Skilled PCT (was: Many other things)

[From Rick Marken (2009.05.08.1030)]

Jim Wuwert (2009.05.06.1450) --

So, my question for you scientists, since you have probably spent the most
time studying PCT and MOL--what kind of skills would a student have if
he/she was competent in PCT and doing MOL?

Don't know about MOL but, in my opinion, one of the most important
skills a person competent in PCT should have is the ability to see how
PCT maps to actual behavior. I think this is really the most important
contribution Powers has made to our understanding of living systems.
There were (and still are) many scientists besides Powers who have
used control theory as a model of behavior. What distinguishes Powers'
PCT from all these other uses of control theory is how it maps control
theory to observed behavior.

PCT recognizes (as no other application of control theory that I know
of does) that, in living systems, the closed loop of control is
organized around perceptual input variables, not behavioral output
variables. And PCT recognizes that the specifications ("set points" or
"references") for these controlled variables are in the brain, not in
the environment (as is the case in applications of control theory in
the manual control literature, for example).

An important "skill" of PCT, I think, is the ability to use this
mapping of control theory to behavior to see the behavior of living
systems in an entirely new way (to "look at behavior through control
theory glasses", as described in my paper of that title: Marken, R. S.
(2002) Looking at Behavior through Control Theory Glasses, Review of
General Psychology, 6, 260�270). The skill is seen in the ability to
see any particular behavior as an aspect of the process of controlling
some perceptual input. It's the ability to see, for example, that the
apparent effect of rewards and punishments on behavior is actually the
organism's efforts to control the perceptual consequences (to itself)
of these events; bringing the perceived consequences of reward "up"
and those of punishment "down" to the desired (reference) level. It's
the ability to see autonomous doings, such as painting a picture or
singing a song, as, again, the organism's efforts to control the
perceptual consequences its actions; bringing the perceptual
consequences of the painting or singing actions to the desired level.
It's the ability to see apparent reactions to stimulation, such as
ducking when a ball is heading toward your head or pressing a button
when a light flashes in a psychological experiment, as actions aimed
at protecting a controlled variable from disturbance.

I think that once one has developed the ability to see behavior
through control theory glasses -- has developed the skill required to
readily map the model to the behavior that is happening before one's
eyes -- one can do a better job of whatever it is one does with PCT
--whether it's helping people using MOL or trying to do research aimed
at developing a deeper understanding of the fact of control in living
systems (as in Powers' latest book on the subject: LIVING CONTROL
SYSTEMS III: the fact of control).

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken PhD
rsmarken@gmail.com

From Jim Wuwert 2009.05.09.1847EST

[From Rick Marken (2009.05.08.1030)]

Jim Wuwert (2009.05.06.1450) –

So, my question for you scientists, since you have probably spent the most
time studying PCT and MOL–what kind of skills would a student have if
he/she was competent in PCT and doing MOL?

Don’t know about MOL but, in my opinion, one of the most important
skills a person competent in PCT should have is the ability to see how
PCT maps to actual behavior. I think this is really the most important
contribution Powers has made to our understanding of living systems.
There were (and still are) many scientists besides Powers who have
used control theory as a model of behavior. What distinguishes Powers’
PCT from all these other uses of control theory is how it maps control
theory to observed behavior.

PCT recognizes (as no other application of control theory that I know
of does) that, in living systems, the closed loop of control is
organized around perceptual input variables, not behavioral output
variables. And PCT recognizes that the specifications (“set points” or
“references”) for these controlled variables are in the brain, not in
the environment (as is the case in applications of control theory in
the manual control literature, for example).

An important “skill” of PCT, I think, is the ability to use this
mapping of control theory to behavior to see the behavior of living
systems in an entirely new way (to “look at behavior through control
theory glasses”, as described in my paper of that title: Marken, R. S.
(2002) Looking at Behavior through Control Theory Glasses, Review of
General Psychology, 6, 260–270). The skill is seen in the ability to
see any particular behavior as an aspect of the process of controlling
some perceptual input. It’s the ability to see, for example, that the
apparent effect of rewards and punishments on behavior is actually the
organism’s efforts to control the perceptual consequences (to itself)
of these events; bringing the perceived consequences of reward “up”
and those of punishment “down” to the desired (reference) level. It’s
the ability to see autonomous doings, such as painting a picture or
singing a song, as, again, the organism’s efforts to control the
perceptual consequences its actions; bringing the perceptual
consequences of the painting or singing actions to the desired level.
It’s the ability to see apparent reactions to stimulation, such as
ducking when a ball is heading toward your head or pressing a button
when a light flashes in a psychological experiment, as actions aimed
at protecting a controlled variable from disturbance.

That is a good paragraph in taking the Skinner model and putting it in terms of PCT. It is still highly scientific for the newcomer to PCT, but it is a good start. I agree that it would be good to look at this in terms of what does a person who is skilled in PCT look like? Since PCT can be applied to just about anything. You could have PCT for CEO’s, PCT for government officials, PCT for educators, PCT for managers, PCT for therapists (MOL), PCT for medical doctors etc. What would it look like to take a newcomer all the way to the advanced stage? What would the 1st step, 2nd step, 3rd step, etc. be? How would one develop the PCT skill? Would it be classwork, then experential work, then a research project, then fully board certified as a skilled clinician of PCT?

I would assume that if one was skilled in PCT that it would improve some bottom line somewhere (i.e. reduce absenteeism in the workplace, improve test scores in a school, increase job satisfaction, increase profit margins, healthier relationships, lower cholesterol).

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[From Rick Marken (2009.05.10.0935)]

Happy Mother's Day to all you Mothers;-)

Jim Wuwert (2009.05.09.1847EST)

Rick Marken (2009.05.08.1030)--

Don't know about MOL but, in my opinion, one of the most important
skills a person competent in PCT should have is the ability to see how
PCT maps to actual behavior...

Since PCT can be applied to
just about anything. You could have PCT for CEO's, PCT for government
officials, PCT for educators, PCT for managers, PCT for therapists (MOL),
PCT for medical doctors�etc.

Yes, this is the way it seems to be going.

What would it look like to take a newcomer all
the way to the advanced stage? What would the 1st step, 2nd step, 3rd step,
etc. be? How would one develop the PCT skill? Would it be classwork, then
experential work, then a research project, then fully board certified as a
skilled clinician of PCT?

Just the way you say it sounds right: it sounds like a good program in
PCT. Learning PCT is a discipline, just like learning accounting or
mathematics.So a good way to train people in it is probably the way
people are now successfully trained to be accountants or
mathematicians.

I would assume that if one was skilled in PCT that it would improve some
bottom line somewhere (i.e. reduce absenteeism in the workplace, improve
test scores in a school, increase job satisfaction, increase profit margins,
healthier relationships, lower cholesterol).

Yes, and it might also incline people to start changing some bottom
lines. PCT doesn't say what the right or wrong bottom lines (goals)
are; but it can suggest ways to think about these things in the
context of an understanding of our controlling nature and the biggest
problem that comes out of that nature: conflict. If, for example,
people can agree that they value a society with as little
interpersonal conflict as possible they might re-think some of these
bottom lines (many societies already have, getting huge improvements
in the quality of life, without the help of PCT; so maybe all that's
necessary is some common decency).

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken PhD
rsmarken@gmail.com