How culture colors the way the mind works

[From Bruce Nevin (2003.03.03 20:40 EST)]
The geography of thought: How culture colors the way the mind
works
- Richard Nisbett

I just heard a most fascinating interview with the author, so I looked up
some information about the book.

http://www.umich.edu/news/Releases/2003/Feb03/r022703a.[html

](http://www.umich.edu/news/Releases/2003/Feb03/r022703a.html)Some quite striking differences between Western (e.g. European,
American) and East Asian cognitive processes belie universalist
presumptions that we may take for granted (that human nature is the same
everywhere).

Here’s the first chapter - limited to historical background comparing
classical Greece with ancient China.
http://www.simonsays.com/excerpt.cfm?isbn=0743216466

A quote from one of these sites:

Everyone knows that while different cultures may think about the world
differently, they use the same equipment for doing their thinking.
Everyone knows that whatever the skin color, nationality, or religion,
every human being uses the same tools for perception, for memory, and for
reasoning. Everyone knows that a logically true statement is true in
English, German, or Hindi. Everyone knows that when a Chinese and an
American look at the same painting, they see the same painting.

And a quote from the other:

[Nisbitt] discusses the substantial differences in East Asian and Western
thought processes, citing experimental, historical, and social evidence.
His findings call into question the long-standing psychological
assumption that the way the human mind works is universal. In the
process, he addresses such questions as:

• Why did the ancient Chinese excel at algebra and arithmetic, but not
geometry?

• Why do Western infants learn nouns more rapidly than verbs, when it is
the other way around in East Asia?

• Why do East Asians find it so difficult to disentangle an object from
its surroundings?

“East Asian thought tends to be more holistic,” says Nisbett, who also
heads the U-M Culture and Cognition Program. “Holistic approaches attend
to the entire field, and make relatively little use of categories and
formal logic. They also emphasize change, and they recognize
contradiction and the need for multiple perspectives, searching for the
‘Middle Way’ between opposing propositions.

“Westerners are more analytic, paying attention primarily to the object
and the categories to which it belongs and using rules, including formal
logic, to explain and predict its behavior.”

[From Rick Marken (2003.03.03.2200)]

Bruce Nevin (2003.03.03 20:40 EST)--

Some quite striking differences between Western (e.g. European,
American) and East Asian cognitive processes belie universalist
presumptions that we may take for granted (that human nature is the
same everywhere).

It looks too me like Nisbett's observations are completely consistent
with the idea that human nature is indeed the same everywhere: all
humans are controllers of their own perceptual experiences. What Nisbett
has observed (and it is an interesting observation) is that people in
different cultures tend to control for somewhat different perceptual
experiences (or for the same perceptual experiences, but relative to
different references). This isn't really that surprising. Many of the
perceptual variables we control -- especially the higher level variables
discussed by Nisbett -- are controlled because our parents taught us to
control them. That's why children of Jewish parent almost always grow up
controlling for perceiving themselves as Jewish, children of Hindu
parent almost always grow up controlling of perceiving themselves as
Hindu, etc. I presume that children of Chinese parents excel at algebra
rather than geometry (to the extent that that's true) because these
parents taught or modeled the control of perceptions (like program level
perceptions involving the sequential manipulation of symbols) that are
useful in solving algebra but not geometry problems.

Best regards

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken
MindReadings.com
marken@mindreadings.com
310 474-0313

[From Bruce Gregory ((2003.0304.05070]

Bruce Nevin (2003.03.03 20:40 EST)

Or vice versa.

···

--
Bruce Gregory lives with the poet and painter Gray Jacobik in the future
Canadian Province of New England.

www.joincanadanow.org

[From

[From Bruce Gregory (2003.0304.0512)]

Rick Marken (2003.03.03.2200)

I presume that children of Chinese parents excel at algebra
rather than geometry (to the extent that that's true) because these
parents taught or modeled the control of perceptions (like program level
perceptions involving the sequential manipulation of symbols) that are
useful in solving algebra but not geometry problems.

Perhaps racial differences cannot be completely ruled out.

···

--
Bruce Gregory lives with the poet and painter Gray Jacobik in the future
Canadian Province of New England.

www.joincanadanow.org

[From Bill Powers (2003.03.04.1051 MST)]

Bruce Nevin (2003.03.03 20:40 EST)--

The geography of thought: How culture colors the way the mind works
- Richard Nisbett

I concur with Bruce Gregory's succinct comment: or vice versa. Culture
resides in and is a product of the mind, of course. New minds are
influenced by the people around them, and in their turn they become part of
the surroundings of the next generation of new minds.

However, I doubt that any person is raised exclusively in one culture
unless we're talking about a small tribe that has no contact with other
tribes. Even then, the culture of Grampa is not the culture of Mother and
Father, and their culture is not the culture of Brother, Sister, or Friend.
In a small town there is the right and wrong side of the tracks, and in a
city of any size there are probably dozens of well-defined and different
cultures. So speaking of Western and Eastern culture as monolithic entities
is surely a vast oversimplification.

>Everyone knows that while different cultures may think about the world
differently, >they use the same equipment for doing their thinking.
Everyone knows that whatever the >skin color, nationality, or religion,
every human being uses the same tools for >perception, for memory, and for
reasoning. Everyone knows that a logically true >statement is true in
English, German, or Hindi. Everyone knows that when a Chinese and >an
American look at the same painting, they see the same painting.

While this is supposed to be a series of false statements, only the last
one is false. It is true that we all use the same equipment for doing our
thinking, if PCT is correct. We all use the same tools for perception,
memory, and reasoning. Of course these tools are organized differently in
different individuals, but a sequence is a sequence, a logical implication
is a logical implication, a principle is a principle in all human beings --
if HPCT is right, A logically true statement is logically true anywhere in
the world: if A implies B then it is not the case that A is true while B is
false. The identity of logic the world over accounts for how it is possible
for programmers in Japan, India and Indonesia to write programs for
computers designed in the USA.

I claim that the only false statement is the last, and it is false whether
talking about two cultures or simply two individuals. No two people get
the same perceptions from looking at the same painting. Of course there are
different conventions that go with different cultures, but conventions are
merely variations on the themes of

intensities, sensations, configurations, ... system concepts.

Or so I claim.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bruce Nevin (2003.03.04 20:40 EST)]

OK, I'll fetch some of the water closer.

A Korean student at Stanford complained to her advisor about how her profs kept demanding that she speak up more, saying that if she didn't participate in discussions she wouldn't develop her understanding of the material. She said that talking while she was thinking interfered with the thinking. She said she didn't think with words, but "geometrically", in patterns. (This reminds me of Einstein's remarks about his thinking processes.) The demonstration of this became her dissertation. She had people solve puzzles (I think she said anagrams) under two conditions, silently and while "thinking out loud" about what they were doing. For Western students, there was no difference, but Oriental students like herself did much less well while talking. (Nisbett described this in the radio interview that I heard.)

In one experiment, Japanese and Americans viewed the same animated underwater scenes, then reported what they had seen. "The first statement by Americans usually referred to a large fish in the foreground," says Nisbett. "They would say something like, 'There was what looked like a trout swimming to the right.' The first statement by Japanese usually referred to background elements: 'There was a lake or a pond.' The Japanese made about 70 percent more statements than Americans about background aspects of the environment, and 100 percent more statements about relationships with inanimate aspects of the environment, for example, that a big fish swam past some gray seaweed." We identify the most prominent or salient object (large fish moving to the right), then its categorization (trout), then its attributes (some red speckles on the bottom), and often fail even to notice other features of what we regard as the background. East Asians attend to the whole situation (it looked like a stream) and various attributes (flowing water, with some stones and pebbles on the bottom) including, certainly, the large and/or moving objects (the fish).

Infants in Western societies learn nouns first and verbs later. Researchers in child language acquisition have generally assumed that this is universal. (For example, I could send you the chapter by Gleitman from the book that I edited.) However, in Oriental societies infants learn verbs first and nouns later. Why? An anecdote from the radio interview: In Western societies, the mother gives a truck to the little boy and says "Look! A truck. See? The wheels turn. Vroom! Vroom!" In Japan, the mother gives a truck to the little boy and says "See - I give you the vroom-vroom. Now you give it back to me. Thank you! Now I give it back to you." She may actually take the child's face and turn it so as to look back at her.

In another experiment described in the book, Nisbett and colleagues found that Americans respond to contradiction by polarizing their beliefs [a phenomenon familiar to us here] whereas Chinese respond by moderating their beliefs. In still another study, the researchers found that when making predictions about how people in general could be expected to behave in a given situation, Koreans were much more likely than Americans to cite situational factors rather than personality characteristics as reasons for someone's behavior.

It may now be easier to see the relevance of the attributes of self image and social relations epitomized by particular historical cultures (Greek and Chinese) at SimonSays’s On Demand Pages on Vimeo. Simplistically put, Westerners have a self-image of independence and free agency, East Asians have a self image of interdependence and mutual obligation.

Rick Marken (2003.03.03.2200)--

It looks too me like Nisbett's observations are completely consistent
with the idea that human nature is indeed the same everywhere: all
humans are controllers of their own perceptual experiences.

This is a statement about the nature of all living things.

What Nisbett
has observed (and it is an interesting observation) is that people in
different cultures tend to control for somewhat different perceptual
experiences (or for the same perceptual experiences, but relative to
different references).

This is where we begin to talk about human nature.

I presume that children of Chinese parents excel at algebra
rather than geometry (to the extent that that's true) because these
parents taught or modeled the control of perceptions (like program level
perceptions involving the sequential manipulation of symbols) that are
useful in solving algebra but not geometry problems.

The basis for these differences seems to be less direct and considerably more interesting. But since you haven't yet read the book or the web sites I won't spoil it for you.

Bill Powers (2003.03.04.1051 MST)--

I concur with Bruce Gregory's succinct comment: or vice versa. Culture
resides in and is a product of the mind, of course.

No individual can create or sustain a culture. It requires a community of individuals over many generations. Refer back to Martin Taylor's discussion of how 'standards' arise and are maintained in a public. For any newborn growing to adulthood its culture already exists among the realities that it learns to perceive and perceptions of which it learns to control. This pre-existing reality into which infants are born 'colors' the way they learn to perceive and control their perceptions.

Naturally, no culture can arise which doesn't fit with the ways in which individuals can learn to perceive and control, and in learning to perceive and control (especially in contact with people of other cultures) each generation participates in recreating their shared culture with changes, but that's the extent of the vice versa.

As to 'monolithic culture': Some traits pervade all the subcultures of a region, and such are what are under discussion here.

         /Bruce Nevin

[From Peter J. Burke UCR 3/4/2003 4:16PM PST]

from Bill Powers (2003.03.04.1051 MST

While this is supposed to be a series of false statements, only the last
one is false. It is true that we all use the same equipment for doing our
thinking, if PCT is correct. We all use the same tools for perception,
memory, and reasoning. Of course these tools are organized differently in
different individuals, but a sequence is a sequence, a logical implication
is a logical implication, a principle is a principle in all human

beings --

if HPCT is right, A logically true statement is logically true anywhere in
the world: if A implies B then it is not the case that A is true while B

is

false. The identity of logic the world over accounts for how it is

possible

for programmers in Japan, India and Indonesia to write programs for
computers designed in the USA.

I claim that the only false statement is the last, and it is false whether
talking about two cultures or simply two individuals. No two people get
the same perceptions from looking at the same painting. Of course there

are

different conventions that go with different cultures, but conventions are
merely variations on the themes of

Just to play devil's advocate for a moment. If the wiring (neural, chemical,
etc) constitute the tools, then there must be different tools for all people
since the wiring is different. And, since the wiring is ongoing over the
life-course, being influenced by the environment including culture, people
in different cultures are likely to have different patterns of wiring. :slight_smile:

The question of differences, I think, lies in the level of abstraction that
one chooses, which is a function of the problem to be solved.

Peter

[From Bill Powers (2003.03.04.1945 MST)]

Bruce Nevin (2003.03.04 20:40 EST)--

>For Western students, there was no difference, but Oriental students like

herself did much less well while talking. (Nisbett described this in the
radio interview that I heard.)

Just to check what we're talking about here, assuming you have access to
the original paper describing this study, can you estimate how many Western
students behaved the same in both conditions, and how many did not, and
also the ratios for the Oriental students? How did Nesbitt explain the
Western students who did worse while talking, and the Oriental students who
showed no difference? I'm assuming, perhaps mistakenly, that there were
noticeable numbers of students who did behave "anomalously."

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bill Powers (2003.03.04.2024 MST)]

Peter J. Burke UCR 3/4/2003 4:16PM PST]

>Just to play devil's advocate for a moment. If the wiring (neural, chemical,

etc) constitute the tools, then there must be different tools for all people
since the wiring is different.

Yes, if that is what constitutes a tool. My hypothesis, however, has always
been that the specific control systems of the brain are not wired in and
not identical from one person to another. Instead, each level is like a kit
of neurones with special properties suited for the kind of computation that
goes on at that level. So, for example, the neurons involved in computing
sensations from sets of intensity signals would be equipped with lots of
dendrites where weightings of incoming signals can be adjusted. At the
logic level, we would expect to find neurons specialized with local
positive feedback loops for creating threshold and latching functions, as
appropriate to discrete computations. The Purkinje cells of the cerebellum
are obviously specialized to perform particular kinds of computations
involving delayed signals -- but I doubt that exactly the _same_
delayed-signal computations are done in any two brains.

And, since the wiring is ongoing over the
life-course, being influenced by the environment including culture, people
in different cultures are likely to have different patterns of wiring. :slight_smile:

I agree completely, if you will only add that the influences are mutual.
The people in different cultures, however, I maintain, would not have
different levels of control systems. I haven't seen any evidence of that
sort of difference.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bruce Nevin (2003.03.04 23:23 EST)]

Bill Powers (2003.03.04.1945 MST)--

assuming you have access to
the original paper describing this study,

I don't. Nisbett only mentioned the dissertation by a Korean student (not his) at Stanford. But I'll ask him. He's nisbett@umich.edu according to the UMich web site.

can you estimate how many Western
students behaved the same in both conditions, and how many did not, and
also the ratios for the Oriental students? How did Nesbitt explain the
Western students who did worse while talking, and the Oriental students who
showed no difference? I'm assuming, perhaps mistakenly, that there were
noticeable numbers of students who did behave "anomalously."

The statement was that they all behaved consistently with their culture. Without seeing the dissertation and perhaps asking its author I have no way of checking that he was telling the truth. But maybe Nisbett can verify this.

         /Bruce

···

At 09:52 PM 3/4/2003, Bill Powers wrote:

[From Bill Powers (2003.03.05.0330 MST)]

Bruce Nevin (2003.03.04 23:23 EST)--

Thanks for making the enquiry to Nesbitt. One reason I asked about
exceptions is that I would find it much more difficult to solve anagrams or
do almost any other kind of intellectual work while talking out loud about
it. Of course I can't judge from my own characteristics how others would
operate. But this makes me wonder whether the differences between
"orientals" and a "westerners" in such a test would be any greater than
differnces between, say, sociologists and engineers of either culture, or
other pairings one could think of.

Also, it occurred to me to wonder how the subjects were identified as
orientals or westerners. I assume that the judgement wasn't made strictly
on the basis of country of origin, skin color, or eye configuration. In
fact, now that I am wondering, it would seem that the study would almost
have to presuppose its conclusions, because the only way to determine
whether a given subject was truly an exemplar of his or her culture would
be to look for traits considered by the researcher to be typical of that
culture. Furthermore, I should think that the likelihood of finding any
subject who was purely oriental or purely western in various respects would
be pretty small. Heck, two of my grandchildren have belts of various colors
in karate. Are they good exemplars of western culture? Are you? Is anyone?

It would also be of considerable interest to me, if you have any way of
finding the facts. to know whether any of the subjects, oriental or
western, failed to report experiences of the world in terms denotative of
the eleven levels of perception and control that I have proposed. Of course
there was no effort by the person doing the research to check out such
things, but much could be inferred from the descriptions of scenes that you
mentioned (concerning other studies). While there would probably be large
variations in the degree of emphasis on this level or that, it would be
surprising to me to find that any level was totally ignored, even if the
conversation were steered to encourage noticing it. I would really hope
that 100% of the subjects of any culture would experience the world in at
least these 11 ways.

It would also be interesting to know if any of the subjects mentioned
seeing the world in terms not covered by one or more of the 11 levels. Of
course that would not extend to reports like the one an acquaintance of
mine, who called himself "Dr. Chronos", made: he said, "Oh, I perceive in
_hundreds_ of levels." He also used a little pendulum suspended over my
hand to determine that I was psychic to an astonishing degree.

You observe that as far as the reports you have are concerned, the
conclusions applied to _all_ oriental or western subjects. That, however,
is the typical way in which such studies are reported; they do not say "19
out of 31 oriental subjects described the background first." If the results
reach statistical significance, they are reported as "Orientals described
the background first" -- even in supposedly reputable journals. The
exceptions are normally suppressed, and are not considered to require
theoretical explanation.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bruce Nevin (2003.03.05 13:46 EST)]

Bill Powers (2003.03.05.0330 MST) --

Well, I appreciate your skepticism. We shall see. The "learning verbs before nouns" business may turn out to be an example of quoting conclusions without verifying that they have a valid relationship to the data - Lila Gleitman is skeptical and is looking into it.

In addition to a healthy skepticism about the integrity of published research reports in these fields, it seems to me that you are defending a few cherished perceptions:

- There are no "social realities", it's all and only the interactions of individuals.

- The 11 levels seem right. We should look for contrary or disparate evidence. (Conflict between defending what's established in PCT and, separately, openness to alternatives, acknowledging the very subjective and personal history of your identifying the proposed 11 levels.)

- And (not relevantly) anything to do with psychic perception etc. is bogus.

Bill Powers (2003.03.05.0330 MST) --

Bruce Nevin (2003.03.04 23:23 EST)--
Thanks for making the enquiry to Nesbitt. One reason I asked about
exceptions is that I would find it much more difficult to solve anagrams or
do almost any other kind of intellectual work while talking out loud about
it.

I've sat next to you as you've commented aloud about what you were concurrently doing with code changes, and you are certainly not shy about participating in group discussions, the initiating issue for that student. But yes, we should find out what this Korean woman did in her research at Stanford, what conclusions she drew from it, and what relation her conclusions bear to her data. It's pointless throwing up defenses before knowing what's approaching.

         /Bruce Nevin

···

At 06:04 AM 3/5/2003, Mary Powers wrote:

[From Bruce Nevin (2003.03.05 23:07 EST)]
The dissertation is by Heejun Kim and it was published in a recent
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Does anyone have
access to this? If not, I will try to get it through interlibrary loan

I asked Nisbett if the reported results were exceptionless. He replied
“I’m not sure what you mean by exceptionless. There is always
overlap between populations in our studies: some Westerners behave like
Easterners and vice versa.” This of course makes sense: norms are
not suprapersonal control systems reaching inside people and setting
their reference values.

It will be interesting to see how strong the correlation is, that is, how
common the exceptions are and how great the difference between the two
populations. I hope the data will be evident in Heejun Kim’s report.

If the preponderance of people on each side behave as described, the
question is what are they controlling and how do they come to set the
reference values for their control as they do. A related question is how
the exceptions differ from the norms of their respective cultures -
Nisbett says “some Westerners behave like Easterners and vice
versa” but it might not be so simple - and how they come to do so.
Answers I don’t expect we will find here, but we may learn how to frame
the questions for research in appropriate ways, and that in itself would
be an advance.

    /Bruce
···

from my local library.

[From Fred Nickols (2003.03.06.0818)] --

···

At 11:08 PM 3/5/2003 -0500, you wrote:

[From Bruce Nevin (2003.03.05 23:07 EST)]

If the preponderance of people on each side behave as described, the
question is what are they controlling and how do they come to set the
reference values for their control as they do.

For me, THE question is and has been ever since I first encountered PCT is
"How do they come to set the reference values?" Does anyone have a ready
answer to that question lying around?

Fred Nickols
nickols@safe-t.net
www.nickols.us

Hi...my name is Paule. I am a colleague of Dr. Len Lansky, who also was my
wonderful mentor.
A French intellectual (Voltaire or one of is colleagues) said that we are
free by our laws, in bondage to our roots or belief systems.
modestly yours

Paule A. Steichen. Asch, Ph.D.
IBIS Int'l
Individual Building of Integrated Success
2101 Grandin Road
Cincinnati OH 45208
voicemail: (513) 289-5998
fax: (513) 871-soul/7685
pasteichenasch@fuse.net

···

----- Original Message -----
From: "Fred Nickols" <nickols@SAFE-T.NET>
To: <CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu>
Sent: Thursday, March 06, 2003 8:16 AM
Subject: Re: How culture colors the way the mind works

[From Fred Nickols (2003.03.06.0818)] --

At 11:08 PM 3/5/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>[From Bruce Nevin (2003.03.05 23:07 EST)]
>
>If the preponderance of people on each side behave as described, the
>question is what are they controlling and how do they come to set the
>reference values for their control as they do.

For me, THE question is and has been ever since I first encountered PCT is
"How do they come to set the reference values?" Does anyone have a ready
answer to that question lying around?

Fred Nickols
nickols@safe-t.net
www.nickols.us

[From Bruce Gregory (2003.0306.0932)]

Fred Nickols (2003.03.06.0818) --

For me, THE question is and has been ever since I first encountered PCT is
"How do they come to set the reference values?" Does anyone have a ready
answer to that question lying around?

Reorganization.

from [ Marc Abrams (2003.03.06.0934) ]

For me, THE question is and has been ever since I first encountered PCT is
"How do they come to set the reference values?" Does anyone have a ready
answer to that question lying around?

At least on some levels, at some times, by imagination.

Marc

[From Bill Powers (2003.03.06.0737 MST)]

Bruce Nevin (2003.03.05 23:07 EST)]

>I asked Nisbett if the reported results were exceptionless. He replied
"I'm not sure >what you mean by exceptionless. There is always overlap
between populations in our >studies: some Westerners behave like Easterners
and vice versa." This of course makes >sense: norms are not suprapersonal
control systems reaching inside people and setting >their reference values.

That's what I expected, This sort of research usually comes up with that
kind of result.
Gary Cziko reported, or found a report that said, that the average
correlation in a large sample of published social-science studies was 0.26.
This led to a discussion on CSGnet about the kinds of correlations needed
to draw justifiable conclusions; Richard Kennaway came up with a full-scale
analysis showing that most conclusions drawn from studies even in the
higher range of correlations usually found are unjustified. That, in turn,
gave rise to a number of highly defensive "yes but" comments, and the
subject was eventually dropped. The conclusion that statistical "facts" are
next to useless for screening or reaching other conclusions was evidently
not enough to raise the level of skepticism about "knowledge" based on such
"facts." At least nobody wrote a post saying "Oh, my gosh, I have been
using facts like that in my work, and I now see that the results have been
meaningless or worse." Nobody but Phil Runkel, and he did it long before
that discussion on CSGnet.

It will be interesting to see how strong the correlation is, that is, how
common the exceptions are and how great the difference between the two
populations. I hope the data will be evident in Heejun Kim's report.

That will, indeed, be interesting. The key question to ask is, "What is the
probability that the next Oriental or Westerner that I happen to meet will
behave according to these findings?" That's assuming that you can establish
clearly whether that person was exposed to the relevant cultural influences
so you can decide which group is the relevant one. If you can do the
calculation, or find someone who can, I think you will find the answer
illuminating. But I could be wrong.

>If the preponderance of people on each side behave as described, the
question is what >are they controlling and how do they come to set the
reference values for their control >as they do. A related question is how
the exceptions differ from the norms of their >respective cultures -
Nisbett says "some Westerners behave like Easterners and vice >versa" but
it might not be so simple - and how they come to do so. Answers I
don't >expect we will find here, but we may learn how to frame the
questions for research in >appropriate ways, and that in itself would be an
advance.

What is a "preonderance?" 50.0001%? But I accept the intent of your
sentence. I think it would be interesting if you were to identify something
in your own behavior that you think is culturally influenced, and then try
to analyze exactly how this influence came to bear on you. General terms
like "culture" don't really tell us much about mechanisms, but clearly it's
the actual mechanisms of influence that matter, not the categories into
which we put them. As you say, culture is not something supernatural that
reaches into people and sets their reference signals. When we speak of
culture, we're summing up interactions with a small number of specific
people who have specific reference settings of their own and who therefore
react to us when we disturb what they are controlling (either in the
opposing or the aiding sense). For any given person selected at random, the
effective microculture consists of those relatively few people with whom
that individual interacts the most intimately. The media, of course, have
an influence, too, but I suspect that the degree of influence is highly
variable and depends on the actual microculture in which the individual
exists. Climate affects populations, but weather affects individuals.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Bill Powers (2004.03.06.0815 MST)]

Fred Nickols (2003.03.06.0818) --

>For me, THE question is and has been ever since I first encountered PCT is
>"How do they come to set the reference values?" Does anyone have a ready
>answer to that question lying around?

I suppose I'm the wrong one to comment here, since you evidently reject the
long, detailed answer to that question that I've been proposing, starting
60 years ago. It would be interesting, though, to hear why you think my
explanation is wrong.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Rick Marken (2003.03.06.1030)]

Tom Hancock (2003.03.06.0900 PST)--

I was wondering if there have been substantial empirical tests of the error signal from a higher level system in a human yielding a resetting of a lower level reference standard.

Some of Bill's "portable" demonstrations (described in the experimental methods chapter of B:CP, I believe) illustrate this hierarchical phenomenon. There is also my "Levels of Control" demo at
Redirect. What you see there is the lower level cursor control system going into positive feedback mode (when handle/cursor polarity is changed) until error in the
higher level system resets the polarity of the lower system's gain.

Not substantial, perhaps. But empirical;-)

Best regards

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Senior Behavioral Scientist
The RAND Corporation
PO Box 2138
1700 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
Tel: 310-393-0411 x7971
Fax: 310-451-7018
E-mail: rmarken@rand.org