Mary on B:CP

<[Bill Leach 940717.15:42 EST(EDT)]

from Mary Powers 940717

Arg! I have just installed a new version of my mail handling program and
all is not well!

There really are no baby steps to take between behavior as outcome,
consequence or result, and behavior as the control of perception.

I am beginning to believe the truth of that statement. It seems to me
that most of the differences in opinion between you, Bill, Rick, Tom and
virtually anyone else (where such difference occur of course) rest
squarely upon a dissagreement with the truth of the following:

Behaviour as a function of some environmental condition can not exist at
all unless there is both a perception for that environmental condition
and a reference FOR THAT PERCEPTION. This is likely also true for
"unobservable" behaviour such as thinking.

No change in behaviour can occur unless either the perception changes or
the reference changes.

Now there are other matters such as reorganization are maybe even
physical damage to the control system but such matters are usually
mentioned in any post where applicable.

I admit to being a bit "dense" now and then or should that be... all the
time? :slight_smile:

It seems to me that the differences in the discussions on "Alerting" hing
precisely on these points.

I "hear" Rick say most emphatically and clearly that "if there is no
reference -- there is no behaviour (with respect to the so called
'Alerting' perception).

At first I thought that I was understanding Martin as saying something
that does not agree but now I don't think so.

However, if he does agree with Rick that there must indeed be a control
system already "in place" for the "Alerting" perception then I don't
understand any need for the addition of an "Alerting Function" within the
HPCT model even though it does not bother me to refer to a particular
operation of that control model as "carrying out the 'Alerting
function'." (again as long as it is understood that the function name is
used to relate completely NORMAL control system action to a behaviour
that we readily identify in ourselves and others.

There is however, the legitimate question as to how use of such a term
for a particular normal control system operation affects how people think
concerning what HPCT is trying to describe. That is, does the use of
such terms "muddy" or dilute the understanding of HPCT?

I realize that you did not raise this question but only my assertion that
"behaviour results from the control of perception" and I guess that I am
trying to say that I am beginning to see were such "minor" differences
are not so minor after all... they are rather the root of


from Mary Powers 940717

To Bill Leach:

Despite Tom Bourbon's statement, that behavior is the means by
which perceptions are controlled, you still, 940715, want to
maintain your position that "behavior results from the control of

I hope this is a semantic rather than a conceptual difference.
But from the PCT point of view, once again, behavior is not a
result, it is a means. Behavior results _in_ perceptual control,
and is not a consequence of it.

I can appreciate your desire to take as a starting point
something that is a little easier to understand for those who are
new to PCT. But I believe your formulation is way, way down a
slippery slope. It is the formulation that Carver & Scheier and
other "self-regulation" psychologists are promulgating, and it
misses the point entirely.

If behavior results from anything, it is from the discrepancy
between perceived and desired/intended states. That is the part
of the loop immediately preceding action. However, even this is
probably an excessively lineal and sequential way of looking at a
process which is essentially simultaneous all around the loop.

There really are no baby steps to take between behavior as
outcome, consequence or result, and behavior as the control of
perception. One of the big difficulties PCT has in making its way
in the world is that you can't shape the understanding of it
incrementally. Either you force PCT data to fit your world view,
or you make the jump, and the world never looks quite the same
again. Nothing in between.

Mary P.