Emotion

[From Bruce Abbott (2004.01.07.1200 EST)]

I'd like to share a few of my own thoughts about emotion, which I will
state as (unsubstantiated) claims.

1. Emotions are products of what might be called emotion systems of the
brain.

2. As with everything else about the physical makeup of animals (the
human
animal included), these systems are the product of a long history of
evolution. They exist because they have survival value for the species.

3. Emotion systems are relatively primitive brain mechanisms that
"recognize" specific types of situation and promote specific types of
action which, in the evolutionary history of the animal, have usually
been
the "right" sorts of things to do under the circumstances.

4. Emotion systems produce distinctive subjective experiences
("feelings")
that cannot be reduced to bodily sensations (although such sensations
often
accompany emotions and add an additional dimension to those subjective
experiences).

5. Emotion systems are an integral part of the control hierarchy. As
such,
they have their own controlled perceptions and references, and produce
actions by setting references for lower-level systems, including
muscular
and hormonal systems.

6. Disturbances to the CVs of emotion systems may take the form of
simple
sensations (e.g., pain) or more complex inputs resulting from cognitive
activity (e.g., recognition). Through experience (learning,
reorganization), a wide variety of situations may come to serve as
disturbances to an emotion system's CVs.

7. Likewise, through reorganization, a wide variety of means (actions)
may
become available for dealing with the disturbances. The selection of
means
will become linked to the specifics of the situation.

My view of the matter is that at one point in evolutionary history,
pre-organized control mechanisms were pretty much all there was. As
brains
became more capable of perceiving and remembering, emotion systems
developed that were not as rigidly tied to specific sensory inputs and
which could act in a more flexible way depending on the circumstances
being
perceived by the animal. As higher-level cognitive capacities continued
to
increase, additional levels of control emerged but did not supplant the
phylogenetically older emotion systems. Instead, the latter continued to

exert control over their old CVs, but now sometimes in conflict with the

control actions of those higher-level systems. In addition, the greatly
expanded ability of the brain to recognize diverse circumstances as
being
"the same" (e.g., a threat) and to organize more complex and extended
sequences of activity as the means of control. (Yes, it's a "just so"
story, but it is consistent with what I know about brain and behavior
and,
I think, yields some testable propositions.)

The assertions and story presented above are not entirely consistent
with
HPCT as I understand it, but neither is it entirely inconsistent with
HPCT. It is consistent in that it proposes that emotion systems are just

ordinary control systems, operating via the HPCT heirarchy to produce
observable actions. It is also consistent in that learning or
reorganization affect what inputs to an emotion system will serve to
disturb its CVs and what actions will be taken to oppose the
disturbance. The proposal also recognizes that, as with any set of
control
systems, conflict between systems can and does occur (e.g., between
"emotional" and "rational" systems).

Where the proposal differs from HPCT (as HPCT is currently developed) is

that emotion systems are considered to be genetically organized brain
systems rather than developing out of the reorganization process through

trial and error. The proposal does not consider emotions to be
epiphenomena that can be explained as the perceptual side-effect of
strong
control action that arises from large error in any CV of the control
hierarchy, although it does assume that certain emotion systems can have

their own CVs disturbed as a consequence of loss of control of certain
other CVs in the (non-emotion) hierarchy.

Bruce A.

[From Bill Powers (2004.01.07.1135 MST)]

Bruce Abbott (2004.01.07.1200 EST)–

Where the proposal differs from
HPCT (as HPCT is currently developed) is

that emotion systems are considered to be genetically organized
brain

systems rather than developing out of the reorganization process
through

trial and error. The proposal does not consider emotions to be

epiphenomena that can be explained as the perceptual side-effect of

strong control action that arises from large error in any CV of the
control

hierarchy, although it does assume that certain emotion systems can
have

their own CVs disturbed as a consequence of loss of control of
certain

other CVs in the (non-emotion) hierarchy.

I think we can find some grounds for agreement here. The HPCT model
proposes layers of control systems concerned with progressively more
abstract controlled variables built on levels below. The implication is
that the basic capabilities needed for each of these levels (like
short-term memory in the perceptual functions of the transition level)
were added in the course of evolution, making new types of control
possible which used the existing lower-level systems as the means of
control.
I have assumed that while the ability to control a new kind of variable
is added when a new level is added (during evolution), no specific
perceptual input functions exist at first; they must be acquired through
reorganization and experience with the lower-order world (essentially the
problem I am working on with the multiple-control-system model with
reorganization).
However, it seems clear that some pre-oranization exists at all levels.
There are far fewer built-in control system in a human being than in,
say, a horse, so the human being is far better able to reorganize to
control in a variety of environments. But some systems may exist, and
(the point) some of them may survive the processes of learning and
maturation sufficiently to operate almost unchanged throughout
life.
What I’m giving you is your first proposition, “that emotion systems
are considered to be genetically organized brain systems rather than
developing out of the reorganization process through trial and
error.” However, to do this I don’t have to give up my general
proposal that emotion consists of an error in a hierarchical control
system experienced together with the feeling of becoming physiologically
prepared to act. I’m now still saying that all emotions are
generated in this way, but adding that some of the control systems that
produce emotions are built-in rather than acquired through
reorganization. I won’t put any limits on how high in the hierarchy we
might find built-in control systems with built-in perceptual input
functions and even built-in reference levels.
I do question some of the details of your proposal. I do agree that
emotions do not consist entirely of sensations from the body. If
they did, we would have far fewer different emotions than we have.
However, I don’t think we need to propose any mysterious new dimensions
to account for the remaining differences (your point 4). We experience
emotions as a combination of bodily feelings and a sense of what we’re
intending or desiring to do by way of controlling perceptions. A specific
constellation of sensed body states combined with the intent or desire to
get away from something is experienced as one of the emotions related to
fear: the words we use distinguish which variety and intensity of urge to
escape we mean. Essentially the same constellation of sensed body states
in combination with the intent or desire to attack, destroy, push away,
hurt, or overwhelm is experienced as one of the set of emotions related
to anger. In my proposal, all these emotions, whether built-in or
acquired, are brought about through activities in the amygdala,
hypothalamus, and endocrine system, as well as through the autonomic
nervous system, because those are the paths through which the hierarchy
always acts to set lower-level reference signals (biochemical and neural
branches). The branching-off, I proposed long ago, occurs somewhere in
the vicinity of the thalamus – second order or third order. These are
“primitive” systems in that the lower-order control systems
must have evolved long before the higher-order control systems. But they
are essentially the same systems (give or take some further natural
selection) that are used now by all higher control systems to achieve
their goals. The man riding the horse riding the crocodile is not
entirely fanciful.

So you see that even with these modifications, we don’t have to consider
any separate “emotional” system. Some degree of emotion is
involved in every control process, innate or acquired, to some degree. At
the origin of any emotion is a reference signal and a perceptual signal
and an error signal, whether low-level or high-level, learned or innate.
It is what we want that determine both what we want to do (and actually
do if we can) and how we feel, and the biochemical systems and
nmeuromuscular systems are the means by which all control systems at
higher levels operate.

Is that sounding like convergence?

Best,

Bill P.

from [Marc Abrams (2004.01.07.1716)]

Welcome back Dr. Abbott, :-)great to see you finding something to contribute
on emotions. I am going to respond to both you and Bill in one post later
this evening or tomorrow afternoon after school. Both posts are wonderful
and will provide for some very interesting discussion. I want to give them
both, some thought and time.

Marc

···

[From Bill Powers (2004.01.07.1135 MST)]

Bruce Abbott (2004.01.07.1200 EST)--

from [Marc Abrams (2004.08.1210)]

[From Bill Powers (2004.01.07.1135 MST)]

I think we can find some grounds for agreement here. The HPCT model
proposes layers of control systems concerned with progressively more
abstract controlled variables built on levels below.

Ok, I think that like most things, It is pretty easy to agree with others on
general definitions of words for everyday use. That is, it doesn't really
matter much what someone 'actually' means by the use of a word as long as it
doesn't cause an error. Here, I believe is the first road bump. Like
perceptions, 'controlled varaibles' _can be_ interepreted to be a number of
things. By that I mean a controlled variable is a perception or several
perceptions as defined by PCT that are being controlled. That is, going
through the control process. Now on the surface it seems to be a reasonable
and plausible statement to make, but if we attempt to go down a level or
two, we can run into big problems. For instance. _EXACTLY_ what is a
'perception'? Does it matter? In a mathematical model, no it doesn't. Any
input to the model can be treated as a perception. In fact, it just gets in
the way if you try to get too fancy or complex in trying to define the input
function. This is both good anf bad. It means several interpretations of
exactly what a perception is may accomodated and as such you can then move
on and talk about exactly what happens to that input once it becomes part of
the control process. But in HPCT a perceptions are _NOT_ any old
interpretation of what a perception is. An HPCT perception has a _VERY
SPECIFIC_ organization and it's construction takes on a _VERY SPECIFIC_ set
of rules. That _ARE NOT_ incorporated in Marken's spreadsheet model. Now,
Bill from time to time has said to lay aside his structure and organization,
but when he has done so, he has not replaced it with any alternative. This
becomes problematic for me. _Not_ the laying asisde of the hierarchy, but in
_not_ putting forth of an alternative.

For instance. I don't agree with the construction of percepiions with the
current hierarchy, not because I disagree with the notion of a hierarchy, I
don't, but with the very _specific_ levels that have been defined in B:CP.
In the chapter in LCS II Bill has a different organization and structure.
Which one is it? B:CP or LCS II? But the differences are minor enough not to
make any problems. The real problem comes from defining both what a
'perception' is and _WHEN_ does it begin to be controlled. Bill insists it
is from the very instant our body senses the energy stimuli that they become
'perceptions'. I'm saying not. But to _two_ different things with regard to
that one aspect. First, I believe that the initial transduction from sensory
input is _not_ a controlled process. We don't have a choice of what we
'see', 'hear', 'smell', or 'feel' _initially_. That is, our sensory
transduction is _not_ a cognitively controlled process. The question then
becomes; exactly _when_ do our sensory inputs actually become controlled
quantites? I
can't say for sure at this point but I would think, that when they become
'perceptions' we become aware of them. So we _do_ agree that perceptions are
controlled. The question then becomes; when does a signal become a
perception? Can I perceieve a color of something and _not_ perceive the
other aspects or at least _some_ of the objects attributes? I can't. I can
certainly pick out the different aspects, as they are defined in the
hierarchy but, can I see just an 'intensity' or a 'relationship' _without_
perceiving higher level aspects as well? Bill do you see my questions here?
It concerns the _specificity_ of the current hierarchy, _not_ in the
viability of one.

What I'm giving you is your first proposition, "that emotion systems are
considered to be genetically organized brain systems rather than

developing

out of the reorganization process through trial and error." However, to do
this I don't have to give up my general proposal that emotion consists of
an error in a hierarchical control system experienced together with the
feeling of becoming physiologically prepared to act. I'm now still saying
that all emotions are generated in this way, but adding that some of the
control systems that produce emotions are built-in rather than acquired
through reorganization. I won't put any limits on how high in the

hierarchy

we might find built-in control systems with built-in perceptual input
functions and even built-in reference levels.

Bill, under normal circumstances I would haved e-mailed you privately for
clarification if for no other purpose than to show you that I'm not trying
to critisize, but to clarify. You want public, you got public. This
definition seems to be, in line with _three_ earlier views you have stated
on the subject. But as they say the devil is in the details and I want to
know if _I_ understand your position properly. Your statement above is quite
clear. In view #1, In the LCS II chapter you categorize three types of
sensations 1) Sensations that take place outside our body, our somatic
nervous system, or 5 main senses that are susceptible to outside
disturbances 2) Sensations of effort, you say these seem to be under more or
less voluntary control. You give as examples touch, movement, joint, and
facial expression. You say these sensations hardly appear unless one wishes
them to appear, and external events have little effect on them in comparison
to with our own control over them. 3) You call an 'odd' category in that it
seems the sensations originate entirely inside the body, and yet at times
seems to be under control by the external world, or by factors in ourselves
over which we have no voluntary control at all. It is #3 that you define as
'feelings' or 'emotions'. (LCS II pg. 31). You then go on to talk about
both the 'thought-like' and 'sensation-like components that you feel make up
emotion.

Am I correct in hearing you say the following; 1) Emotions are controlled by
outside, that is, external influences?
2) That it is our somatic nervous system that is responsible for the
sensations we feel or our 5 senses are? 3) That sensations of facial
expression are _always_ voluntary?

Do you still feel the same way? Am I hearing you here say you are making a
distinction between three types of sensations based on how the environment
might affect them and what is or isn't under control?

In view #2, In an undated post (Dag put together a number of posts that are
focused on a particular subject, for his CD, this on emotion) you state in
the first papragraph and I quote;

"There is no "official" PCT theory of emotion, but we have had some ideas.
You can find a chapter on emotion (that was editorially deleted from my 1973
book) in Living Control Systems II. [deleted reference] Here's a current
version of how I see emotions."

This seems to contradict your view that PCT does have a theory of emotions.
What am I missing here?

"The basic idea is that emotions, or some of the experiences we call
emotions are created by the hierarchy of control systems when goals are set
or changed and the system goes about correcting the resulting error
signals."

"The changes in reference signals for the somatic systems are those
appropriate for the kind of action that will be needed to correct the
error."

I think you understand that the Autonomic Nervous system, in conjunction
with the CNS plays a huge part in our bodily sensation

"The intensity of an emotional state depends on the size of the error that
is driving the action and changing the somatic refeference signals.... So
while there are bodily sensations accompanying all actions, they are not
very noticeable under normal circumstances.what creates an intense feeling
is a very large error signal. Large error signals can arise from
larger-than-normal disturbances from the environment, or from internal
conflict that turns one set of behavioral control systems against another
inside the same person."

Do I hear you say that there is a difference between bodily sensations and
emotions? Some feel there is, others don't.

You also add that 'pleasant' emotions are really not much different than
negative ones giving excitement and exhileration as examples that are not
much more different than feeing terror.

How about euphoria? What is the negative counterpart to that feeling? When
someone tickles you, are you laughing because your happy? Maybe because your
nervous? Is laughing a way to reduce anxiety no matter ehat the cause?

This was all followed by a post this past December;

···

________________________________________________________
[From Bill Powers (2003.12.14.1543 MST)]

Marc Abrams (2003.12.14.1426)--

  Bill, In LCS II, The 'hidden'chapter of B:CP, That is Chap. 26 on
Emotions.
  How current are those thoughts? I mean _all_ of the material you presented
  in that chapter. It goes quite a bit beyond emotions and I think it's
  pertinent to this thread.

In that chapter (written, remember, some time before 1973), I proposed that
emotions were perceived intrinsic error signals. I have doubts about that
now, but the answer will depend on just how reorganization proves to work.
If there are reorganizing control systems at the level of intrinsic
variables like blood pressure and glucose concentration, it would be pretty
unlikely that anything about the reorganizing system (other than its
effects) would ever appear in consciousness.

In Martin's discussion of reorganization, which I think is probably the best
statement to date, it was made clear that what we experience when there is
intrinsic error is most probably not the actual intrinsic error, but some
physical condition that depends on it. For example, when blood glucose is
low, we don't experience low blood glucose, but sensations we can learn to
recognize as symptomatic of hypoglycemia (weakness, dizziness, whatever -- I
don't know the real list). We may not know, initially, what is causing those
sensations, so we don't know how to make them go away. But reorganization
will commence because of the hypoglycemia (not because of the perceived
symptoms), and will stop only when we do something that restores glucose
concentration to normal. Then the symptoms will disappear. After that, when
those symptoms appear we control them by doing what we did before, but of
course we don't know (except intellectually) that the essential effect is to
increase glucose concentration. We think we eat a candy bar to cure the
feeling of weakness, when what we're really doing is bringing the glucose
concentration closer to its reference level. Since we do this as soon as we
get the sensations, reorganization doesn't have a chance to start up.

That's one possible view based on the idea that the reorganizing system
works strictly behind the scenes at a level below that of the neuromotor
hierarchy.

It is also possible that the reorganizing process is a brain function and is
potentially accessible to consciousness. In that case at least some of the
intrinsic error signals might become part of direct experience. I don't like
that much any more, but I can't rule it out.

The big question remains how to set up experiments that could test any of
these hypotheses. It's good to get the statement of theory laid out in as
self--consistent a way as possible, but that simply tells us what kinds of
experiments are needed to test the theory. The subjective experiences from
which the initial model was constructed have to be replaced by more formal
procedures eventually.

Best,

Bill P.
__________________________________________________________________

Here you specifiy reorganization as the 'driving' force of emotions, so am I
hearing you correctly in saying emotions only take place when reorganization
does?

I do question some of the details of your proposal. I do agree that
emotions do not consist entirely of sensations from the body. If they did,
we would have far fewer different emotions than we have.

If not from the body, than where from?

We experience emotions as a
combination of bodily feelings and a sense of what we're intending or
desiring to do by way of controlling perceptions.

This seems to be at odds with your view that emotions are not voluntary in
nature. What am I missing here?

A specific constellation of sensed body states combined with the intent or

desire to get away from

something is experienced as one of the emotions related to fear:

I agre with this. Why do you say that it is involuntary? Fear, it appears to
me is _totaly_ voluntary. Once we determine an experience representssd
something to be fearful of we are fearful. But things do change. What scared
us as children often present no problems as adults. Unfortuantely this is
not always true.

In my proposal, all these emotions, whether built-in or acquired, are

brought

about through activities in the amygdala, hypothalamus, and endocrine
system, as well as through the autonomic nervous system, because those are
the paths through which the hierarchy always acts to set lower-level
reference signals (biochemical and neural branches).

All of this is new. I will accept this as your new and updated version. You
left out the immune system and the autonomic nervous system is not part of
your hierarchy. Our sensory inputs are not controlled. You may squint at
some bright light, but that is an _involuntary_ s->r response, not a
controlled variable. Higher levels systems have nothing to say about how
much or little you need to squint.

The branching-off, I proposed long ago, occurs somewhere in the vicinity of

the thalamus --

second order or third order. These are "primitive" systems in that the
lower-order control systems must have evolved long before the higher-order
control systems. But they are essentially the same systems (give or take
some further natural selection) that are used now by all higher control
systems to achieve their goals. The man riding the horse riding the
crocodile is not entirely fanciful.

Yes, that is why the brainstem (the imaging is too inexact to pinpoint
_specific_ locations for all actions) is where the 'comparator' of the
control process reside, and for the very same reasons you statewd above. The
'relay' you speak of is the old s->r approach to signals moving up from the
spinal cord to the brain. In actuality I believe it is the comparator.

So you see that even with these modifications, we don't have to consider
any separate "emotional" system.

I agree.

Some degree of emotion is involved in every control process, innate or

acquired, to some degree.

Amen. :slight_smile:

At the origin of any emotion is a reference signal and a perceptual signal

and an error

signal, whether low-level or high-level, learned or innate. It is what we
want that determine both what we want to do (and actually do if we can)

and

how we feel, and the biochemical systems and nmeuromuscular systems are

the

means by which all control systems at higher levels operate.

Please don't forget the immune system, and as I said the devil is in the
details. And it is in the details where we disagree. Btw, why didn't you and
I come to some 'convergence' on the autonomic nervous system. It didn't
become part of your lexicon on emotions until I brought it up. Maybe I'm not
as stupid as you would like me to be.

Marc

Is that sounding like convergence?

Best,

Bill P.

from [Marc Abrams (2004.01.07.2158)]

Great to hear from you Bruce. Glad your contributing.

[From Bruce Abbott (2004.01.07.1200 EST)]

I'd like to share a few of my own thoughts about emotion, which I will
state as (unsubstantiated) claims.

1. Emotions are products of what might be called emotion systems of the
brain.

Can you elaborate on the specifics of this?

2. As with everything else about the physical makeup of animals (the
human animal included), these systems are the product of a long history of
evolution. They exist because they have survival value for the species.

Yes.

3. Emotion systems are relatively primitive brain mechanisms that
"recognize" specific types of situation and promote specific types of
action which, in the evolutionary history of the animal, have usually
been the "right" sorts of things to do under the circumstances.

This says an awful lot. How does the brain 'recogonize' something as being
anything?

This to me is a perception. What about you?

4. Emotion systems produce distinctive subjective experiences
("feelings") that cannot be reduced to bodily sensations (although such

sensations

often accompany emotions and add an additional dimension to those

subjective

experiences).

If they can't be reduced to 'bodily sensations' exactly what are you
feeling?

5. Emotion systems are an integral part of the control hierarchy.

An integral part of control. Whether they are part of a hierarchy or some
other structure has not yet been empiraclly determined.

such, they have their own controlled perceptions and references, and

produce

actions by setting references for lower-level systems, including muscular
and hormonal systems.

I don't think so. Could you please outline the emotion of pain using your
approach? That is, someone puches you in the mouth. You would have several
'emotions possibly going on at the same time. In fact two in parallel, Pain
and anger. Please explain how both pain and anger are dealt with in your
formulation.

6. Disturbances to the CVs of emotion systems may take the form of
simple sensations (e.g., pain) or more complex inputs resulting from

cognitive

activity (e.g., recognition). Through experience (learning,
reorganization), a wide variety of situations may come to serve as
disturbances to an emotion system's CVs.

Again, for clarity, can you explain a simple example here so I can get a
better picture of what you are saying.

7. Likewise, through reorganization, a wide variety of means (actions)
may become available for dealing with the disturbances. The selection of
means will become linked to the specifics of the situation.

My view of the matter is that at one point in evolutionary history,
pre-organized control mechanisms were pretty much all there was. As
brains became more capable of perceiving and remembering, emotion systems
developed that were not as rigidly tied to specific sensory inputs and
which could act in a more flexible way depending on the circumstances
being perceived by the animal. As higher-level cognitive capacities

continued

to increase, additional levels of control emerged but did not supplant the
phylogenetically older emotion systems. Instead, the latter continued to
exert control over their old CVs, but now sometimes in conflict with the
control actions of those higher-level systems. In addition, the greatly
expanded ability of the brain to recognize diverse circumstances as
being "the same" (e.g., a threat) and to organize more complex and

extended

sequences of activity as the means of control. (Yes, it's a "just so"
story, but it is consistent with what I know about brain and behavior
and, I think, yields some testable propositions.)

Do you have anyhting in mind here?

The assertions and story presented above are not entirely consistent
with HPCT as I understand it, but neither is it entirely inconsistent with
HPCT. It is consistent in that it proposes that emotion systems are just
ordinary control systems, operating via the HPCT heirarchy to produce
observable actions.

Am I hearing you correctly when you say that emotions are 'mechanism's for
behavior'? It seems you are simply putting a control system into the black
box of an input-output machine, which is the common and accepted view of
emotions. Am I correct in this appraisal?

It is also consistent in that learning or reorganization affect what

inputs to an emotion system will serve to

disturb its CVs and what actions will be taken to oppose the
disturbance. The proposal also recognizes that, as with any set of
control systems, conflict between systems can and does occur (e.g.,

between

"emotional" and "rational" systems).

I really don't have a clue, as I stated in the beginning, what an
'emotional' vs. a 'rational' system might look like. Can you help me out
here?

Where the proposal differs from HPCT (as HPCT is currently developed) is
that emotion systems are considered to be genetically organized brain
systems

I'm afraid I'm beating a dead horse here. :slight_smile: What does it mean to be a
genetically organized brain system? The entire brain is genetically
organized, but you seem to be trying to get at something different and I
don't understand what it is.

rather than developing out of the reorganization process through

trial and error. The proposal does not consider emotions to be

epiphenomena that can be explained as the perceptual side-effect of
strong control action that arises from large error in any CV of the

control

hierarchy, although it does assume that certain emotion systems can have
their own CVs disturbed as a consequence of loss of control of certain
other CVs in the (non-emotion) hierarchy.

Can you diagram this out?

Bruce, I really don't understand a number of key points here. What does an
'emotional' system look like. All of our bodily systems are involved in our
emotions. What specifically do you have in mind?

Marc

[From Rick Marken (2004.01.08.1940)]

Marc Abrams (2004.08.1210)--

Our sensory inputs are not controlled. You may squint at some
bright light, but that is an _involuntary_ s->r response, not a
controlled
variable.

Are you sure about this?

Best

Rick

···

---
Richard S. Marken
marken@mindreadings.com
Home 310 474-0313
Cell 310 729-1400

from [Marc Abrams (2004.01.07.2347)]

[From Rick Marken (2004.01.08.1940)]

> Marc Abrams (2004.08.1210)--

> Our sensory inputs are not controlled. You may squint at some
> bright light, but that is an _involuntary_ s->r response, not a
> controlled
> variable.

Are you sure about this?

I absolutely _LOVE_ it when you try to make me look like a jerk and _YOU_
wind up holding the bag. I love the selectivity of your quote. How about
_THIS_ part of my post below? What you quoted above simply summarized my
position below. Are _you_ sure that _YOUR_ right?

First, I believe that the initial transduction from sensory
input is _not_ a controlled process. We don't have a choice of what we
'see', 'hear', 'smell', or 'feel' _initially_. That is, our sensory
transduction is _not_ a cognitively controlled process. The question then
becomes; exactly _when_ do our sensory inputs actually become controlled
quantities? I can't say for sure at this point but I would think, that when
they become
'perceptions' we become aware of them...

Marc

Message
[From David Goldstein (2004.01.09.0255 EST)}]

[Bill Powers (2004.01.08.0815 MST)]

Bill: Question: Can you sense that these actions affect the variable you are controlling? Or is the effect of the actions imaginary? And for exactly the same reasons, I ask whether the elevated PSA is a perceptual variable you are controlling, or an imaginary one. By “imaginary” I don’t mean “unreal,” I just mean to ask whether it is something in your direct experience or something you have to imagine in order to perceive it.

David: There are a lot of actions mentioned. All of them are designed to impact my physical health. There are changes in my body that can be sensed as a result of the actions taken.

The PSA is more abstract and is sensed as a number after I take a blood test. I do imagine that my prostate is decreasing in size but cannot sense this directly.

Bill: You described certain symptoms which you connect with the elevated PSA. Is your new regime affecting those symptoms? Is it affecting the PSA readings given to you? What I’m asking about here is the nature of the variables you’re actually controlling or trying to control, and whether the actions are affecting the variables…

David: The symptoms relate to urination. Yes, the frequency is decreasing. Yes, the time it takes is decreasing. Yes, the PSA readings have come down from 13 something to 11 something.

Bill: Would you rather be optimistic and positive .if this keeps you from sensing something wrong that needs to be investigated? Is being optimistic and positive better than being pessimistic and negative, in both cases regardless of the evidence?

David: The purpose of being optimistic and positive is based on research that shows that this kind of attitude seems to have a beneficial impact on the immune system, the bodies mechanism for fighting disease. It does not stop me from sensing what is going on. It results in my wanting to taking actions rather than giving up and doing nothing.

Bill: Does this actually resolve your emotional reactions? What is your aim here: to avoid feeling negative emotions, or to do away with the reasons for which you have negative emotions? Do negative emotions have any value?

David: As you recall, there were several emotional reactons. I am looking at the negative emotions as providing me information that there is something wrong, a problem. So, they do have a value. This is how I view negative emotions. They signal that something different has to be done.

I view positive emotions just the opposite way. There is something right going on. That is, something right from my viewpoint. They provide a signal to “keep on trucking” and doing what you are doing.

I don’t think that we really have a scientific understanding of why a large percentage of males over the age of 50 develop these kind of prostate problems. I see that I am in a kind of state of reorganization and the gunshot nature of my actions reflect this. Unlike driving a car, I cannot sense easily and quickly that I am “on the road”. I don’t have a “steering wheel” but am searching for the equivalent.

I am still concerned and worry about it because the possiblity that the problem may worsen still exists. I have a younger brother who had kidney and prostate surgery last summer for cancers involving these body parts. So far, he is doing OK. My father had some kind of prostate problems when he was older, about 60 or so; he had surgery to impact the urination symptoms.

I am not completely hopeless about it. I have survived bad things in the past (plane crash in 1974 and brain tumor in 2001). I still have good reasons for living.

I am still annoyed about the sympotms but I feel that certain actions I am taking do impact the symptoms, even if only to slow them down from moving in the direction of getting worse.

The symptoms are annoying, but so are all of the symptoms of being in possession of an aging body.

David

David M. Goldstein, Ph.D.

[From Bill Powers (2004.01.09.0934 MST)]

Marc Abrams (2004.08.1210)–

Attached, a page and a figure from Ranson & Clark, The Anatomy of the
Nervous System. This, plus the rest of the chapter, is what I knew about
the autonomic nervous system in 1973. The book was copyrighted in 1947.
If the information is terribly out of date, let me know. Notice that
R&C cite papers from 1892 and 1909 – knowledge tends to get passed
on rather than updated in neurology.

I can see that we have a lot of work to do.

Here, I believe is the first road
bump. Like

perceptions, ‘controlled varaibles’ can be interepreted to be a number
of

things. By that I mean a controlled variable is a perception or
several

perceptions as defined by PCT that are being
controlled.

Let’s be careful here. The technical term “controlled variable”
refers to something in the environment that an observer (outside the
control system) can see. For example, in a tracking experiment, the
distance on the computer screen between the target and the cursor is
called the controlled variable. So it’s part of our model of the real
world outside the brain.
The technical term “perception,” on the other hand, refers to
something we propose to exist inside the brain. Its physical form
is a neural signal; we experience it as part of our private world, though
we think of it as external. As modeled, however, it exists only inside
the brain.

That is, going through the
control process. Now on the surface it seems to be a reasonable and
plausible statement to make, but if we attempt to go down a level or two,
we can run into big problems. For instance. EXACTLY what is a
‘perception’?

In the model, a perception is a neural signal that represents the state
of one aspect of the environment. The theory proposes that what we
experience, and speak of informally as perceptions, actually consists of
neural signals in the brain. That is the EXACT definition of a perception
or perceptual signal in PCT. It is independent of whether consciousness
is involved.

Does it matter? In a mathematical
model, no it doesn’t. Any

input to the model can be treated as a perception.

No. An “input to the model” is treated as a physical stimulus,
not a perception. The perception is the result of the input, not the
input itself. Light energy falling on the retina is an input to the
model. The neural signal leaving the retina and going through the optic
nerve to the brain is the perceptual signal in the model (whether or not
it is being consciously attended to).

In fact, it just gets in the way if
you try to get too fancy or complex in trying to define the input
function.

I don’t know what you mean by this. We begin with the world that we
experience, without any theory. The theory is supposed to help us
understand the nature of that world and how it is created. We don’t want
to do a lot of fancy guessing about the details until we have (a) some
data on real neural networks, and (b) some idea about how the nervous
system, a computer, or anything else could turn arrays of simple neural
signals into representations of the sorts of things we experience.
However, we can make a start, by trying to say what aspects of experience
need to be accounted for. That is what my proposed levels are about. They
are aspects of ordinary experience that anyone can check out, and which
any model of perception has to explain. There is nothing theoretical
about them – they are facts (subject to agreement) that the theory is
supposed to explain. They are not part of the model, but aspects of
experience that we hope the model will ultimately duplicate…

But in HPCT a perceptions are NOT
any old interpretation of what a perception is. An HPCT perception has a
VERY SPECIFIC organization and it’s construction takes on a VERY
SPECIFIC
set of rules. That ARE NOT incorporated in Marken’s
spreadsheet model.

Again, I don’t know what you mean by this. Yes, in Marken’s spreadsheet
model, there are mathematically defined rules that convert sets of
perceptions at one level into states of higher-level perceptions. Those
rules merely illustrate how perceptual input functions work as parts of a
hierarchy of control systems. They are a step toward understanding how
one level of perceptual signals can be converted to another level. There
is no claim that these functions match any perceptual input functions in
the real organism. Presumably, when we learn how real perceptual signals
are converted into real higher-level perceptual signals, we will be able
to put the appropriate equations into a model like Rick’s and produce a
demonstration more closely related to a real organism. It will behave, we
hope, in very similar ways, but the variables involved will be more
realistic.

Now, Bill from time to time has
said to lay aside his structure and organization, but when he has done
so, he has not replaced it with any alternative.

I have never said that. I have said that we can lay aside the particular
definitions
of levels of control that I have proposed, but not that we
can lay aside the idea that levels exist and are hierarchically related.
That structural concept is the very heart of my model of the brain. We
can study the principles of hierarchical control without committing to
any particular hierarchy, even before we know what specific levels of
perception exist, or indeed before we know whether there is just one
hierarchy, or a set of independent ones, in the brain. Models like Rick’s
answer a number of theoretical questions. One is whether any hierarchical
organization of control systems can behave in a stable way, permitting
simultaneous control of multiple aspects of the external world at several
levels, without mutual conflict. The verdict is yes, this is perfectly
possible, even without any sophisticated methods for stabilization. This
is quite independent of what variables are under control or what
definitions of levels are used.

This becomes problematic for me.
Not the laying asisde of the hierarchy, but in not putting forth of
an alternative.

If I could think of a better set of definitions, I would have used them
instead of the ones I used. Why have you not put forth any alternatives
to the ideas you are proposing? Because those ARE the ideas you’re
proposing, obviously. If you want specific definitions of levels in HPCT,
the ones I have defined are the best I can come up with. We can explore
many aspects of hierarchical control without committing to any specific
definitions, so I do that, too. Answering questions about how many
variables can be controlled at once, and how higher and lower control
systems can be related, does not require proposing any specific levels.
Exploring relative levels of perception using the MOL does not require
giving general names to levels, because we’re only seeing what
perceptions derive from other perceptions in a pairwise manner. If we
ever keep extensive records of MOL sessions with many people, we may be
able to “mine” the data to see if some coherent structure of
levels emerges. If that proved possible we would discard my initial
proposals without hestitation.

For instance. I don’t agree with
the construction of percepiions with the

current hierarchy, not because I disagree with the notion of a
hierarchy,

Fine, propose away. I hope you will try to make your proposed levels meet
the same criteria that mine do. A higher-level perception can be analyzed
into perceptions of the next lower level, and controlling a higher-level
perception requires altering lower-level perceptions (by altering the
reference signals for the control systems that control the lower-level
perceptions).

I don’t, but with the very
specific levels that have been defined in B:CP.

In the chapter in LCS II Bill has a different organization and
structure.

Which one is it? B:CP or LCS II?

Look at the publication dates. The later one is, I hope, an improvement
on the earlier one. The “organization and structure” are the
same: higher-order systems control their own perceptions by altering
reference signals for multiple lower-order systems, and higher-order
perceptions are functions of multiple lower-order perceptions.

Remember that the definitions of levels are not part of the model. They
never will be part of the model. They are attempts to analyze direct
experience, to define the phenomena that any model has to
explain.

The real problem comes from
defining both what a ‘perception’ is and WHEN does it begin to be
controlled. Bill insists it is from the very instant our body senses the
energy stimuli that they become ‘perceptions’.

I think you are still interpreting “perception” to mean
“conscious perception.” That is not what the technical term
perception means in PCT or HPCT. A signal in an afferent nerve fiber is
by definition a perceptual signal, often simply called “a
perception” for short. The model deals with perceptual signals
exclusively, so if you intend to refer to conscious experiences, you have
to specify “conscious perception”. The default meaning of
“perception” is “a signal in an afferent channel.”
Control systems in the present form of the model work exactly the same
whether consciousness is involved or not. If you want to propose some
effect of consciousness that makes a difference in perceptual signals, it
is up to you to provide the details and fit them into the model so the
whole thing still works.

I’m saying not. But to two
different things with regard to

that one aspect. First, I believe that the initial transduction from
sensory

input is not a controlled process.

Of course not. It never was. If there’s a light intensity on the retina,
it gives rise to a neural signal according to the biophysics of rods and
cones. The specific relationship of intensity to signal might change
slowly over time, but that sort of change is not what we mean by
“control of perception.” Control of perception would mean
changing the environment so that the light intensity on the retina
changes, which results in a change in the neural signal. Thus by
adjusting the environment, one can control the signal.

We don’t have a choice of
what we ‘see’, ‘hear’, ‘smell’, or ‘feel’ initially. That is, our
sensory transduction is not a cognitively controlled process.

True. That has always been the case in PCT and HPCT. If you thought
otherwise, you misread or misinterpreted something. You control what you
hear by acting on the environment to vary the sound-waves reaching your
ears, and so on.

The question then becomes; exactly
when do our sensory inputs actually become controlled quantites? I
can’t say for sure at this point but I would think, that when they become
‘perceptions’ we become aware of them.

We control many perceptions without being aware of them, though in many
cases we can become aware of them through a shift of attention. The
control process doesn’t depend on awareness. All that is needed is an
input function, a perceptual signal, a reference signal, a comparator, an
error signal, an output function, and a conversion of the output to an
effect on the environmental quantity being perceived. Nothing in those
functions or signals requires awareness to work.

So we do agree that
perceptions are controlled. The question then becomes; when does a signal
become a perception?

You have it backward. perceptual signals are controlled; the question
is when or under what conditions do these signals become part of
conscious experience?

Can I perceieve a color of
something and not perceive the

other aspects or at least some of the objects
attributes?

Color is one of the attributes of the perceptions we call
“objects.” Other attributes are shading, edges, texture,
heaviness, and so on – the sensations which are combined to create the
perception that is the object. We may or may not be consciously aware of
both the sensation signals and the object signals, or of higher-order
perceptions in which the object is just one element (such as the spatial
relationship of that object to a different object, or the significance of
that object as a religious symbol or a means of monetary exchange). You
have to distinguish between “perception” as presence of a
signal in a perceptual nerve fiber, and “conscious perception”
as awareness of that signal.

I can certainly pick out the
different aspects, as they are defined in the hierarchy but, can I see
just an ‘intensity’ or a ‘relationship’ without perceiving higher level
aspects as well? Bill do you see my questions here?

If you mean conscious perception, then certainly you can, and do. If
you’re referring to signals in perceptual channels, then no, you can’t,
When you read the word “can”, I’m sure you are consciously
aware of the word as an object, and perhaps even of the marks of which it
is made, but I would be surprised if you had consciously noticed that the
n is “to the left of” the t – an ordering which must be
perceived by some subsystem before the word can even be read. Well, that
would work better for the spoken word and the temporal sequence of
phonemes. The point is that in order to control anything, a control
system must perceive its state, so if you control anything without being
aware of doing so, a perceptual signal has to exist of which you are not
aware. Once you get the idea you can find endless examples. And even
without considering control, it’s obvious that more is going on in the
perceptual world than you are aware of any any instant.

Your statement above is quite
clear. In view #1, In the LCS II chapter you categorize three types of
sensations 1) Sensations that take place outside our body, our somatic
nervous system, or 5 main senses that are susceptible to outside
disturbances

Sensations are perceptions, and they exist only inside the nervous
system. I think you are confusing the source of sensations with the
neural signals which result. Sensations are the neural signals. The
sources are physical stimuli, which can exist inside or outside the
body.

I have never spoken of the “five senses.” There are obviously a
lot more senses than that: there are sensory nerve endings that respond
to dozens, even hundreds, of different variables. We can detect many
variables inside the body, where they are less subject to disturbance
than variables out in the environment. We can detect variables outside
us, both at the interface with the skin (touch, pressure, roughness,
vibration, temperature, stretch) and at a distance (sound,
sight).

  1. Sensations of effort, you say
    these seem to be under more or

less voluntary control. You give as examples touch, movement, joint,
and

facial expression. You say these sensations hardly appear unless one
wishes

them to appear, and external events have little effect on them in
comparison

to with our own control over them.

Are you arguing with that?

  1. You call an ‘odd’ category
    in that it seems the sensations originate entirely inside the body, and
    yet at times seems to be under control by the external world, or by
    factors in ourselves over which we have no voluntary control at all. It
    is #3 that you define as ‘feelings’ or ‘emotions’. (LCS II pg. 31).
    You then go on to talk about both the ‘thought-like’ and 'sensation-like
    components that you feel make up emotion.

Am I correct in hearing you say the following; 1) Emotions are controlled
by

outside, that is, external influences?

No. I said they APPEAR or SEEM to be under control by the external world.
Those words mean that what we think is happening is not what is actually
happening. External causation of emotions is a convincing
illusion.

I say that emotions can arise as an indirect result of disturbance from
outside, but their immediate cause is always an error signal inside a
control system. External disturbances can produce error signals by
altering perceptual signals and causing them to deviate from a match with
reference signals (error signals can also be produced if the reference
signal changes while the perceptual signal remains the same).

  1. That it is our somatic nervous
    system that is responsible for the

sensations we feel or our 5 senses are?

More or less. All sensory receptors generate signals proportional (in
frequency, approximately) to the intensity of chemical/physical
stimulation that is applied to them. Those signals are therefore called
intensity signals. Sets of intensity signals are summed with specific
weights to produce the signals representing sensations, such as color and
taste and smell signals. So the technical term “sensations”
applies to all sensory modalities, whether the sensory endings are
detecting variables inside or outside the body. However, I am proposing
that the sensations we explicitly associate with emotions are those that
arise from receptors inside the body; we call them “feelings.”
Since these receptors have to do with the state of the “soma”,
or body, I called then somatic sensors.

  1. That sensations of facial
    expression are always voluntary?

How can a sensation be voluntary? Do you mean they can be caused
consciously on purpose? there’s no doubt about that, I trust. Do you mean
they are always caused consciously on purpose? I don’t claim that about
any controlled perception.

Do you still feel the same
way? Am I hearing you here say you are making a

distinction between three types of sensations based on how the
environment

might affect them and what is or isn’t under control?

I think you need to reconsider what you got out of my words. I would like
to know what I said that led you to these interpretations, because if
those meanings can be obtained from my words, I have to be more careful
about how I say things, and need to think of some ways of making clearer
what I mean. Perhaps the problem was that I was thinking of different
sources of sensations, but picking words that made it seem that the
sensation signals were somehow different for each source.

In view #2, In an undated post (Dag
put together a number of posts that are

focused on a particular subject, for his CD, this on emotion) you state
in

the first papragraph and I quote;

"There is no “official” PCT theory of emotion, but we have
had some ideas.

You can find a chapter on emotion (that was editorially deleted from my
1973

book) in Living Control Systems II. [deleted reference] Here’s a
current

version of how I see emotions."

This seems to contradict your view that PCT does have a theory of
emotions.

What am I missing here?

Well – the point. It is possible to construct a theory of emotions using
HPCT, but the resulting theory does not add to or subtract from the basic
theory. It’s an application of the theory, using the existing parts of
the model to explain a phenomenon.

By “official theory” I mean something that has been at least
partially tested and verified. Anything that is still just a proposal
can’t be considered part of what I would defend with any vigor. The
specific levels I have proposed are not part of the official theory.
Consciousness and awareness and their related phenomena are not part of
the official – that is, easily defensible – theory.

"The basic idea is that
emotions, or some of the experiences we call

emotions are created by the hierarchy of control systems when goals are
set

or changed and the system goes about correcting the resulting error

signals."

"The changes in reference signals for the somatic systems are
those

appropriate for the kind of action that will be needed to correct
the

error."

I think you understand that the Autonomic Nervous system, in
conjunction

with the CNS plays a huge part in our bodily sensation

Very little in conscious sensations. However, I have pretty much
absorbed the autonomic, sympathetic, and parasympathetic nervous systems
into what I call “the nervous system.” In the information I had
available (see attached materials), much of what was described about the
functions of these parts of the nervous system didn’t seem very certain
or well-worked out, particularly since a stimulus-response organization
was always assumed. The main thing was that there were efferent signals
going to all the organ systems and glands (see Figure), and afferent
signals coming from everywhere. Later, I learned that the endocrine
systems offer another route for reaching and controlling organ
functions.

I suppose I must get some more up-to-date reference books.

"The intensity of an emotional
state depends on the size of the error that

is driving the action and changing the somatic refeference signals…
So

while there are bodily sensations accompanying all actions, they are
not

very noticeable under normal circumstances.what creates an intense
feeling

is a very large error signal. Large error signals can arise from

larger-than-normal disturbances from the environment, or from
internal

conflict that turns one set of behavioral control systems against
another

inside the same person."

Do I hear you say that there is a difference between bodily sensations
and

emotions? Some feel there is, others don’t.

There is a difference in that an emotion, to be called such, has to
include a reference condition or goal and feelings of effort to reach it.
It is possible, as Mary will some day describe, to confuse the
feeling-state caused by some non-emotional condition with a real emotion,
so that one keeps supplying in imagination the goal aspect of it. This
can be very confusing when there seems to be no reason to be angry,
fearful, anxious, exhilirated, and so on.

I wish I knew where the reference is, but I once read a paper in which
medical students were given epinephrine (adrenaline) by injection, and
asked about their feelings. Some simply reported the objective
consequences, such as skin tingling, heightened muscle tone and
alertness, and other such things. But most of them reported feeling angry
at someone, or afraid of something, or anxious about something –
supplying the cognitive part of the emotion from imagination to make the
whole experience “make sense.”

This same paper, I think, showed that the epinephrine emtabolized to
nor-epinephrin when no action was taken, and that nor-epinephrine by
itself resulted in feelings of depression. I’m not too sure about that
part – it was 50 years ago.

You also add that ‘pleasant’
emotions are really not much different than

negative ones giving excitement and exhileration as examples that are
not

much more different than feeling terror.

How about euphoria? What is the negative counterpart to that feeling?
When

someone tickles you, are you laughing because your happy? Maybe because
your

nervous? Is laughing a way to reduce anxiety no matter ehat the
cause?

It’s not that there is a “negative counterpart” of the positive
sensations – it’s that the physical sensations are quite similar in all
emotions involving a heightened state of preparedness. The only large
differences are in the cognitive aspects, the behavioral aspects, of the
total feeling. A good example is the feeling poeple get from riding a
roller-coaster. It takes a while to start interpreting the sheer terror
as “having fun.” The actual bodily sensations probably don’t
change – what changes is that you stop wanting to escape, and start
wanting to have the sensations. Almost by definition, any set of
sensations, or any perception at all, that you strongly desire to
experience is felt as good when it occurs.

This was all followed by a post
this past December;


[From Bill Powers (2003.12.14.1543 MST)]

Marc Abrams (2003.12.14.1426)–

Bill, In LCS II, The 'hidden’chapter of B:CP, That is Chap. 26
on

Emotions.

[skip a lot]

Here you specifiy reorganization as the ‘driving’ force of emotions, so
am I

hearing you correctly in saying emotions only take place when
reorganization

does?

No. I would not say that it is error, not just intrinsic error, that
results indirectly in emotions by telling the “vegetative”
systems to prepare for action (or inaction, of course).

I do question some of the
details of your proposal. I do agree that

emotions do not consist entirely of sensations from the body. If
they did,

we would have far fewer different emotions than we have.

If not from the body, than where from?

No, the alternative is not that the sensations come from somewhere else,
but that there are cognitive aspects of emotion as well as sensations, so
if one only felt the sensations, there would be nothing to call an
emotion. If you pant because you’ve just run a mile, you don’t call the
feeling of breathlessness an emotion. It’s just a feeling. But if you’re
escaping from a loose tiger, you will probably call the same feeling part
of “fear”.

We experience emotions as
a

combination of bodily feelings and a sense of what we’re intending
or

desiring to do by way of controlling perceptions.

This seems to be at odds with your view that emotions are not voluntary
in

nature. What am I missing here?

I didn’t say they were not voluntary – I was describing an appearance,
not a reality. An Illusion. Of course they’re not voluntary in the sense
that you can just sit down and bring on an emotion by wanting to
experience it. But if you set up goals of the right sort and then try to
carry them out, you can easily create experiences you would call
emotional.

A specific constellation of sensed
body states combined with the intent or

desire to get away from something is experienced as one of the emotions
related to fear:

I agre with this. Why do you say that it is involuntary? Fear, it appears
to

me is totaly voluntary. Once we determine an experience
represents

something to be fearful of we are fearful. But things do change. What
scared

us as children often present no problems as adults. Unfortuantely this
is

not always true.

Don’t get hung up on that voluntary/involuntary distinction. It was based
on misreading what I said, or on my not saying clearly what I
meant.

In my proposal, all these
emotions, whether built-in or acquired, are

brought

about through activities in the amygdala, hypothalamus, and
endocrine

system, as well as through the autonomic nervous system, because
those are

the paths through which the hierarchy always acts to set
lower-level

reference signals (biochemical and neural branches).

All of this is new. I will accept this as your new and updated
version.

Sure, the language is new, and partly an acknowledgement of what you have
been saying (though of course I knew of these brain functions long
ago)…

You left out the immune system and
the autonomic nervous system is not part of your
hierarchy.

I still leave out the immune system, because the links to the behavioral
systems, if any, are pretty fuzzy. I lump the autonomic system in with
the whole nervous system – and R&C say, it’s just a convenient
classification and not radically different from the rest.

Our sensory inputs are not
controlled.

But that is exactly what is controlled.

You may squint at some bright
light, but that is an involuntary s->r response, not a controlled
variable.

Do you mean that squinting has no effect on the intensity of the light
falling on the retina? That is exactly the effect it has, and the
intensity at the retina is the controlled variable. Now go kick yourself,
you knew that.

Higher levels systems have
nothing to say about how much or little you need to
squint.

That’s correct. It is a low-level control system, and its reference level
is probably inherited (this relates to my discussion of pain yesterday).
But it is a control system, not just an s-r system. The
“response” acts against the visual effect of the
“stimulus.”

The branching-off, I proposed
long ago, occurs somewhere in the vicinity of

the thalamus –

second order or third order. These are “primitive” systems
in that the

lower-order control systems must have evolved long before the
higher-order

control systems. But they are essentially the same systems (give or
take

some further natural selection) that are used now by all higher
control

systems to achieve their goals. The man riding the horse riding
the

crocodile is not entirely fanciful.

Yes, that is why the brainstem (the imaging is too inexact to
pinpoint

specific locations for all actions) is where the ‘comparator’ of
the

control process reside,

For second and third-order systems, yes, but not for any higher (or
lower) systems (See Ch. 9, B:CP). Every control system at every level has
to have something equivalent to a comparator, a place where two signals,
one afferent and one efferent from a higher location, have opposite
signs. The net effect is the error signal. Every control system at every
level has its own comparator.

Please don’t forget the immune
system, and as I said the devil is in the

details. And it is in the details where we disagree. Btw, why didn’t you
and

I come to some ‘convergence’ on the autonomic nervous system. It
didn’t

become part of your lexicon on emotions until I brought it up. Maybe I’m
not

as stupid as you would like me to be.

Nonsense, you are exactly as stupid as I would like you to be. I started
mentioning the autonomic system because you brought it up, true. But its
existence did not exactly come as a surprise to me. As to the immune
system, I have yet to find out about any known connection with the
behavioral systems. There could be one, of course, but I don’t know about
it.

Best,

Bill P.

Autonom.ZIP (83.5 KB)

[From Rick Marken (2004.01.09.1145)]

Marc Abrams (2004.01.07.2347)

Rick Marken (2004.01.08.1940)

Marc Abrams (2004.08.1210)--

Our sensory inputs are not controlled. You may squint at some
bright light, but that is an _involuntary_ s->r response, not a
controlled variable.

Are you sure about this?

I absolutely _LOVE_ it when you try to make me look like a jerk and _YOU_
wind up holding the bag.

I was reluctant to reply to this because I didn't want to make things worse.
But I think we this topic is important and that we should be able to talk
about it on CSGNet. So I'll give it a try.

I was not trying to make you look like a jerk, Marc. I was asking whether
you really meant to say that sensory inputs, such as the brightness of light
on your retina, are _not_ controlled. Maybe I am misunderstanding what you
mean. But the statement that "sensory inputs are not controlled" sounds very
surprising to me. My "Blind man..." paper in _More Mind Readings_ shows,
using basic algebra, that sensory inputs are precisely what are controlled
by a system that exists in a closed-loop relationship with respect to its
environment. Since humans exist in such a relationship with their
environment, so that sensory inputs are simultaneously a cause and result of
action (like squinting), then I would say that our sensory inputs _are_
controlled.

All I am asking is whether you intended to say that our sensory inputs are
_not_ controlled and, if so, what you mean by it and why you think this is
true.

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken
MindReadings.com
Home: 310 474 0313
Cell: 310 729 1400

from [Marc Abrams (2004.01.09.1658)

[From Rick Marken (2004.01.09.1145)]

All I am asking is whether you intended to say that our sensory inputs are
_not_ controlled and, if so, what you mean by it and why you think this is
true.

What we seem to be having a problem with is _when_ does a signal become a
'perception'? I maintain that the initial energy that comes into our sensory
receptors and is transduced, is a s-r event. It _remains_ an s-r event
_until_ it becomes a perception. The question then becomes, at what time or
in what part of the process does a 'signal' become a 'perception'. I
maintain that does not happen until it goes from the Primary sensory cortex
and reaches the unimodal sensory area in the brain, _at a minimum_, of the
brain or it's equivalent. The various
unimodal areas are where _all_ the various signals from any one sensory
modality combine to form a coherent sound, picture, taste, etc. and from
there it goes to a multimodal sensory area that combines the various sensory
modalities into what I believe are our perceptions, thoughts, ideas, etc. So
I maintain that Bill's hierarchy doesn't really _start_ until the signals
reach the unimodal stage, which on a 'physiological' hierarchy doesn't start
until a 4 -5 level physiological hierarchy is devised. A physiological
hierarchy might look like this; The first is the input and transduction of
sensory stimuli by receptors, to both the internal and external
environments, the second level is the Spinal Cord and largely the Dorsal &
Venrel Horns, the third level might be the brainstem which includes the
midbrain, Pons, cerebellum and Medulla. The fourth level might be the
diencephalon (thalamus, hypothalamus, epithalamus, and the sub thalamus) the
fifth level might be the cortex, etc, etc. There are, and could be, many
different hierarchies or pathways of the nervous system. It all depends on
what your trying to explain. In my mind PCT does not need a physiological
correlate and in making one you are limiting the value of the model by
suggesting your ideas adhere to a very specific physiological structure. You
stayed away from this problem with your spreadsheet model. An input is an
input, no further understanding is necessary and it doesn't matter how the
input function is organized and structured. It does matter with the current
hierarchy. Your spreadsheet model assumes 'perceptions' at each level. I
don't agree that perceptions exist at all levels of the _physiological_
hierarchy. You may feel differently.

Have I made my position clearer? This is currently all in a transient state
in my mind. It has not fully evolved into a fully coherent story I can't
tell at this time, but I'm working on it. :slight_smile:

Marc

[From Rick Marken (2004.01.09.1600)]

Marc Abrams (2004.01.09.1658)

Rick Marken (2004.01.09.1145)--

All I am asking is whether you intended to say that our sensory inputs are
_not_ controlled and, if so, what you mean by it and why you think this is
true.

What we seem to be having a problem with is _when_ does a signal become a
'perception'? I maintain that the initial energy that comes into our sensory
receptors and is transduced, is a s-r event.

I agree. The transduction of energy into neural signals by sensory receptors
is an s-r process.

It _remains_ an s-r event _until_ it becomes a perception.

I don't understand this. I think a neural signal is a perception. So the
transduction of energy into perception is an s-r process.

The question then becomes, at what time or
in what part of the process does a 'signal' become a 'perception'.

This question makes no sense to me. A neural signal is a signal. It is the
value of that that signal (in terms of impulses per second) that is under
control, according to PCT, anyway.

I maintain that does not happen until it goes from the Primary sensory cortex
and reaches the unimodal sensory area in the brain, _at a minimum_, of the
brain or it's equivalent.

Why do you maintain this? What distinction are you making between signals
and perceptions? In PCT we treat signals in all afferent pathways, whether
they be in the cochlea, lateral geniculate, primary sensory cortex, unimodel
sensory area or whatever, as perceptions.

I maintain that Bill's hierarchy doesn't really _start_ until the signals
reach the unimodal stage, which on a 'physiological' hierarchy doesn't start
until a 4 -5 level physiological hierarchy is devised.

I think Bill's hierarchy starts a lot lower in the physiological hierarchy
-- like right at the sensory receptors that interface with the environment.
The patellar reflex is pretty good evidence of control at the very lowest
level of the physiological hierarchy.

Have I made my position clearer?

It's not that clear to me. One thing I don't understand is the distinction
you appear to make between signals and perceptions. Maybe you could start by
explaining what you think is the difference between perceptions and signals?

Best regards

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken
MindReadings.com
Home: 310 474 0313
Cell: 310 729 1400

[From Bruce Gregory (2004.01.09.1900)]

Bill Powers (2004.01.09.0934 MST)

A truly heroic effort! Thanks.

Bruce Gregory

"Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no
one was listening, everything must be said again."
                                                                                Andre Gide

"What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire
Law; all the rest is commentary."

                                                                                The Talmud

[From Bruce Gregory (2004.01.09.1926)]

Rick Marken (2004.01.09.1600)

It's not that clear to me. One thing I don't understand is the
distinction
you appear to make between signals and perceptions. Maybe you could
start by
explaining what you think is the difference between perceptions and
signals?

I _think_ Marc means a conscious perception when he uses the term
"perception." He is then saying, "When does a signal become a conscious
perception?"

Bruce Gregory

"Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no
one was listening, everything must be said again."
                                                                                Andre Gide

"What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire
Law; all the rest is commentary."

                                                                                The Talmud

[From Bruce Gregory (2004.01.09.1930)]

[From Rick Marken (2004.01.09.1600)]

More accurately, "When do we experience a signal as a conscious
perception?"

Bruce Gregory

"Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no
one was listening, everything must be said again."
                                                                                Andre Gide

"What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire
Law; all the rest is commentary."

                                                                                The Talmud

from [Marc Abrams (2004.01.09.2043)]

[From Bill Powers (2004.01.09.0934 MST)]

Nonsense, you are exactly as stupid as I would like you to be.

Touche!! LOL, LOL. I really had that coming. If I make any mistakes in this
post it's because I'm still laughing.

Marc Abrams (2004.08.1210)--

Attached, a page and a figure from Ranson & Clark, The Anatomy of the
Nervous System. This, plus the rest of the chapter, is what I knew about
the autonomic nervous system in 1973. The book was copyrighted in 1947. If
the information is terribly out of date, let me know. Notice that R&C cite
papers from 1892 and 1909 -- knowledge tends to get passed on rather than
updated in neurology.

Very interesting. Some comments. If you feel the need to know about the
physiology of PCT, you should get some better reference material. It is not
that they do a bad job of describing an _aspect_ of the autonomic nervous
system accurately. The description is very much incomplete. Without going
into what it's shortcomings are I would suggest a couple of things. I have a
very nice summation of our nervous systems in a 25 page, 564K zipped Word
file I can either send you personally or attach to a post to CSGnet. I would
also highly recommend two reference texts that are imho _outstanding_. Both
deal with control and feedback. First, _TextBook of Medical Physiology, 10th
edition_. Guyton & Hall, W.B Saunders Company, 2001. An excellent text on
human physiology from a control systems viewpoint. Second, _Principles of
Neural Science, 4th edition_ Kandel, et al., 2000 McGraw Hill. I will
refrain from discussing PCT physiology until you have had a chance to look
at, at least one of these sources.
I just checked Amazon and the Guyton Text is 64.98 used and the Kandel book
can be gotten in paper, used for 17.57. If you can only get one, I would get
Kandel's book.

The problem with this material is not so much the physical description of
the system, which they felt should be renamed and thought it was, but was
not. But the really big difference is in what they knew of the functionality
of the systems at that time versus what is currently known or believed to be
so.

btw, I just ordered the Kandel book for you. Merry Christmas. Remember Bill
this is a reference work_not_ the bible. It represents the best of current
thought in neuroscience from a wide range of authors with a wide range of
views.

I can see that we have a lot of work to do.

Not as much as you might suspect. This post was very helpful. I think we can
move ahead pretty quickly

>Here, I believe is the first road bump. Like
>perceptions, 'controlled varaibles' _can be_ interepreted to be a number

of

>things. By that I mean a controlled variable is a perception or several
>perceptions as defined by PCT that are being controlled.

Let's be careful here.

Absolutely. Like learning mathematics, if you don't get the basics right it
only gets tougher to learn. I believe most of our disagreements are over
details of definitions at the lowest levels. Here are 4 explanations from
this post. Lets take a look at them. I will number them 1 - 3 to reference
them.

1)

The technical term "controlled variable" refers to
something in the environment that an observer (outside the control system)
can see. For example, in a tracking experiment, the distance on the
computer screen between the target and the cursor is called the controlled
variable. So it's part of our model of the real world outside the brain.

When you say here outside the control system. Do you mean outside the
organism as well? This seems to have caused me and others a bit of
confusion. Martin Taylor pointed out that when you use the word
'environment' in PCT you mean external to the control process and something
both internal and external to to the organism . Is this accurate?

2)

The technical term "perception," on the other hand, refers to something we
propose to exist inside the brain. Its physical form is a neural signal;

we

experience it as part of our private world, though we think of it as
external. As modeled, however, it exists only inside the brain.

What about the other parts of our nervous systems and our endocrine and
immune systems? (when you get the reference material you will see the
relevancy) According to this, neurotransmitters would be considered what?
They have found the brain secreting all the hormones you would associate
exclusively with the endocrine system.
Bill, the neural signals that exist in the brain exist in the spinal cord as
well and all bodily systems secrete and have receptors for neuropeptides
that allow the brain to communicate with all of the other bodily systems.
The 'command and control' center is quite different than the control that
takes place at the local organ level and between various parts of the
nervous system. I don't think any of this is necessary for modeling PCT. I
think it is necessary though for modeling anything useful in the real world.

When you say 'neural signal' I am hearing you say "Anything that
communicates information between any 2 points, electrical, chemical, or any
combination. Am I correct?

I am confused by the last part of your statement. What do you mean by
'experience it' and 'think of'? What is the difference? Are you also saying
that the control process takes place exclusively in the brain or the neural
signal resides only there?

3)

In the model, a perception is a neural signal that represents the state of
one aspect of the environment. The theory proposes that what we

experience,

and speak of informally as perceptions, actually consists of neural

signals

in the brain. That is the EXACT definition of a perception or perceptual
signal in PCT. It is independent of whether consciousness is involved.

I think you are still interpreting "perception" to mean "conscious
perception."

Yes I am. I know of no other kind.

That is not what the technical term perception means in PCT or
HPCT. A signal in an afferent nerve fiber is by definition a perceptual
signal, often simply called "a perception" for short. The model deals with
perceptual signals exclusively, so if you intend to refer to conscious
experiences, you have to specify "conscious perception".

I think this is _VERY_ confusing. We now have a neural signal, a perception,
and a conscious perception. Bill, you are calling something a perception
that _NO ONE_ else anywhere does. Why? Why not simply call it the way the
biological, physiological, and neuroscientific community call it? This _is
not_ a minor issue, nor is it a nit. How can you hope to communicate your
ideas to others when you are not talking the same language? You lull people
into a false sense of security in having them think that they really know
what perceptions mean in the PCT model. Bill, They don't have a clue or a
chance. It's your theory, model and choice. I will not define it this way,
but I do respect your views and now understand what you mean by it, in our
discussions I will utilize your definitions. So, to summarize, we have
neural signals, you need to clarify where they are, in the brain exclusively
or in our nervous systems. I also need to know how you classify
neuropeptides, hormones, steriods, and T-cells.

The default
meaning of "perception" is "a signal in an afferent channel." Control
systems in the present form of the model work exactly the same whether
consciousness is involved or not. If you want to propose some effect of
consciousness that makes a difference in perceptual signals, it is up to
you to provide the details and fit them into the model so the whole thing
still works.

Ok, once we sort out the definitions I asked for we can move ahead.

No. An "input to the model" is treated as a physical stimulus, not a
perception. The perception is the result of the input, not the input
itself. Light energy falling on the retina is an input to the model. The
neural signal leaving the retina and going through the optic nerve to the
brain is the perceptual signal in the model (whether or not it is being
consciously attended to).

So level one of the hierarchy are not receptors and are perceptions.
Correct?

There is no claim that these functions match any perceptual input

functions in the real

organism. Presumably, when we learn how real perceptual signals are
converted into real higher-level perceptual signals, we will be able to

put

the appropriate equations into a model like Rick's and produce a
demonstration more closely related to a real organism. It will behave, we
hope, in very similar ways, but the variables involved will be more

realistic.

We may not have it nailed yet, but we have some pretty strong ideas about
how this does in fact work. The problem is in geting some models built to
demonstrate some of these ideas. But before you build a model you must have
an _accurate_ picture or theory of how the parts interact and what behavior
you would expect from the model. If I'm interested in trying to build a
model that represents the input function alone, I better have a good idea of
how it actually happens. I can build models to test my assumptions, but I
must be able to understand _what_ a perception actually is. Not what PCT
defines a perception as, but what 99.99% of the rest of humanity describes
it as. I must show how the control process is used in constructing
perceptions.

>Now, Bill from time to time has said to lay aside his structure and
>organization, but when he has done so, he has not replaced it with any
>alternative.

I have never said that. I have said that we can lay aside the _particular
definitions_ of levels of control that I have proposed, but not that we

can

lay aside the idea that levels exist and are hierarchically related.

Thats what I meant and still say you did not come up with any alternative
solutions to your 11 levels until I mentioned the split hierarchy in LCS II
and the emotion chapter

That structural concept is the very heart of my model of the brain.

What does it represent? What brain structures or structure is it supposed to
represent? To me it represents how one might break down a cognite. That is,
a thought or idea. But I don't understand what it is you are representing
with those levels? Every sensory modality does not have those 11 levels. Our
motor outputs do not as well. The brain basically takes afferent receptors
convers them to perceptions and produces motor output so we may survive in a
changing environment. I just don't see how the hierarchy as it is presently
constructed can do this. You seem to think I'm taunting you everytime I ask
what kind of data has the hierarchy produced since the book was published,
but I'm really not. I would love to see some data supporting it. Why can't
we get a model working with _THOSE_ levels? What is the problem? It has not,
I am sure been for a lack of effort. I believe we have not seen a working 11
level model or even a 3 level model representing the levels as currently
labeled because it just doesn't work that way. What am I failing to see
here?

the principles of hierarchical control without committing to any

particular

hierarchy, even before we know what specific levels of perception exist,

or

indeed before we know whether there is just one hierarchy, or a set of
independent ones, in the brain. Models like Rick's answer a number of
theoretical questions. One is whether any hierarchical organization of
control systems can behave in a stable way, permitting simultaneous

control

of multiple aspects of the external world at several levels, without

mutual

conflict. The verdict is yes, this is perfectly possible, even without any
sophisticated methods for stabilization. This is quite independent of what
variables are under control or what definitions of levels are used.

No question about it. Rick's model is useful. Why can't we take the next
step and try to model something according to the levels you have
conjectured. Rick's baseball model is an example of what I'm talking about.
Why not make a model that duplicates some of the proposed levels?

If I could think of a better set of definitions, I would have used them
instead of the ones I used. Why have you not put forth any alternatives to
the ideas you are proposing?

Mainly because everything I'm throwing out is simply a way of exploring a
set of idea's. I'm not proposing anything here. I'm trying to sort through
the mountains of data and info I have and work through a control perspective
on human physiology. That is, biophysics. I am not propsing any changes to
your model and I'm not suggesting you make any. I _AM_ suggesting you take a
good long hard look at your interpretaion of your physiological correlates
and your brain model. I am working on a project for my own satisfaction. If
you find something useful for PCT or HPCT great, use it. If not, thats ok
too. Bill, the same way you took Weiners model and built your theory around
it, you did not feel the need to change the name from control theory to
somrhting else. Well, I'm using your model the same way you used Weiner's. I
am _NOT_ interested in duplicating your effort, nor am I interested in
modifying your theory. I have my own ideas about how this applies to human
physiology and as I said, if you find them useful. terrific, but I'm not
asking for your permission nor your approval of what I'm doing. You will
never really know how much respect I have for the work you have done and I
would love to have our models be complimentry, man what an honor that would
be, but I'm not banking on it and who knows how much I will actually get
accomplished. I have a great deal of confidence, a burning desire, and poor
health.

Because those ARE the ideas you're proposing,
obviously. If you want specific definitions of levels in HPCT, the ones I
have defined are the best I can come up with. We can explore many aspects
of hierarchical control without committing to any specific definitions, so
I do that, too. Answering questions about how many variables can be
controlled at once, and how higher and lower control systems can be
related, does not require proposing any specific levels. Exploring
_relative_ levels of perception using the MOL does not require giving
general names to levels, because we're only seeing what perceptions derive
from other perceptions in a pairwise manner. If we ever keep extensive
records of MOL sessions with many people, we may be able to "mine" the

data

to see if some coherent structure of levels emerges. If that proved
possible we would discard my initial proposals without hestitation.

This is all very reasonable. I believe I might have some important data that
I can share at a later date.

Fine, propose away. I hope you will try to make your proposed levels meet
the same criteria that mine do. A higher-level perception can be analyzed
into perceptions of the next lower level, and controlling a higher-level
perception requires altering lower-level perceptions (by altering the
reference signals for the control systems that control the lower-level
perceptions).

As I said above. _When_ I have something specific to propose, I will propose
it, but it will not be a proposal for a change in PCT/HPCT. It will be an
outline of something in my model I think would be useful for PCT/HPCT to
consider. Again, I am not looking to duplicate what you have done, I am
looking to compliment what you have accomplished. Yes, ther might be a
little bit of overlap but not much. I don't plan on stepping on anyones
toes.

Remember that the definitions of levels are not part of the model. They
never will be part of the model. They are attempts to analyze direct
experience, to define the phenomena that any model has to explain.

I thought you just said that they were central to your theory of brain
structure? If your simply saying that brain function is hierarchical in
nature, that's a lot older than your theory.

We control many perceptions without being aware of them, though in many
cases we can become aware of them through a shift of attention. The

control

process doesn't depend on awareness. All that is needed is an input
function, a perceptual signal, a reference signal, a comparator, an error
signal, an output function, and a conversion of the output to an effect on
the environmental quantity being perceived. Nothing in those functions or
signals requires awareness to work.

Yes, that is the model and I love it.

You have it backward. _perceptual signals_ are controlled; the question is
when or under what conditions do these signals become part of conscious
experience?

According to your definitions of neural signals, perceptions and conscious
perceptions. Not according to mine. :wink:

Sensations are perceptions, and they exist only inside the nervous system.
I think you are confusing the _source_ of sensations with the neural
signals which result. Sensations are the neural signals. The sources are
physical stimuli, which can exist inside or outside the body.

Tell me the difference between physical stimuli that exist inside the body
and neural signals?

I have never spoken of the "five senses."

Yes you have. Mybe unitentionaly, but everytime you said somatic nervous
system, that is exactly what you were talking about. I do not rememer you
ever giving an example of a non somatic perception

here are obviously a lot more
senses than that: there are sensory nerve endings that respond to dozens,
even hundreds, of different variables.

You do mean receptors here, don't you?

>2) Sensations of effort, you say these seem to be under more or
>less voluntary control. You give as examples touch, movement, joint, and
>facial expression. You say these sensations hardly appear unless one

wishes

>them to appear, and external events have little effect on them in

comparison

>to with our own control over them.

Are you arguing with that?

No. Here I was simply repeating the second of three categories you
mentioned.

No. I said they APPEAR or SEEM to be under control by the external world.
Those words mean that what we think is happening is not what is actually
happening. External causation of emotions is a convincing illusion.

This is sort of like the temperature illusion. You think the room is cold so
you are, when in fact you are cold because your skin or core is cold or in
effect you're cold because you're cold.

I say that emotions can arise as an indirect result of disturbance from
outside, but their immediate cause is always an error signal inside a
control system.

Error 'causes' some, but not all. This of course we can argue till the cows
come home, I plan on trying to test for this shortly.

External disturbances can produce error signals by altering
perceptual signals and causing them to deviate from a match with reference
signals (error signals can also be produced if the reference signal

changes

while the perceptual signal remains the same).

No problem here.

More or less. All sensory receptors generate signals proportional (in
frequency, approximately) to the intensity of chemical/physical

stimulation

that is applied to them. Those signals are therefore called intensity
signals. Sets of intensity signals are summed with specific weights to
produce the signals representing sensations, such as color and taste and
smell signals. So the technical term "sensations" applies to all sensory
modalities, whether the sensory endings are detecting variables inside or
outside the body.

Sorry Bill, this has shown _not_ to be true. High frequecny sounds entering
can be low freqeuncy by the time they terminate in the primary sensory
cortex. Labeled line sensory inputs have been shown to be incorrect.

However, I am proposing that the sensations we explicitly
associate with emotions are those that arise from receptors inside the
body; we call them "feelings." Since these receptors have to do with the
state of the "soma", or body, I called then somatic sensors.

I agree with you here _except_ please don't call them 'somatic sensors'.
Somatic refers exclusively to the somatic nervous system and we already have
very good names for the receptors in the body. They are divided into 4
classes; mechanoreceptors, chemoreceptors, thermoreceptors, and
photoreceptors. They detect all kinds of stimulus energy; light, sound,
gravity, pressure, displacement, thermal, mechanical, chemical from our
visual, auditory, vestibular (balance), somatosensory (touch, pain,
proprioception, temperature sense), gustatory (itch, taste) and Olfactory
(smell)

Perhaps the problem was that I was thinking of different sources of
sensations, but picking words that made it seem that the sensation signals
were somehow different for each source.

Yes, that is what I got from the emotions chapter

Well -- the point. It is possible to construct a theory of emotions using
HPCT, but the resulting theory does not add to or subtract from the basic
theory. It's an _application_ of the theory, using the existing parts of
the model to explain a phenomenon.

Ok, this makes a lot of sense. The hierarchy can be viewed this way as well.
I think it might prove useful to make this distinction up front and loudly.
This way any number of applications may be attempted but the underlying
model remains the same. My work may be viewed in the same light.

By "official theory" I mean something that has been at least partially
tested and verified. Anything that is still just a proposal can't be
considered part of what I would defend with any vigor. The specific levels
I have proposed are not part of the official theory. Consciousness and
awareness and their related phenomena are not part of the official -- that
is, easily defensible -- theory.

This also makes much sense. This works well with your concept of
'application'. Those too may be considered applications and await some
validation before becoming "offical" parts of the model.

Very little in _conscious_ sensations. However, I have pretty much

absorbed

the autonomic, sympathetic, and parasympathetic nervous systems into what

I

call "the nervous system." In the information I had available (see

attached

materials), much of what was described about the functions of these parts
of the nervous system didn't seem very certain or well-worked out,
particularly since a stimulus-response organization was always assumed.

The

main thing was that there were efferent signals going to all the organ
systems and glands (see Figure), and afferent signals coming from
everywhere. Later, I learned that the endocrine systems offer another

route

for reaching and controlling organ functions.

Bill, there are several routes for reaching and controlling organ functions.
There is no need to comment on the paper you sent. The reference text I sent
should do nicely.

I suppose I must get some more up-to-date reference books.

I would hope so. I started your new library.

There is a difference in that an emotion, to be called such, has to

include

a reference condition or goal and feelings of effort to reach it.

Are you saying that an emotion itself has a reference condition or are you
saying that a perception must have one and an emtion is tied to the error
signal of that perception? If the latter what might the reference condition
be for pain? I see emotions tied more toward our sensory inputs. But why
couldn't it be both?

It's not that there is a "negative counterpart" of the positive sensations
-- it's that the physical sensations are quite similar in all emotions
involving a heightened state of preparedness. The only large differences
are in the cognitive aspects, the behavioral aspects, of the total

feeling.

A good example is the feeling poeple get from riding a roller-coaster. It
takes a while to start interpreting the sheer terror as "having fun." The
actual bodily sensations probably don't change -- what changes is that you
stop wanting to escape, and start wanting to _have_ the sensations. Almost
by definition, any set of sensations, or any perception at all, that you
strongly desire to experience is felt as good when it occurs.

Again Bill, I don't see a euphoric state in any 'negative' emotions. I don't
disagree that several emotions can take on similar feeling states

I still leave out the immune system, because the links to the behavioral
systems, if any, are pretty fuzzy.

I don't think so. I'm not ready to expand upon this at the present time but
you will be hearing from me again on this.

Do you mean that squinting has no effect on the intensity of the light
falling on the retina? That is exactly the effect it has, and the

intensity

at the retina is the controlled variable. Now go kick yourself, you knew

that.

Ok consider myself kicked. I did not mean that. I meant that as long as your
eyes are open you will see what is in your field of vision. You cannot not
hear a loud sound next to your ear, unless you're deaf. That is what I meant
by involuntary. All reflexive actions are of course controlled

For second and third-order systems, yes, but not for any higher (or lower)
systems (See Ch. 9, B:CP). Every control system at every level has to have
something equivalent to a comparator, a place where two signals, one
afferent and one efferent from a higher location, have opposite signs. The
net effect is the error signal. Every control system at every level has

its

own comparator.

I don't think a functional mapping needs to be isomorphic to a physical one.
I respectfully disagree here.

I have yet to find out about any known connection with the
behavioral systems. There could be one, of course, but I don't know about

it.

You will :slight_smile:

Marc

[From Bill Powers (2004.01.10.0840 MST)]

Marc Abrams (2004.01.09.2043)--

btw, I just ordered the Kandel book for you. Merry Christmas. Remember Bill
this is a reference work_not_ the bible. It represents the best of current
thought in neuroscience from a wide range of authors with a wide range of
views.

Thanks very much for the references. The Christmas present embarrasses me,
but thank you for that, too. You have a free copy of the paperback edition
of B:CP coming to you, when Alice gets out of the woods and publishes it.
Send me a snail mail address.

When you say here outside the control system. Do you mean outside the
organism as well?

No, I mean outside the control system. As Martin pointed out, the
environment of a control system (which consists of input function,
comparator, and output function) is everything outside it, which can
include lower-order control systems. Only first-order control systems
interact with the physical world outside the organism, but even then part
of that physical world is inside the skin.

However, remember that the loop is closed, for every control system,
through the environment outside the nervous system (still not necessarily
outside the organism) A higher-order system's inputs are the perceptual
signals from lower order systems (copies or duplicates of them), and the
higher-order system acts by varying reference signals for lower-order
systems. If you think this through, it means that all loops end up
involving the world outside the nervous system and that only there is any
loop completed (imagination mode aside).

2)

The technical term "perception," on the other hand, refers to something we
propose to exist inside the brain. Its physical form is a neural signal;
we experience it as part of our private world, though we think of it as
external. As modeled, however, it exists only inside the brain.

What about the other parts of our nervous systems and our endocrine and
immune systems? (when you get the reference material you will see the
relevancy)

When I began I assumed that all parts of the nervous system would be
involved in conscious perception -- in other words that we could experience
controlled variables, error signals, and output signals. But continued
study convinced me that we consciously experience only the ascending
afferent signals, and never error or efferent output signals. I also
assumed that consciousness would be involved mainly with the cerebral
cortex and maybe even just the forebrain. But again, experience and
experimentation persuaded me to abandon that idea. I knew that all the
authorities said that consciousness is a "higher" function, but that made
an explanation of how we consciously feel a pinch or nausea or other such
basic things very cumbersome.

The alternative, which is easier to accept if we separate perceptual
signals from awareness or consciousness, is that awareness is a separate
function that can receive afferent signals (only? that's my guess) anywhere
in the nervous system, although probably not in the sympathetic,
parasympathetic, or autonomic nervous systems, if those terms aren't too
outdated. This means for example that we don't need to duplicate the
signals that carry temperature information, or the sense of strain from
working muscles. We don't need to have that information present in a
first-order neuron, and then create it again somewhere in the cortex. I am
very strong for the idea of NOT duplicating functions. What in the brain
would know they had been duplicated correctly?

According to this, neurotransmitters would be considered what?

They are the means by which the firing rate of one neuron affects the
firing rate of another neuron, or the output of a muscle or gland. However,
the synapses are not just relay points where impulses jump the gap and
continue in another neural fiber. Many synapses exist on every neuron, and
there are ample opportunities for the chemical effects to interact and be
modified before the net result appears at the axon hillock: the ionic
concentrations that determine firing rate. Even a single neuron can act as
a complex analog computing element with multiple inputs and a single output.

I know much less about the effects of diffusion around synapses, which can
spread neurotransmitters to nearby neurons and bias their activity. My
impression is that these leakage effects are quite small compared with the
direct effects across synapses; not only does geometry dilute the
substances, but metabolism is continuously breaking them down and removing
them. Also, it has been found relatively recently that the emitting
vesicles re-absorb a good part of the transmitters they generate and
release, after they have done their messenger job, so they are re-used.

They have found the brain secreting all the hormones you would associate
exclusively with the endocrine system.

All cells can potentially manufacture all proteins, since every cell
contains all the genes. It's not surprising that the brain can supply some
of its own requirements, particularly considering the "blood-brain barrier"
which prevents certain circulating chemicals from getting into the brain.
It's particularly not surprising that some parts of the brain, like the
hypothalamus, communicate chemically as well as neurally with the endocrine
system, where the downgoing chemical signals appear to play the role of
chemical reference signals.

I think of the major chemical systems primarily as life-support systems
that keep the body, and the brain as a living organ, alive and functioning.
But I think that normally the state of the brain is primarily the state of
its signals, and of course the chemicals involved in analog computations.
This could be quite wrong -- can we say that the signals connecting one
neuron to another are more important than the chemical interactions that
take place within the neurons? Perhaps the neural signals simply connect
one set of chemical computations to another. I don't think we need to
decide that just now.

At this level of detail I begin to lose interest -- we're too far from
being able to settle any of those questions.

Bill, the neural signals that exist in the brain exist in the spinal cord as
well

Of course, did you think I didn't know that? Look at the diagram of the
spinal control systems on page 91 of B:CP.

and all bodily systems secrete and have receptors for neuropeptides
that allow the brain to communicate with all of the other bodily systems.

Naturally, that's how it works.

The 'command and control' center is quite different than the control that
takes place at the local organ level and between various parts of the
nervous system.

How? I think you're talking about what I call "output functions," which are
collections of neurons that receive inputs and distribute outputs to other
systems. Of course I have proposed that "command and control" always takes
place by one control system's output becoming reference signals for lower
control systems. This is what you see if you consider the whole loop, and
not just the upgoing signals or the downgoing signals. You won't find that
interpretation in any texts, at least not this year, but the anatomy is
correct.

I don't think any of this is necessary for modeling PCT. I
think it is necessary though for modeling anything useful in the real world.

Don't know what you mean by that. I can model human tracking behavior very
accurately -- isn't that in the real world? I have an arm model that can
explain reaching behavior, awaiting quantitative comparison with real
behavior. Wouldn't that have uses in the real world, say for diagnosing
physiological difficulties?

When you say 'neural signal' I am hearing you say "Anything that
communicates information between any 2 points, electrical, chemical, or any
combination. Am I correct?

If a signal is chemical in nature I would probably either just call it a
signal (having established what kind I am talking about), or a chemical
signal, to make it clear that I don't mean a neural signal. A neural signal
consists of a train of propagating impulses, each impulse being an
electrochemical breakdown phenomenon.travelling from the cell body of one
neuron to synapses with other neurons.

Chemical signals are propagated by diffusion (not very far) through
intercellular fluids, and through circulation -- mainly the bloodstream but
I suppose the lymphatic system could also serve. The primary difference
between neural and chemical signals is how they reach their targets. A
neural signal propagates through an exclusive path only to the other
neurons with which the fiber synapses. No recognition or decoding is
required, because the pathway is fixed (short-term at least) and no other
neural signal can enter it. A chemical signal, on the other hand, is a
"broadcast" rather than a wired connection, and whatever receives it must
be able to recognize the particular substance that carries the message,
while ignoring all the other message-substances that are also present in
the same fluids. The receiving system detects the kind of substance it pays
attention to, and the concentration of that substance determines the
magnitude of the signal.

I am confused by the last part of your statement. What do you mean by
'experience it' and 'think of'? What is the difference?

This is the part where we run out of theory. Nobody knows what "conscious
experience" is. It is not the same thing as brain activity, because just
about any brain activity -- even problem-solving -- can take place while
consciousness is involved elsewhere. "Thinking," on the other hand, can be
viewed as a brain activity. It can also take place without consciousness,
as when you wake up with the solution of a problem. But I'm not sure I was
intending any fine distinctions in that passage.

Are you also saying that the control process takes place exclusively in
the brain or the neural signal resides only there?

Neural signals can exist in any axon of any neuron anywhere in the body.
That is simply a term for a train of impulses being generated by one neuron
and entering others, with a slight lag. Control of perception in the brain
and peripheral nervous system involves neural perceptual signals, neural
reference signals, neural error signals, and neural output signals, with
intervening functions that are neural analog computations. Control also
involves the use of muscles and glands, and feedback paths from actions to
perceptions. Chemical control systems are built from chemical reactions,
with only some chemical concentrations playing the parts of the signals,
and operations being performed by continuous chemical reactions
and enzymes that move the equilibrium states of reactions between low and
high rates. I assume that we do not consciously sense the signals in purely
chemical control systems. However, some chemical substances play the part
of perceptual signals: "messenger" molecules are a big deal in biochemistry
these days, not to mention "sensing." Finally there are control loops with
higher-level control systems in the brain (at the lower levels of the
behavioral hierarchy) operating via lower-level control systems that are
purely biochemical, in the organ systems.

Somewhere in that paragraph there must be an answer to what you were asking
about

> I think you are still interpreting "perception" to mean "conscious
> perception."

Yes I am. I know of no other kind.

You know of no other kind inside yourself, by definition of "I know.".
However, it is easy to show that neural signals representing physical
variables are present, and are used in control processes, when the person
is not conscious of them. That alone does not make the point, but what does
make it is that a person's attention can be called to such a neural signal,
and it then becomes conscious -- like the signals from the pressure sensors
in your rump -- of which you are now conscious, if you're sitting down.

>That is not what the technical term perception means in PCT or
> HPCT. A signal in an afferent nerve fiber is by definition a perceptual
> signal, often simply called "a perception" for short. The model deals with
> perceptual signals exclusively, so if you intend to refer to conscious
> experiences, you have to specify "conscious perception".

I think this is _VERY_ confusing. We now have a neural signal, a perception,
and a conscious perception. Bill, you are calling something a perception
that _NO ONE_ else anywhere does. Why?

Let's put it the other way. Why has nobody else tumbled to the FACT that
perceptions are neural signals? It's perfectly easy to prove: disrupt the
right neural signal and a conscious perception goes away.. In fact, I
suspect that many other people have seen this. As to the difference between
perception and conscious perception, I think this too is easy to
demonstrate, and that many other people have probably observed the same
phenomena.

Why not simply call it the way the biological, physiological, and
neuroscientific community call it?

Because that community doesn't know diddly about how systems work. They
label signals according to their informal prejudices, without any
conception of what the whole system does. Why should I cripple myself?

This _is not_ a minor issue, nor is it a nit. How can you hope to
communicate your ideas to others when you are not talking the same language?

Do you want me to go back to calling all actions "responses," and all
inputs "stimuli?" Do you want me to start talking about open-loop actions
and ignoring feedback effects? I am not the one who needs to learn their
language; they need to learn mine. If they won't, they won't. I have ceased
to care.

You lull people into a false sense of security in having them think that
they really know what perceptions mean in the PCT model.

Many people bring preconceptions to PCT and manage to interpret everything
they hear and read to fit those preconceptions. They are then either very
surprised when they learn what is really meant, or very resentful,
depending on how they usually react when they find they have been mistaken.
Of course many other people haven't formed an opinion, and therefore find
it much easier to get the right idea from the start. I try to make what I
mean as clear as I can; beyond that, I have no control over the process of
understanding. The guy at the other end of the line has to make some
effort, too.

Bill, They don't have a clue or a chance. It's your theory, model and
choice. I will not define it this way, but I do respect your views and now
understand what you mean by it, in our discussions I will utilize your
definitions. So, to summarize, we have neural signals, you need to clarify
where they are, in the brain exclusively or in our nervous systems.

Done above.

I also need to know how you classify neuropeptides, hormones, steriods,
and T-cells.

Some neuropeptides, hormones, and steroids that I know about are chemical
signals. Some play a part in the conduction of neural signals. I don't know
what all of them are. T-cells are part of the immune system, of which I
know very little.

> No. An "input to the model" is treated as a physical stimulus, not a
> perception. The perception is the result of the input, not the input
> itself. Light energy falling on the retina is an input to the model. The
> neural signal leaving the retina and going through the optic nerve to the
> brain is the perceptual signal in the model (whether or not it is being
> consciously attended to).

So level one of the hierarchy are not receptors and are perceptions.
Correct?

I can't even understand that sentence. Level one of the hierarchy are not
receptors and are perceptions? Level one of the hierarchy consists of input
functions, perceptual signals emitted by those functions, comparators which
receive those perceptuol signals as well as reference signals from higher
or at least elsewhere in the spinal cord, output functions which are
muscles or glands, and feedback effects from the output to variables
located on the input side of the input functions (i.e., just outside the
control system proper).The inputs to the model are the effects of physical
quantities on the sensors: effects "put in" to the system. The perceptions
of intensity are the neural perceptual signals that come out of the
sensors. We seem to be able to become aware of them directly (however, PCT
does not stand or fall on that assumption).

Presumably, when we learn how real perceptual signals are
converted into real higher-level perceptual signals, we will be able to
put the appropriate equations into a model like Rick's and produce a
demonstration more closely related to a real organism. It will behave, we
hope, in very similar ways, but the variables involved will be more
realistic.

We may not have it nailed yet, but we have some pretty strong ideas about
how this does in fact work.

You're mistaken about that. There are some pretty strong ideas about how
the biochemistry and neurology work, but that's not the level of analysis
that will help us understand how perception works. It's like having a
thorough understanding of how transistors work. That will help you
understand transistors, but it's useless for designing a circuit that will,
for example, receive radio waves and convert them to sounds. You have to
know how to interconnect the components to accomplish specific functions,
and that requires being able to analyze and devise systems, not just
components. I have yet to see ANY neural circuit analysis in the
conventional literature.

The problem is in getting some models built to
demonstrate some of these ideas. But before you build a model you must have
an _accurate_ picture or theory of how the parts interact and what behavior
you would expect from the model.

That's where the stumbling block is. We have full understanding of how the
parts of a computer work, yet we can't organize them so as to make the
computer perceive faces in a digitized photograph. There is nothing magical
about neural computers that would let them perceive faces just because
they're made of protoplasm. The secret lies in the circuitry made of
neurons, not in the neurons themselves. If we knew how neurons do it, we
would be able to make computers do it. If we could do it with computers,
we'd have a pretty good idea of how neurons do it. But we don't. And
current research is not going to get us there, either. It's done at the
wrong level of analysis: transistors instead of circuits.

If I'm interested in trying to build a
model that represents the input function alone, I better have a good idea of
how it actually happens. I can build models to test my assumptions, but I
must be able to understand _what_ a perception actually is. Not what PCT
defines a perception as, but what 99.99% of the rest of humanity describes
it as.

99.9% of humanity describes perceptions as the world that is out there.
They don't even know they're perceiving. Among scientists, only a very
small number even worry about perception, And those that do are clinging to
ideas that were outdated a century ago. There was a time when 99.9% of the
human race thought the Earth was flat. The true shape (the most likely
shape, that is) was not determined by a vote. Any vote would have gone the
wrong way.

> >Now, Bill from time to time has said to lay aside his structure and
> >organization, but when he has done so, he has not replaced it with any
> >alternative.
>
> I have never said that. I have said that we can lay aside the _particular
> definitions_ of levels of control that I have proposed, but not that we
> can lay aside the idea that levels exist and are hierarchically related.

Thats what I meant and still say you did not come up with any alternative
solutions to your 11 levels until I mentioned the split hierarchy in LCS II
and the emotion chapter

Hey, wait a minute. Who do you think wrote that chapter, and when? I didn't
decide to leave it out of B:CP. An editor at Aldine did, over my objections.

And why should I come up with an alternative to the 11 levels that
represent my best guess at how the brain is organized? You're not making
sense here. There are many aspects of the subject of hierarchical control
that don't depend on the particular definitions of levels that we use, and
in those cases I say we can lay my definitions aside. They don't matter.
Even more important, if anyone starts doing research aimed at establishing
the nature of levels of control (the MOL is one potential kind of
research), I say that we MUST lay my definitions aside to avoid being
biased about what we find -- to avoid the serious scientific error of
trying to prove I was right. Maybe research will reveal exactly the 11
levels I have defined, but if it happens that research comes up with
something different, it would be terrible to let my definitions guide our
interpretations. Science is not about trying to prove you are right, no
matter what they say on TV.

>That structural concept is the very heart of my model of the brain.

What does it represent? What brain structures or structure is it supposed to
represent? To me it represents how one might break down a cognite. That is,
a thought or idea. But I don't understand what it is you are representing
with those levels? Every sensory modality does not have those 11 levels.

They all do up to about level 3 or 4, after which the perceptions begin to
lose their identification with any one sense, as the perception of a word
becomes the same whether spoken or written. The structural concept of the
hierarchy is the idea of one level controlling by varying reference signals
in several lower-level systems, and perceiving variables that are functions
of several lower-level perceptions ("several" ranging from 2 to 1000).
What's not to understand?

Take a look at my Byte articles. There are two diagrams in (I think) part
3, the first showing how we would draw the three-level hierarchy of systems
in conventional PCT form, and the second showing a topological transform
that shows exactly the same connections, but moved so the functions and
pathways look more like what is actually seen in the midbrain and
brainstem. The second diagram is quite realistic, although of course there
is no correspondence with actual brain functions. Upgoing paths bifurcate
at each level, one branch crossing via "collaterals" to reach the output
functions -- excuse me, motor nuclei -- of the same level, and the other
branch going on upward to the input functions, or sensory nuclei, of the
next level up. The output functions of one level send their signals into
the same motor nuclei of the next lower level where the collateral feedback
paths also go -- clearly the comparators are in the motor nuclei, as well
as the output functions. This architecture is exactly what the neuroanatomy
requires.

Our motor outputs do not as well. The brain basically takes afferent
receptors convers them to perceptions and produces motor output so we may
survive in a changing environment. I just don't see how the hierarchy as
it is presently constructed can do this.

Then you still haven't understood how a negative feedback control system
works. You may not be the only one, but you're the one who's talking. A
negative feedback control system can do some uncanny things, like
continuing to control its inputs at specific levels even if its output
equipment suffers radical (but not too radical) changes, and even if the
environment in the feedback path changes. It reacts to disturbances without
needing to know what is causing them, and without needing any extra equipment.

There is a huge gap between "producing motor output" and "surviving in a
changing environment." The hierarchy I have proposed, together with the
reorganizing system, is my attempt to bridge that gap, something no other
model I know about has even tried to do. Negative feedback control systems,
alone among all other kinds of systems previously known about, are unique
in being able to keep producing the same results despite random,
unpredictable, changes in the environment. Other types of systems need
elaborate complicatioons to deal with unpredictable changes; negative
feedback control systems do not. A capacity to reorganize is still
required to take care of the most fundamental changes, but the burden is
much lightened by the ability of negative feedback control systems (which I
keep spelling out to distinguish them from other kinds of control systems
that have been proposed) to work properly in a changing environment without
needing to change their organization.

You seem to think I'm taunting you everytime I ask
what kind of data has the hierarchy produced since the book was published,
but I'm really not. I would love to see some data supporting it. Why can't
we get a model working with _THOSE_ levels? What is the problem?

We can easily construct a working model that predicts behavior at any level
-- as long as we don't have to show how the input function works. Tracking
experiments do very well at predicting behavior, but we can't say how it is
that the brain produces a signal inside itself with a pulse frequency
proportional to the visual distance between the cursor and the target. Can
YOU explain that? I don't know of anyone who can. We simply assume a
perceptual signal proportional to C - T, cursor position minus target
position. We could probably kluge up some circuit that would do this given
retinal intensity data, but there would be no reason to claim that the
brain does it the same way. And for just modeling one level of control at a
time, we don't _need_ to know how it's done.

No question about it. Rick's model is useful. Why can't we take the next
step and try to model something according to the levels you have
conjectured. Rick's baseball model is an example of what I'm talking about.
Why not make a model that duplicates some of the proposed levels?

OK, give me a hand here. Let's just do the tracking experiment. I already
have a model, Little Man version 2, that proposes specific functions for
motor control systems that could be checked out all the way down to
neurology. In fact, it was a simple translation of neuroanatomy that led to
the model. But that model also uses visual perception of the Little Man's
own finger tip as well as the target in 3 dimensions, employing ray-tracing
to locate those items on the retina, and then some computations to produce
signals indicating separation of finger and target in x, y, and z. Can you
tell me how the brain computes those separations? I computed them from
geometry and the laws of optics. Does the brain stem or midbrain understand
geometry and the laws of optics? What kind of circuitry does the midbrain
use, in the optic tectum, to compute depth information from the two
disparate images on the two retinas? I know how I did it, but how do we
know how the brain does it? There are dozens of ways that would work. Which
one is right?

If you then start talking about events and relationships and categories, we
may have some notions about how to detect such things, but they're not
anything like working models. How would you go about generating a signal
indicating that some object is "inside" some other object? Remember, all
you're given are signals indicating that the objects are there., plus the
array of intensity signals and color/shading sensations. You have to devise
an automatic process that wil produce a signal when one thing is inside
another, and no signal when it is not inside another. Are you ready to
model that? I'm not.

> Remember that the definitions of levels are not part of the model. They
> never will be part of the model. They are attempts to analyze direct
> experience, to define the phenomena that any model has to explain.

I thought you just said that they were central to your theory of brain
structure?

The concept of one level of control setting reference signals for the next
level down, and of one level of perception being a function of lower-level
perceptions, is the core of HPCT. That concept doesn't change when you give
specific definitions of levels, and say there is some specific number of
levels. Maybe level one perceive and controls fuzabizity, and maybe level
88 controls Nerfness. It's still the same structure.

If your simply saying that brain function is hierarchical in
nature, that's a lot older than your theory.

Not the kind of hierarchy I propose, in which one level controls by setting
reference signals for a lower level, and perceives by computing functions
of lower perceptions. Show me anyone else who has proposed that kind of
hierarchy of negative feedback control systems. Heck, I wrote my ideas on
paper, and other people wrote ideas on paper, too, so their ideas must have
been like mine? Come on.

Tell me the difference between physical stimuli that exist inside the body
and neural signals?

Stimuli exist on the outside of sensors, outside the nervous system. The
sensors respond to them by producing neural signals. A physical stimulus
inside the body might be the tension in a tendon created by muscle
contraction. The neural signal would be the signal produced by a Golgi
tendon organ that is stimulated by that tension. Another physical stimulus
inside the body might be the CO2 concentration of the blood passing through
the carotid arch. A sensor there detects it and sends a perceptual signal
representing that concentration (over a certain threshold) to the brain. I
could go on for pages, and much longer than that if I were sitting in a
reference library.

> I have never spoken of the "five senses."

Yes you have. Maybe unitentionaly, but everytime you said somatic nervous
system, that is exactly what you were talking about. I do not rememer you
ever giving an example of a non somatic perception.

I can't help what you choose to read into my words that I didn't say, How
about vision? Sound? And when did I say there were only five senses? I
don't even use that language. The concept of a "sense" is just an arbitrary
classification with no other significance. It's strange that you would pick
the somatic nervous system as an example, because that system depends on
sensors of all kinds inside the body, such as the ones that respond to a
stretch in the intestines, or to acid in the stomach, or to glucose
concentration in the blood.

Sorry Bill, this has shown _not_ to be true. High frequecny sounds entering
can be low freqeuncy by the time they terminate in the primary sensory
cortex. Labeled line sensory inputs have been shown to be incorrect.

High frequency sounds are not reproduced blip for blip in the nervous
system. A steady pitch would be represented by a neural signal of constant
frequency, but not the frequency of the sound. Quite likely, the neural
frequency would be proportional to the logarithm of the sound's frequency.
Sound intensity would be represented by the frequency of impulses in
another perceptual pathway. And even the quality of a sound would be
represented by the frequency of firing of a neuron (or set of them).
Everything is represented by variable-frequency signals -- and don't bother
quoting people who look for patterns in the blips. I think they are wrong,
for reasons I needn't bore you with.

>However, I am proposing that the sensations we explicitly
> associate with emotions are those that arise from receptors inside the
> body; we call them "feelings." Since these receptors have to do with the
> state of the "soma", or body, I called then somatic sensors.

I agree with you here _except_ please don't call them 'somatic sensors'.
Somatic refers exclusively to the somatic nervous system and we already have
very good names for the receptors in the body. They are divided into 4
classes; mechanoreceptors, chemoreceptors, thermoreceptors, and
photoreceptors. They detect all kinds of stimulus energy; light, sound,
gravity, pressure, displacement, thermal, mechanical, chemical from our
visual, auditory, vestibular (balance), somatosensory (touch, pain,
proprioception, temperature sense), gustatory (itch, taste) and Olfactory
(smell).

Loosen up. "Somatic" just means "having to do with the body." These names
are just classifications, and they overlap and duplicate each other. The
retina operates through absorption of photons by chemical dyes, so isn't it
a chemoreceptor? Sure, and it's also a photoreceptor and a mechanoreceptor
(press fairly hard on your eyeball and you'll see something that looks like
light, but of course isn't).

Are you saying that an emotion itself has a reference condition or are you
saying that a perception must have one and an emtion is tied to the error
signal of that perception?

The particular reference condition is irrelevant; what counts is that the
perception is different from it, so there is an error signal that tends to
lead to action. The same error signal also leads to adjustments of bodily
state in preparation for action. We experience, consciously, both effects
of the changes in bodily state, and our own urge to act physically, with
the combination of perceptions being what we call an emotion. You may or
may not have a reference level for a given emotion -- wanting to have it,
or wanting not to have it. That's a different question. I'm talking of
where a perception of an emotion comes from.

If the latter what might the reference condition be for pain? I see
emotions tied more toward our sensory inputs. But why couldn't it be both?

The reference condition for pain is zero, so any amount of pain results in
an error signal. Don't you include pain in "sensory inputs"?

Again Bill, I don't see a euphoric state in any 'negative' emotions. I don't
disagree that several emotions can take on similar feeling states.

No pounding of the heart? Fast breathing? Vasoconstriction? Tingling? What
makes a euphoric state what it is is the fact that you want it to happen,
you are not trying to escape from something. Those are cognitive factors,
not feelings. The feelings are about the same for any elevated state of the
body.

> Do you mean that squinting has no effect on the intensity of the light
> falling on the retina? That is exactly the effect it has, and the
intensity
> at the retina is the controlled variable. Now go kick yourself, you knew
that.

Ok consider myself kicked. I did not mean that. I meant that as long as your
eyes are open you will see what is in your field of vision. You cannot not
hear a loud sound next to your ear, unless you're deaf. That is what I meant
by involuntary. All reflexive actions are of course controlled

Squinting specifically is a means for controlling the intensity of light
when it is too high. Yes, loud sounds or any strong sensation tends to
attract attention. But if you were attending to something else, your first
reaction is likely to be, "What was that?!" In other words, while you know
something happened, you need to perceive it a little longer to identify it
consciously.

I claim that there are no purely S-R reactions. NONE AT ALL.

Every control system at every level has
its own comparator.

I don't think a functional mapping needs to be isomorphic to a physical one.
I respectfully disagree here.

How could one control system use any other control system's comparator? Do
comparator get moved around from one system to another? And when they're in
some other system, how does the system they were taken from work?

Best,

Bill

[From Bruce Gregory (2004.01.10.1836)]

[From Bill Powers (2004.01.10.0840 MST)]

Thanks again for the time you put into this very detailed and
informative response.

Bruce Gregory

"Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no
one was listening, everything must be said again."
                                                                                Andre Gide

"What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire
Law; all the rest is commentary."

                                                                                The Talmud

from [Marc Abrams (2004.01.10.1837)]

[From Bill Powers (2004.01.10.0840 MST)]

We are making progress. Onward!

Thanks very much for the references. The Christmas present embarrasses me,
but thank you for that, too. You have a free copy of the paperback edition
of B:CP coming to you, when Alice gets out of the woods and publishes it.
Send me a snail mail address.

Thank you for the new copy of B:CP. I'll send you my snail mail address
privately. Would you like the _Nervous System_ Word file? Again, it's a 25
page summary that is approx. a 535k zipped file.

Let me summarize and cut to the chase here, rather than reply point by point
to this post.

Thank you for the further clarifications of your thoughts and ideas and here
is where I think we stand.

I think your distinction yesterday with the use of the concept of 'PCT
applications' is a very useful one and should be used with great effect in
the future to keep the stress levels down and the productivity higher on
CSGnet. You should make this distinction in your rewrite of B:CP if you can.
It seperates what is, and is not part of the "offical" theory.

As it turns out Rick was correct. We are in conflict. Not because I want to
stand in your spot, but because you are demanding that I stay 100 miles away
from you metaphorically, and I can't. You have ideas and concepts that go
way beyond the "official" PCT model, and I will not 'compete' with you on
CSGnet for your time. The "offical" theory may only be 5 feet in diameter
but you have laid claim to a 100 mile circle. You don't need or want either
a physiological model or an emotional model of PCT. You already have
existing applications in both you want others to test. Well, I don't think
it's gonna happen that way. I have my own ideas that I like a lot better.
Not because they _are_ better, I don't know that yet, but if I'm going to
spend my time, effort, and money, it's going to be on something I believe
in. When I have some meaningful data, I'll be back to you Bill, on all this,
until then I plan on being an active participant on CSGnet talking about
"offical" PCT.

Thanks,

Marc

[Martin Taylor 2004.01.11.1211]

I go away fro two days and find something like 50 CSG messages!

[From Rick Marken (2004.01.09.1600)]

Marc Abrams (2004.01.09.1658)

Rick Marken (2004.01.09.1145)--

All I am asking is whether you intended to say that our sensory inputs are
_not_ controlled and, if so, what you mean by it and why you think this is
true.

What we seem to be having a problem with is _when_ does a signal become a
'perception'? I maintain that the initial energy that comes into our sensory
receptors and is transduced, is a s-r event.

I agree. The transduction of energy into neural signals by sensory receptors
is an s-r process.

It _remains_ an s-r event _until_ it becomes a perception.

I don't understand this. I think a neural signal is a perception. So the
transduction of energy into perception is an s-r process.

Marc,

EVERY individual process in a control loop is an S-R process. The
perceptual input function is an S-R process. The comparator is an S-R
process. The output function is an S-R process. It's only when the
loop is completed that we have control. Controlled perception happens
only through the looped interconnection of a bunch of different S-R
processes.

There's no contradiction between controlling perception and the fact
that the perceptual signal is constructed by an S-R process.

Martin