is running. Nor am I running if-then expressions from that program. I’ve reduced it to a level where I can control the inputs more efficiently–the sequence level.

Back to the core problem: you want to demonstrate that I am perceiving a program and controlling whether it is operating or not, but maybe you’re only demonstrating that I am perceiving criterial aspects of its output that indicate when it has stopped operating. I control those criterial perceptions so that I can intervene and start it again. Sort of like watching an assembly line, alert for known anomalies. The guy on the line might be the manager who knows how the line operates, or he might be Charlie Chaplin’s character just looking for the twisted widget. You can’t tell what he’s doing just by watching what he’s doing.Â

You want to demonstrate that we control program perceptions. Clearly we control with program perceptions. (Generally, we do this to figure something out.) And clearly we control program perceptions from a higher level or from within another program, in the sense of selecting the appropriate program to use for present purposes. But you have set this up as a problem of recognizing when another entity is or is not running a specified program. You want us to be the manager watching the doofus on the assembly line. Prior to the demo we are given a description of the program. From this we can figure out how we can tell when it is not running. The criteria by which we perceive that it has stopped running are not themselves perceptions of a program, they are perceptible features of the output of the program. To figure out those criteria we had to apply programmatic control to a perception of the program running in the computer. For that process, your demo does demonstrate control of the perception of the program as described, or so I think. But during the running of the demo a high score does not indicate that I was currently controlling that perception. It does indicate that my analysis was correct, i.e. arrived at the necessary criteria to perceive and control. But I could have arrived at it from the description of a different computer program with similar output.

···

On Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 9:32 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[Rick Marken 2018-02-16_18:30:16]

Bruce Nevin (2018-02-16_12:27:28 ET)–

RM: It looks like you are controlling a program because you are keeping the program happening, protected from disturbances. I don’t know why you want to imagine that you are not controlling a program. But if you are keeping the program “on target” more than 80% of the time then you are controlling a program.Â

BN: Well, yes. I was controlling a perception of a program as means of controlling a perception of succeeding at your demo. But what program? And did I continue controlling the program after I figured out what to do?

BN: To control a perception of succeeding at your demo I attempted to follow the instructions. The instructions describe what your program is doing, and then say if it starts doing something else press the spacebar to get it to resume executing that program. The program is described as

“if the shape is circle, the next color is blue; else, the next color is red”

BN: The interpretation is that I perceive when the program is running and when it is not. I found it not a simple matter to recognize when the program is running. I have described how I used verbal ‘training wheels’, saying “blue next” when I saw a circle. And then after a delay adding “red next” when I saw a square, so I was controlling both “circle-blue” and “square-red”.Â

BN: As my performance improved, it seemed to me that I was controlling sequence perceptions: a circle-blue sequence and a square-red sequence. A bit tricky, controlling two contra-related sequences concurrently.

BN: You reply “No, those aren’t sequences, those are if-then contingencies. You just left of the ‘if’.” But then you say it’s just a matter of our using different words, drawing an analogy to the coin game illustration in B:CP.

Then you would see that we are in the position of the E and S in that game. The E concludes that S is controlling for the letter N while S protests that he was controlling for the letter Z. As Bill says “If they are both word oriented types, E and S may argue about whose definition is the “right” one, forgetting that E has discovered what S was in fact controlling, whatever either of them like to call it”. The demo shows that you are controlling for what I call a program: if circle then blue else red. You like to call it a sequence. But whatever you call it, when the on target score for what I call “program” goes above 80% I know that you are controlling for “if circle then blue else red”.

BN: Z and N are the same configuration with a different angular rotation, and there are well-established and well-practiced input functions for both those configurations, and, obviously, both are at the same level of the perceptual hierarchy.Â

BN: Here’s another program that I should do the same thing:

color=red

while i<121 do

  if odd(random) then

  paint(circle, color)

  color=blue

  else

  paint(square, color)

  color=red

  fi

  i=i+1

done

BN: The only contingency is to determine whether to paint a circle or a square as determined by a random number generator. I don’t know which program is running in the computer. So implement that, use a random process to run first one and then the other, and see if you can perceive the program that is running.

BN: But I don’t need to generate the series of colored shapes, nor do I need to recognize what program is running. I only need to press the spacebar when I perceive either of two sequences:

a circle followed by a red shape

a square followed by a blue shape

BN: So that’s all I look for to exercise the demo. I just need those two sequence-level input functions. Then the whack-a-mole sequences are

circle-red-bang!

square-blue-bang!

BN: Sorry to be a bad student, but that’s what I’m actually doing. Having figured out how to work it, I’m neither perceiving nor controlling either of the above two programs.

RM: I really appreciate your comments. But before I try to answer them I would like to know what your point is. Is your point that we (or you) don’t control programs? Or is that that my demo doesn’t demonstrate control of programs very well? Or is it something else?

BestÂ

Rick

Â


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

On Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 1:37 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[Rick Marken 2018-02-15_10:37:34]

Bruce Nevin (2018-02-15_07:45:47 ET) –

BN: Given an initial state (a red or blue square or circle in one of the four positions on the circle), the structure of the program that is running in the computer may perhaps be stated as follows:

Â
while i < runtime do
 If shape=circleÂ
then colornext=blue
 else colornext=red
 if even(getrandom)Â
then shape=square
 else shape=circle
 fi
 position=position+1
 paint shape at position
 i=i+1
done
Â

RM: Not quite but irrelevant to the results.Â

BN: To the observer with inside knowledge of the computer program, it certainly looks as though I am controlling a perception of the computer program, but I am not.

RM: It looks like you are controlling a program because you are keeping the program happening, protected from disturbances. I don’t know why you want to imagine that you are not controlling a program. But if you are keeping the program “on target” more than 80% of the time then you are controlling a program.Â

Â

BN: I believe the same behavior could result from controlling the following two sequences concurrently:

square then blue then press

circle then red then press

 RM: Those are “if-then” contingencies, not sequences; you just left off the “ifs” at the beginning.

BN: Whenever the input functions of either of these sequence-control systems successfully controls the requisite perceptual inputs for the first two terms of the sequence it proceeds to control the third term of the sequence. Difficulty controlling two disparate sequences simultaneously will surely hamper performance at higher rates of changing the display.

BN: I have not invested the practice time to test this belief.Â

RM: Good decision; it would be a terrible waste of time. I think it would be much better to spend the time reading the section of B:CP on the coin game (pp. 236-238 in the 2nd edition). Then you would see that we are in the position of the E and S in that game. The E concludes that S is controlling for the letter N while S protests that he was controlling for the letter Z. As Bill says “If they are both word oriented types, E and S may argue about whose definition is the “right” one, forgetting that E has discovered what S was in fact controlling, whatever either of them like to call it”. The demo shows that you are controlling for what I call a program: if circle then blue else red. You like to call it a sequence. But whatever you call it, when the on target score for what I call “program” goes above 80% I know that you are controlling for “if circle then blue else red”.

Best

Rick

Â


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

On Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 6:04 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[Rick Marken 2018-02-12_15:04:18]

Eetu Pikkarainen (2018-02-12_11:46:55 UTC)–

Â

EP: Sorry, I seem not to have patience enough - 1,5 min is too long for meÂ

 RM: I understand. I do think it might be worth it to try, though.Â

EP: But more seriously I feel that the concept of sequence is problematic for me here. The program can continue the whole time but isn’t the sequence always only three events long.

RM: Yes.Â

Â

EP: So to
control these sequences I must keep counting 1,2,3 again and again.

RM: Yes, I do that too; or I say “small, medium, large, small, medium…”. There is a lot of cognitive activity going on when I control the sequence or the program perception; apparently this is part of process involved in perceiving sequences and programs. It may be a feature rather than a bug.

Â

EP: If I miss one event from counting then the sequence changes to
“medium”, “large”, “small”.

RM: Yes, but I do think we are able to perceive (and thus control for) repeating sequences even when there is no demarcation of the beginning and end of the sequence. This certainly happens with speech sequences, where there is often no acoustical marker (like a pause) signaling the beginning and end of phoneme sequences that make up words. I can control the sequence pretty easily in that demo; with some practice I’m sure you could learn to do it too.Â

EP: And I confuse the counting every time I must press space bar. Should there be some mark for beginning of every sequence?

RM: I don’t think so. Try controlling the sequence at the “Slow” rate before moving on to the “Medium” rate. Don’t give up. The pay-off will be experiencing two of the more “cognitive” types of perceptual variable that Bill Powers discussed in B:CP: sequence and program.Â

Best

Rick

Â

Â

Eetu

Â

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2018 4:09 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: Controlling Sequences and Programs

Â

[Rick Marken 2018-02-10_18:08:32]

Â

RM: Based on some of Bruce’s comments I’ve put up what I think is an improved version of the sequence/program control demo at:Â

Â

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

RM: The easiest change was to have the shapes appear sequentially in different random positions along the central horizontal axis of the display. Somewhat more difficult was to tidy up some things that weren’t quite right. One was making sure that the computation
of the measure of control (proportion of trial on target) gave the right result. Now it should be true that if you are unable to control either the sequence or the program (as should be the case at the “Fast” display rate) the proportion of the trial on target
for both variables should be ~0.5.

Â

RM: If you can control the sequence but not the program (as should be the case at the “Medium” display rate) then the
proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the sequence should be >0.8 for the sequence and ~0.5 for the program; and the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are unsuccessfully controlling the program should by ~0.5 for
both the program and the sequence.

Â

RM: And if you can control both the sequence and the program (as should be the case at the “Slow” display rate) then the proportion
of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the sequence should be >0.8 for the sequence and ~0.5 for the program; and the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the program should be should be >0.8 for the program
and ~0.5 for the sequence.Â

Â

RM: And I’ve cut down the time per trial from 2 to 1 1/2 minutes. But it’s still a pretty demanding task.Â

Â

Eetu Pikkarainen (2018-02-09_07:02:19 UTC)Â

Â

EP: Bruce, I think that you (like I) are controlling both programs 1 and 2. Program 1 is the main perception to be controlled but in addition to that we control
also 2.

Â

RM: If that were the case, then wouldn’t it also be the case for the sequence? Sequence 1 would be the main one (small, medium, large) and sequence 2 would be (small, large, medium, press; small, medium large, don’t press).
I agree that program 1 is the main program controlled when you are controlling the program perception but I don’t think program 2 is actually a controlled perception. If you try to build a model of what you are doing in this demo I think you will find that
the bar press has to be the output that is used to keep the “main” program perception under control. Same with control of the sequence; the bar press is not part of the main sequence perception that is controlled; it is the means by which you keep that perception
under control.Â

Â

RM: But, again, the main point of this demo is to show what we mean in PCT when we hypothesize that a program (or sequence) of events (including one’s own actions) is a
type of perceptual variable that is controlled.Â

Â

Martin Taylor (2018.02.09.17.28)–

Â

RM: Did no one try this?

Â

MT: I did, briefly, but I figured it would take many hours of practice to allow my hierarchy to reorganize to the point where I would
be testing the hierarchic levels rather than conscious perception, and I didn’t think I had the time to spare. But it’s a neat idea. How long did it take you to reorganize so that you were no longer controlling conscious perceptions? If it wasn’t as long as
I imagine, I might try again.

Â

RM: I don’t think you have to worry about whether this is “testing hierarchic levels rather than conscious perception”. I consider this demo to be an extension of Bill’s demonstration of the control of different types
of variables that can be found in “STEP H: BEYOND TRACKING” in Adam Matic’s phenomenally good javascript rewrites of Bill’s original Pascal demonstrations of PCT at:

Â

http://www.pct-labs.com/tutorial1/index.html

Â

RM: In STEP H you are given the option of controlling variables that include the relative size of two objects, the orientation of a shape, the shape of an object, the pitch of a sound and the size of a number. My demo
adds to this list a sequence of shape sizes  and a program of contingencies between shapes and colors.Â

Â

RM: I don’t think it takes that long to learn to control these variables; you should be able to do whatever reorganization is necessary for reasonably successful control after two or three trials in the “Slow” condition
(which I would suggest that everyone start with first).Â

Â

RM: It would be great if a number of you could do this demo and report the result (in terms of the proportion of a trial that the controlled variable – sequence or program – is kept on target when you try to control
these variables at the different display rates: Fast, Medium and Slow. Then maybe we could start discussing what the results mean and how to build a model – or, even better, a robot --Â that can imitate the behavior we see in this demo.Â

Â

Best regards

Â

Rick

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you

have nothing left to take away.�

                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Rick Marken 2018-02-17_17:18:39]

BN: I think the point is that you can't tell what someone is doing by watching what they're doing. ;->Â

RM: That suggests that you think my demo doesn't properly test for control of a program perception. But I believe it does. The conclusion that you are controlling a program (or sequence, as the case may be) is not based on just watching what you are doing; it is based on seeing that a variable (the program) is maintained in a reference state, protected from disturbances applied by the computer -- disturbances that change the program (and sequence) to a different program (or sequence).. The measure of how well you are controlling the program variable is the proportion of a trial on target. It is a measure of how well the program perception is being protected from the disturbance; how well the program is being controlled.Â
Â

BN: When I perform your demo, what I am controlling is a predictable sequence-pattern of shapes and colors.

RM: That can't be what you are doing if you are controlling the program. You have to be able to perceive the program in order to control it.Â

BN: So as I said, what I think I am doing is recognizing and being alert for the two 'fail' sequences, circle followed by red color or square followed by blue color...

 RM: Yes, I know that's what you think but the data suggest otherwise.Â

BN: Back to the core problem: you want to demonstrate that I am perceiving a program and controlling whether it is operating or not, but maybe you're only demonstrating that I am perceiving criterial aspects of its output that indicate when it has stopped operating. ...

Â
RM: Can you suggest how I might be able to improve the demonstration so that it is a more convincing demonstration of control of a program perception; or a more convincing demonstration that people don't control programs, which would require revision of Bill's proposal about the types of perceptions controlled at different levels of the control hierarchy, but a necessary revision if it is based on data.
Â

BN: You want to demonstrate that we control program perceptions. Clearly we control with program perceptions.

RM: No, that's not clear to me at all. Â
Â

BN: And clearly we control program perceptions from a higher level or from within another program, in the sense of selecting the appropriate program to use for present purposes.

RM: Maybe you could draw a diagram of this to make it clear to me too.Â
Â

BN: But you have set this up as a problem of recognizing when another entity is or is not running a specified program.

RM: No, I set up this "problem" (demo) to show how you can recognize that a person is controlling a specified program perception.Â
Â

BN: You want us to be the manager watching the doofus on the assembly line.

RM: No, I want you to be the control theorist demonstrating to yourself, using the test for the controlled variable, what it means to control a program perception.Â
Â

BN: Prior to the demo we are given a description of the program. From this we can figure out how we can tell when it is not running.

RM: Yes, no different than what we do in all demonstrations of control.Â

BN: The criteria by which we perceive that it has stopped running are not themselves perceptions of a program,

RM: Right, the criterion is the reference for the perception of the program; same as in all control loops -- the reference signal is the criterion for what the perception should be.
Â

BN: they are perceptible features of the output of the program.

RM: Yes, that's a nice way to put it. What we perceive are the outputs of a program. In this case the outputs are produced by a computer running a program; in real life the outputs are typically produced by ourselves, such as the program we carry out when we walk (or drive) to the store.
Â

BN: To figure out those criteria we had to apply programmatic control to a perception of the program running in the computer.

 RM: I think the criterion for control was described to you in the instructions. The criterion was that the forms you see on the screen follow the program "if circle then blue else red". Â

BN: For that process, your demo does demonstrate control of the perception of the program as described, or so I think.

RM: Great. That's pretty much all I wanted it to do. Although the demo also shows that control of program perceptions is at a higher level than control of sequence perceptions, just a Powers suggested. This is demonstrated by the fact that you can control the sequence at a much higher rate (indicating lower level control system) than the program.Â

BN: But during the running of the demo a high score does not indicate that I was currently controlling that perception. It does indicate that my analysis was correct, i.e. arrived at the necessary criteria to perceive and control. But I could have arrived at it from the description of a different computer program with similar output.

RM: As long as it shows that you were controlling the program then it was working just fine.
Best
Rick
 >

/Bruce

[Rick Marken 2018-02-16_18:30:16]

Bruce Nevin (2018-02-16_12:27:28 ET)-->>>>

RM: It looks like you are controlling a program because you are keeping the program happening, protected from disturbances. I don't know why you want to imagine that you are not controlling a program. But if you are keeping the program "on target" more than 80% of the time then you are controlling a program.Â

BN: Well, yes. I was controlling a perception of a program as means of controlling a perception of succeeding at your demo. But what program? And did I continue controlling the program after I figured out what to do?

BN: To control a perception of succeeding at your demo I attempted to follow the instructions. The instructions describe what your program is doing, and then say if it starts doing something else press the spacebar to get it to resume executing that program. The program is described as

"if the shape is circle, the next color is blue; else, the next color is red"

BN: The interpretation is that I perceive when the program is running and when it is not. I found it not a simple matter to recognize when the program is running. I have described how I used verbal 'training wheels', saying "blue next" when I saw a circle. And then after a delay adding "red next" when I saw a square, so I was controlling both "circle-blue" and "square-red".Â
BN: As my performance improved, it seemed to me that I was controlling sequence perceptions: a circle-blue sequence and a square-red sequence. A bit tricky, controlling two contra-related sequences concurrently.
BN: You reply "No, those aren't sequences, those are if-then contingencies. You just left of the 'if'." But then you say it's just a matter of our using different words, drawing an analogy to the coin game illustration in B:CP.

Then you would see that we are in the position of the E and S in that game. The E concludes that S is controlling for the letter N while S protests that he was controlling for the letter Z. As Bill says "If they are both word oriented types, E and S may argue about whose definition is the "right" one, forgetting that E has discovered what S was in fact controlling, whatever either of them like to call it". The demo shows that you are controlling for what I call a program: if circle then blue else red. You like to call it a sequence. But whatever you call it, when the on target score for what I call "program" goes above 80% I know that you are controlling for "if circle then blue else red".

BN: Z and N are the same configuration with a different angular rotation, and there are well-established and well-practiced input functions for both those configurations, and, obviously, both are at the same level of the perceptual hierarchy.Â
BN: Here's another program that I should do the same thing:
color=red

while i<121 do
  if odd(random) then
  paint(circle, color)
  color=blue
  else
  paint(square, color)
  color=red
  fi
  i=i+1
done

BN: The only contingency is to determine whether to paint a circle or a square as determined by a random number generator. I don't know which program is running in the computer. So implement that, use a random process to run first one and then the other, and see if you can perceive the program that is running.
BN: But I don't need to generate the series of colored shapes, nor do I need to recognize what program is running. I only need to press the spacebar when I perceive either of two sequences:

a circle followed by a red shape

a square followed by a blue shape

BN: So that's all I look for to exercise the demo. I just need those two sequence-level input functions. Then the whack-a-mole sequences are

circle-red-bang!

square-blue-bang!

BN: Sorry to be a bad student, but that's what I'm actually doing. Having figured out how to work it, I'm neither perceiving nor controlling either of the above two programs.

RM: I really appreciate your comments. But before I try to answer them I would like to know what your point is. Is your point that we (or you) don't control programs? Or is that that my demo doesn't demonstrate control of programs very well? Or is it something else?
BestÂ
Rick

 >>>

[Rick Marken 2018-02-15_10:37:34]

Bruce Nevin (2018-02-15_07:45:47 ET) --
BN: Given an initial state (a red or blue square or circle in one of the four positions on the circle), the structure of the program that is running in the computer may perhaps be stated as follows:
Â
while i < runtime do
 If shape=circleÂ
then colornext=blue
 else colornext=red
 if even(getrandom)Â
then shape=square
 else shape=circle
 fi
 position=position+1
 paint shape at position
 i=i+1
done

Â

RM: Not quite but irrelevant to the results.Â

BN: To the observer with inside knowledge of the computer program, it certainly looks as though I am controlling a perception of the computer program, but I am not.

RM: It looks like you are controlling a program because you are keeping the program happening, protected from disturbances. I don't know why you want to imagine that you are not controlling a program. But if you are keeping the program "on target" more than 80% of the time then you are controlling a program.Â

Â

BN: I believe the same behavior could result from controlling the following two sequences concurrently:

square then blue then press

circle then red then press

 RM: Those are "if-then" contingencies, not sequences; you just left off the "ifs" at the beginning.

BN: Whenever the input functions of either of these sequence-control systems successfully controls the requisite perceptual inputs for the first two terms of the sequence it proceeds to control the third term of the sequence. Difficulty controlling two disparate sequences simultaneously will surely hamper performance at higher rates of changing the display.

BN: I have not invested the practice time to test this belief.Â

RM: Good decision; it would be a terrible waste of time. I think it would be much better to spend the time reading the section of B:CP on the coin game (pp. 236-238 in the 2nd edition). Then you would see that we are in the position of the E and S in that game. The E concludes that S is controlling for the letter N while S protests that he was controlling for the letter Z. As Bill says "If they are both word oriented types, E and S may argue about whose definition is the "right" one, forgetting that E has discovered what S was in fact controlling, whatever either of them like to call it". The demo shows that you are controlling for what I call a program: if circle then blue else red. You like to call it a sequence. But whatever you call it, when the on target score for what I call "program" goes above 80% I know that you are controlling for "if circle then blue else red".

Best
Rick

 >>>>>

[Rick Marken 2018-02-12_15:04:18]

Eetu Pikkarainen (2018-02-12_11:46:55 UTC)--

Â

EP: Sorry, I seem not to have patience enough - 1,5 min is too long for meÂ

 RM: I understand. I do think it might be worth it to try, though.Â

EP: But more seriously I feel that the concept of sequence is problematic for me here. The program can continue the whole time but isn’t the sequence always only three events long.

RM: Yes.Â

Â

EP: So to control these sequences I must keep counting 1,2,3 again and again.

RM: Yes, I do that too; or I say "small, medium, large, small, medium...". There is a lot of cognitive activity going on when I control the sequence or the program perception; apparently this is part of process involved in perceiving sequences and programs. It may be a feature rather than a bug.

Â

EP: If I miss one event from counting then the sequence changes to "medium", "large", "small".

RM: Yes, but I do think we are able to perceive (and thus control for) repeating sequences even when there is no demarcation of the beginning and end of the sequence. This certainly happens with speech sequences, where there is often no acoustical marker (like a pause) signaling the beginning and end of phoneme sequences that make up words. I can control the sequence pretty easily in that demo; with some practice I'm sure you could learn to do it too.Â

EP: And I confuse the counting every time I must press space bar. Should there be some mark for beginning of every sequence?

RM: I don't think so. Try controlling the sequence at the "Slow" rate before moving on to the "Medium" rate. Don't give up. The pay-off will be experiencing two of the more "cognitive" types of perceptual variable that Bill Powers discussed in B:CP: sequence and program.Â
Best
Rick
 >>>>>>>

Â

Eetu

Â

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com>rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2018 4:09 AM
To: <mailto:csgnet@lists.illinois.edu>csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: Controlling Sequences and Programs

Â

[Rick Marken 2018-02-10_18:08:32]

Â

RM: Based on some of Bruce's comments I've put up what I think is an improved version of the sequence/program control demo at:Â

Â

<https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mindreadings.com%2FControlDemo%2FProgramControl.html&data=02|01||d1c2ab52ea834f30a10308d570f47e19|9f9ce49a51014aa38c750d5935ad6525|0|0|636539117779959700&sdata=5LS4uXUiJxa%2ByyxmNc1J4VNJC9MgccYUj79gLgt%2Bo5g%3D&reserved=0>>>>>>>> http://www.mindreadings.com/ControlDemo/ProgramControl.html

RM: The easiest change was to have the shapes appear sequentially in different random positions along the central horizontal axis of the display. Somewhat more difficult was to tidy up some things that weren't quite right. One was making sure that the computation of the measure of control (proportion of trial on target) gave the right result. Now it should be true that if you are unable to control either the sequence or the program (as should be the case at the "Fast" display rate) the proportion of the trial on target for both variables should be ~0.5.

Â

RM: If you can control the sequence but not the program (as should be the case at the "Medium" display rate) then the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the sequence should be >0.8 for the sequence and ~0.5 for the program; and the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are unsuccessfully controlling the program should by ~0.5 for both the program and the sequence.

Â

RM: And if you can control both the sequence and the program (as should be the case at the "Slow" display rate) then the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the sequence should be >0.8 for the sequence and ~0.5 for the program; and the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the program should be should be >0.8 for the program and ~0.5 for the sequence.Â

Â

RM: And I've cut down the time per trial from 2 to 1 1/2 minutes. But it's still a pretty demanding task.Â

Â

Eetu Pikkarainen (2018-02-09_07:02:19 UTC)Â

Â

EP: Bruce, I think that you (like I) are controlling both programs 1 and 2. Program 1 is the main perception to be controlled but in addition to that we control also 2.

Â

RM: If that were the case, then wouldn't it also be the case for the sequence? Sequence 1 would be the main one (small, medium, large) and sequence 2 would be (small, large, medium, press; small, medium large, don't press). I agree that program 1 is the main program controlled when you are controlling the program perception but I don't think program 2 is actually a controlled perception. If you try to build a model of what you are doing in this demo I think you will find that the bar press has to be the output that is used to keep the "main" program perception under control. Same with control of the sequence; the bar press is not part of the main sequence perception that is controlled; it is the means by which you keep that perception under control.Â

Â

RM: But, again, the main point of this demo is to show what we mean in PCT when we hypothesize that a program (or sequence) of events (including one's own actions) is a type of perceptual variable that is controlled.Â

Â

Martin Taylor (2018.02.09.17.28)--

Â

RM: Did no one try this?

Â

MT: I did, briefly, but I figured it would take many hours of practice to allow my hierarchy to reorganize to the point where I would be testing the hierarchic levels rather than conscious perception, and I didn't think I had the time to spare. But it's a neat idea. How long did it take you to reorganize so that you were no longer controlling conscious perceptions? If it wasn't as long as I imagine, I might try again.

Â

RM: I don't think you have to worry about whether this is "testing hierarchic levels rather than conscious perception". I consider this demo to be an extension of Bill's demonstration of the control of different types of variables that can be found in "STEP H: BEYOND TRACKING" in Adam Matic's phenomenally good javascript rewrites of Bill's original Pascal demonstrations of PCT at:

Â

<https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pct-labs.com%2Ftutorial1%2Findex.html&data=02|01||d1c2ab52ea834f30a10308d570f47e19|9f9ce49a51014aa38c750d5935ad6525|0|0|636539117779959700&sdata=VYs%2FT%2F4Pr%2BvoKrKhm4DdANQUE%2FFuvNUW%2F%2FbCi4V66n4%3D&reserved=0>>>>>>>> http://www.pct-labs.com/tutorial1/index.html

Â

RM: In STEP H you are given the option of controlling variables that include the relative size of two objects, the orientation of a shape, the shape of an object, the pitch of a sound and the size of a number. My demo adds to this list a sequence of shape sizes  and a program of contingencies between shapes and colors.Â

Â

RM: I don't think it takes that long to learn to control these variables; you should be able to do whatever reorganization is necessary for reasonably successful control after two or three trials in the "Slow" condition (which I would suggest that everyone start with first).Â

Â

RM: It would be great if a number of you could do this demo and report the result (in terms of the proportion of a trial that the controlled variable -- sequence or program -- is kept on target when you try to control these variables at the different display rates: Fast, Medium and Slow. Then maybe we could start discussing what the results mean and how to build a model -- or, even better, a robot -- that can imitate the behavior we see in this demo.Â

Â

Best regards

Â

Rick

--

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

--
Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you

have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

--
Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you

have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

--
Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you

···

On Sat, Feb 17, 2018 at 12:12 PM, Bruce Nevin <<mailto:bnhpct@gmail.com>bnhpct@gmail.com> wrote:

On Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 9:32 PM, Richard Marken <<mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com>rsmarken@gmail.com> wrote:

On Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 1:37 PM, Richard Marken <<mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com>rsmarken@gmail.com> wrote:

On Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 6:04 PM, Richard Marken <<mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com>rsmarken@gmail.com> wrote:

have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

--
Richard S. MarkenÂ
"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Bruce Nevin 2018-02-18_12:49:25 ET]

I just now ran the new version at slow speed. There seems to be a delay problem: it appears to me that a bar press does not affect the color of the next shape but rather the one after that. This can result in repeated attempts to toggle the program back on that actually have the effect of toggling it off, and confusion.

···

On Sat, Feb 10, 2018 at 9:08 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

[Rick Marken 2018-02-10_18:08:32]

RM: Based on some of Bruce’s comments I’ve put up what I think is an improved version of the sequence/program control demo at:Â

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

RM: The easiest change was to have the shapes appear sequentially in different random positions along the central horizontal axis of the display. Somewhat more difficult was to tidy up some things that weren’t quite right. One was making sure that the computation of the measure of control (proportion of trial on target) gave the right result. Now it should be true that if you are unable to control either the sequence or the program (as should be the case at the “Fast” display rate) the proportion of the trial on target for both variables should be ~0.5.

RM: If you can control the sequence but not the program (as should be the case at the “Medium” display rate) then the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the sequence should be >0.8 for the sequence and ~0.5 for the program; and the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are unsuccessfully controlling the program should by ~0.5 for both the program and the sequence.

RM: And if you can control both the sequence and the program (as should be the case at the “Slow” display rate) thenÂ
the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the sequence should be >0.8 for the sequence and ~0.5 for the program; and the proportion of the trial that is on target when you areÂ

controlling the program should be should be >0.8 for the program and ~0.5 for the sequence.Â

RM: And I’ve cut down the time per trial from 2 to 1 1/2 minutes. But it’s still a pretty demanding task.Â

Eetu Pikkarainen (2018-02-09_07:02:19 UTC)Â

Â

EP: Bruce, I think that you (like I) are controlling both programs 1 and 2. Program 1 is the main perception to be controlled but in addition to that we control also 2.

RM: If that were the case, then wouldn’t it also be the case for the sequence? Sequence 1 would be the main one (small, medium, large) and sequence 2 would be (small, large, medium, press; small, medium large, don’t press). I agree that program 1 is the main program controlled when you are controlling the program perception but I don’t think program 2 is actually a controlled perception. If you try to build a model of what you are doing in this demo I think you will find that the bar press has to be the output that is used to keep the “main” program perception under control. Same with control of the sequence; the bar press is not part of the main sequence perception that is controlled; it is the means by which you keep that perception under control.Â

RM: But, again, the main point of this demo is to show what we mean in PCT when we hypothesize that a program (or sequence) of events (including one’s own actions) is a type of perceptual variable that is controlled.Â

Martin Taylor (2018.02.09.17.28)–
Â

RM: Did no one try this?

Â

MT: I did, briefly, but I figured it would take many hours of practice to allow my hierarchy to reorganize to the point where I would be testing the hierarchic levels rather than conscious perception, and I didn’t think I had the time to spare. But it’s a neat idea. How long did it take you to reorganize so that you were no longer controlling conscious perceptions? If it wasn’t as long as I imagine, I might try again.

RM: I don’t think you have to worry about whether this is “testing hierarchic levels rather than conscious perception”. I consider this demo to be an extension of Bill’s demonstration of the control of different types of variables that can be found in “STEP H: BEYOND TRACKING” in Adam Matic’s phenomenally good javascript rewrites of Bill’s original Pascal demonstrations of PCT at:

http://www.pct-labs.com/tutorial1/index.html

RM: In STEP H you are given the option of controlling variables that include the relative size of two objects, the orientation of a shape, the shape of an object, the pitch of a sound and the size of a number. My demo adds to this list a sequence of shape sizes  and a program of contingencies between shapes and colors.Â

RM: I don’t think it takes that long to learn to control these variables; you should be able to do whatever reorganization is necessary for reasonably successful control after two or three trials in the “Slow” condition (which I would suggest that everyone start with first).Â

RM: It would be great if a number of you could do this demo and report the result (in terms of the proportion of a trial that the controlled variable – sequence or program – is kept on target when you try to control these variables at the different display rates: Fast, Medium and Slow. Then maybe we could start discussing what the results mean and how to build a model – or, even better, a robot -- that can imitate the behavior we see in this demo.Â

Best regards

Rick


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Rick Marken 2018-02-18_18:50:14]

[Bruce Nevin 2018-02-18_12:49:25 ET]
I just now ran the new version at slow speed. There seems to be a delay problem: it appears to me that a bar press does not affect the color of the next shape but rather the one after that. This can result in repeated attempts to toggle the program back on that actually have the effect of toggling it off, and confusion.

Thanks Bruce!! I'll try to fix that!Â
BestÂ

[Rick Marken 2018-02-10_18:08:32]
RM: Based on some of Bruce's comments I've put up what I think is an improved version of the sequence/program control demo at:Â
<http://www.mindreadings.com/ControlDemo/ProgramControl.html>>> http://www.mindreadings.com/ControlDemo/ProgramControl.html

RM: The easiest change was to have the shapes appear sequentially in different random positions along the central horizontal axis of the display. Somewhat more difficult was to tidy up some things that weren't quite right. One was making sure that the computation of the measure of control (proportion of trial on target) gave the right result. Now it should be true that if you are unable to control either the sequence or the program (as should be the case at the "Fast" display rate) the proportion of the trial on target for both variables should be ~0.5.
RM: If you can control the sequence but not the program (as should be the case at the "Medium" display rate) then the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the sequence should be >0.8 for the sequence and ~0.5 for the program; and the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are unsuccessfully controlling the program should by ~0.5 for both the program and the sequence.
RM: And if you can control both the sequence and the program (as should be the case at the "Slow" display rate) then the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the sequence should be >0.8 for the sequence and ~0.5 for the program; and the proportion of the trial that is on target when you are controlling the program should be should be >0.8 for the program and ~0.5 for the sequence.Â
RM: And I've cut down the time per trial from 2 to 1 1/2 minutes. But it's still a pretty demanding task.Â

Eetu Pikkarainen (2018-02-09_07:02:19 UTC)Â

Â

EP: Bruce, I think that you (like I) are controlling both programs 1 and 2. Program 1 is the main perception to be controlled but in addition to that we control also 2.

RM: If that were the case, then wouldn't it also be the case for the sequence? Sequence 1 would be the main one (small, medium, large) and sequence 2 would be (small, large, medium, press; small, medium large, don't press). I agree that program 1 is the main program controlled when you are controlling the program perception but I don't think program 2 is actually a controlled perception. If you try to build a model of what you are doing in this demo I think you will find that the bar press has to be the output that is used to keep the "main" program perception under control. Same with control of the sequence; the bar press is not part of the main sequence perception that is controlled; it is the means by which you keep that perception under control.Â
RM: But, again, the main point of this demo is to show what we mean in PCT when we hypothesize that a program (or sequence) of events (including one's own actions) is a type of perceptual variable that is controlled.Â

Martin Taylor (2018.02.09.17.28)--

Â

RM: Did no one try this?

Â

···

On Sat, Feb 10, 2018 at 9:08 PM, Richard Marken <<mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com>rsmarken@gmail.com> wrote:

MT: I did, briefly, but I figured it would take many hours of practice to allow my hierarchy to reorganize to the point where I would be testing the hierarchic levels rather than conscious perception, and I didn't think I had the time to spare. But it's a neat idea. How long did it take you to reorganize so that you were no longer controlling conscious perceptions? If it wasn't as long as I imagine, I might try again.

RM: I don't think you have to worry about whether this is "testing hierarchic levels rather than conscious perception". I consider this demo to be an extension of Bill's demonstration of the control of different types of variables that can be found in "STEP H: BEYOND TRACKING" in Adam Matic's phenomenally good javascript rewrites of Bill's original Pascal demonstrations of PCT at:
<http://www.pct-labs.com/tutorial1/index.html>>> http://www.pct-labs.com/tutorial1/index.html

RM: In STEP H you are given the option of controlling variables that include the relative size of two objects, the orientation of a shape, the shape of an object, the pitch of a sound and the size of a number. My demo adds to this list a sequence of shape sizes  and a program of contingencies between shapes and colors.Â

RM: I don't think it takes that long to learn to control these variables; you should be able to do whatever reorganization is necessary for reasonably successful control after two or three trials in the "Slow" condition (which I would suggest that everyone start with first).Â
RM: It would be great if a number of you could do this demo and report the result (in terms of the proportion of a trial that the controlled variable -- sequence or program -- is kept on target when you try to control these variables at the different display rates: Fast, Medium and Slow. Then maybe we could start discussing what the results mean and how to build a model -- or, even better, a robot -- that can imitate the behavior we see in this demo.Â
Best regards
Rick

--

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you

have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

--
Richard S. MarkenÂ
"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Bruce Nevin 2018-02-19_07:26:36 ET]

The objective of your demo is to demonstrate that we can perceive a program (actually a subroutine in the program) and control that perception. The evidence is that we can control a sequence at a faster rate of presentation than the fastest rate at which we can control the program. The theory tells us that this is because the point of view from which a program is controlled is at a higher level of the hierarchy than the point of view from which a sequence is controlled.

A program can be controlled from the program level as well as from the level above (understood to be the principle level). That’s what a subroutine is. From the principle level we select which program to employ to satisfy the principle. I do not believe that is what is being demonstrated here, but if you believe so, convince me. A program controlling a perception of the (sub-)program in the computer will mirror its structure: if circle then blue; if square then red. (The conventional “else” abbreviation seems unlikely.)

The perceptual input showing that the program is not running (the cue to press the spacebar) is at two levels of the hierarchy and at successive intervals of the display: Upon perceiving a configuration (square or circle), a reference is set for perceiving a sensation (red or blue, respectively). Error controlling that sensation sets a reference for pressing the spacebar.

Reference signals at the configuration level and the sensation level are switched on and off at the presentation rate.

  • A square is presented. At the beginning, there is no reference for its color. A reference is set to perceive a red sensation. But not just any red sensation: a red square or circle. Yet there is no reference for perceiving a square vs. a circle, or for perceiving a circle vs. a square.

  • A square is presented. It is red. No error. The reference persists for perceiving a red configuration.

  • A circle is presented. it is red. No error. A reference is set for perceiving a blue configuration. But not the present configuration. That reference must not be effective until the next configuration is displayed.
    What accomplishes that delay? Is it ratiocination “if circle then blue”? That would be delay caused by cognitive processing at the program level. The verbal ‘training wheels’ that we both employ suggest that the delay must be deliberately imposed. “Blue next” means “Control for the color blue–but not yet. Wait for it.” The present color is no longer salient. Ignore it. (Here lies confusion and disabling hesitation.)

  • A square is presented. It is red. Error perceiving blue (the reference set above by the preceding circle) sets a reference to press the spacebar. But simultaneously perception of the square sets a reference to perceive a red sensation–with delay. The reference for blue must be turned off first. But not until the reference for a press has been set.

Lots of opportunity for confusion here. As long as the training wheels stay on (“circle–blue next” and “square–red next”) that verbal processing can account for delay as compared to sequence control. That verbal description is not the program that it describes (in abbreviated form).

This can be accomplished by controlling for the two sequences that occasion a press: a circle configuration followed by a red sensation, or a square configuration followed by a blue sensation. In fact, this is the next form that my verbal patter took: “circle then red” and “square then blue”. When I perceive either of those sequences, I press the spacebar. This is where I ran into a problem of pressing the spacebar and not seeing the expected color in the next configuration, but rather in the second-next. I haven’t pursued it further.

With these other possible contributors to processing delay, it is not clear that the difference in the rate that can be controlled is due to controlling at a higher level of the hierarchy.

Thank you for asking how to improve the demo. That’s the spirit and intent of these comments. I’ve gone through two other tedious drafts to pare this down to essentials, trying to avoid anything that might lead to contention which is beside the point. This note is still longer and more complicated than it could be, but I hope it’s not offensive or needlessly contentious.

Controlling the program that is “out there in the environment” running on the computer does not necessarily require control at the program level or higher. To demonstrate a difference between sequence control and program control, remove other possible contributors to processing difficulty. Start with a program from the subject’s point of view. I took no undergrad or graduate school psychology classes. (I gather that this is probably a good thing for my grasp of PCT.) So I haven’t read Miller et al. Plans & the structure of behavior, but I do know that Bill recommends it for a survey of program-level control–with a caveat (in a letter to Phil, and on CSGnet) that they overgeneralized the concept of plans, “pushing it all the way down to the spinal reflex”. I suspect they also include sequences among their ‘plans’. A program is made of sequences joined by if-then choice points. (A loop can be implemented with if-then tests of the loop counter.)

I look forward to the next generation of the demo! Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

···

/Bruce

[Rick Marken 2018-02-21_13:12:41]

Bruce Nevin (2018-02-19_07:26:36 ET)--

BN: The objective of your demo is to demonstrate that we can perceive a program (actually a subroutine in the program) and control that perception. The evidence is that we can control a sequence at a faster rate of presentation than the fastest rate at which we can control the program. The theory tells us that this is because the point of view from which a program is controlled is at a higher level of the hierarchy than the point of view from which a sequence is controlled.

RM: Yes, exactly. Though I think it's better to say that the theory tells us that, based on this data, the perceptual functions that perceive programs are at a higher level that those that perceive sequences.

BN: A program can be controlled from the program level as well as from the level above (understood to be the principle level).

RM: This is not what the theory says. Programs can only be controlled by control systems that perceive programs. The control systems at levels that are above those that control programs can presumably use the systems that control program perceptions as the means of controlling the perceptions they control -- presumably principles and system concepts.

BN: That's what a subroutine is. From the principle level we select which program to employ to satisfy the principle.

RM: Again, this is incorrect from a theoretical perspective. A principle is not the same as a program perception; a program (no matter how simple or complex) is not a subroutine in a principle perception. Systems controlling for principle perceptions set references for the programs to be controlled by the program control systems as the means of controlling the principle. It sounds like a subroutine but it is not.Â

BN: I do not believe that is what is being demonstrated here, but if you believe so, convince me.

RM: I don't believe that is being demonstrated here either. All that is being demonstrated is control of a rather simple program perception.Â
Â

BN: A program controlling a perception of the (sub-)program in the computer will mirror its structure: if circle then blue; if square then red. (The conventional "else" abbreviation seems unlikely.)

RM: There is no program controlling a subprogram; there is just a program being controlled.Â
Â

BN: The perceptual input showing that the program is not running (the cue to press the spacebar) is at two levels of the hierarchy and at successive intervals of the display: Upon perceiving a configuration (square or circle), a reference is set for perceiving a sensation (red or blue, respectively). Error controlling that sensation sets a reference for pressing the spacebar.Â

RM: I think this and the rest of your post is aimed at showing that the observed control of a program could be a side effect of control of a sequence. That is not the case but your comments make me realize that I had better explain why in the write up when I finally publish it.Â
Â

BN: Thank you for asking how to improve the demo. That's the spirit and intent of these comments. I've gone through two other tedious drafts to pare this down to essentials, trying to avoid anything that might lead to contention which is beside the point. This note is still longer and more complicated than it could be, but I hope it's not offensive or needlessly contentious.

RM: No, I think it's helpful. I'll think about this stuff and see if I can come up with a more convincing demonstration of program versus sequence control. Or, at least, a convincing explanation of why program control can't be a side effect of sequence control. Â
RM: I will note that this demonstration of program control is similar to one that Bill Powers suggested to me (in person and possibly in writing somewhere). Bill conceived of a program as a network of "if-then" contingencies between lower level perceptions. So he describe an idea for a program control demo that consisted of a network of connected nodes with a dot traveling along the lines of the network. Each node would have one entry point and two exit lines -- to the left and right of the entry point. When the ball reached a node it would take the right or left branch out of the node depending on whether the node was white or black. So the subject would be controlling a program like "if node is white leave to the left else leave to the right. The participant would take some action (such as pressing a mouse button) to keep the program at that reference value when the dot started to follow a different program.I could have done my program control demo this way but then I wouldn't be able to have a control of sequence demo going on at the same time. But maybe I should do it that way so that there isn;t the confusion about the possibility that it could be seen as control of a sequence or sequences.

BN: Controlling the program that is "out there in the environment" running on the computer does not necessarily require control at the program level or higher.

RM: The basis of the program perception is out in the environment; the program exists only as a perception.Â
Â

BN: To demonstrate a difference between sequence control and program control, remove other possible contributors to processing difficulty.

RM: I think that Bill's suggested program control demo might be just the ticket then.
Â

BN: Start with a program from the subject's point of view.

RM: How would I know whether the program is a program from the subject's point of view? I don't think this is necessary, any more than it's necessary to know whether the distance between cursor and target in a tracking task is the difference between cursor and target from the subject's points of view. When we determine whether or not a variable is controlled all we do is see whether the variable is controlled; we don't try to determine whether or not the variable that we see being controlled is the same as the variable being controlled from the subject's point of view. Â
Â

BN: I took no undergrad or graduate school psychology classes. (I gather that this is probably a good thing for my grasp of PCT.) So I haven't read Miller et al. Plans & the structure of behavior, but I do know that Bill recommends it for a survey of program-level control--with a caveat (in a letter to Phil, and on CSGnet) that they overgeneralized the concept of plans, "pushing it all the way down to the spinal reflex". I suspect they also include sequences among their 'plans'. A program is made of sequences joined by if-then choice points. (A loop can be implemented with if-then tests of the loop counter.)

RM: The over-generalization was taking the TOTE (test-operate-test-exit) program as a description of how a control system works. I think that is the over-generalization you yourself are making when you include the bar press as part of the sequence that you think is being controlled when the program is being controlled. What you have to understand about PCT (and this is a tough one, conceptually) is that complex perceptual variables, like programs or principles, are conceived as being perceptual variables, the states of which are represented as the magnitudes of scalar perceptual signals. The program itself is a perception that is controlled in the same way that the position of a cursor is controlled. That was a hard one to get my own head around but you really have to get your head around that in order to understand PCT and, in particular, what distinguishes PCT from other applications of control theory to understanding behavior.
Â

BN: I look forward to the next generation of the demo! Sorry I can't be more helpful.

RM: Very helpful, Bruce. Thanks.
BestÂ
Rick
 >

···

/Bruce

--
Richard S. MarkenÂ
"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Bruce Nevin 2018-02-23_21:37:11 ET]

···

On Wed, Feb 21, 2018 at 4:12 PM, Richard Marken rsmarken@gmail.com wrote:

BN:Â
Well, I guess I’ve misspoken. I mean that a system that employs a program to control its input is conventionally assumed to be above the program level; but I believe it’s the case that a step in a program can employ another program to control the input required at that step.

BN:Â
This is not controlling a perception of a program. “Controlling a perception of a program” in your demo means controlling a perception of when the program is running and when
 a different program starts running in its place
. The learning process to organize input functions for thisÂ
began (in my case) with understanding the description of the program. The next step was to identify the visual consequences of the program running.Â
This identification I expressed verbally as “circle then blue; square then red”. (You said that you did the same.) MyÂ
next step of learning was to identify the consequences in the display that occur whenever the program stopped running and the alternative program started running. This identification I expressed verbally as
 “circle then red; square then blue”. So with these revised verbal ‘training wheels’ I started to practice controlling these sequence perceptions which set a reference for pressing the spacebar. The delayed feedback was problematic. And then control of other perceptions in my life have had much higher gain, no offence. :wink:

BN:Â

By programmatic learning (learning processes at the program level) I analyzed a perception of the structure of the program to identify those of its consequences that are relevant to turning it back on when it is turned off by pressing the spacebar. Pressing the spacebar controlled the running of the program (when I succeeded in recognizing one of the two sequences and acting timely). I was therefore controlling a perception of the program sorta like I control my computer by pushing the power button to turn it on.

BN:Â

Having agreed to run the demo, I set a reference to see the program running. This became a reference for not seeing it not running. So I was controlling a perception of the alternative program running with a reference value of zero. I had (and have) no idea what the alternative program is, so it is at least odd to say that I am controlling a perception of it.Â

BN:Â

There’s this equivocation, you see, between perceiving a program (a perception of its structure and its logic), and controlling a perception of a program in the above sense, controlling its running (or of its failing to run, rather). And aside from that, it is possible to run the program logic in my brain: if circle then blue, if square then red. The computer can change the value of a variable for color at the appropriate time, that is, at the moment that the current configuration is no longer painted on the screen and the next configuration is painted in its place. The computer doesn’t change reference values for control loops to do this. When a red circle appears on the screen if the previous configuration was a square the reference value for color is red and all is well. I change the reference value for color to blue but the red circle is still on the screen. I wrote about this flummoxing requirement of contradictory sensation reference values that must be changed with exquisite timing in accord with a signal that comes somehow from the configuration level–not an error signal because it results from successful control.Â

BN:Â

Why don’t you try to model the control system that is running the demo?Â

Â

BN:Â

No, I didn’t say that a principle is the same as a program perception; nor did I say that a program is a subroutine in a principle perception. I said that a program can have a subprogram. A program step can set a reference for a subprogram to run, and when the resulting perception (true or false) is input the main program moves on to the next step.

Â

BN:Â

This refers to the structure of the program running in the computer. As I understand your directions, there is one program that runs as described. This is just part of the entire program running in the computer. There is also a different program that assigns colors to shapes in a different way, and there is a process of some kind that switches unpredictably between the two subprograms. My analysis of my learning process above suggests that I switched from controlling the first subprogram (the one you describe) to controlling the second one. But another view is that I am controlling the entire program which switches from one subprogram to the other. I see no obvious way to distinguish these three possibilities by the Test. Do you?

Â

BN:Â

OK. It wouldn’t be the first time that my description of what I am doing wasn’t accurate. I’m looking forward to the convincing explanation.

Â

BN:Â

And clear up the ambiguity in the phrase “program control”.

Â

BN:Â

You wouldn’t see that it had branched the wrong way until after it passed the branch point. Would the correction move the dot back to before the branch point and then along the correct path?

BN:Â

Timely sensory feedback is a problem with the current demo.

Â

BN: If you don’t model the control system that is running the demo (the subject)Â

how can you be sure what perception the subject is controlling?

Â

BN:Â

Yes, I no longer think of the bar press as the third term of the sequence. Its a control action controlling the perception of an incorrect sequence (square followed by blue or circle followed by red) with a reference value of zero.

Â

BN:Â

True/False is binary. If a category level is assumed, everything above the category level is ‘digital’ rather than analog. That’s my understanding.

Â

[Rick Marken 2018-02-21_13:12:41]

Bruce Nevin (2018-02-19_07:26:36 ET)–

BN: The objective of your demo is to demonstrate that we can perceive a program (actually a subroutine in the program) and control that perception. The evidence is that we can control a sequence at a faster rate of presentation than the fastest rate at which we can control the program. The theory tells us that this is because the point of view from which a program is controlled is at a higher level of the hierarchy than the point of view from which a sequence is controlled.

RM: Yes, exactly. Though I think it’s better to say that the theory tells us that, based on this data, the perceptual functions that perceive programs are at a higher level that those that perceive sequences.

BN: A program can be controlled from the program level as well as from the level above (understood to be the principle level).

RM: This is not what the theory says. Programs can only be controlled by control systems that perceive programs. The control systems at levels that are above those that control programs can presumably use the systems that control program perceptions as the means of controlling the perceptions they control – presumably principles and system concepts.

BN: That’s what a subroutine is. From the principle level we select which program to employ to satisfy the principle.

RM: Again, this is incorrect from a theoretical perspective. A principle is not the same as a program perception; a program (no matter how simple or complex) is not a subroutine in a principle perception. Systems controlling for principle perceptions set references for the programs to be controlled by the program control systems as the means of controlling the principle. It sounds like a subroutine but it is not.Â

BN: I do not believe that is what is being demonstrated here, but if you believe so, convince me.

RM: I don’t believe that is being demonstrated here either. All that is being demonstrated is control of a rather simple program perception.Â

Â

BN: A program controlling a perception of the (sub-)program in the computer will mirror its structure: if circle then blue; if square then red. (The conventional “else” abbreviation seems unlikely.)

RM: There is no program controlling a subprogram; there is just a program being controlled.Â

Â

BN: The perceptual input showing that the program is not running (the cue to press the spacebar) is at two levels of the hierarchy and at successive intervals of the display: Upon perceiving a configuration (square or circle), a reference is set for perceiving a sensation (red or blue, respectively). Error controlling that sensation sets a reference for pressing the spacebar.Â

RM: I think this and the rest of your post is aimed at showing that the observed control of a program could be a side effect of control of a sequence. That is not the case but your comments make me realize that I had better explain why in the write up when I finally publish it.Â

BN: Thank you for asking how to improve the demo. That’s the spirit and intent of these comments. I’ve gone through two other tedious drafts to pare this down to essentials, trying to avoid anything that might lead to contention which is beside the point. This note is still longer and more complicated than it could be, but I hope it’s not offensive or needlessly contentious.

RM: No, I think it’s helpful. I’ll think about this stuff and see if I can come up with a more convincing demonstration of program versus sequence control. Or, at least, a convincing explanation of why program control can’t be a side effect of sequence control. Â

RM: I will note that this demonstration of program control is similar to one that Bill Powers suggested to me (in person and possibly in writing somewhere). Bill conceived of a program as a network of “if-then” contingencies between lower level perceptions. So he describe an idea for a program control demo that consisted of a network of connected nodes with a dot traveling along the lines of the network. Each node would have one entry point and two exit lines – to the left and right of the entry point. When the ball reached a node it would take the right or left branch out of the node depending on whether the node was white or black. So the subject would be controlling a program like "if node is white leave to the left else leave to the right. The participant would take some action (such as pressing a mouse button) to keep the program at that reference value when the dot started to follow a different program.I could have done my program control demo this way but then I wouldn’t be able to have a control of sequence demo going on at the same time. But maybe I should do it that way so that there isn;t the confusion about the possibility that it could be seen as control of a sequence or sequences.

BN: Controlling the program that is “out there in the environment” running on the computer does not necessarily require control at the program level or higher.

RM: The basis of the program perception is out in the environment; the program exists only as a perception.Â

Â

BN: To demonstrate a difference between sequence control and program control, remove other possible contributors to processing difficulty.

RM: I think that Bill’s suggested program control demo might be just the ticket then.

Â

BN: Start with a program from the subject’s point of view.

RM: How would I know whether the program is a program from the subject’s point of view? I don’t think this is necessary, any more than it’s necessary to know whether the distance between cursor and target in a tracking task is the difference between cursor and target from the subject’s points of view. When we determine whether or not a variable is controlled all we do is see whether the variable is controlled; we don’t try to determine whether or not the variable that we see being controlled is the same as the variable being controlled from the subject’s point of view. Â

BN: I took no undergrad or graduate school psychology classes. (I gather that this is probably a good thing for my grasp of PCT.) So I haven’t read Miller et al. Plans & the structure of behavior, but I do know that Bill recommends it for a survey of program-level control–with a caveat (in a letter to Phil, and on CSGnet) that they overgeneralized the concept of plans, “pushing it all the way down to the spinal reflex”. I suspect they also include sequences among their ‘plans’. A program is made of sequences joined by if-then choice points. (A loop can be implemented with if-then tests of the loop counter.)

RM: The over-generalization was taking the TOTE (test-operate-test-exit) program as a description of how a control system works. I think that is the over-generalization you yourself are making when you include the bar press as part of the sequence that you think is being controlled when the program is being controlled.

What you have to understand about PCT (and this is a tough one, conceptually) is that complex perceptual variables, like programs or principles, are conceived as being perceptual variables, the states of which are represented as the magnitudes of scalar perceptual signals.

The program itself is a perception that is controlled in the same way that the position of a cursor is controlled. That was a hard one to get my own head around but you really have to get your head around that in order to understand PCT and, in particular, what distinguishes PCT from other applications of control theory to understanding behavior.

Â

BN: I look forward to the next generation of the demo! Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

RM: Very helpful, Bruce. Thanks.

BestÂ

Rick

Â

/Bruce

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Rick Marken 2018-02-25_11:51:49]

···

Bruce Nevin (2018-02-23_21:37:11 ET)–

RM: Yes, of course. Perhaps Bill should have called the program level of control the "programmatic behavior"Â level of control. But I think it’s clear from the fact that Bill defined a program perception as the perception of a network of contingencies that program perception is the perception of the visible consequences of whatever produces the programmatic behavior, not a perception of the whatever it is (such as program code) that generates the programmatic behavior.Â

Â

RM: Of course, I understand. No offence taken. As far as the delayed feedback, you are right that it is problematic but I don’t think it is a show stopper. (I have not had time to figure out how to eliminate the delay in effect of the space bar press on the program but it doesn’t seem to affect my ability to control the program much. But I will get to it.)

RM: Exactly. I think the next step will be to design the demo so that the controller will have to take the correct action at each choice point in order to keep the program going. Disturbances to the actions that are used to keep the program going would be introduced to show that the controller must do different thingsÂ
at each choice point

–Â giving the appearance of carrying out a different program of actions --Â in order to keep the program going.Â

Â

RM: Yes, now I understand. The only variable you can possibly control in this demo is a program in the second sense – controlling for keeping a particular programmatic behavior running. Perhaps the only way to make this explanation convincing is to design a model system that can control a sequence or a program. The perceptual function for the sequence control system should be different from that for the program control system and it should be impossible to build a program control system that can control the program by controlling sequences. But another way to see that controlling a program is not the same as controlling a sequence is just to see that you can control the sequence but not the program at the medium speed but you can control the sequence and the program at the slow speed.Â

RM: I think that’s a great idea and I will try to do that.Â

RM: Actually, I don’t understand what the proposed alternative perceptions are. All my demo can show (using the test for the controlled variable) Is that the variable you are controlling is the programmatic behavior described as “if circle then blue else red”. This is shown when the proportion of a trial that this program is running (is “on Target”) is >.8. Â

Â

RM: I think the only way to explain it is by noting that there is no need to perceive a logical contingency in order to see that a sequence is occurring but there is a need to perceive a logical contingency to see that a program is occurring.Â

RN: Yes, it’s a problem but, as I said, not a show stopper. We can control some variables (the direction of an ocean linear, for example) when there is a long lag between our output (movement of the tiller) and the effect of that output on the controlled variable (the direction of the ship). But it does make control more difficult so I will try to eliminate that lag from the program control demo.

RM: Building a model would help, for sure. But the result of this demo, using the test for the controlled variable, is pretty convincing evidence that it’s a program that is being controlled. The proportion of a trial on target is a good measure of control because it shows how well you are resisting the disturbances to the controlled variable. The disturbance to the program perception is the switch from "if circle then blue else red " to “if circle then red else blue”. If you are not controlling the program, the expected value of the proportion of a trial on target is .5; if you are successfully compensating for the disturbance and successfully controlling forÂ

"if circle then blue else red " then the proportion of a trial on target will be close to 1.0. If you are successfully controlling for the other program,
“if circle then red else blue”

, then the proportion of the trail on target (where the target is assumed to be the programÂ
 "if circle then blue else red ") will be close to 0.0.Â

Â

RM: I think that depends on how the perceptual function for a program is conceived. Perhaps the signal output of the function is binary (max if the program is happening and min if it’s not) but it could also be continuous, indicating the degree to which the program is happening. A nice research project would be to see whether program control is based on binary or continuous perceptual variables.

Â

BestÂ

Rick


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

BN:… “Controlling a perception of a program” in your demo means controlling a perception of when the program is running and when
 a different program starts running in its place
.

RM: …Programs can only be controlled by control systems that perceive programs. The control systems at levels that are above those that control programs can presumably use the systems that control program perceptions as the means of controlling the perceptions they control – presumably principles and system concepts.

BN: The learning process to organize input functions for this began (in my case) with understanding the description of the program. The next step was to identify the visual consequences of the program running.Â
This identification I expressed verbally as “circle then blue; square then
 red”. (You said that you did the same.) My next step of learning was to identify the consequences in the display that occur whenever the program stopped running and the alternative program started running. This identification I expressed verbally as
 “circle then red; square then blue”. So with these revised verbal ‘training wheels’ I started to practice controlling these sequence perceptions which set a reference for pressing the spacebar. The delayed feedback was problematic. And then control of other perceptions in my life have had much higher gain, no offence. :wink:

BN:Â

By programmatic learning (learning processes at the program level) I analyzed a perception of the structure of the program to identify those of its consequences that are relevant to turning it back on when it is turned off by pressing the spacebar. Pressing the spacebar controlled the running of the program (when I succeeded in recognizing one of the two sequences and acting timely). I was therefore controlling a perception of the program sorta like I control my computer by pushing the power button to turn it on.

BN:Â
There’s this equivocation, you see, between perceiving a program (a perception of its structure and its logic), and controlling a perception of a program in the above sense, controlling its running (or of its failing to run, rather).

BN:Â

Why don’t you try to model the control system that is running the demo?Â

BN:Â

This refers to the structure of the program running in the computer. As I understand your directions, there is one program that runs as described. This is just part of the entire program running in the computer. There is also a different program that assigns colors to shapes in a different way, and there is a process of some kind that switches unpredictably between the two subprograms. My analysis of my learning process above suggests that I switched from controlling the first subprogram (the one you describe) to controlling the second one. But another view is that I am controlling the entire program which switches from one subprogram to the other. I see no obvious way to distinguish these three possibilities by the Test. Do you?

RM: There is no program controlling a subprogram; there is just a program being controlled.Â

BN:Â
OK. It wouldn’t be the first time that my description of what I am doing wasn’t accurate. I’m looking forward to the convincing explanation.

BN:Â

Timely sensory feedback is a problem with the current demo.

BN: If you don’t model the control system that is running the demo (the subject)Â

how can you be sure what perception the subject is controlling?

BN:Â

True/False is binary. If a category level is assumed, everything above the category level is ‘digital’ rather than analog. That’s my understanding.

RM: What you have to understand about PCT (and this is a tough one, conceptually) is that complex perceptual variables, like programs or principles, are conceived as being perceptual variables, the states of which are represented as the magnitudes of scalar perceptual signals.

The program itself is a perception that is controlled in the same way that the position of a cursor is controlled. That was a hard one to get my own head around but you really have to get your head around that in order to understand PCT and, in particular, what distinguishes PCT from other applications of control theory to understanding behavior.

Â

BN: I look forward to the next generation of the demo! Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

RM: Very helpful, Bruce. Thanks.

BestÂ

Rick

Â

/Bruce

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Bruce Nevin 2018-12-03_14:36:33 UTC]

Interviews with researchers in this podcast suggest that language has a more fundamental and essential role in cognition than I had realized, stitching together what are disparate ‘islands’ of perception in animals, small children, and (a startling story!) in adults who lack language. In re-evoking this thread I’ll pick up just one of the ramifications. I’ll pick up another in a separate thread.

Early in the podcast, they interview a researcher with rats in mazes. The rat learns a maze with all white walls. Then they twirl the rat around (gently) by the tail before placing it in the maze, so it doesn’t know which direction it is facing, and it can’t find its way. Next, paint one wall blue. For a human, this would provide a clue that they would remember from first learning the maze: at the blue wall, turn left. However, the rat can’t do this.Â

Now, the kicker: Children, before they have language, can’t do this either, but once they have language they can. Does this story about rats and children without language vs. children (and adults) with language mean that language provides a scaffold for sequence and program control involving different sensory modaliities? And that without language such sequences and programs cannot be controlled?

Naturally, this reminded me today of my experience practicing to get better with Rick’s demo

Rick Marken 2018-09-27_21:50:13 –

RM: The fact that we can control sequence and program perceptions is demonstrated in my "Control of Higher Level Perceptions" demo:Â

https://www.mindreadings.com/ControlDemo/ProgramControl.html

Bruce Nevin (2018-02-23_21:37:11 ET)–

BN: The learning process to organize input functions for this began (in my case) with understanding the description of the program. The next step was to identify the visual consequences of the program running. This identification I expressed verbally as “circle then blue; square then red”. (You said that you did the same.) My next step of learning was to identify the consequences in the display that occur whenever the program stopped running and the alternative program started running. This identification I expressed verbally as “circle then red; square then blue”. So with these revised verbal ‘training wheels’ I started to practice controlling these sequence perceptions which set a reference for pressing the spacebar.Â

With the ‘mazed’ rats and children, we’re dealing with different sensory modalities (direction and color), so being controlled by separate ‘islands’ in the brain makes sense. Likewise with the demo–configuration vs. color.Â

A consequence to test: if the elements in the sequence or program are in the same modality (the same kind of perception), is learning faster and is performance faster?

···

Bruce Nevin (2018-02-23_21:37:11 ET)–

RM: Yes, of course. Perhaps Bill should have called the program level of control the "programmatic behavior"Â level of control. But I think it’s clear from the fact that Bill defined a program perception as the perception of a network of contingencies that program perception is the perception of the visible consequences of whatever produces the programmatic behavior, not a perception of the whatever it is (such as program code) that generates the programmatic behavior.Â

Â

RM: Of course, I understand. No offence taken. As far as the delayed feedback, you are right that it is problematic but I don’t think it is a show stopper. (I have not had time to figure out how to eliminate the delay in effect of the space bar press on the program but it doesn’t seem to affect my ability to control the program much. But I will get to it.)

RM: Exactly. I think the next step will be to design the demo so that the controller will have to take the correct action at each choice point in order to keep the program going. Disturbances to the actions that are used to keep the program going would be introduced to show that the controller must do different thingsÂ
at each choice point

–Â giving the appearance of carrying out a different program of actions --Â in order to keep the program going.Â

Â

RM: Yes, now I understand. The only variable you can possibly control in this demo is a program in the second sense – controlling for keeping a particular programmatic behavior running. Perhaps the only way to make this explanation convincing is to design a model system that can control a sequence or a program. The perceptual function for the sequence control system should be different from that for the program control system and it should be impossible to build a program control system that can control the program by controlling sequences. But another way to see that controlling a program is not the same as controlling a sequence is just to see that you can control the sequence but not the program at the medium speed but you can control the sequence and the program at the slow speed.Â

RM: I think that’s a great idea and I will try to do that.Â

RM: Actually, I don’t understand what the proposed alternative perceptions are. All my demo can show (using the test for the controlled variable) Is that the variable you are controlling is the programmatic behavior described as “if circle then blue else red”. This is shown when the proportion of a trial that this program is running (is “on Target”) is >.8. Â

Â

RM: I think the only way to explain it is by noting that there is no need to perceive a logical contingency in order to see that a sequence is occurring but there is a need to perceive a logical contingency to see that a program is occurring.Â

RN: Yes, it’s a problem but, as I said, not a show stopper. We can control some variables (the direction of an ocean linear, for example) when there is a long lag between our output (movement of the tiller) and the effect of that output on the controlled variable (the direction of the ship). But it does make control more difficult so I will try to eliminate that lag from the program control demo.

RM: Building a model would help, for sure. But the result of this demo, using the test for the controlled variable, is pretty convincing evidence that it’s a program that is being controlled. The proportion of a trial on target is a good measure of control because it shows how well you are resisting the disturbances to the controlled variable. The disturbance to the program perception is the switch from "if circle then blue else red " to “if circle then red else blue”. If you are not controlling the program, the expected value of the proportion of a trial on target is .5; if you are successfully compensating for the disturbance and successfully controlling forÂ

"if circle then blue else red " then the proportion of a trial on target will be close to 1.0. If you are successfully controlling for the other program,
“if circle then red else blue”

, then the proportion of the trail on target (where the target is assumed to be the programÂ
 "if circle then blue else red ") will be close to 0.0.Â

Â

RM: I think that depends on how the perceptual function for a program is conceived. Perhaps the signal output of the function is binary (max if the program is happening and min if it’s not) but it could also be continuous, indicating the degree to which the program is happening. A nice research project would be to see whether program control is based on binary or continuous perceptual variables.

Â

BestÂ

Rick


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

BN:… “Controlling a perception of a program” in your demo means controlling a perception of when the program is running and when
 a different program starts running in its place
.

RM: …Programs can only be controlled by control systems that perceive programs. The control systems at levels that are above those that control programs can presumably use the systems that control program perceptions as the means of controlling the perceptions they control – presumably principles and system concepts.

BN: The learning process to organize input functions for this began (in my case) with understanding the description of the program. The next step was to identify the visual consequences of the program running.Â
This identification I expressed verbally as “circle then blue; square then
 red”. (You said that you did the same.) My next step of learning was to identify the consequences in the display that occur whenever the program stopped running and the alternative program started running. This identification I expressed verbally as
 “circle then red; square then blue”. So with these revised verbal ‘training wheels’ I started to practice controlling these sequence perceptions which set a reference for pressing the spacebar. The delayed feedback was problematic. And then control of other perceptions in my life have had much higher gain, no offence. :wink:

BN:Â

By programmatic learning (learning processes at the program level) I analyzed a perception of the structure of the program to identify those of its consequences that are relevant to turning it back on when it is turned off by pressing the spacebar. Pressing the spacebar controlled the running of the program (when I succeeded in recognizing one of the two sequences and acting timely). I was therefore controlling a perception of the program sorta like I control my computer by pushing the power button to turn it on.

BN:Â
There’s this equivocation, you see, between perceiving a program (a perception of its structure and its logic), and controlling a perception of a program in the above sense, controlling its running (or of its failing to run, rather).

BN:Â

Why don’t you try to model the control system that is running the demo?Â

BN:Â

This refers to the structure of the program running in the computer. As I understand your directions, there is one program that runs as described. This is just part of the entire program running in the computer. There is also a different program that assigns colors to shapes in a different way, and there is a process of some kind that switches unpredictably between the two subprograms. My analysis of my learning process above suggests that I switched from controlling the first subprogram (the one you describe) to controlling the second one. But another view is that I am controlling the entire program which switches from one subprogram to the other. I see no obvious way to distinguish these three possibilities by the Test. Do you?

RM: There is no program controlling a subprogram; there is just a program being controlled.Â

BN:Â
OK. It wouldn’t be the first time that my description of what I am doing wasn’t accurate. I’m looking forward to the convincing explanation.

BN:Â

Timely sensory feedback is a problem with the current demo.

BN: If you don’t model the control system that is running the demo (the subject)Â

how can you be sure what perception the subject is controlling?

BN:Â

True/False is binary. If a category level is assumed, everything above the category level is ‘digital’ rather than analog. That’s my understanding.

RM: What you have to understand about PCT (and this is a tough one, conceptually) is that complex perceptual variables, like programs or principles, are conceived as being perceptual variables, the states of which are represented as the magnitudes of scalar perceptual signals.

The program itself is a perception that is controlled in the same way that the position of a cursor is controlled. That was a hard one to get my own head around but you really have to get your head around that in order to understand PCT and, in particular, what distinguishes PCT from other applications of control theory to understanding behavior.

Â

BN: I look forward to the next generation of the demo! Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

RM: Very helpful, Bruce. Thanks.

BestÂ

Rick

Â

/Bruce

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Rick Marken 2018-12-04_11:56:26]

[Bruce Nevin 2018-12-03_14:36:33 UTC]

Interviews with researchers in this podcast suggest that language has a more fundamental and essential role in cognition than I had realized, stitching together what are disparate ‘islands’ of perception in animals, small children, and (a startling story!) in adults who lack language. In re-evoking this thread I’ll pick up just one of the ramifications. I’ll pick up another in a separate thread.

Early in the podcast, they interview a researcher with rats in mazes. The rat learns a maze with all white walls. Then they twirl the rat around (gently) by the tail before placing it in the maze, so it doesn’t know which direction it is facing, and it can’t find its way. Next, paint one wall blue. For a human, this would provide a clue that they would remember from first learning the maze: at the blue wall, turn left. However, the rat can’t do this.Â

Now, the kicker: Children, before they have language, can’t do this either, but once they have language they can. Does this story about rats and children without language vs. children (and adults) with language mean that language provides a scaffold for sequence and program control involving different sensory modaliities? And that without language such sequences and programs cannot be controlled?

RM: Interesting. It might also be that the solution to the maze with the colored wall required the ability to perceive and control program perceptions – simple one’s but, still, programs in the sense of contingencies like “if dark wall, then left, else right”. And the program level of control probably doesn’t in rats; and perhaps it hasn’t come"on line" yet in child who haven’t learned language – at least at the level of speaking in sentences, which presumably requires being able to control a program called “grammar”. So it might not be that language is needed to solve this maze but rather the ability to control program perceptions, which is not present in rats and not yet present in kids who cannot use language yet (which would be pretty young kids). In other words, it might not be language that is the “scaffolding” for sequence and program control; it might be that the ability to perceive and control sequences and programs is the scaffolding for language.Â

But both seem like plausible possibilities. Any ideas on how to test these alternatives?

BestÂ

Rick

···

Bruce Nevin (2018-02-23_21:37:11 ET)–

RM: Yes, of course. Perhaps Bill should have called the program level of control the "programmatic behavior"Â level of control. But I think it’s clear from the fact that Bill defined a program perception as the perception of a network of contingencies that program perception is the perception of the visible consequences of whatever produces the programmatic behavior, not a perception of the whatever it is (such as program code) that generates the programmatic behavior.Â

Â

RM: Of course, I understand. No offence taken. As far as the delayed feedback, you are right that it is problematic but I don’t think it is a show stopper. (I have not had time to figure out how to eliminate the delay in effect of the space bar press on the program but it doesn’t seem to affect my ability to control the program much. But I will get to it.)

RM: Exactly. I think the next step will be to design the demo so that the controller will have to take the correct action at each choice point in order to keep the program going. Disturbances to the actions that are used to keep the program going would be introduced to show that the controller must do different thingsÂ
at each choice point

–Â giving the appearance of carrying out a different program of actions --Â in order to keep the program going.Â

Â

RM: Yes, now I understand. The only variable you can possibly control in this demo is a program in the second sense – controlling for keeping a particular programmatic behavior running. Perhaps the only way to make this explanation convincing is to design a model system that can control a sequence or a program. The perceptual function for the sequence control system should be different from that for the program control system and it should be impossible to build a program control system that can control the program by controlling sequences. But another way to see that controlling a program is not the same as controlling a sequence is just to see that you can control the sequence but not the program at the medium speed but you can control the sequence and the program at the slow speed.Â

RM: I think that’s a great idea and I will try to do that.Â

RM: Actually, I don’t understand what the proposed alternative perceptions are. All my demo can show (using the test for the controlled variable) Is that the variable you are controlling is the programmatic behavior described as “if circle then blue else red”. This is shown when the proportion of a trial that this program is running (is “on Target”) is >.8. Â

Â

RM: I think the only way to explain it is by noting that there is no need to perceive a logical contingency in order to see that a sequence is occurring but there is a need to perceive a logical contingency to see that a program is occurring.Â

RN: Yes, it’s a problem but, as I said, not a show stopper. We can control some variables (the direction of an ocean linear, for example) when there is a long lag between our output (movement of the tiller) and the effect of that output on the controlled variable (the direction of the ship). But it does make control more difficult so I will try to eliminate that lag from the program control demo.

RM: Building a model would help, for sure. But the result of this demo, using the test for the controlled variable, is pretty convincing evidence that it’s a program that is being controlled. The proportion of a trial on target is a good measure of control because it shows how well you are resisting the disturbances to the controlled variable. The disturbance to the program perception is the switch from "if circle then blue else red " to “if circle then red else blue”. If you are not controlling the program, the expected value of the proportion of a trial on target is .5; if you are successfully compensating for the disturbance and successfully controlling forÂ

"if circle then blue else red " then the proportion of a trial on target will be close to 1.0. If you are successfully controlling for the other program,
“if circle then red else blue”

, then the proportion of the trail on target (where the target is assumed to be the programÂ
 "if circle then blue else red ") will be close to 0.0.Â

Â

RM: I think that depends on how the perceptual function for a program is conceived. Perhaps the signal output of the function is binary (max if the program is happening and min if it’s not) but it could also be continuous, indicating the degree to which the program is happening. A nice research project would be to see whether program control is based on binary or continuous perceptual variables.

Â

BestÂ

Rick


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

BN:… “Controlling a perception of a program” in your demo means controlling a perception of when the program is running and when
 a different program starts running in its place
.

RM: …Programs can only be controlled by control systems that perceive programs. The control systems at levels that are above those that control programs can presumably use the systems that control program perceptions as the means of controlling the perceptions they control – presumably principles and system concepts.

BN: The learning process to organize input functions for this began (in my case) with understanding the description of the program. The next step was to identify the visual consequences of the program running.Â
This identification I expressed verbally as “circle then blue; square then
 red”. (You said that you did the same.) My next step of learning was to identify the consequences in the display that occur whenever the program stopped running and the alternative program started running. This identification I expressed verbally as
 “circle then red; square then blue”. So with these revised verbal ‘training wheels’ I started to practice controlling these sequence perceptions which set a reference for pressing the spacebar. The delayed feedback was problematic. And then control of other perceptions in my life have had much higher gain, no offence. :wink:

BN:Â

By programmatic learning (learning processes at the program level) I analyzed a perception of the structure of the program to identify those of its consequences that are relevant to turning it back on when it is turned off by pressing the spacebar. Pressing the spacebar controlled the running of the program (when I succeeded in recognizing one of the two sequences and acting timely). I was therefore controlling a perception of the program sorta like I control my computer by pushing the power button to turn it on.

BN:Â
There’s this equivocation, you see, between perceiving a program (a perception of its structure and its logic), and controlling a perception of a program in the above sense, controlling its running (or of its failing to run, rather).

BN:Â

Why don’t you try to model the control system that is running the demo?Â

BN:Â

This refers to the structure of the program running in the computer. As I understand your directions, there is one program that runs as described. This is just part of the entire program running in the computer. There is also a different program that assigns colors to shapes in a different way, and there is a process of some kind that switches unpredictably between the two subprograms. My analysis of my learning process above suggests that I switched from controlling the first subprogram (the one you describe) to controlling the second one. But another view is that I am controlling the entire program which switches from one subprogram to the other. I see no obvious way to distinguish these three possibilities by the Test. Do you?

RM: There is no program controlling a subprogram; there is just a program being controlled.Â

BN:Â
OK. It wouldn’t be the first time that my description of what I am doing wasn’t accurate. I’m looking forward to the convincing explanation.

BN:Â

Timely sensory feedback is a problem with the current demo.

BN: If you don’t model the control system that is running the demo (the subject)Â

how can you be sure what perception the subject is controlling?

BN:Â

True/False is binary. If a category level is assumed, everything above the category level is ‘digital’ rather than analog. That’s my understanding.

RM: What you have to understand about PCT (and this is a tough one, conceptually) is that complex perceptual variables, like programs or principles, are conceived as being perceptual variables, the states of which are represented as the magnitudes of scalar perceptual signals.

The program itself is a perception that is controlled in the same way that the position of a cursor is controlled. That was a hard one to get my own head around but you really have to get your head around that in order to understand PCT and, in particular, what distinguishes PCT from other applications of control theory to understanding behavior.

Â

BN: I look forward to the next generation of the demo! Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

RM: Very helpful, Bruce. Thanks.

BestÂ

Rick

Â

/Bruce

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Bruce Nevin 2018-12-10_18:49:50 UTC]

Rick Marken 2018-12-04_11:56:26Â –

From what I wrote, it appears that the appearance of language ability and the emergence of the Program level happen at the same time, so you ask which of these enables the linking of two modalities in a sequence, the phrase “left at the blue wall” providing a clue, or a program “if wall=blue then turn=left”. (As in my prior critique of your ‘controlling programs’ demo, I object that this is controlled at the Sequence level (Blue-left-prize) and is not a contingency at all, so my challenge to you to distinguish those two cases remains open. But that just pushes the point down a level, and is not the issue at hand.)

There are two sources of confusion that I have to clear up. First, my representation of the experimental work was incomplete, my fault. Second, while the emergence of the levels appears to follow a biologically determined schedule, per the results that the Plooijs strongly demonstrated, the age at which control of phrases representing either sequences or contingencies emerges varies quite widely.Â

A crucial datum is that the experimenters found that children do not develop the ability to link disparate modalities, allegedly by using language, until they are about six years of age. Can’t tie that to emergence of any of the hypothesized levels. But let’s marshal the pertinent information anyway.

First, the experimental work. Here’s a more complete description of the experimental work by Charles Fernyhough and the follow-up with babies by Elizabeth Spelke (both interviewed briefly in that podcast which I cited earlier). I’m quoting the below from https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/40833210/, a free project space provided by MIT’s Media Lab, where a blogger represented the experiments with Flash. Here’s that person’s summary description:

The experiment:

(if you read this, you will understand the project MUCH better)

Phase 1: The White Room

You are placed in a white room. A cookie (or anything else; let’s just pretend a cookie) is hidden in one of the corners of the room. Someone spins you around, so you get disoriented. When you try to find the cookie, you fail 3/4 of the time because all the corners/walls look the same.

Phase 2: The Blue Wall

You are placed in a room that is completely white—except forr that one of the walls is painted blue. Again, a cookie is hidden in a corner and you are spun around. Since there’s now a blue wall, you should be able to determine the whereabouts of the cookie… right?

Phase 3: Left of the Blue Wall?

(requires a partner)

You are placed in a white room with one blue wall. But this time, you are asked to have a partner who is talking. While doing the exercise, you are asked to repeat everything your partner is saying while he/she is talking. Again, a cookie is hidden in a corner and you are spun around. You’re asked to find the cookie. But can you do it? Be surprised.

————”——————————————————————— ”——————————————————

This experiment was first tried out with rats (as many experiments are). The rats were able to find the “cookie” in the completely white room about 25% of the time, since all four corners look alike. When the experimenters painted a wall blue, the rats should have been able to see the corner with the cookie relative to the blue wall, and therefore find the cookie even when disoriented. But the weird thing is: they didn’t. They kept finding the cookie 25% of the time, even though rats understand the concepts of color (white, blue) and direction (left, right), those two parts of the brain are completely different. The rats just can’t connect the idea of “left” to the idea of “blue”.

Then the experiment was tried out on baby humans. Surprisingly, they still performed the same as the rats until about the age of six! Six happens to be the age when we begin to understand language. Not speak—we can speak at, like, three—but become fluent and truly understand the conceptss. So does the development of language somehow connect ideas like “left” and “blue”? The experimenters say yes, that you can’t perform well in this experiment if you don’t have the phrase, “left of the blue wall”.

Then the experimenters tried something else: “knocking out” the language center of the brain in adult humans. They do this by having the adults listen to people talking, and repeat what they’re saying, as in Phase 3. This is actually really hard. When adults did this, they performed as well as the rats! They couldn’t link “left” and “blue”.

Perhaps you want to speculate that we use language to keep us on track in the course of controlling a program perception, in the sense of executing the program.Â

(As you have commented, program control in the sense of executing it is not the same as controlling a program perception in the sense of recognizing when the program has stopped running and taking action to get it running again, which is what your demo aims to show–setting aside my view that what it really demonstrates is controlling a sequence: the first two perceptions in the sequence are a color & shape that occur [I forget in which order] when the program has stopped, and the third perception is the keyboard press to restart the program. This apparent digression will become relevant farther on.)

Now the relative timing issues.Â

Background: Here’s a tabulation of normal expectations about children’s language, posted by pediatricians at the University of Michigan Health Center:

Age
Language Level
Birth
Cries
2-3 months
Coos in response to you, smiles
6 months
Babbles, turns and looks at new sounds
8 months
Responds to name, pats self in mirror
10 months
Shouts to attract attention, says a syllable repeatedly
12 months
Says 1-2 words; recognizes name; imitates familiar sounds; points to objects
12-17 months
Understands simple instructions, imitates familiar words, understands “no,� uses “mama� “dada� and a few other words
18 months
Uses 10-20 words, including names, starts to combine 2 words “all gone,� “bye-bye mama,� uses words to make wants known “up� “all done� or “more;� knows body parts
2 years
Says 2-3 word sentences; has >50 words, asks “what’s this� and “where’s my� vocabulary is growing; identifies body parts, names pictures in book, forms some plurals by adding “s�
2 ½ years
Gives first name; calls self “me� instead of name; combines nouns and verbs; has a 450 word vocabulary; uses short sentences; matches 3-4 colors, knows big and little; likes to hear same story repeated
3 years
Can tell a story; sentence length of 3-4 words; vocabulary of about 1000 words; knows last name, name of street, several nursery rhymes, can sing songs
4 years
Sentence length of 4-5 words; uses past tense; identifies colors, shapes; asks many questions like “why?� and “who?� Can speak of imaginary conditions “I hope� Uses following sounds correctly: b, d, f, g, h, m, n, ng, t, w, y (as in yes)

In the above table I have highlighted the age at which the Plooijs’ research indicates that the Program level emerges at around 13 months (55 weeks). Note that use of phrases is considered ‘normal’ at about 18 months, or 78 weeks. (The calculation: there are 13 weeks in a quarter, and 18 months is 6 quarters.) The Systems level is said to emerge at about 75 weeks. Of course, we’re talking about use of phrases overtly, to others, so this doesn’t preclude using phrases to ‘talk to oneself’, which is what Fernyhough is interested in. But now we’re getting thin on data indeed.

Consider the variability, now. Earlier development does occur, sometimes astonishingly early:

Michael "Kearney spoke his first words at four months. At the age of six months, he said to his pediatrician, “I have a left ear infection”,[7] and he learned to read at the age of ten months. When Michael was four, he was given multiple-choice diagnostic tests for the Johns Hopkins precocious math program; without having studied specifically for the exam, Michael achieved a perfect score." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Kearney

How could Kearney have developed the levels that fast? This strongly suggests that language requires no more than the Relationship level, which comes in at 6 months. That is indeed what I have written and made available here, integrating Harris’s empirical linguistics with PCT. Grammar is not a matter of Program level control. We use language to do logic, but we do not need to use logic to speak, write, or think with language, and indeed all our explicit expressions characterizing what is logical and what is not derive from and are dependent upon language. Logicians, like mathematicians, ‘read out’ their symbolic expressions and formulae using language.

The same UMich site estimates delayed language development in 5-10% of preschoolers. When development is delayed past the above norms, it usually alarms parents. First thing pediatricians do is a hearing test. They ask it autism or the 'Einstein syndrome’?Â

The point of all this is that the emergence of language is a lot more variable than we would expect, if our expectations are tied to the emergence of the Program level (to control sequences and below) and the Principle level (to determine what program to employ). The Principle level is pegged at about 13.5 months (64 weeks). The emergence of the successive levels is quite regular and predictable, without a lot of variation in the timing.Â

So how do we distinguish control of language from control of a program? Well, the exercise that I quoted above shows that interference with language interferes with success in the exercise. That’s a possible kind of experimental design. But first, we have to be much more clear what we mean by program control.

Control at level n involves combining inputs from lower levels (we usually presume from level n-1). On p. 144 of B:CP (either edition), Bill showed how a complex set-reset structure could recognize a sequence of perceptual inputs. Control at the Sequence level is control of lower-level perceptions in the structurally specified sequence until the last of them has been perceived. Correspondingly, control at the Program level is control of Sequence and lower perceptions in the structurally specified sequence (along a single path through the structure where it provides conditional branches) until a structurally final input triggers reset and a perception of truth value is issued to an input function in the loop that initiated the program as part of its means of control. This is program control in the sense of executing the program. Recognizing whether or not a program is running does not enable the rat, the baby, or the participant in the above-linked Flash exercise to find where the cookie is.

As part of our better definition and exemplification of program control, we need to clearly distinguish programs from sequences. “Keep exploring until you find the first perception of the sequence blue-wall + turn left” does not require a contingency “If blue wall then turn left else keep exploring”. You can say it that way, but saying it doesn’t make it so unless you’re a politician of a certain stripe. :slight_smile:

Finally, we have to take seriously the contention of these researchers that different modalities are processed in different parts of the brain. Synesthesia is not the norm. (Is there such a thing a color-directional orientation synesthesia, and would such a person perform differently?) Elizabeth Spelke apparently does not agree with every aspect of Charles Fernyhough’s ideas about talking to ourselves, but the general idea that language enables us to link perceptions that the brain does not innately link cannot be ignored or dismissed out of hand. I don’t know where to go with that, but if true it is consequential for any experimentation with program control.

Now I’ve got to get back to work.

···

Bruce Nevin (2018-02-23_21:37:11 ET)–

RM: Yes, of course. Perhaps Bill should have called the program level of control the "programmatic behavior"Â level of control. But I think it’s clear from the fact that Bill defined a program perception as the perception of a network of contingencies that program perception is the perception of the visible consequences of whatever produces the programmatic behavior, not a perception of the whatever it is (such as program code) that generates the programmatic behavior.Â

Â

RM: Of course, I understand. No offence taken. As far as the delayed feedback, you are right that it is problematic but I don’t think it is a show stopper. (I have not had time to figure out how to eliminate the delay in effect of the space bar press on the program but it doesn’t seem to affect my ability to control the program much. But I will get to it.)

RM: Exactly. I think the next step will be to design the demo so that the controller will have to take the correct action at each choice point in order to keep the program going. Disturbances to the actions that are used to keep the program going would be introduced to show that the controller must do different thingsÂ
at each choice point

–Â giving the appearance of carrying out a different program of actions --Â in order to keep the program going.Â

Â

RM: Yes, now I understand. The only variable you can possibly control in this demo is a program in the second sense – controlling for keeping a particular programmatic behavior running. Perhaps the only way to make this explanation convincing is to design a model system that can control a sequence or a program. The perceptual function for the sequence control system should be different from that for the program control system and it should be impossible to build a program control system that can control the program by controlling sequences. But another way to see that controlling a program is not the same as controlling a sequence is just to see that you can control the sequence but not the program at the medium speed but you can control the sequence and the program at the slow speed.Â

RM: I think that’s a great idea and I will try to do that.Â

RM: Actually, I don’t understand what the proposed alternative perceptions are. All my demo can show (using the test for the controlled variable) Is that the variable you are controlling is the programmatic behavior described as “if circle then blue else red”. This is shown when the proportion of a trial that this program is running (is “on Target”) is >.8. Â

Â

RM: I think the only way to explain it is by noting that there is no need to perceive a logical contingency in order to see that a sequence is occurring but there is a need to perceive a logical contingency to see that a program is occurring.Â

RN: Yes, it’s a problem but, as I said, not a show stopper. We can control some variables (the direction of an ocean linear, for example) when there is a long lag between our output (movement of the tiller) and the effect of that output on the controlled variable (the direction of the ship). But it does make control more difficult so I will try to eliminate that lag from the program control demo.

RM: Building a model would help, for sure. But the result of this demo, using the test for the controlled variable, is pretty convincing evidence that it’s a program that is being controlled. The proportion of a trial on target is a good measure of control because it shows how well you are resisting the disturbances to the controlled variable. The disturbance to the program perception is the switch from "if circle then blue else red " to “if circle then red else blue”. If you are not controlling the program, the expected value of the proportion of a trial on target is .5; if you are successfully compensating for the disturbance and successfully controlling forÂ

"if circle then blue else red " then the proportion of a trial on target will be close to 1.0. If you are successfully controlling for the other program,
“if circle then red else blue”

, then the proportion of the trail on target (where the target is assumed to be the programÂ
 "if circle then blue else red ") will be close to 0.0.Â

Â

RM: I think that depends on how the perceptual function for a program is conceived. Perhaps the signal output of the function is binary (max if the program is happening and min if it’s not) but it could also be continuous, indicating the degree to which the program is happening. A nice research project would be to see whether program control is based on binary or continuous perceptual variables.

Â

BestÂ

Rick


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

BN:… “Controlling a perception of a program” in your demo means controlling a perception of when the program is running and when
 a different program starts running in its place
.

RM: …Programs can only be controlled by control systems that perceive programs. The control systems at levels that are above those that control programs can presumably use the systems that control program perceptions as the means of controlling the perceptions they control – presumably principles and system concepts.

BN: The learning process to organize input functions for this began (in my case) with understanding the description of the program. The next step was to identify the visual consequences of the program running.Â
This identification I expressed verbally as “circle then blue; square then
 red”. (You said that you did the same.) My next step of learning was to identify the consequences in the display that occur whenever the program stopped running and the alternative program started running. This identification I expressed verbally as
 “circle then red; square then blue”. So with these revised verbal ‘training wheels’ I started to practice controlling these sequence perceptions which set a reference for pressing the spacebar. The delayed feedback was problematic. And then control of other perceptions in my life have had much higher gain, no offence. :wink:

BN:Â

By programmatic learning (learning processes at the program level) I analyzed a perception of the structure of the program to identify those of its consequences that are relevant to turning it back on when it is turned off by pressing the spacebar. Pressing the spacebar controlled the running of the program (when I succeeded in recognizing one of the two sequences and acting timely). I was therefore controlling a perception of the program sorta like I control my computer by pushing the power button to turn it on.

BN:Â
There’s this equivocation, you see, between perceiving a program (a perception of its structure and its logic), and controlling a perception of a program in the above sense, controlling its running (or of its failing to run, rather).

BN:Â

Why don’t you try to model the control system that is running the demo?Â

BN:Â

This refers to the structure of the program running in the computer. As I understand your directions, there is one program that runs as described. This is just part of the entire program running in the computer. There is also a different program that assigns colors to shapes in a different way, and there is a process of some kind that switches unpredictably between the two subprograms. My analysis of my learning process above suggests that I switched from controlling the first subprogram (the one you describe) to controlling the second one. But another view is that I am controlling the entire program which switches from one subprogram to the other. I see no obvious way to distinguish these three possibilities by the Test. Do you?

RM: There is no program controlling a subprogram; there is just a program being controlled.Â

BN:Â
OK. It wouldn’t be the first time that my description of what I am doing wasn’t accurate. I’m looking forward to the convincing explanation.

BN:Â

Timely sensory feedback is a problem with the current demo.

BN: If you don’t model the control system that is running the demo (the subject)Â

how can you be sure what perception the subject is controlling?

BN:Â

True/False is binary. If a category level is assumed, everything above the category level is ‘digital’ rather than analog. That’s my understanding.

RM: What you have to understand about PCT (and this is a tough one, conceptually) is that complex perceptual variables, like programs or principles, are conceived as being perceptual variables, the states of which are represented as the magnitudes of scalar perceptual signals.

The program itself is a perception that is controlled in the same way that the position of a cursor is controlled. That was a hard one to get my own head around but you really have to get your head around that in order to understand PCT and, in particular, what distinguishes PCT from other applications of control theory to understanding behavior.

Â

BN: I look forward to the next generation of the demo! Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

RM: Very helpful, Bruce. Thanks.

BestÂ

Rick

Â

/Bruce

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Rick Marken 2018-12-11_14:18:40]

[Bruce Nevin 2018-12-10_18:49:50 UTC]

RM: Hi Bruce. I only have time to comment on this one point:Â

BN: (As you have commented, program control in the sense of executing it is not the same as controlling a program perception in the sense of recognizing when the program has stopped running and taking action to get it running again, which is what your demo aims to show

RM: I think program control is control of a program perception. How that program is controlled will be different depending on how one’s outputs are connected to the program. In my demo, the program can be kept under control by simply pressing the space bar because each press toggles the program back and forth between two different programs… When the program is the moves in a chess game you have to move the pieces properly to keep the program under control.

BN: --setting aside my view that what it really demonstrates is controlling a sequence: the first two perceptions in the sequence are a color & shape that occur [I forget in which order] when the program has stopped, and the third perception is the keyboard press to restart the program. This apparent digression will become relevant farther on.)

RM: If you were actually controlling a sequence when you are controlling an if-then contingency (program) then you would be able to control both the sequence and program at the same rate. Perhaps you can. But I can’t. I can control for the sequence “small, medium, large” at the medium presentation rate but I can’t control for the program “if the shape is circle, the next color is blue; else, the
next color is red” at that presentation rate. I have to go to the slow rate in order to get reasonably good control of that program (close to .9 of the trial time “on target”). So for me, the timing results reveal that I am controlling perceptual variables of two different types that are at two different levels of a control hierarchy; faster timing for control of sequence means it is of a different type and at a lower level than control of the program, which requires slower timing. Perhaps this is not true for you and you are really able to control the contingency as a sequence, which would be true if you could control both equally well at the same presentation rate. I would be very surprised if you could do that but if that’s the way the data come out then that would certainly constitute evidence that it is, indeed, the case that both the sequence ans what I call the program are the same type of perceptual variable at the same level of your hierarchy of control.Â

RM: It would be great if other’s could do that demo (https://www.mindreadings.com/ControlDemo/ProgramControl.html) and let me know what the data looks like when you control for "small, medium, large" and when you control for “if the shape is circle, the next color is blue; else, the next color is red”. If others are able to control the sequence and “program” equally well at the same presentation rate then the demo is not showing what I intended it to show.

Best Rick

Â

···

Bruce Nevin (2018-02-23_21:37:11 ET)–

RM: Yes, of course. Perhaps Bill should have called the program level of control the "programmatic behavior"Â level of control. But I think it’s clear from the fact that Bill defined a program perception as the perception of a network of contingencies that program perception is the perception of the visible consequences of whatever produces the programmatic behavior, not a perception of the whatever it is (such as program code) that generates the programmatic behavior.Â

Â

RM: Of course, I understand. No offence taken. As far as the delayed feedback, you are right that it is problematic but I don’t think it is a show stopper. (I have not had time to figure out how to eliminate the delay in effect of the space bar press on the program but it doesn’t seem to affect my ability to control the program much. But I will get to it.)

RM: Exactly. I think the next step will be to design the demo so that the controller will have to take the correct action at each choice point in order to keep the program going. Disturbances to the actions that are used to keep the program going would be introduced to show that the controller must do different thingsÂ
at each choice point

–Â giving the appearance of carrying out a different program of actions --Â in order to keep the program going.Â

Â

RM: Yes, now I understand. The only variable you can possibly control in this demo is a program in the second sense – controlling for keeping a particular programmatic behavior running. Perhaps the only way to make this explanation convincing is to design a model system that can control a sequence or a program. The perceptual function for the sequence control system should be different from that for the program control system and it should be impossible to build a program control system that can control the program by controlling sequences. But another way to see that controlling a program is not the same as controlling a sequence is just to see that you can control the sequence but not the program at the medium speed but you can control the sequence and the program at the slow speed.Â

RM: I think that’s a great idea and I will try to do that.Â

RM: Actually, I don’t understand what the proposed alternative perceptions are. All my demo can show (using the test for the controlled variable) Is that the variable you are controlling is the programmatic behavior described as “if circle then blue else red”. This is shown when the proportion of a trial that this program is running (is “on Target”) is >.8. Â

Â

RM: I think the only way to explain it is by noting that there is no need to perceive a logical contingency in order to see that a sequence is occurring but there is a need to perceive a logical contingency to see that a program is occurring.Â

RN: Yes, it’s a problem but, as I said, not a show stopper. We can control some variables (the direction of an ocean linear, for example) when there is a long lag between our output (movement of the tiller) and the effect of that output on the controlled variable (the direction of the ship). But it does make control more difficult so I will try to eliminate that lag from the program control demo.

RM: Building a model would help, for sure. But the result of this demo, using the test for the controlled variable, is pretty convincing evidence that it’s a program that is being controlled. The proportion of a trial on target is a good measure of control because it shows how well you are resisting the disturbances to the controlled variable. The disturbance to the program perception is the switch from "if circle then blue else red " to “if circle then red else blue”. If you are not controlling the program, the expected value of the proportion of a trial on target is .5; if you are successfully compensating for the disturbance and successfully controlling forÂ

"if circle then blue else red " then the proportion of a trial on target will be close to 1.0. If you are successfully controlling for the other program,
“if circle then red else blue”

, then the proportion of the trail on target (where the target is assumed to be the programÂ
 "if circle then blue else red ") will be close to 0.0.Â

Â

RM: I think that depends on how the perceptual function for a program is conceived. Perhaps the signal output of the function is binary (max if the program is happening and min if it’s not) but it could also be continuous, indicating the degree to which the program is happening. A nice research project would be to see whether program control is based on binary or continuous perceptual variables.

Â

BestÂ

Rick


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

BN:… “Controlling a perception of a program” in your demo means controlling a perception of when the program is running and when
 a different program starts running in its place
.

RM: …Programs can only be controlled by control systems that perceive programs. The control systems at levels that are above those that control programs can presumably use the systems that control program perceptions as the means of controlling the perceptions they control – presumably principles and system concepts.

BN: The learning process to organize input functions for this began (in my case) with understanding the description of the program. The next step was to identify the visual consequences of the program running.Â
This identification I expressed verbally as “circle then blue; square then
 red”. (You said that you did the same.) My next step of learning was to identify the consequences in the display that occur whenever the program stopped running and the alternative program started running. This identification I expressed verbally as
 “circle then red; square then blue”. So with these revised verbal ‘training wheels’ I started to practice controlling these sequence perceptions which set a reference for pressing the spacebar. The delayed feedback was problematic. And then control of other perceptions in my life have had much higher gain, no offence. :wink:

BN:Â

By programmatic learning (learning processes at the program level) I analyzed a perception of the structure of the program to identify those of its consequences that are relevant to turning it back on when it is turned off by pressing the spacebar. Pressing the spacebar controlled the running of the program (when I succeeded in recognizing one of the two sequences and acting timely). I was therefore controlling a perception of the program sorta like I control my computer by pushing the power button to turn it on.

BN:Â
There’s this equivocation, you see, between perceiving a program (a perception of its structure and its logic), and controlling a perception of a program in the above sense, controlling its running (or of its failing to run, rather).

BN:Â

Why don’t you try to model the control system that is running the demo?Â

BN:Â

This refers to the structure of the program running in the computer. As I understand your directions, there is one program that runs as described. This is just part of the entire program running in the computer. There is also a different program that assigns colors to shapes in a different way, and there is a process of some kind that switches unpredictably between the two subprograms. My analysis of my learning process above suggests that I switched from controlling the first subprogram (the one you describe) to controlling the second one. But another view is that I am controlling the entire program which switches from one subprogram to the other. I see no obvious way to distinguish these three possibilities by the Test. Do you?

RM: There is no program controlling a subprogram; there is just a program being controlled.Â

BN:Â
OK. It wouldn’t be the first time that my description of what I am doing wasn’t accurate. I’m looking forward to the convincing explanation.

BN:Â

Timely sensory feedback is a problem with the current demo.

BN: If you don’t model the control system that is running the demo (the subject)Â

how can you be sure what perception the subject is controlling?

BN:Â

True/False is binary. If a category level is assumed, everything above the category level is ‘digital’ rather than analog. That’s my understanding.

RM: What you have to understand about PCT (and this is a tough one, conceptually) is that complex perceptual variables, like programs or principles, are conceived as being perceptual variables, the states of which are represented as the magnitudes of scalar perceptual signals.

The program itself is a perception that is controlled in the same way that the position of a cursor is controlled. That was a hard one to get my own head around but you really have to get your head around that in order to understand PCT and, in particular, what distinguishes PCT from other applications of control theory to understanding behavior.

Â

BN: I look forward to the next generation of the demo! Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

RM: Very helpful, Bruce. Thanks.

BestÂ

Rick

Â

/Bruce

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Rick Marken 2018-12-12_21:07:11]

[Bruce Nevin 2018-12-12_14:19:42 UTC]

Rick Marken 2018-12-11_14:18:40–

RM: If you were actually controlling a sequence when you are controlling an if-then contingency (program) then you would be able to control both the sequence and program at the same rate. …

RM: Either it’s at the Program level as you say, or its a sequence that crosses from one sensory modality to another, and to link them requires language, in which case it’s the recourse to language that slows performance.

RM: According to Bill’s theory, the fasted rate at which you can control a sequence or program perception should be the same regardless of the modality of the elements that make up the sequence or program. In my first paper on this, which was never published but is included in MORE MIND READINGS as the “Hierarchical Behavior of Perception” chapter, I not that the “speed limits” for perceiving (and presumably controlling) a sequence of tones seems to be about the same as the speed limits for controlling a sequence of finger taps or visual elements. But your question does suggest a lot of new ways to test Bill’s model of hierarchical control. Have people control sequences where each element comes from a different modality – circle, tone, tap for example. See if the rate at which they can control such sequences differs from the rate at which they can control sequences from the same modality – circle, square, triangle for example. The PCT model predicts that there should be no difference in the rate at which these different kinds of sequences can be controlled (all things being equal, such as the duration of the elements in each type of sequence). And then do the same for programs. If, in fact, the rate at which people can control “mixed modality” sequences and programs is different than the rate at which they can control “same modality” sequences and programs, then that would be evidence against the hierarchical control model in its current form.Â

RM: So if there are any grad students out there who are interested in doing PCT- based research for their PhD theses, there a few good thesis ideas right there.Â

Â

BN: I think that it might be possible with practice to speed it up if it is practiced as a sequence rather than as a contingency.Â

RM: There’s another possible PCT based research topic. If such practice did lead to sequences and programs being controlled at the same rate then that would be another piece of evidence against the current PCT model. Again, thinking about data leads to productive ideas about how to make progress on PCT. Thanks Bruce!

BestÂ

Rick

Â

···

Bruce Nevin (2018-02-23_21:37:11 ET)–

RM: Yes, of course. Perhaps Bill should have called the program level of control the "programmatic behavior"Â level of control. But I think it’s clear from the fact that Bill defined a program perception as the perception of a network of contingencies that program perception is the perception of the visible consequences of whatever produces the programmatic behavior, not a perception of the whatever it is (such as program code) that generates the programmatic behavior.Â

Â

RM: Of course, I understand. No offence taken. As far as the delayed feedback, you are right that it is problematic but I don’t think it is a show stopper. (I have not had time to figure out how to eliminate the delay in effect of the space bar press on the program but it doesn’t seem to affect my ability to control the program much. But I will get to it.)

RM: Exactly. I think the next step will be to design the demo so that the controller will have to take the correct action at each choice point in order to keep the program going. Disturbances to the actions that are used to keep the program going would be introduced to show that the controller must do different thingsÂ
at each choice point

–Â giving the appearance of carrying out a different program of actions --Â in order to keep the program going.Â

Â

RM: Yes, now I understand. The only variable you can possibly control in this demo is a program in the second sense – controlling for keeping a particular programmatic behavior running. Perhaps the only way to make this explanation convincing is to design a model system that can control a sequence or a program. The perceptual function for the sequence control system should be different from that for the program control system and it should be impossible to build a program control system that can control the program by controlling sequences. But another way to see that controlling a program is not the same as controlling a sequence is just to see that you can control the sequence but not the program at the medium speed but you can control the sequence and the program at the slow speed.Â

RM: I think that’s a great idea and I will try to do that.Â

RM: Actually, I don’t understand what the proposed alternative perceptions are. All my demo can show (using the test for the controlled variable) Is that the variable you are controlling is the programmatic behavior described as “if circle then blue else red”. This is shown when the proportion of a trial that this program is running (is “on Target”) is >.8. Â

Â

RM: I think the only way to explain it is by noting that there is no need to perceive a logical contingency in order to see that a sequence is occurring but there is a need to perceive a logical contingency to see that a program is occurring.Â

RN: Yes, it’s a problem but, as I said, not a show stopper. We can control some variables (the direction of an ocean linear, for example) when there is a long lag between our output (movement of the tiller) and the effect of that output on the controlled variable (the direction of the ship). But it does make control more difficult so I will try to eliminate that lag from the program control demo.

RM: Building a model would help, for sure. But the result of this demo, using the test for the controlled variable, is pretty convincing evidence that it’s a program that is being controlled. The proportion of a trial on target is a good measure of control because it shows how well you are resisting the disturbances to the controlled variable. The disturbance to the program perception is the switch from "if circle then blue else red " to “if circle then red else blue”. If you are not controlling the program, the expected value of the proportion of a trial on target is .5; if you are successfully compensating for the disturbance and successfully controlling forÂ

"if circle then blue else red " then the proportion of a trial on target will be close to 1.0. If you are successfully controlling for the other program,
“if circle then red else blue”

, then the proportion of the trail on target (where the target is assumed to be the programÂ
 "if circle then blue else red ") will be close to 0.0.Â

Â

RM: I think that depends on how the perceptual function for a program is conceived. Perhaps the signal output of the function is binary (max if the program is happening and min if it’s not) but it could also be continuous, indicating the degree to which the program is happening. A nice research project would be to see whether program control is based on binary or continuous perceptual variables.

Â

BestÂ

Rick


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

BN:… “Controlling a perception of a program” in your demo means controlling a perception of when the program is running and when
 a different program starts running in its place
.

RM: …Programs can only be controlled by control systems that perceive programs. The control systems at levels that are above those that control programs can presumably use the systems that control program perceptions as the means of controlling the perceptions they control – presumably principles and system concepts.

BN: The learning process to organize input functions for this began (in my case) with understanding the description of the program. The next step was to identify the visual consequences of the program running.Â
This identification I expressed verbally as “circle then blue; square then
 red”. (You said that you did the same.) My next step of learning was to identify the consequences in the display that occur whenever the program stopped running and the alternative program started running. This identification I expressed verbally as
 “circle then red; square then blue”. So with these revised verbal ‘training wheels’ I started to practice controlling these sequence perceptions which set a reference for pressing the spacebar. The delayed feedback was problematic. And then control of other perceptions in my life have had much higher gain, no offence. :wink:

BN:Â

By programmatic learning (learning processes at the program level) I analyzed a perception of the structure of the program to identify those of its consequences that are relevant to turning it back on when it is turned off by pressing the spacebar. Pressing the spacebar controlled the running of the program (when I succeeded in recognizing one of the two sequences and acting timely). I was therefore controlling a perception of the program sorta like I control my computer by pushing the power button to turn it on.

BN:Â
There’s this equivocation, you see, between perceiving a program (a perception of its structure and its logic), and controlling a perception of a program in the above sense, controlling its running (or of its failing to run, rather).

BN:Â

Why don’t you try to model the control system that is running the demo?Â

BN:Â

This refers to the structure of the program running in the computer. As I understand your directions, there is one program that runs as described. This is just part of the entire program running in the computer. There is also a different program that assigns colors to shapes in a different way, and there is a process of some kind that switches unpredictably between the two subprograms. My analysis of my learning process above suggests that I switched from controlling the first subprogram (the one you describe) to controlling the second one. But another view is that I am controlling the entire program which switches from one subprogram to the other. I see no obvious way to distinguish these three possibilities by the Test. Do you?

RM: There is no program controlling a subprogram; there is just a program being controlled.Â

BN:Â
OK. It wouldn’t be the first time that my description of what I am doing wasn’t accurate. I’m looking forward to the convincing explanation.

BN:Â

Timely sensory feedback is a problem with the current demo.

BN: If you don’t model the control system that is running the demo (the subject)Â

how can you be sure what perception the subject is controlling?

BN:Â

True/False is binary. If a category level is assumed, everything above the category level is ‘digital’ rather than analog. That’s my understanding.

RM: What you have to understand about PCT (and this is a tough one, conceptually) is that complex perceptual variables, like programs or principles, are conceived as being perceptual variables, the states of which are represented as the magnitudes of scalar perceptual signals.

The program itself is a perception that is controlled in the same way that the position of a cursor is controlled. That was a hard one to get my own head around but you really have to get your head around that in order to understand PCT and, in particular, what distinguishes PCT from other applications of control theory to understanding behavior.

Â

BN: I look forward to the next generation of the demo! Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

RM: Very helpful, Bruce. Thanks.

BestÂ

Rick

Â

/Bruce

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Martin Taylor 2018.12.123.00.26]

···

[Rick Marken 2018-12-12_21:07:11]


RM: According to Bill’s theory, the fasted rate at
which you can control a sequence or program perception
should be the same regardless of the modality of the
elements that make up the sequence or program.

  Could you give me a page reference or a CSGnet date ID stamp or a

logical rationale for this? I don’t remember it, and I am not able
to see a reason why it should be a consequence of the theory.

Thanks

Martin

[Rick Marken (2018.12.14.1115)]

[Martin Taylor 2018.12.123.00.26]


RM: According to Bill’s theory, the fasted rate at
which you can control a sequence or program perception
should be the same regardless of the modality of the
elements that make up the sequence or program.

  MT: Could you give me a page reference or a CSGnet date ID stamp or a

logical rationale for this? I don’t remember it, and I am not able
to see a reason why it should be a consequence of the theory.

RM: One rationale for this comes from Bill’s demonstrations of some different levels (“orders”) of control that are described in part II of the 1969 “General Feedback Theory” papers published in Perceptual & Motor Skills (reprinted on pp. 25-45 in LCS I). The demos of each “order” of control above the first are revealed by the longer latency of a corrective response to a disturbance to a higher than to a lower order controlled variable.Â

RM: Response latency, like the rate at which a perception can be controlled in my demos, is a measure of speed of response. The demos Bill describes in the 1960 paper assume that speed of response (equivalent to the transport lag in the control system controlling a particular type of perception) increases as you go up the hierarchy. Transport lag is assumed to consistently increase as you go from lower order control systems, controlling perceptions like intensities and sensations, to higher order ones, controlling perceptions like sequences and programs.Â

RM: If PCT did not assume a consistent increase in transport lag as you go from control of lower to higher level perceptions, then the latency approach Bill used to demonstrate the different levels wouldn’t work. If the latency of response for control of a certain type of perceptual variable differed substantially depending on the nature of the components of that variable then latency could not be used to determine whether that perceptual variable was at a different hierarchical level (“order”) than another. If, for example, a sequence of tones could be controlled at a much faster rate than a sequence of visual forms, then latency would not tell you that both sequences are controlled at the same level of the hierarchy; nor would latency tell you that sequence perceptions are controlled at a different level than program perceptions since, depending on the components of these two types of perceptions, the latency for controlling some sequences would be shorter than that for some programs while the latency for some programs would be shorter than that for some sequences. But this problem doesn’t seem to exist; the latency for controlling the same type of perception seems to be about the same regardless of the nature of the components of these perceptions. For example, as noted in my “Hierarchical Behavior of Perception” paper in MORE MIND READINGS, the latency for controlling a sequence of tones is, in fact, about the same as that for controlling a sequence of numbers (about 250 msec). Of course, the equivalency of latency of the same type of perception with different components depends on keeping the components, regardless of their modality or type, approximately the same duration themselves.Â

rsm

···


Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

[Rick Marken 2018-12-14_12:13:33]

[Rick Marken (2018.12.14.1115)]

Â

RM: Of course, the equivalency of latency of the same type of perception with different components depends on keeping the components, regardless of their modality or type, approximately the same duration themselves.Â

RM: On re-reading I realized that is is only true in my demos where latency is inferred from the rate of presentation of the components of the perceptual variable.  The duration of the components shouldn’t matter at all if you just measure the latency of response to a disturbance to a controlled perception, which is the measure Bill used in his “portable demos” in the 1960 Perceptual & Motor Skills paper.Â

Best

Rick

···

Richard S. MarkenÂ

"Perfection is achieved not when you have nothing more to add, but when you
have nothing left to take away.�
                --Antoine de Saint-Exupery