PCT introduction paper for 3rd year psychology students

Dear PCT colleagues,
Once again I ask for your collective wisdom.

I somehow managed to carve a space to explain PCT in a course for our third-years psychology students on ‘Humans & Machines’, in which our students become acquainted with multiple models of how humans function (e.g., Gibson’s ecological psychology, dynamical systems theory, embodied cognition, predictive coding) in the light of human-machine interaction. I get to introduce the students in about 10 hours self-guided study time to perceptual control theory.

I am now looking for 1 or 2 good introductory papers in PCT. I will add my own writing to guide the students, add some practice and a rubber-band demo etc, but I will need scaffolding from a scientific paper. The aim is not to get the students to really grasp PCT (time’s too short for that) but to get them at least understand the phenomenon of control of perception in a psychological context (general, not clinical). The link to how we interact with machines is not necessary - just to have them understand control systems would be a major step.

Which papers or chapters come to mind?

  • very good or quite recent
  • up to 40 pages, less is better
  • academic papers or chapters.


How exciting! How about the paper Rick and I did - The Origins and Future of Control Theory in Psychology?

That’s a perfect paper for the job, thank you Warren!

Excuse me, is that paper available somewhere?

The Origins and Future of Control Theory in Psychology (sagepub.com)

Requires institutional access. JSTOR isn’t recognized.

mansell-marken-2015-the-origins-and-future-of-control-theory-in-psychology.pdf (160.1 KB)

Has that worked?