[from Jeff Vancouver 980408.1013 EST}
[From Rick Marken (980408.1420)]
OK. You have, indeed, talked about control of input and the
The Test in you publications. Much of what you say is wrong.
But I have to admit that you do talk (albeit briefly) about
these things so _bravo_ for that.
Am I to assume that the things you think I say that are wrong are not the
quotes I posted? For when you say I say something wrong, I want to be sure
that I am not mis-representing PCT. If by wrong you mean that because I
talk about models other than PCT, and those models are wrong in your mind,
that is not "wrong" unless I am misrepresenting those models. Forgive me,
but I am not interested in whether you think I am misrepresenting the other
models unless you can provide evidence that you can adequately represent
them. If by wrong you mean that my opinions about the connections between
the models I discuss and PCT do not match your opinions, well then we are
in the land of opinions (unless I am misrepresenting YOUR opinion, then let
me know). If by wrong you think that what I have said about the
reorganization process is wrong, well we are talking about the edge of
investigation. Counter opinions about the interpretation of results are
welcome (provided they are constructive).
If by wrong you are refering to my use of the term "cause," I put that in
the opinion category. Below I reproduce much of what I said about cause.
But you don't clearly state the essential difference between PCT
and other theories of psychology; other theories of psychology
represent behavior as _caused by_ input; PCT represents behavior
as the _control of_ input. Other theories of psychology are tested
by determining whether particular inputs cause behavior; PCT is
tested by determining whether particular inputs are controlled
Jeff Vancouver (9804081500 est) --
That is a distinction that you think exists, not me.
Many people besides me (Tom B., Bill and Mary P, Phil R. for
sure but I believe there are several others) think that this
distinction not only exists but that it is, indeed, essential.
I think it would really be great if you could help us -- especially
Bill P., the developer of PCT, who labors under the illusion
that this distinction most certainly _does_ exist -- understand
why you think this distinction does not exist. Most of the
demos at my site show that this distinction _does_ exist and
that it _matters_. Could you please provide some evidence to
support your convinction that the distinction I draw between
PCT and all other theories of psychology does _not_ exist. Thanks
I have been down that route and have reorganized my gain (I think) such
that I will not engage. After all, it involves changing another's (several
others) perceptions in order to get my perception controlled (you rejected
even that description). The difficulty of doing that prompted (caused?)
reorganization of my systems.
Nonetheless, this is what I have written about cause as it relates to the
negative feedback model.
" Primary among these other grand theories was cybernetics (Rosenblueth,
Wiener, Bigelow, 1943; Rosenblueth, Wiener, 1950; Wiener, 1948).
Cybernetics drew upon an idea that was proving useful in engineering, the
negative feedback loop (see Figure 1). In Wiener's (1948) model, the input
to the system is some reference signal determined by an engineer or user
from which is subtracted any feedback of the output of the system.
Depending on the difference of the feedback from the reference signal, an
error is magnified (or not) in a compensator, which engages an effector,
which causes the output, which is fed back, etc. Thus, by monitoring the
results of its own output, the system can regulate that output."
As I have said before, it seems consistent with the causal loop idea that
one can speak of the direction of causality in arcs of the loop. The
direction of the loop is one way, correct?
I also talk about causality in terms of reorganization. Again, from my
"It is important to understand that not just any error will cause the
internal unit to engage (i.e., to cause the action unit's output function
to reorganize). A well-functioning control system might experience a great
deal of error during normal operation (e.g., the thermostat in your home).
"The mode that I have been describing up to this point is the behaving
mode. Information about the current state of the environmental variable
comes from the environment. Information about subgoals needed to determine
muscle tensions that cause action on the environment are sent down the
hierarchy to the muscles and, thus, to the environment (barring the
introduction of neurochemical blocking agents).
"Actually, the students in the regular cup condition were trying to get the
liquid into their mouths, but the subgoals (i.e., output functions)
required to do that were well practiced and nothing in the environment
caused the discrepancies in any of the subsystems to go out-of-tolerance. "
and from the Behavioral Science paper:
"Changes to the observed speed, caused by a hill for instance, or changes
to the desired speed, caused by a change in the speed limit or spotting a
highway patrol car, will cause a change in foot behavior in terms of the
amount of gas applied to the engine. Depending on the efficiency of the
human system, one should expect to see little variance in the speed of the
car provided the desired speed does not change.
Disturbances to its perceptions of the current level or changes to the
desired level will cause changes in outputs by the organization."
These are consistent with my opinion of the term cause. It may be true
that it is inconsistent with yours, Bill's, Phil's and others, but it is
not inconsistent with a great deal of the audience of my chapter (I
believe). I have read much of the work of the people on this net. Phil's
on this topic is probably the most thorough in his book. I like the book.
Think it makes a lot of good points. And I think it carries the argument
too far. That is my opinion.
Now here is what I have said about, at least Bill's possible opinion on my
conjectures regarding the reorganization system (he has yet to respond one
way or another):
" Thus, reorganization of a higher-level output function involves two
processes. It randomly changes the output function and it puts lower-level
units in thinking mode, so that the reorganized function can be tested.
This description goes beyond Powers and, if my mental model of him is
correct, would evoke much wrath from him. First, I am going well beyond
the working models of the theory and data created to date. Second, I am
articulating the use of mental models in creating perceptions and
suggesting that this process runs in serial. Powers (1991) points out that
because these mental models are so likely flawed, and that parallel
processing is much more efficient, the system can much more effectively
interact on-line in parallel with real-time data.
My response is that his second point results from the first. That is, in
the lower levels, which are the only ones modeled and tested to the rigor
Powers and his group require, it is very difficult to see much merit in
using models to predict environmental states, or in operating in serial.
The system can receive information and act very rapidly, simply, and
simultaneously to disturbances to the variables (Marken, 1992). There is
no need for models of those disturbances, or models of the likely effects
on the environmental variables of setting subgoals at certain levels.
However, my guess is that at higher levels this is not true and that until
we develop, and test working models of those levels it seems that the kind
of thinking that I am talking about nicely conforms to a great deal of
research in psychology (Austin & Vancouver, 1996), especially on decision
making (Beach, 1990; Newell, 1990)."
Thus, I am absolving PCT (as represented by you and Bill) of my opinions.
Now I do not talk about cause directly in this absolution. That is mostly
because I have not figured out how your understanding of cause conflicts
with mine, such that describing the difference is beyond me.
P.S. It would be nice if I did not have to refer to my mental model of
Bill. It would be easier if Bill just trashed it here on the net, then I
could cite him directly instead of the virtual Bill in my mind.
from My self-regulation chapter: