This past July I tried establishing a Yahoo group for the purposes of discussing Cognition through the eyes of control theory. It seems that although many were interested, most had very little to contribute to any discussion, most I think, were looking for information rather than looking to share it. So I have decided to take a different approach. I am going to embark on a very ambitious project, one that has a beginning and NO ending. It will be my life’s work and my greatest pleasure (outside of my family :-)). I am going to attempt to model Qualia at the neuronal level on up, using SD (specifically, Vensim). Yes, I know, it’s a fantasy, a pipe dream. But it IS a possibility. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The knowledge and insights I will gain from this attempt will be far greater than any I might be able to get at any university. To help me with this attempt I have put a group of people together who know and understand control theory. Some to a greater or lesser degree than others. Most in this group are, or have been members of CSGnet. I am NOT attempting to expand or change PCT. I have a different model in mind. It will adhere to two main principles of PCT (at least according to what I consider the 2 most important concepts), internal reference conditions and the regulation of input or perceptions. Perceptions being of both the cognitive , seeing a bird, and the non-cognitive, controlling your blood pressure kind.
This is the last reference you will hear from me on PCT. I am not interested in discussing PCT here. I am interested in any data PCT might produce that might be relevant to the project, but I’m not interested in talking about the PCT or HPCT model. Much research has been done on the molecular and cellular level. This data needs to be synthesized and brought to a higher level. Modeling will help direct future research and future research will help direct the modeling effort. Modeling will help people from different disciplines understand the work being done in other fields as it relates to their own work. The dispersion of information will be fast. This list is a prime example of the power of the internet. A very real problem though is information overload. Sometimes there is just not enough hours in the day. Fortunately (at least as far as my research is concerned) I have full-time to devote to this project, minus my time needed for school.
What has made this project even possible is high speed internet access. I can sit at my desk and in the comfort of my home have access to one of the worlds greatest research libraries, the internet. My status as a student gives me access to thousands of sources, and I currently personally subscribe to Nature, Science, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Neuron, Hormones and Behavior, Proceedings of NAS, System Dynamics and PLoS Biology. I have full text access to and read the following journals; Current Opinion in Neurobiology & Cell biology, Biosystems, Neuroscience, Journal of Physiology, Progress in Neurobiology, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Biochemical Science, & Neuroscience, Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy, Advances in Biophysics, Progress in Biophysics & molecular biology, Journal of neuroendocrinology. I am also a member of the Biophysics Society and the System Dynamics Society.
So what’s the big deal? Most of you are PhD’s in your fields. I made this list to show that much research is being done on the same things from different angles. The left hand literally does not know what the right hand is doing. It is amazing.
Why are you on my list? Well, the first and most important reason is that I value your input, when and where you might want to give it. Nothing is required here. I am going into uncharted waters. I am going to try and synthesize mounds of current data in physiology, endocrinology, neuroscience, psychology, biology, and physics. All with a pair of control glasses on. Critical examination of data and my speculations are wanted and needed. Second, I think you all might have an interest in this project and subject. If not, please let me know and I will remove you from this list.
As some of you already know I am currently enrolled at Empire State College (part of the SUNY system) and hope to go on to graduate school in biophysics someday. My main interest is in all aspects of biological/physiological control systems. I believe control underlies self-regulation and is an intrinsic property of living things
I will be contacting Ralph Levine shortly and we will begin to put an outline together. We have discussed and would like to present a paper or two at the next SD conference. Time is running short.
I have attached Chap 10 from Dr. Rodolfo Llinas book i of the vortex. If you have any interest in this project I suggest you read this chapter. If the chapter strikes your fancy, I would strongly suggest you buy the book. I will give you guys a week to read the chapter. The focus of the research is to build a model based on the views expressed in part in Chapter 10 from a control standpoint using SD.
Any questions? I hope you all sign on, I really need your comments and criticism’s.
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Chap 10 Qualia.pdf (100 Bytes)