Taking the Test

[From Bruce Abbott (961001.1800 EST)]

Rick Marken (960930.2120) --

As I said, you might not agree with the verbal description but think I
have a pretty good idea of what variable you are controlling.

Later, after a contradictory Test result:

It
does seem wrong to call that variable (actually the reference state
of that variable) "no conflict between PCT and conventional psychology"
because you don't treat a statement of the most serious conflict between
PCT and conventional psychology as a disturbance. Maybe I should say that
what you are controlling is "no conflict between PCT and conventional
psychology that makes conventional psychology unsalvagable".

In other words, you _didn't_ have a pretty good idea of what variable I am
supposedly controlling. As I said, your previous applications of the Test
had failed miserably to disclose what perception I may be controlling here.

Let's try
some of these statements:

1. "All research based on conventional IV-DV methodology (including operant
research) produces results that reveal laws of behavior that are, in reality,
only the inverse of the environmental feedback function, and have nothing
whatever to say about the "organism function" that transforms perception
into action."

2. "The 'scientific method' described in all conventional behavioral
research methods texts is of no use in the study of purposeful behavior".

3. "The IV-DV approach to research described in conventional research
methods texts includes the main features of The Test for Controlled
Variables".

4. "Behavior involves selection of consequences, not selection by
consequences".

I predict your answers will be "error", "error", "no error", and "error"
to 1,2 3 and 4, respectively.

Answers: "error," "error," "error," and "no error" -- a 50% miss rate.
You're doing miserably, Rick.

Re: Dewey

I just didn't see any of the important PCT concepts -- controlled
perceptual variable, internal reference (intention), The Test -- in the
Dewey Rorschach.

You missed mentioning circular causation, the "coordination," conceived as a
loop of circular causation (rather than the reflex S-R machine), forming the
basis of all behavior, and the hierarchical organization of "coordinations."
Not important PCT (or HPCT) concepts, apparently. But your idea of the
"Dewey Rorschach" is not far off the mark. As you know, that test was
designed to show the psychologist what _you_ see in the ink blot, not what
is there. The difference from the classic test is that in the Dewey Test
there is an objective set of things that _are_ there against which to assess
the accuracy of your responses.

You seem to be having a lot of trouble with tests lately.

Regards,

Bruce

[From Rick Marken (961001.2200)]

Bruce Abbott (961001.1800 EST)

In other words, you _didn't_ have a pretty good idea of what variable I am
supposedly controlling. As I said, your previous applications of the Test
had failed miserably to disclose what perception I may be controlling
here.

I never said I was good at doing The Test;-)

The Test is just a method for detecting what people are controlling. It
is not guaranteed to allow the user to know precisely what variable is
being controlled after a few disturbances have been applied. This is
especially true when the controlled variable is rather abstract. It's a
lot easier to determine that a person us controlling a particular sensation
(like their center of gravity) than to determine that he is controlling
a particular system concept (like the concept of a behavioral science).

I am going through this exercise with you, not to expose some "bad"
intention on your part, but to show how The Test works in principle.
There is evidence of a controlled variable whenever someone "pushes back"
against something that is said. I push back all the time; that's why I
keep suggesting that it should be easy to guess some of the variables
I am controlling for. You push back against my suggestions that I have
an idea about a variable you are controlling; when you say to me
"your previous applications of the Test had failed miserably to disclose
what perception I may be controlling" you are clearly "pushing back"
against my suggestion that I know what you are controlling. Since you
have "pushed back" in this way (saying that I have "failed miserably")
every time I have suggested that I know what you are controlling, it
seems fairly obvious to me that you are controlling a perception to which
my saying "I know what you are controlling" is a disturbance. My first
guess is that you are controlling for perceiving me or The Test as an
intention-detecting failure. I'd have to do more Tests to get a better
idea of what you are controlling but you are obviously controlling
something like this.

This is all The Test is about; guessing what variable is controlled (in
this case I would guess that you are controlling for perceiving me as
an intention-detecting failure), applying disturbances to see if this
guess is correct (I could guess another of your intentions and see if I
called a "miserable failure" and then have someone else guess an intention
and see if she is more successful or perhaps just called a "failure") and
then revising the guess based on the results.

Me:

I predict your answers will be "error", "error", "no error", and "error"
to 1,2 3 and 4, respectively.

Ye:

Answers: "error," "error," "error," and "no error" -- a 50% miss rate.
You're doing miserably, Rick.

Actually, I think I'm doing pretty well. Your "error" response to
questions 1 and 2 are a great help. Now I know that your are controlling
for something like "the value (to PCT) of conventional behavioral science
methodology". And, of course, the suggestion that I'm "doing miserably"
is consistent with my guess that you are controlling for me not
indentifying your intentions. But, as they say in that great Eagles
classic, "There ain't no way to hide your controlled variables":wink:

Re: Dewey

You missed mentioning circular causation

I thought I mentioned that many psychologists (the "manual control"
theorists in particular) recognized circular causation (that behavior
occurs in a loop) yet failed (as Dewey did) to understand what circular
causation _does_; it controls the perceptual consequences of action.
James' quote suggested that he got this very important point.

You seem to be having a lot of trouble with tests lately.

I never was very good at tests. But you are doing extremely well;-)

Best

Rick

[From Bruce Abbott (961002.0855 EST)]

Round 3 . . . . . . . DING!

Rick Marken (961001.2200) --

The Test is just a method for detecting what people are controlling. It
is not guaranteed to allow the user to know precisely what variable is
being controlled after a few disturbances have been applied.

Then why did you claim to know what I am controlling for in our exchanges?
One moment you are asserting that you "have a pretty good idea" what it is
and even put a name to it; I tell you that you are wrong and you argue that
whatever it is, the name you applied fits whether I like it or not (implying
that I am a liar) and now you are softening your claim and admitting that
you couldn't really be so sure after all. You have shifted the ground of
the argument from my position (that your application of the test _did_ fail)
to a different position (that a diligent application of the test can
succeed), as if I had claimed that it couldn't. Well, that is not my
position, and you have managed to raise yet another straw man to battle.

Since you
have "pushed back" in this way (saying that I have "failed miserably")
every time I have suggested that I know what you are controlling, it
seems fairly obvious to me that you are controlling a perception to which
my saying "I know what you are controlling" is a disturbance. My first
guess is that you are controlling for perceiving me or The Test as an
intention-detecting failure. I'd have to do more Tests to get a better
idea of what you are controlling but you are obviously controlling
something like this.

What is a disturbance for me is not your claim to be able to learn what I am
controlling for, but your claim as to what _it is_ that I am controlling
for. I don't like it when people attribute motives to me that are not mine.

And, of course, the suggestion that I'm "doing miserably"
is consistent with my guess that you are controlling for me not
indentifying your intentions. But, as they say in that great Eagles
classic, "There ain't no way to hide your controlled variables":wink:

Better: my suggestion that you are doing miserably is consistent with the
fact that your earlier claim to know what I am controlling for is false. By
providing those answers, I am allowing you to revamp your earlier
conclusion; this is the very opposite of an attempt to hide, and completely
at odds with your new guess that I am attempting to prevent you from
identifying my intentions.

Regards,

Bruce

[From Bruce Gregory (961002.1005 EDT)]

(Rick Marken 961001.2200)

But, as they say in that great Eagles
classic, "There ain't no way to hide your controlled
variables":wink:

Another Eagles classic devoted to hiding controlled variables,
"You can check out any time you like, but you can never
leave...'

Bruce