from [ Marc Abrams (2003.05.07.1958) ]
Purpose: To begin a new dialogue with Rick. One that started with my
responses to Dick Robertson and Rick's subsequent entry into the
conversation which I find very welcome. Hope we have as much success with
this as we did the last time. I will consolidate the posts to focus the
thread, using the subject of the last in a series of 3 posts Rick has made.
[From Rick Marken (2003.05.07.1530)]
Marc Abrams (2003.05.07.1611) ]
Its my turn to bud in :-). I'll be short. 1) you describe one of the 3
"memory" modes Bill has hypothesized. What of the other 2
What of them, indeed?
Yes, I think that it is a very interesting question. One I will hope to
explore. I believe all "modes" Bill has proposed are in fact part of the
model. Just not well defined at this point. I believe they have the same
kinds of effects Bill has described in Chap 15 and other papers, such as his
papers in Living Control Systems II. I especially like the _ Epistemology of
Control System model of Human Behavior_. Have you read it? If not you should
and if you have, maybe you should review it for this thread. In it, Bill
recalls and reflects on his effort in developing the theory. This monograph
was done in 1989, so it was after some years of publication from B:CP in
1973. In it he expands and refines his view of reality as he defined it in
B:CP. Check the glossary of B:CP for Reality.
I am interested in Bill's view on both his theory (PCT/HPCT) and his view on
reality. One as we both agree, relies on the other. The model currently
explains some of this phenomenon, not others, and remains kind of fuzzy on
still others. Emotions being in this last category. It is in this vein that
I attempt to understand PCT/HPCT. For no other reason. Any attempt at this
point to "commercialize" PCT would be a con. Why?, because whatever method
you might be proposing it _mostly_ be something other then PCT/HPCT. The
model is still evolving. Evolving in my mind to account for the 3 basic
kinds of reality Bill describes in that chapter. HPCT is more then simply
how we as humans behave. It is also, I believe, how we think, how we create,
plan, evaluate, etc. We are miles from having an real grasp on some of this
stuff. I believe Bill has made a roadmap. The origin and beginning is HPCT
and an understanding of the control model, PCT, as it's basic element. There
are of course other elements, at this point do we really know what is and
what is not actually connected to the model? Bill in his post the other day
doesn't seem to think so. he seems less certain then you that the model is
an accomplished deal. It is with this view I respond to the rest of your
posts. I am looking forward to an interesting trip
2) what kind of data do you have to support your argument about he one you
do talk about.
Basically the same data Bill had when he invented the system: my own
experience of how I bring something into memory. I want to remember a face
or a passage in a poem and, often, after some time of mentally "searching"
I am able to produce the perception for myself in imagination.
Bill had no data. he used inference. In my mind a huge difference and I
think an important one. If reflection were the only requirement for data
gathering we would not be worried about getting as you call it, "empirical"
data. What is the point?, you have already settled matters in your own mind.
But what any good theoretician does is infer and experiment, seeing if the
data remains consistent with the inference. You do a splendid job of this as
well. Why stop the experiment at one? Not that it is a bad start. PCT says
it is an excellent start. I agree. But Bill pointed out in his last post
about the trap of being "right" and not being open to revision. Which often
happens when the experiment begins and ends at one.
Is there some alternative model of memory you wish to propose?
Maybe, maybe not. I am not clear on this. I believe I will try to expand on
what Bill has done. Bill describes several different kinds of effects with
the "switches" in different positions. Do we need switches?, Some think not.
Is the memory model Bill used current?, By this I mean, is human memory
still thought of like computer memory? From my current reading, that is not
the case. Does this "change" the memory model? I don't know. I need to
explore this. I fully intend on trying.
[From Rick Marken (2003.05.07.1515)]
Yes, the question becomes "according to whom"?
According to the people who know it best.
And who decides this? Is there some formal or informal committee? I also
always wondered if you got an 80% on a test. Does it matter which 20% of the
material you did not know or understand?
Memory, emotion and awareness are phenomena.
So is control. If not, please name the "comparator" for all control actions
in the brain, and please describe to me the physical parts of the brain with
the entities and processes in the control model. Not your personal
inferences on the subject. Knowledge that is held by others,
Their "role in the model" is that the mechanisms of the model (such as
reorganization) purport to explain these
phenomena. How well the model explains these phenomena is a matter for
empirical test, including observation of one's own subjective experience.
Seems like we have something like the problem with have with words.
Ultimately, everything comes down to perceptions. I agree with this. But
there is as you agree a matter of empirical tests that would help explain
certain phenomena about certain other phenomenon's, ad nauseum. As Bruce
Gregory has pointed out to me and others on this net, that before you test,
you need to know what you are testing for and what you might see in your
tests. To this end we need to "know" what is and is not defined in the
model. We have no clear concise view of this presently. Not as the ultimate
arbiter on what a particular word means, but what it means or just as
importantly what it doesn't mean to the model.
>`this with the idea that we don't yet have enough info to say whether we
> be "right" or "wrong" about certain processes that include entities and
> processes that are not included or described by the current model.
I don't understand this.
Have I clarified myself?
I would say that we don't include entities and processes
in the model unless we need them to explain phenomena.
Exactly. Thank you. Do you believe you can "explain" Bill's notions of
reality with the current model? You believe the essential points have been
covered with the control model. I believe that has yet to be empirically
The PCT model currently
contains entities and processes that explain phenomena like emotion and
We disagree here. I don't believe these entities and processes have been
fully developed and certainly not enough to "explain" anything.
The rightness or wrongness of the model as an explanation of these
now only be determined by empirical tests, including observation of one's
No. There may be model revisions as well. Again, Bill is fully aware of this
possibility, why not you?
My observations of my subjective experience suggest that
the model is right on about memory and awareness. But objective tests would
Yes, I know this. But it is more then simply being "nice". I am glad you are
convinced. I'm not.
Rick On memory:
No. It's a _description_ of how the model works. Unfortunately, it's a
of only part of the model of memory, the imagination part. I hope I
in my post to Bruce G.
Yes, you were clear as to which mode you were speaking of.
>So I think it's best to think of the hierarchical concept of perception
> PCT in terms of higher level perceptions being built from (or function
>lower level perceptions.
Where do you see me saying something different then this. Please clarify.
When you say that higher level perception is partially made up of memory I
it somewhat misrepresents the model. It makes it sound like higher level
perceptions are derived from lower level perceptions and something else
"memory". I think it's clearer to say that higher level perceptions are
function of lower level perceptions, some of the latter possibly being
I will adapt this. It certainly is much clearer and crisper an explanation
then mine. Thank you.
Rick stated this:
> How much of our perception is built from
> memory-produced perceptions is an empirical question. My guess is
> relatively little for normal people, quite a bit more for so-called
Lets stick to the model.
Rick came back with;
No your not. You are stating a belief about an inference. That 2 levels
above the data. Not the data.
It is more then an empirical question.
What more could it be. The question is the extent to which perceptions
component derived from memory/imagination. That's an empirical question
the PCT model.
The question of what memory is has not been settled. Bill has proposed how
memory might be utilized in the model. I think that the proposal is
fascinating. I also believe it may not be accurate. A different inference
might be required. I am not settled on this yet. Does this disturb you? I am
not suggesting Bill is wrong. I am suggesting i don't have enough
information to make that choice. I need to see how the other memory modes do
or don't account for Bill's notions of reality. Either one of those inferred
theories could be revised.
> Your "guess" is meaningless to me.
That's unfortunate. I think it's an interesting guess with potentially
implications for psychiatry.
I did not say either uninteresting or invalid as my statement which followed
>Not that it may not be valid. It certainly could be.
>But I thought you were interested in shedding light on the model. As far
>know "mental illness" is not part of the current model.
Mental illness is a _phenomenon_. You don't put phenomena into models;
basic no-no of modeling. What I did was observe how the model could be used
explain one aspect of the phenomenon of mental illness, hallucinations.
How do you determine what is a phenomenon and what is a model entity or
process before you experiment. How do you know what defines what?
>We established during our last conversation that we need to stick to
Actually, I though we established that you were talking about a phenomenon -
experience of loss of control that one gets when in conflict -- when you
talking about error correcting and reaching goals.
Yes, and while I was talking about that. You were talking about the model.
I always stick to the model.
You think you do. Sometimes it is a belief of an inference of the model.
Take a second look at your post to Bruce Gregory on memory. How much is your
inference about an inference?
Maybe what needs clarification is the difference between a model and the
the model is designed to explain. This really should be step one in the
I like this. Maybe side by side with a lexicon? Great suggestion.
PCT is a set of mathematical equations that purport to explain phenomena
like feelings of emotion, remembrances of things past, reactions to e-mail,
communicating, controlling (and failing to control), etc.
Yes, we agree. But _much_ needs to be described in order for it to be useful
and more important meaningful to others. I know as a theoretician that means
little to you. You feel you got it nailed. Most of us are not theoreticians.
We need better working descriptions. Physics is a great analogy for this. So
is math. Most theoreticians have very little to do with the "applied side"
folks. Applied does not necessarily mean "commercial use of..." You would
hope that one would help inform the other. This is true in the study of
math. Not in Psychology
[From Rick Marken (2003.05.07.1600)]
In [Rick Marken (2003.05.07.1515)]I said:
> > >What is far from complete are the empirical tests of these aspects of
> > model.
> On predictions of the model.
My last remark was actually a reply to Marc's question: "Yes, we need
tests, But on what?"
My answer: "On predictions of the model."
Sorry for any confusion.
Thanks for clearing that up. I believe we need more not necessarily better
descriptions of model processes. Lets try your model phenomena idea. I think
it's a good one.