isaac kurtzer (980205)
[From Dan Miller (980204.1645)]
I think that there is some benefit to non-PCT research (as in IV-DV
research). Such research can tell us something about the world,
though certainly nothing immaculate. One could think of such
research as sensitizing devices (to stretch an idea of Herbert
I think that the �sensitizing device� use of IV-DV research is not off the
mark. That is, if you consider it preliminary and non-explanatory. That is
the position I take Runkel to be arguing in his Casting Nets. If one were say
interested in the migratory patterns of say some fish we might cast our net
and find the bulk of the sampled fish to be in the north east corner of some
pond during Spring, In Fall our nets turn up a like bulk but in the
If we find another--say tempetraure, or chemical concentration, food source,
fisherman, water turbulance, etc--that is correlated to this shifting than we
have not hurt ourselves one jot. We are now in a position to consider any of
these as the relate to either known controlled variables or posit new unknown
controlled variables---AND LOOK AT ANY FISH AND PROCEED WITH THE TEST. As
long as we do not continue to merely catalogue different relations as if they
were explanatory , and instead proceed to idiographic testing we are doing
fine. However, this is not the way most research is conducted.
For example, there exists a statistical relationship
between amount of reading (IV) and political progressivism (DV)
(r = 0.62 and it has been replicated). To me, this is very
interesting. I wouldn't want to argue from this statistical
relationship to a full-fledged theory, but how do we explain it.
By then considering this nomothetic finding in a context of an extemely
predictive idiographic theory (PCT) and start testing hypothetical controlled
Maybe it is a heightened awareness of, say, reference signals which when
operative we find a large error between what we would like to
perceive and what, in fact, we are perceiving (whether or not it is
real or imagined). This must be frustrating. Thus, the desire to
change the world (Pol. Prog.).
This is one hypothesis which might be put to a test. How to do that is on
your shoulders. It is by no way an easy thing. It will most likely be a long
and laborious thing to merely fully �apply� the created disturbances and
determine ways of checking the status of the other canonic variables.
But the product will not be discussion, the answer was found and we can then
This may be a plausible
argument - a nice discussion section in our research.
See you�ve already relegated it to discussion rather than first testing it
with procedures appropriate to purposeful behavior. What up?
I would argue
that this nice discussion section could advance PCT (or at least
Perceptual Control Perspective - which I think is all that exists).
I like the expansion of PCP, hoevever, your absolutely wrong about the latter.
PCT does exist as much as any other scientific theory has existed. It can be
given clear explication and can give undeniably clear and accurate
predictions, such as Tom Bourbon�s longitudial study that produced predictions
over a 5-year period from a determined control paramter with an accuracy of
.98; or W.T. Power�s much neglected pilot study that determined a varying
refernce level; or Marken�s �size experiment� .; or a very important Marken
and Powers �Level of Intention� paper; or any of the replicable canonical
social interactions as done in the Matser�s theses by Lazare, Duggins, and
Gann; or suggestions of measurable criteria for reorganization by Pavlovski.
PCT exists and its damn fruitful.
Now whether your hypothesis and its discussion could advance PCT, what is
needed is for you to articulate your idea into one that can be tested
idiographically. That requires a more full fleshing out of subordinates that
are as emperically (at the moment) wispy as the hypothesis yourself--such as
�attention� . Well, what then. Its on your shoulders.
My question is, why do we tend to deflate people who may be
interested in doing this?
I won�t speak for anyone except myself. I have had to put up with so much
crap to try to find a grad school where I can do PCT research. I am currently
four years off schedule. This has not been easy, and it (PCT) is different
and does kick butt in a way that no other behavioral theory ever has. When I
hear some shmedrick whose own theories are so loosy-goosy, and whose
doublethink on null-point hypothesis, and ducktalk on--of course, noone really
believes in that that windmill of your�s, its merely a.....quack, quack,
quack---i honestly want to kick their teeth in. For me this has sucked so
much its ridiculous. Unless we do something about this situation..That is,
you professors out there start teaching more PCT and directing your research
projects accordingly.. the growth will take even longer. Its just that there
are not that many kids that are as lunkheaded as I am, and they will say quite
reasonably �why in the world would I want to put up with that crap, no� .
I understand the frustration, but I get tired of the cant.
You want to see cant. Go to next year�s Neuoscience meeting in L.A. The last
one in New Orleans (attendance 25,000) including symposia by The luminaries
such as Goldman-Rakic and Kandel was so stuffed with yuck..even putting up a
display that said STIMULUS and RESPONSE as for the mapping between perceptual
and motor population vectors in the invertebrate motor control symposia; or
procedures that give the impression of being idiographic when they are in fact
nomothetic--a fact privy to only a small fraction; or accept null-point
difference for theory testing---25,000 of the brightest and most powerful
members in Neuroscience doing a gigantic circle jerk. That laid me low for
nearly a week. How many students do you think will put up with that crap? Or
do you--this is to everyone--think that you�ll just live forever?
Some of the discussion on this list is about control systems and not
living control systems.
A little engineering can go a long way, but
it is ONLY a metaphor, right?
>I would think some disturbances from
contemporary biology, social psychology, and, perhaps, ethology might
be welcomed - in order to advance PCT.
yes, given the above caveats
Many who are drawn to this
list are interested in understanding human behavior. A few of us are
interested in social interaction.
yes and yes...Tom Bourbon one of the most prolific researcher in PCT and
without a doubt in the know made this his focus.
It's not always easy to do the
test in such circumstances.
yes and its on your shoulders.
It's not always clear how it is done in
your controlled situations. For example, can your experiments and
demonstrations be done without prior instruction (that damned social
stuff, again)? Is there a need to inform people what they are going
to be perceiving, and what they want to perceive?
Get a copy of the PCT bibliography from Greg Williams :
snail mail 460 Black Lick Road, Gravel Switch, KY 40328
it includes most material, but includes some I find questionable, and
discludes a few gems.
In there you will find reference to Trey Gann III and his 1992 Master�s thesis
and non-verbal communiaction strategies to teach a control task. Very good.
Are there areas that need work? Are there gaping holes?
learning and hierarchical control..two of the most talked about
subjects..there is nearly zero out there. Very bad talk to data ratio. Feel
free to offer it as an honors independent study to some student.
I'm not convinced.
if Marken�s �Intentional and Accidental Behavior� (predictive discrimination
at 100% for two persons, tens trials each), or �The Cause of Control in a
Tracking Task� ( input correlations--an alleged _cause_ of tracking at .0032
given response homogenity of .997 ) or Bourbon�s 5-year predictions at .998
don�t convince you while you are excited by a nomological study that shows a
.62 between reading (?) and progressiveness (?) then you tell me,