From [Marc Abrams (2004.12.02.1814)]
You really don’t know how much you, Bill and the others I have responded to on CSGnet over the past few weeks have helped me clarify my thinking. Not in any way anyone here can possibly imagine, but help nonetheless and for that I am grateful to all.
In a message dated 12/2/2004 5:17:59 PM Eastern Standard Time, marken@MINDREADINGS.COM writes:
[From Rick Marken (2004.12.02.1410)]
You’re preaching to the choir here. I’m not the one who said intent is not
a mental construct. Remember, I’m the person who calls my site (and books)
MindReadings because I consider the detection of intention (using The
Test) to be a kind of mind reading process.
Yes Rick, I know. My intent was to try and show you that there are any number of different ways one might view How an HPCT type of model might actually be thought of and function. I have no firm answers with regard to this but I do know that looking at a few could not hurt. This was never intended as any disrespect toward you, Bill or anyone else.
I agree that we are not nearly there yet. But PCT does provide a very
promising model that explains how and why people control. I think the best
way to get “there” – i.e. get to where we have answers to the question of
how and why people control – is to test the model’s ability to account for
human controlling. This has been my approach to understanding how and why
WHERE do you see me arguing against this? Rick, I hit a roadblock in trying to think about these issues (intent) using the HPCT hierarchy. I initially LOVED the concept and Bill knows this. I thought originally that Bill might have solved the age old sensory binding problem of perceptions. But this was not to be. Not a big deal.
I stopped ‘loving’ it when I could not reconcile the hierarchy with what I envisioned to be the ‘components’ of intent and how they interacted. I don’t think this is a crime.
Several people have advanced PCT considerably over the last 35 years, not
the least being Bill Powers himself.
No Rick. There has been no ‘advancement.’ The fact that you still defer to B:CP as the source of your logic and theory proves this.
What HAS taken place over the past 35 years is a VALIDATION of the notion that behavior is in fact a function of an input control process. THIS IS HUGE. But unfortunately it is also INSUFFICIENT to interest most who might be interested in this concept.
Why? Because most people ALREADY know that behavior is purposeful. What has been missing is WHY? CONTROL PROVIDES THE ANSWER but it’s not well understood yet HOW.
We know that intent arises out of control. We may also assume then that cognition also arises out of control. But does it? We don’t know yet. I think it does.
But more important WHAT IS IT about control that provides the protocritc processes necessary for intent?
I have some ideas and they do not fit into the current hierarchy. The current hierarchy may be a part of what I am attempting but it is NOT the whole ball of wax.
Some of the major advances (and I
apologize to anyone I’ve left out) include Powers’ simulations like the
Little Man, Crowd and inverted pendulum, Dick Robertson’s reorganization
study, Richard Kennaway’s multidimensional control models and my own
research and models described in my two books.
Rick, these are NOT ADVANCES. Some are CONFORMATION of theory and others like Robertson’s reorganization work is some more unconfirmed speculation. This is not a bad thing, but it did nothing for us in having a better understanding of what ‘reorganization’ may or may not be. An ‘advance’ is when one part of a theory is redone because of data that has shown the model in need of adjustment.
You bet. What experiments are you thinking of?
I count 3 ‘failed’ collaborations that we all know little about because Bill
dismisses them out of hand. Work with Martin Taylor, Bruce Abbott, and most
recently John Flach.
I think it would be great to discuss these failures. I know that two did
seem to involve failed experiments (Taylor and Abbott) and I think it would
be useful to make clear what failed and what could be done to improve the
The Flach collaboration did not involve a failed experiment. It involved a
failure to agree that a basic finding in the tracking literature (apparent
adaptation in terms of change in the human transfer function when there is a
change in the order of the control device) could be accounted for by the
behavior of a two level control system that does not adapt. But a discussion
of what happened in that hopeful collaboration would be worthwhile as well.
What I am interested in seeing is what varied from expectation and why.
I think that’s a very good idea. Perhaps we could start by having Martin
Taylor and Bruce Abbott describe what they did and why they think things
I’m on a roll, Two good ideas in a row. Yes, I would love to see this as well.
I want to see the data, the facts. Not someone’s interpretation of them.
Me too. That’s a great idea!
A RECORD, three in a row. Careful Rick, you don’t want to agree with me too much. If your not careful you might even begin asking me for some of my ideas and think they might be interesting and have some merit. You are on a slippery slope my friend.
Behavior is a function of cognition. Intent if you will. Cognition may or may
not be more than just a function of control. Exactly what do you disagree with
in this statement?
It’s hard to say because there are many different ways to understand words
like these. What do you mean by “behavior”, “cognition”, “intent” and even
“function”? I have my own ways of understanding these words that may lead me
to disagree when, in fact, there is no disagreement. That’s why models are
so nice. It makes things a bit more concrete – for me anyway.
I agree that models are more ‘concrete’ then words. But mathematics is not a perfect description of the real world. Have you ever seen a triangle in nature?
So although extremely useful in helping us clarify our logic and relationships, it is less useful as a descriptive tool about what entities are
Using my understanding of the words, I guess I would say that some behavior,
but certainly not all, is cognitive. The idea of behavior being a function
of cognition makes no sense to me because behavior, to me, is control.
Yes, I know. I am simply saying that it is NOT the ‘behavior’ that most psychologists are interested in. They are interested in the cognitive processes that lead to the behaviors they see, and THOSE cognitive processes are control systems as well. PCT currently treats these control processes as black boxes. Which is really no different from what anyone else currently does. You offer no new insights for psychologists. In order for them to benefit by PCT they would have to understand how ‘intent’ functions. NOT how a control loop functions, but as a bunch of ECU’s that are represented, NOT by neural signals, but by the cognitive processes that form perceptions, which of course are the same thing at a different scale.
Why do you think the ‘Method of Levels’ is so popular? Are you dealing with perceptions at the scale and level that are neural signals or with thoughts already formed?
In essence if any psychologist had an interest in you outfielder model, and I don’t know why any would, they would have to try and figure out why the outfielder controlled for one thing or another. Performing the TesT may help you understand what the ultimate reference level might be at any point in time, but what the TesT does not, and cannot tell you is HOW that came about. And THAT Rick is what most psychologists are interested in.
Yes, when someone asks “Why do we do what we do?” The answer is because of “CONTROL”. For a psychologist that is a BEGGINNING, not the end result.
cognitive behavior is simply control of variables that I would call
“cognitive”. The process of controlling these cognitive variables is what I
would call cognition. So controlling the state of a crossword puzzle or
chess game is what I would call cognition. In these cases, behavior is not a
function of cognition; it is cognition.
HALLELUJAH YES, YES, YES. Just like the chemical and neural processes are ‘behavior’ and ‘controlled’ as well.
Which view is useful DEPENDS ON WHAT YOUR PURPOSE IS.
Thank you Rick