[From Rick Marken (2015.12.05.1015)]
On Fri, Dec 4, 2015 at 11:17 PM, Warren Mansell email@example.com wrote:
W: So Rick, does that mean we need to make a big effort to explain why control is so important to understand?
RM: I think so, yes. Definitely. I believe the first thing we should do whenever we try to explain PCT is make it clear that PCT explains the CONTROLLING done by people (and other living organisms). Then we should explain what controlling IS. Then we should explain that all behavior – simple behavior like lifting a finger and complex behavior like getting a PhD – IS controlling. Then we can introduce PCT as the explanation of the controlling done by living organisms. And finally we can show the practical implications of the PCT model of controlling for understanding why people have personal and interpersonal problems.
RM: This is actually precisely what Tim Carey and I did in our book “Controlling People”, a “popularized” introduction to PCT that has just been released in Australia and should be released in North America and Europe by mid December (just in time for Xmas!). I’ll make a formal announcement once the book is released in the US but, if anyone is interested, there is some preview information available at the publisher’s website:
WM: Also, considering that most people don’t have an accurate operational definition of what control actually is, they will often think they already understand control when they don’t.
RM: Yes, that’s why I think it’s important that the first thing we explain to people about PCT is what control is; what organisms are doing when they control. I agree that few people have an accurate operational definition of what control actually is. In the Hommel paper on “action control”, for example, the term “control” means something like “cause”; making something happen. In TEC, a motor signal makes a kinesthetic perception happen. So the TEC model sounds a lot like a “control of perception” model of “action”. But, in fact, it is not. The kinesthetic perception is simply caused by the motor signal. As you noted in your review, the perception is not controlled inasmuch as it is not being maintained in a reference state, protected from other simultaneous influences – disturbances – on its state . There is no concept of a controlled quantity being perceived and controlled in TEC. So TEC is not a model of control; it is a model of how to produce a consistent result – output – in a DISTURBANCE FREE environment.
WM: So, I am not sure whether making this statement is the key to disseminating PCT, are you?
RM: I don’t think “making a particular kind of statement” is ever a good way to disseminate PCT. What I am pretty sure of is that an important part of explaining PCT – possibly the most important part – is explaining the nature of the phenomenon PCT explains: the phenomenon of controlling. And that will take a bit more than one statement. I think what we have to do is get good at explaining what controlling is and how controlling differs from the “behavior” that biological, behavioral and social scientists have been trying to understand for the last 100 years.
On 5 Dec 2015, at 01:02, Richard Marken firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
[From Rick Marken (2015.12.04.1700)]
Richard S. Marken
On Thu, Dec 3, 2015 at 3:50 AM, Warren Mansell email@example.com wrote:
RM: Thanks, Warren. This is an excellent review of “Action control according to TEC (theory of event coding)” by Bernhard Hommel. I particularly liked your list of “limitations” of the TEC theory. The first two in particular made me realize that the difference between TEC theory and PCT results from the fact that they are explanations of different phenomena, not different explanations of the same phenomenon. TEC is a an explanation of behavior as generated output (action); PCT is an explanation of behavior as control. I realized this after reading the first two limitations of TEC theory that you point out in your review:
(a) perception is still associated with specific actions
(b) the process of acting against disturbances through negative feedback control is not specified
RM: These are limitations only if the phenomenon TEC were trying to explain was control: the production of consistent results in a disturbance prone environment. A theory that explains control has to include an explanation of how the behaving system manages to vary its actions appropriately in order to produce such consistent results. Such consistency – the fact that the results of action are kept in reference states – can’t be explained by a theory that has inputs (perceptions of the state of the controlled result) associated with specific actions. A theory that explains control will inevitably end up with the same input
s (perceptions) often being associated with different actions-- so the theory will not have limitation (a) – and this will occur as part of the process of acting against the effect of disturbances to the state of the controlled result – so the theory will not have limitation (b).
RM: This is why people with theories that seem somewhat similar to PCT are rarely (actually, never) moved to"get on board" with PCT. PCT is the only theory around that explains the controlling done by living systems. All other theories – equilibrium theories, self-regulation theories, manual control theories, whatever --are trying to explain something other than control. What distinguishes PCT from all other theories of behavior is the phenomenon it explains – control – not the theory itself.
In contrast, in PCT:
(a) any action is carried out to control perception but it is not tied to a specific perception; in PCT behaviour is defined by the perceptual variables it controls at various levels in a hierachy. Any regularity we see in behaviour is because of the perceptual (kinaesthetic, proprioceptive, visual, etc) variabkes that are being controlled as that behaviour is observed.
(b) any observable action is a property of the environment as well as the individual - when one opens a door the weight, angle etc of the door are a component of how that action is observed. In order to achieve controlled perception, feedback from ongoing current perception must be corrected online and negative feedback contro
l is the process through which this occurs.
© PCT includes a putative 11 levels of perception. Going up the hierarchy these levels go from proximal to distal but the 11 levels provides a much more refined, flexible architecture
(d) PCT describes how mental simulation can operate through a specific recurrent link within a level in the hierarchy and describes how the phenomenology and content of the mental simulation maps neatly onto the specific levels at which the recurrent link occurs.
(e) PCT provides mathematical specification and computer models of how learning occurs within the architecture
(f) PCT is a theory to build functional models, as in the physical sciences (physics, chemistry, engineering) one tests the validity of the theory through developments in technology.
I hope this sparks some interest and further discussion!
All the best,
Richard S. Marken
On Thu, Dec 3, 2015 at 11:33 AM, Warren Mansell firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
For your interest CSGers!
Dr Warren Mansell
Reader in Clinical Psychology
School of Psychological Sciences
2nd Floor Zochonis Building
University of Manchester
Manchester M13 9PL
Tel: +44 (0) 161 275 8589
Advanced notice of a new transdiagnostic therapy manual, authored by Carey, Mansell & Tai - Principles-Based Counselling and Psychotherapy: A Method of Levels Approach
Check www.pctweb.org for further information on Perceptual Control Theory