[From Rick Marken (990319.0830)]
Bjoern Simonsen (990318.24:00 EU-time)--
For mee it is important to mark that behavior is the modification
of an object and no more.
Why is that important to you? If you are already committed to
some ideas about how behavior works I think it's going to be
very hard for you to learn PCT.
Assuming for the moment that you do want to learn PCT, I will
just note that what you modify about an object when you control
it is some _variable aspect_ of that object. For example, my hand
is an object that I can "modify". But it is actually _variable
aspects_ of my hand that I modify: I can move my hand (vary its
position), make it clenched or open (vary its shape), keep it
steady or waving (vary its velocity), etc. Position, shape, and
velocity are _variables_. What we control (maintain in predetermined
states) are aspects of the world that can _vary_; we control
Does it bother you if I say we control _variables_? It may
be possible that we have a language problem here. Perhaps
what you mean by "object" is what we mean by "variable". There
is no question that, in English, the only appropriate way
to describe control is as the process of bringing _variables_
to predetermined states and protecting them from disturbance.
Do you, perhaps, mean "variable" when you say "object"?
How about "behavior is the control of perceptual variables"?
No, I prefere
_Behavior is any active and purposeful modification of an object,
But you can detect "externally" (as an observer) the perceptual
variables that a person is controlling. Control of perception
is a perfectly objective phenomenon. Indeed, it's more objective
than just looking at behavior and "detecting" what the person is
doing; what you "detect" may an irrelevant side effect of what
a person is actually doing (intending). For example, you may
notice that a person is making an obscene gesture with his
hand; this is a "modification of an object" (the person's
hand) that you can detect. But this obscene gesture may be a side
effect of the person controlling some other variable (such as
the degree of itch produced by a piece of dust in the eye).
The obscene gesture is an irrelevant side effect of scratching
the eye (controlling itchiness).
Re: The Test for the Controlled Variable
I understand, but are you sure that the computer controls
the accelaration of the squares?
The computer doesn't control anything this demo.
I think the computer controles some of the modifications in
the group of sqares.
It doesn't. The person controls (if they want to) the position
of _one_ square at a time. The person's actions _influence_
all three squares. That's why it's hard to tell (by looking
at the movement of the squares) which square is being moved
_on purpose_. The computer does The Test for the Controlled
Variable on _all three_ squares continuously and simultaneoulsy.
It takes a few seconds for the computer to figure out which of
the three squares (if any) is being controlled at any time.
Rick, I found the program for some of your demoes. But I
didnt understand the word ASAP.
The Java source for the "Test for the Controlled Variable"
demo is now up. ASAP is an abbreviation for As Soon As Possible.
I meant to get the program up on the net ASAP and I did:-)
Before we continue this conversation, Bjoern, perhaps you could
let me know whether you actually want to learn PCT or not. If
you are already committed to some idea about how human
behavior works (if, for example, you are committed to the
idea that behavior is externally observable modifications of
objects) then it's really a waste of your time and mine to
have this conversation.