Hal to David Goldstein on emotions

[Martin Taylor 931001 15:30]
(Hal Pepinsky 1 Oct 1993 09:56:03)

To borrow one metaphor, PCT appears to be all
left-brain, except for shifts in levels of reorganization for which
the model cannot account. There is no modeling of emotion in PCT, am
I not correct?

If you want to borrow a metaphor, that's fine. But if you want to think
about how the brain works, that's another matter. Thinking logically about
anything has a substantial left-brain element. Thinking about PCT is no

The main "left-brain" emphasis seems to be with largely sequential, logical
operations (e.g. syntactic language -- as opposed to language meaning). In
PCT that is the province of levela above category, and perhaps at program
level and above.

In my old (1983) Bilateral Cooperative (BLC) Model of reading, it seemed to
me that experimental evidence suggested that there were two basic "streams"
or "tracks" through which we understand langauge. Both operated at all
levels of abstraction. One track, called LEFT, dealt with rule-based,
syntax-like operations and yielded unique results for recognition of
the language element (letter, word, phrase, etc.). It was executed
largely in the left hemisphere. The other, miscalled RIGHT, dealt in
massively parallel possibilities for recognition. It operated in both
brain hemispheres. Uniqueness was not an issue for the RIGHT track, but
speed was. The RIGHT track provided goals for LEFT track uniqueness tests,
and the LEFT track pruned the RIGHT track's proliferation of possibilities.
Both operated in parallel.

I bring this up here, despite its pre-PCT origins, because the PCT fundamental
statement "All behaviour is the control of perception" seems to lead to
the necessity of some such structure for ALL perceptual systems. It is
the old degrees of freedom argument. Before knowing of PCT, I argued that
the LEFT track would have evolved because of the necessity of selecting
from a variety of possible actions at any one time (forcing uniqueness),
whereas the RIGHT track had no such requirement other than providing the
possibilities for action. Now we have the PCT degrees-of-freedom argument,
we can see that this is approximately correct, if HPCT in any form is correct.
So, going back to the older evidence, it would seem that PCT is by no means
left-brained, although perhaps much of the outflow side might perhaps be so.

No, PCT does not explicitly model emotion, but it seems easy to map at least
some emotions onto states within the hierarchy. Some seem to be properties
more of reorganization than of the active hierarchy. Try these:

contentment (kind of neutral) -- maintained control
stress (is it an emotion or a playground for emotions?) -- conflict within
    the hierarchy; the opposite of contentment.
happiness -- achievement of control after a period of poor control, whether
    because of a benign change in the environment or because of reorganization.
anger -- setting off the bomb; failure to control where control was expected;
    is based on the pre-existence of stress; can lead to reorganization
    resulting in happiness, but often leads only to a different condition
    of stress.
fear -- (this has to be based on modelling the environment) expectation of
    loss of control; loss of control means that perceptions will depart from
    their reference values; particularly important of the values are those
    of intrinsic variables.
sadness -- inability to control, but with no action to attempt control; if
    the gain is substantially different from zero, one gets stress or anger;
    sadness implies acceptance of sustained error.

Bruce Nevin (Thu 930930 09:02:48 EDT) rewrote David Goldstein's set (I think
it was) as a clock.


     Expectation Acceptance
                  \ | /
  Anger -----+----- Fear
                  / | \
     Rejection | Surprise


I don't see the diagonal elements in the "clock" as emotions so much as
reactions to environmental disturbances past or anticipated. To the cardinal
elements, I added contentment and stress as polar opposites.

Acceptance, in particular, seems to mean only that the accepted perception
is not the subject of active control. Surprise means a normal envirnmental
disturbance that had low prior probability, whereas expectation means that
some environmental disturbance has a high probability. (For Bill P and Rick:
here "disturbance" means "fluctuation in the CEV"). I don't know what is
intended by "rejection;" does the perceiver feel rejected, or is the perceiver
rejecting a perception, substituting imagination for sensory input? Either
way, it doesn't seem like an emotion to me.

This is very much a first cut, and it is not a PCT model of emotions. It is
a proposal for what emotions might correspond to conditions within a hierarchy.