Sequence control, info demo

[From Rick Marken (930321.1700)]

At long last, here are some brief responses to the comments on
my reserach proposal on the control of sequences.

Gary Cziko (930318.1648 GMT) --

So if I understand Rick's thinking, he would predict that the subject could
accurately push a key to restore the correct intensity ("dyamics") at a
quite quick tempo, control timbre ("get that trumpet out of there, it's
supposed to sound like a flute") at a slower tempo, and sequence at a still
slower tempo.

Yes. I also think it's a great idea to do this test in different sensory
"modalities" -- vision, hearing, touch. I presented perceptual evidence
in the "Hierarchical behavior of perception" paper that the "speed limit"
(bandwidth for all you real engineers out there) for sequence perception
was about the same whether it was a visual, auditory or touch sequence.
HPCT (as currently constructed) would predict that a sequence is a
sequence; the types of lower order sensations (modalities) or configurations
that make up the sequence should not matter. So I predict that a sequence
of notes will have the same speed limit for control as a sequence of
letters. The problem with notes (as you mention) is that a fast sequence
of notes can be perceived and controlled as an event. In the perceptual
studies, what was used were different types of sounds in sequence
(buzz, hiss, tone). But there is still the possibility of this sequence
becoming an event; even a sequence of letters could conceivably become
an event; that's why I projected the letters at alternating positions
on the screen.

Experiments is experiments -- even when testing for controlled
variables you must try to eliminate confounding variables; psychological
science will still be a fun game, even when it's done right -- using PCT.

Richard Thurman (930318.1630) --

Rick can probably set up the HyperCard stack so that it will be a simple
adjustment to go from visual to auditory presentation. (I'm assuming
he is going to use HyperCard.)

Actually, I wrote the latest version in QuickBasic. But the whole point
if for you guys to do the work!! I just want to stand on the side and
kibbitz (make irritating suggestions about what to do based on nothing
better than the fact that I'm not actually doing anything).

It would be interesting to see if different
patterns emerge with different perceptual modalities.

Indeed. I'm hoping for similar patterns but I'll take what I get.

Ed Ford (930321:0625) --

Rick, I think I understand what you are saying about the
disutrbance and the input signal. It would be helpful if you
would use some examples, especially using people, to illustrate
your point. Can what you are saying be experienced when doing the
ruuber band demo, especially the one I suggested using the pointed

Yes and no.

Yes, using the rubber bands you can show that the position of the knot
(p(t)) is always a result of what the subject is doing to his or her
end of the rubber (o(t)) and what you are doing to the "distrubing" end
of the rubber band (d(t)). You might be able to show (when you move
the distrubance real slowly) that the position of the knot does not
change as you might expect it to if just the disturbance were acting.
For example, when you pull gently to the left, the knot might be
expected to move correspondingly to the left. But the subject might
be able to notice that sometimes the knot is actually moving to
the right( due to the added effects of their own actions) while you
are pulling to the left. This means that the position of the knot
is not a stimulus that "tells" the subject how to pull on their
rubber band to correct the disturbance. So the stimulus response view
of control cannot be preserved even when the actual variable (the knot)
that the subject is controlling. is discovered.

No, because there is a somewhat deeper point in the "no information
about the disturbance in perception" discussions. One point (made above)
is that the controlled variable [the knot] (or the perception thereof) is
not a stimulus for output. But the deeper point is that perception is
just there -- it is neither right no wrong, good or bad, in error or out of
error -- it is not INFORMATIVE; it just IS. The position of the knot is
just the position of a knot -- BUT once you have a reference regarding
where it should be then it seems like some knot positions are definitely
"wrong" and one particular one is "right". This is a tough point to
demonstrate because people don't care much about the position of knots
and when you tell them this it seems pretty trivial. But try to explain
that this applies to ALL perceptions that are controlled and you will get
some strong reactions. People who are controlling for the neatness of their
house have a difficult time believing that the neatness of the house is
just a perception -- when the house looks "messy", that perception seems
just plain wrong. It is difficult to demonstrate that perceptions are
just perceptions -- and that they only become "good" or "bad" or "right"
or "wrong" (ie. they only become informative) with respect to ones owns
references for them. That fact is easy to demonstrate with "knot"
positions but a hell of a lot more difficult to demonstrate with political,
religious and economic "positions".

Ken Hacker [932103]--

I agree totally (as do most communication theorists). Information is
produced in relation to receivers and what questions and ideas they have.
Still, any signal, sign, symbol, or message varies in its ability to
evoke certain feelings, interpretations, thoughts, etc. All signals are not
created equally!

Yes, but this is because all receivers are not created equally.
The differential ability of any signal, sign, symbol of message to
evoke certain feelings, interpretations,thoughts etc is a result of
differences in the characteristics (perceptual functions, reference
signals) of the receivers -- not of the signals, etc, themselves.
At least, this would be the PCT perspective.