[From Rick Marken (2005.09.07.0830)]
Bill Powers (2005.09.07.0622 MDT)
Rick Marken (2005.09.06.2100) --
I'm sorry to disagree with you so strongly about this memory in perceptual
input thing but, for the first time, I think you are really off the mark.
Seems to me you're disagreeing more with yourself than with me. Is thinking
imagination? Or is thinking not imagination because it influences your
perceptions? Or does thinking not influence your perceptions? You seem to be
picking whichever one suits the argument of the moment.
I'm probably being unclear. Yes, I think thinking is imagination. Yes, I
think thinking (imagination) influences your perception, in the sense that
it can lead you to want certain perceptions rather than others. If I
imagined a direct causal path from stimulus to response I will want to see
such a causal relationship. I don't believe thinking influences perceptions
on the input side, in the way you described the wife's perception of the
nagging husband. It seems to me that your description of the "nagging
husband" scenario if pure S-R. Here's what it looks like to me:
What husband said---------------->| Perceptual| Perceived
> >--> Nagging --> Reaction
What wife imagines is going on--->| Function |
I prefer to explain the situation as follows:
What wife imagines is going on
leads her to control for
no comments from husband
what husband says (d) ---> q<---------o
Does this mean your perception of OJ as guilty is imaginary or deluded?
My perception of OJ as guilty is imagined. We'll never know if it's deluded.
You can't tell whether a given perception is based on some
or many or no imagined inputs just by looking at the perception. It's just an
ordinary perception. You'd have to test each input to the PIF to see if a
disturbance in the environment affected it. At the lower level, the imagined
input would not pass the test for the controlled variable.
I completely agree. I think we should do these tests before we continue
carrying on about how imagination is a component of controlled perceptions.
You are imagining whatever you need to imagine to support your
You betcha. That's how thinking (controlling imagination) works, I
I didn't think that -- in fact I was a big OJ fan before the facts made it
obvious that he was a murderer -- but if I had it would have certainly
influenced by thinking; it might have even influenced my perceiving -- I
think imagination can lead you to set references for the kinds of perceptions
you want to have. Control of perception, remember.
Yes, my point exactly. But you want to exclude such perceptions from the world
of ordinary perceptions, as if something marked them as being tainted by
imagination. I say you can't tell the difference between "pure" perceptions
and perceptions based in part or wholly on imagination -- not just by
experiencing the perception. You'd have to look elsewhere to find evidence
that all is not as it seems.
I agree with this, too. So far you have presented no evidence that
perceptions -- the perceptions we demonstrated that people control, like the
perception of cursor-target distance, configuration, motion and sequence --
are based in part or _at all_ on imagination.
When a toy train disappears behind a screen, children of some age will track
the invisible train until it reappears, or switch their focus to the place
where they expect it to reappear. Do they not still perceive that there is a
train behind the screen, even though the visual evidence for it has
Grown ups can do this too. I have a demo on the net -- called "open loop
control" where the cursor disappears at one point in the experiment. If the
subject keeps up the "tracking" , he is "controlling" an imagined perception
of the target-cursor relationship. But you're right, at this point the
person is "controlling" a perception that is part sensory (the visible
target) and part imagined (the imagined position of the target). I put
"controlling" in scare quotes because the control, especially in the
situation where there is an integral feedback connection between mouse and
cursor, can be pretty poor.
But this demo helps me see your point. People can control (or try to
control) perceptions that have an imaginary component. I think this "open
loop" demo provides a way to find out what they are imagining as they do the
But I forget, you have a new way out of this. The train they perceive behind
the screen is now an imagined train, so it's not a perception, even though
they can still hear its motor and wheels. My point is simply that they behave
as if they know it's a real train, just as you behave as if you know OJ was
OK. I finally agree. You are right!! And Dag's description of the input
function is fine. Sorry I was so stubborn. But my own "open loop" demo
finally convinced me, not only because it clearly involves control of a
partially imagined perception but also because I can see it as a way to
objectively measure _what_ is being imagined when a person controls a
partially (or completely, for that matter) imagined perception.
I'll leave what I wrote above because it took me so long to type in the damn
figures. But I'll note in the heading that you have finally managed to
convince me or, better, to help me convince myself that people can control
perceptions that have a significant imaginary component.
Richard S. Marken
Home: 310 474 0313
Cell: 310 729 1400
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