Crime & Punishment, C & S

[From Rick Marken (930814.1430)]

Gary Cziko (930813.2130 UTC) re Papinsky --

I find lots of it interesting, as well as Bill Power's reactions.
Obviously you didn't, but that's OK.

I found it quite interesting; but it was a long post and I wanted to see
if you could narrow it down a bit by suggesting what might be best to
focus on from a PCT perspective. But you just did narrow it down
by saying:

But since you have remarked a number of times on the net that you don't see
tougher law enforcement and prison sentences as solutions to the crime
problem, maybe you will find the following of interest from Pepinsky and a

Actually, I like tough law enforcement and prison sentences as much as
the next right wing reactionary. My suggested solution to crime is not
to eliminate prisons but to eliminate crime. This can be done by taking
non-crimes off the books: 90% of crime will be eliminated when drugs
and prostitution are legalized. I am enough of a government interventionist
to believe that activities like these should be regulated (through zoning,
for example) but, really, why have laws against "crimes" that hurt no one
but the perpetrator (if they hurt anyone)? It's a waste of good prison

The fact of the matter is that people will probably be willing to eliminate
prisons before they are willing to eliminate laws against non- crimes.
This is especially true in the US where the legislation of morality is a
way of life. So you can tell Papinsky that my cause is more hopeless than
his cause, so I must be right.

Tom Bourbon (930813.1112)--

I received the following article in the mail on 12 August 1993:

Todd A. Nelson (1993). The hierarchical organization of
behavior: A useful feedback model of self-regulation. Current
Directions in Psychological Research, 2(4): 121-126.

Wonderful review Tom. The following quote from Nelson was particularly

"Empirical tests of the notion of negative feedback made it clear
that there were some gaps in Powers's ideas, and that, in order
for the model to be complete, it had to take into account the
effects of attention and outcome expectancy" (p. 124).

Do you have any idea what empirical tests these were? This would be very
important information to have: what was the data that made it necessary for
these researchers to take into account the effects of attention and outcome
expectancy? How were attention and outcome expectancy put into the
model? How much of an improvement was there in the model's ability
to predict the data? I have long been interested in finding a good
research paradigm for studying attention in control -- apparently
Carver and Scheier have one. It would be nice to know what it is.

But the empirical tests alluded to are studies Phil Runkel could have
used in his book (Casting Nets and Testing Specimens: Two Grand
Methods of Psychology) as examples of misuses and abuses of net-
casting. Many of them rely on correlations that are very high on
the index of uselessness -- the coefficient of alienation. In the
remaining sections of the article, Nelson cites numerous experimental
results from C & S in which, "when X happens, people do Y," or more
often, "when Q happens, people TEND TO do Z." There is no evidence
that the experimenters ever performed direct tests to identify controlled
variables or that they realized the inadequacy of their data as
evidence concerning the phenomenon of control.

Oops. So I guess they weren't driven to take attention and outcome expectancy
into account because of a failure of the basic PCT model to account for the

Could you give a description of one of the Carver/Scheier experiments that
they claim as evidence that attention and outcome expectancy should be
taken into account? I think it might help if people could see exactly
what Carver & Scheier and their ilk are up to -- and why it's not what
PCT researchers are up to.

Thanks again, Tom, for that excellent review -- depressing thought it
might be for some of us (like me). To paraphrase what Bill Powers said
in his recent post on Pepinsky "Shit happens -- control systems deal
with it".