[Martin Taylor 920304 17:00]
(Rick Marken 920304b + Mark Olson)
I forgot to thank Mark Olson for calling attention to the Psych Review
article by Vallacher and Wegner and for his comments on it (it's nice to
have you back Mark). I havn't gotten a hold of it yet but I plan to get it
this weekend and look forward to some good laughs (er -- interesting
They suggest that
somehow their model is better[than PCT], but I don't see how or why.
Well, maybe they are right. Boy, would THAT be a surprise.
I see no such claim in their paper. The only mention of Powers is in a list
of people who have proposed hierarchic theories, unless I missed something.
What they do claim is moderately interesting and in no way incompatible with
PCT, though not supportive either. It may bear on the old discussion of the
function and place of consciousness.
A gross simplification of their claim is that if the actions that allow high-
level control are easy, then what subjects see themselves as doing is what
we would call satisfying the high-level reference. But if the lower level
control structure is disturbed or not well structured (the actions are more
difficult), then people see themselves as "doing" the low-level things. It's
the difference between "visiting Aunt Dorothy" and "trying to find the doorbell
(for Aunt Dorothy's door)" (Not their example). Their claim also is that
the behaviours that the subjects identify themselves as doing are less
susceptible to disturbance than are the other levels. If someone is "keeping
fit" then rain may cause them to switch from jogging to indoor exercise,
whereas if they are "jogging" then rain is less likely to stop them. (Like,
but not the same as, one of their examples).
In PCT terms, the idea seems to translate as:
(1) If an ECS is maintaining good control, then it is not high in conscious
awareness, and (2) the conscious identification of a reference signal serves
to stabilize that reference signal. The reference signal itself seems to
become a percept for another "conscious" control system.
In a sense, the reference must be a percept, because the person holding it
describes themself as perceiving it to be one. But it is also functioning
as a reference signal at the same time, in the normal way. It seems to me
that this idea alters the standard wiring diagram in an interesting way
that might relate to the issue of conflict and reorganization.
Thanks for pointing out the reference, Mark.