[from Mary Powers]
Gary: re Closed Loop as a journal, and the idea that progress
reports, etc. can be read on the net - you may not realize that
HALF of our paid-up membership is NOT on the net - CL is their
only way of knowing what's going on.
Lars: I sent you the PCT bibliography. Didn't you get it?
Dick R.: You can get lodging info and tourist brochures from
Durango by calling 1-800-525-8855.
Dag: Can you send me Toto's current address?
Ken Hacker: I think you've expressed the
Carver/Scheier/Karoly/etc/etc version of control theory pretty
clearly. This is how to talk about control theory without having
to change your mind about traditional psychology.
any signal, sign, symbol or message varies in its ability to
there is no good reason to think that any human cannot stimulate
Ascribing "ability" to a message and "stimulating" feedback are
precisely the brick walls PCT is up against. All the evoking is
in the control system, not the message, which is why the
message's ability seems to vary. Feedback is a property of the
system, it does not get stimulated or turned on (or off) by an
However, I agree that feedback is the result of a feedforward
process initiated by the receiver signals from others.
Agree with who? Feedforward, as far as I can tell, is a buzzword
that vaguely resembles the reference signal. It is by comparing
received signals to the reference signal that action is
initiated. This gives the appearance that the action is a
response to the "initiating" signals. The reason the input
signals seem to vary in their ability to evoke a response is
because they may or may not produce a perceptual signal that
matters (differs from the reference signal).
It is not splitting hairs to define feedback as Bill Powers does.
It is fundamental to PCT. The difference between feedback and
input is fudged over in the self-regulation literature. It is a
consequence of using control theory metaphorically rather than
rigorously. I'm afraid most psychologists do not know the
difference, having never before encountered a real model.