Impressive Behavior, Rick the Tank

[From Rick Marken (930507.1400)]

Greg Williams (930507) said:

Alternatives to
HPCT (some perhaps hierarchical themselves, but not structured exactly
as Bill Powers postulates) exist which DO behave to various extents
(the Beer bug behaviors appear a lot closer to reality than do the
Rick spreadsheet behaviors, in my opinion, ...

Tom Bourbon (930507.0940) replies:

The focus of our training was usually on outward
appearances and the focus of modeling was on making the outward appearances
"right," no matter the internal organization that was required. PCT
modelers are trying to work from the inside, to test a model of organization
that behaves.

And, in response to the same comment, Bill Powers (930507.0800 MDT)

I suppose that what most people mean by a model's "behaving" is
showing graphics moving around on a screen, or some kind of
mechanical model moving around in a room.

If you just want behaving bugs, like Beer's, you can sit down and
design one that will do what you want.

Unfortunately, approaching such problems the way I do doesn't
much impress people who are only interested in the outside view
of behavior.

I just want to add my voice to this choir. It's basically easy to
build automata that produce fancy behavior in a carefully controlled
or contrived environment (like the world of the computer screen).
PCT models can be built that put on a great show, too, but what is
most extraordinary about PCT models is what you don't see: disturbance
resistance and controlled perceptual input -- all taking place in an
environment filled with invisible and randomly changing properties and
disturbances. If all you want is cute behavior, forgert MIT; check out
Disney studios. If you want to understand the nature of purposeful
autonomous (ie. living) systems, try the invisible (but palpable)
delights of PCT.

CHUCK TUCKER (930507A) --

  RM (930506.0900) I may be mistaken but I thought I read that
one of the reviewers of your most recently rejected papers on
the "H" in HPCT cited Gary's paper which lead to you challenging
Gary to a contest in Durango this Summer. Did I dream this or

Oh, that. No, that was no dream, that was a boss-reality based

If you try to use a
Marken tank the other will just burn the house down (note this
sentence is an illustration of using a Tucker tank). I think
you have to cast the data in PCT terms and then convince the
researcher that your interpretation is relevant to their "theory".

If the person's data cannot be coherently cast in PCT terms then it
would be lying to cast them as such, would it not? Do you advocate
lying as an approach to converting people to PCT? I would characterize
my approach to presenting PCT as being faithful to the model. I don't
like your approach to "convincing" people because, if it works, you end
up with Karolyan PCTers -- people who love PCT but not the model of
organisms that those letters represent. I find the Karolyans even more
annoying than those who are honestly opposed to PCT (for whatever reason).

Persuade gently don't beat into submission!

I'm not trying to beat anyone into submission -- I'm arguing about
what I think of as facts. If someone says, for example, that the disturb-
ance resistent outputs of a control system are based on information in
perception about those disturbances then I argue against that; I hope
people might understand why when they see the data and models but, if
they don't, they don't (and, apparently, they don't).

Gentle persuasion can be just as insidious and cruel as beatings -- if
the goal is control (ie. getting a person to say something like "I
like the PCT model"). My goal is not to control people -- gently or
roughly. What I want is something that people can only give to
themselves -- understanding. I would much rather have a person
understand PCT and say "PCT is a crock" than have a person not
understand PCT and say "PCT is the greatest thing since sliced
bread". My goal for people is that they produce understanding for
themselves -- not behaviors for me.

Let's just look at
the "bystander" research for a moment.
I can not give you all the data from the studies but I would if
I were trying to convince others that a PCT view "accounts for a
greated ammount of variance" (like 100%) than the current studies

But PCT can't show that; that would be a lie. To do that, PCT would
have to be able to predict exactly who would help and who would not
on every trial. That may be conceptually possible, but there is no
way to crank the results that match the literature data out of the
PCT model -- not without a LOT more information. In order to account
for 100% of the variance you would have to do The Test on each person,
determine what they are controlling for, how they are doing it,
and whether someone's cries for help would be a disturbance in
that situation at that time (with all other disturbances present),etc.
Are you planning to do this kind of replication and analysis for ALL
the research that you find interesting?

I think there is
some evidence from other work that people who don't help another
are either "controlling for" (1) someone else will do it or (2) I
am afraid that that person will get me if I do call for help.

This is beginning to look to me
like a PCT interpretation of the data. I think that it would be
convincing to those who have done this research (obviously much
more detail has to be offered).

Maybe it would. Apparently these people are looking for "just so"
stories, not models. When you suggested showing how PCT can account for
"non-PCT" data I thought you meant showing how the PCT model can
precisely and quantitately produce the behavior reported in the
journal. This is what Bill P. did in his PCT analysis of the shock
avoidance experiment. If all you want to do is tell a good story, then,
sure, its no problem; we can invent (as you did in the bystander inter-
vention example above) PCT stories about any ol' behavioral science data;
if a good story is all a researcher needs to explain his or her data
then maybe the researcher will be happy with the PCT story, maybe not.
Carver and Scheier are happy with PCT stories; unfortunately, these
stories sound wrong to the ears of PCT modellers. But since stories are
more interesting to these folks than models, there's no way to convince
them that their story might be wrong (actually, without a model it's
impossible to tell what their story actually IS!).

I think to convince another you have to "get inside" her interpre-
tative scheme and try to show how yours makes sense. I will not
claim that I have been very successful with very many people over
the years of trying to do this but I believe it will work better
than just saying "you're wrong, stupid".

I feel free to say that a person is wrong when I think that they
are wrong. I have never called anyone stupid -- nor do I think
that anyone is necessarily stupid simply because, from my perspective,
they seem to be wrong. Actually, I really resent the implication that
I have ever said anything like "you're wrong, stupid" to anyone on
this net (even in jest -- it seems like a pretty bad joke to me).
Maybe you should try to be more careful about distinguishing what
I'm saying from what you imagine that I am saying.

If I actually did say something like "you're wrong, stupid" then I
heartily apologize to whomever it was that I said it to: you may be
wrong, but you're not (necessarily) stupid.



******** FROM CHUCK "THE TANK" TUCKER 930511 ********

    Again, I should not be writing this just after reading the screen
    but I just wanted to note that my post was a suggestion as to how
    it might be possible for a person to convince another that PCT
    might be a more useful model to "explain" the individual and social
    behaviors that is of concern to them. If that is not your purpose OR
    you have another way to do this then I would like to hear it. But I
    do believe that what I have suggested will work because it has
    already worked with all of the currently accepted "theories" in the
    social and behavioral sciences. I do not consider it a LIE to take
    interpreted experiences which a person calls "data" or "facts" and
    reinterpreted them. There is NO BOSS REALITY and that is a fact!
    Facts do not speak for themselves; we construct our own world. Models
    are made up as part of our world; some work better that others to
    accomplish our purposes. So ONE way to convince another (who was not
    genetically hardwired with PCT in their body) is to show them how PCT
    can assisted her in reaching her goals better (how every she defines
    this) than other models. I must note that one of my cherished
    colleagues, Morse Peckham, would disagree with my statement that
    new theories are accepted as I noted above - he believes that it
    has very little to do with showing your model to be better - his view
    is that people just get tired or bored with a model and try out a
    different one like they get tired of a tie and quite wearing it. If
    he is correct then those who would like to have others use PCT just
    have to make certain it is available and packaged in a pleasing form
    so that someone will come along a pick it off the rack. Of course if
    you have very little concern whether anyone uses PCT or not then I
    would guess (just a guess) the most efficient act to perform is