Self -Coercion

[From Rick Marken (980524.1120)]

Bill Powers (980523.0323 MDT) --

The mechanism of the "universal error curve"

Why do you call it the "universal error curve"? I like the
name -- very catchy -- but what does it mean? I'm working on
a simple Java demo of this phenomenon, by the way. I should
have it up on the net soon.

could be an actual nonlinearity in a comparator or output
function, or an action of a higher-level system that reduces a
reference signal as a mean of avoiding attempts to produce
amounts of effort that might damage the organism. Or both. It
seems to be a fact that organisms give up when overwhelmed by
disturbances -- at least higher organisms.

It may be worth noting that this seems to apply to self-coercion
as well. Maybe this is why abstinance sometimes helps solve
addictions; you prevent yourself from getting the perception you
want (by keeping yourself away from the Jack Daniels bottle, say);
the error keeps growing until it falls into the regime of the
"universal error curve" -- the increased discrepency between
the desired and actual perception of the amount of Jack Daniels
consumed leads to a _decrease_ rather than a further increase in
the error signal. The system controlling for the amount of Jack
Daniels consumed seems to "give up". Of course, it quickly comes
back into operation if you sudddenly have easy access to a shot
of JD.




Richard S. Marken Phone or Fax: 310 474-0313
Life Learning Associates e-mail: