# The Concept of Controlled Variable

[From Fred Nickols (2016.09.28.1211 ET)]

In one of my former lives – the one in which I was an instructional technologist – an important piece of know-how had to do with concept mastery. Essentially, someone could be said to have mastered a concept when they could (a) provide an acceptable definition, (b) correctly identify examples of the concept and © correctly identify non-examples.

In B:CP (both editions), Bill didn’t define “controlled variable”; instead, he defined “controlled quantity” (which I assume is the same thing. His definition was as follows:

“An environmental variable corresponding to the perceptual signal in a control system; a physical quantity (or a function of several physical quantities) that is affected and controlled by the outputs from a control system’s output function.”

Bear with me while I tease out the criteria that something must meet in order to qualify as a controlled variable, one that I might try to control.

1 Its value must be capable of varying; if it doesn’t, it’s not a variable at all

2 I must have some desired value in mind

3 I must be able to perceive its current value

4 I must be able to affect its value

5 I must want to control its value

Do I have these right?

Regards,

Fred Nickols, Knowledge Worker

DISTANCE CONSULTING LLC

“Assistance at a Distance”SM

[From Rick Marken (2016.09.30.2155)]

···

Fred Nickols (2016.09.28.1211 ET)–

Â

FN: In B:CP (both editions), Bill didnât define âcontrolled variableâ?; instead, he defined âcontrolled quantityâ? (which I assume is the same thing). Â

His definition was as follows:

âAn environmental variable corresponding to the perceptual signal in a control system; a physical quantity (or a function of several physical quantities) that is affected and controlled by the outputs from a control systemâs output function.â?

RM: For all intents and purposes the controlled quantity is indeed the same as the controlled variable. The difference is that the controlled quantity is the controlled variable seen from the perspective of an observer of the control system.Â

Â

FN: Bear with me while I tease out the criteria that something must meet in order to qualify as a controlled variable, one that I might try to control.

Â

1Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Its value must be capable of varying; if it doesnât, itâs not a variable at all

2Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I must have some desired value in mind

3Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I must be able to perceive its current value

4Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I must be able to affect its value

5Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I must want to control its value

Â

FN: Do I have these right?

RM: I think the criteria for a controlled variable are best described by the steps in the test for the controlled variable. A nice description of these steps is given in Phil Runkel’s paper in the control theory issue of the 1990Â American Behavioral Scientist (“Research Method for Control Theory”). There are 9 steps described on pp. 14-15. A quick summary:Â

1. Select a variable you think a person is maintaining at some level.Â

2. Predict what would happen to the variable if the person were not maintaining it.Â

3. Apply various amounts and directions of disturbance to the variable.Â

4. Measure the effect of the disturbances.

5. If the effect is what you predicted, stop, the variable is not under control.

6. If the effect is markedly smaller than predicted , look for what is being done to oppose the disturbances.

7. Look for the way the person can sense the variable.Â

8. If you find a means of sensing, block it to see if that prevents control; if not, look for another possible means of sensing the variable.Â

9. If all preceding steps are passed you have found the controlled variable.Â

BestÂ

Rick

Â

Regards,

Â

Fred Nickols, Knowledge Worker

DISTANCE CONSULTING LLC

âAssistance at a Distanceâ?SM

Â

Richard S. MarkenÂ

“The childhood of the human race is far from over. We
have a long way to go before most people will understand that what they do for
others is just as important to their well-being as what they do for
themselves.” – William T. Powers

[From Fred Nickols (2016.10.01.0633 ET)]

Thanks, Rick. I think thatâ€™s a fine way of testing to see if a particular variable is being controlled in a given situation.

Fred Nickols

···

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 12:57 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: The Concept of Controlled Variable

[From Rick Marken (2016.09.30.2155)]

Fred Nickols (2016.09.28.1211 ET)–

FN: In B:CP (both editions), Bill didnâ€™t define â€œcontrolled variableâ€?; instead, he defined â€œcontrolled quantityâ€? (which I assume is the same thing).

His definition was as follows:

â€œAn environmental variable corresponding to the perceptual signal in a control system; a physical quantity (or a function of several physical quantities) that is affected and controlled by the outputs from a control systemâ€™s output function.â€?

RM: For all intents and purposes the controlled quantity is indeed the same as the controlled variable. The difference is that the controlled quantity is the controlled variable seen from the perspective of an observer of the control system.

FN: Bear with me while I tease out the criteria that something must meet in order to qualify as a controlled variable, one that I might try to control.

1 Its value must be capable of varying; if it doesnâ€™t, itâ€™s not a variable at all

2 I must have some desired value in mind

3 I must be able to perceive its current value

4 I must be able to affect its value

5 I must want to control its value

FN: Do I have these right?

RM: I think the criteria for a controlled variable are best described by the steps in the test for the controlled variable. A nice description of these steps is given in Phil Runkel’s paper in the control theory issue of the 1990 American Behavioral Scientist (“Research Method for Control Theory”). There are 9 steps described on pp. 14-15. A quick summary:

1. Select a variable you think a person is maintaining at some level.

2. Predict what would happen to the variable if the person were not maintaining it.

3. Apply various amounts and directions of disturbance to the variable.

4. Measure the effect of the disturbances.

5. If the effect is what you predicted, stop, the variable is not under control.

6. If the effect is markedly smaller than predicted , look for what is being done to oppose the disturbances.

7. Look for the way the person can sense the variable.

8. If you find a means of sensing, block it to see if that prevents control; if not, look for another possible means of sensing the variable.

9. If all preceding steps are passed you have found the controlled variable.

Best

Rick

Regards,

Fred Nickols, Knowledge Worker

DISTANCE CONSULTING LLC

â€œAssistance at a Distanceâ€?SM

Richard S. Marken

“The childhood of the human race is far from over. We have a long way to go before most people will understand that what they do for others is just as important to their well-being as what they do for themselves.” – William T. Powers

[From Fred Nickols (2016.10.01.1132 ET)]

Iâ€™m not sure I fully agree with you or Rick, Boris.Â Letâ€™s dig a little deeper.

This morning, a half-finished cup of coffee sat onÂ my kitchen counter-top near the dishwasher.Â I emptied the cup in the sink and placed the cup in the dishwasher.

I think one controlled quantity (CQ1) was the perceived amount of coffee in the cup.

I think a second controlled quantity (CQ2) was the perceived location of the coffee cup.

I think I had one reference signal (RS1) that can be stated as â€œno coffee in the cup.â€?

I think I had another reference signal (RS2) that can be stated as â€œcoffee up in the dishwasher.â€?

My behavioral outputs, as described by me and probably by an observer were as follows:

Grasping the coffee cup

Lifting it off the counter

Moving it over the sink

Turning it upside down

Turning it right side up when empty

Setting it back on the counter-top

Opening the dishwasher door

Pulling out the top rack

Grasping the coffee cup

Moving the coffee cup to a position over the top rack of the dishwasher

Turning the coffee cup upside down

Placing the coffee cup in the top rack

Sliding the top rack back in

Closing the dishwasher door

Are there other controlled variables and controlled quantities along the way. I would say there were several, too many to mention here.

Is there a difference between the controlled quantity (CQ) – the location of the cup – and my percerception of the cupâ€™s location? Â I think so but so long as the correspondence between the two is close enough for practical purposes, I donâ€™t know that the distinction makes a whole lot of difference.Â The cup is empty and in the dishwasher – or so I think or believe…Â Did I control the location of the cup?Â I think so.Â Did I do that by controlling my perception of the location of the cup?Â I think so.

For me, the important issue lurking in all this is in Billâ€™s definition of controlled quantity: â€œAn environmental variable corresponding to the perceptual signal in a control system.â€?Â That issue is the degree of correspondence between the controlled quantity and the perceptual signal.

Fred Nickols

···

From: Boris Hartman [mailto:boris.hartman@masicom.net]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 10:52 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: RE: The Concept of Controlled Variable

In the text bellow….

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 6:57 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: The Concept of Controlled Variable

[From Rick Marken (2016.09.30.2155)]

Fred Nickols (2016.09.28.1211 ET)–

FN: In B:CP (both editions), Bill didnâ€™t define â€œcontrolled variableâ€?; instead, he defined â€œcontrolled quantityâ€? (which I assume is the same thing).

His definition was as follows:

â€œAn environmental variable corresponding to the perceptual signal in a control system; a physical quantity (or a function of several physical quantities) that is affected and controlled by the outputs from a control systemâ€™s output function.â€?

RM: For all intents and purposes the controlled quantity is indeed the same as the controlled variable. The difference is that the controlled quantity is the controlled variable seen from the perspective of an observer of the control system.

HB : No. Controlled quantitty is not the same as Â»controlled variableÂ«, because Rick wants to show that these is something objective in the environment and there is no Â»objective controlled variableÂ«. But it’s true that Â»Controlled quantittyÂ« is always imagination of the observer. Generaly speaking of course. In real life there are behaviors which don’t Â»controlÂ« anything. And there are moments when there are no Â»behaviorsÂ« that are consequences of control in organism.

Bill P (LCS III):

FEED-BACK FUNCTION : The box represents the set of physical laws, properties, arrangements, linkages, by which the acrtion of this system feeds-back to affect its own input, the controlled variable. That’s what feed-back means : it’s an effect of a system’s output on it’s own input.

HB : From the definition of control and output you can see that only organism controls (inside). What is outside is affected by output that also cancel the effects of disturbances (if there are any). So if there is any imagination of Â»controlled quantityÂ« in environment it’s connected to the occasional effects of Â»behaviorÂ«. Â»Controled variablesÂ« are always in organism. They are never in outer environment. The descripton that Bob HIntz gave is right. Rick’s is wrong. Bob Hintz also concluded right from my statements that organism controls 24/7. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Behavior is consequence of control and doesn’t occur 24/7.

But incredibly Rick concluded right, that in sleeping :

RM: Sleeping is a tough one but I think it is controlling done by the autonomic nervous system that has the aim of keeping some intrinsic physiological variables in genetically determined reference states.

HB : Right. So in sleeping it’s clear that there is no Â»controlled quantity in environment and even less Â»controlled variableÂ« and that Bills definition of control is generally right. So generaly speaking (as Bill’s model is general) there is no Â»controlled variableÂ« in environment.

Rick persitently continues with his misleading story, about Â»controlled variableÂ« which only he sees in environment. He wants to prove that Â»Behavior is controlÂ« and save all his articles and demos and tests. They are all wrong beacsue their basic assumption is that Â»Behavior is controlÂ« and that there is some Â»controled variableÂ« in environment. Of course both assumtpions are nonsense. But not in Ricks imagination. In his imaginatoion both assumptions are top of human race. And Rick beleive that he is hero in the eys of Powers ladies. I only don’t know whether he is wearing guns in hid dreams or computer with only one program inside : Â»tracking taskÂ«.

But according to PCT control is something that is happening from the Â»perspective of an observer of the control systemÂ«. Rick is speccial case because he has increadible imagination generally speaking J.

Best,

Boris

FN: Bear with me while I tease out the criteria that something must meet in order to qualify as a controlled variable, one that I might try to control.

1 Its value must be capable of varying; if it doesnâ€™t, itâ€™s not a variable at all

2 I must have some desired value in mind

3 I must be able to perceive its current value

4 I must be able to affect its value

5 I must want to control its value

FN: Do I have these right?

RM: I think the criteria for a controlled variable are best described by the steps in the test for the controlled variable. A nice description of these steps is given in Phil Runkel’s paper in the control theory issue of the 1990 American Behavioral Scientist (“Research Method for Control Theory”). There are 9 steps described on pp. 14-15. A quick summary:

1. Select a variable you think a person is maintaining at some level.

2. Predict what would happen to the variable if the person were not maintaining it.

3. Apply various amounts and directions of disturbance to the variable.

4. Measure the effect of the disturbances.

5. If the effect is what you predicted, stop, the variable is not under control.

6. If the effect is markedly smaller than predicted , look for what is being done to oppose the disturbances.

7. Look for the way the person can sense the variable.

8. If you find a means of sensing, block it to see if that prevents control; if not, look for another possible means of sensing the variable.

9. If all preceding steps are passed you have found the controlled variable.

Best

Rick

Regards,

Fred Nickols, Knowledge Worker

DISTANCE CONSULTING LLC

â€œAssistance at a Distanceâ€?SM

Richard S. Marken

“The childhood of the human race is far from over. We have a long way to go before most people will understand that what they do for others is just as important to their well-being as what they do for themselves.” – William T. Powers

[From Rick Marken (2016.09.30.2155)]

Fred Nickols (2016.09.28.1211 ET)–

FN: In B:CP (both editions), Bill didnâ€™t define â€œcontrolled variableâ€?; instead, he defined â€œcontrolled quantityâ€? (which I assume is the same thing).

His definition was as follows:

â€œAn environmental variable corresponding to the perceptual signal in a control system; a physical quantity (or a function of several physical quantities) that is affected and controlled by the outputs from a control systemâ€™s output function.â€?

RM: For all intents and purposes the controlled quantity is indeed the same as the controlled variable. The difference is that the controlled quantity is the controlled variable seen from the perspective of an observer of the control system.

FN: Bear with me while I tease out the criteria that something must meet in order to qualify as a controlled variable, one that I might try to control.

1 Its value must be capable of varying; if it doesnâ€™t, itâ€™s not a variable at all

2 I must have some desired value in mind

3 I must be able to perceive its current value

4 I must be able to affect its value

5 I must want to control its value

FN: Do I have these right?

RM: I think the criteria for a controlled variable are best described by the steps in the test for the controlled variable. A nice description of these steps is given in Phil Runkel’s paper in the control theory issue of the 1990 American Behavioral Scientist (“Research Method for Control Theory”). There are 9 steps described on pp. 14-15. A quick summary:

1. Select a variable you think a person is maintaining at some level.

2. Predict what would happen to the variable if the person were not maintaining it.

3. Apply various amounts and directions of disturbance to the variable.

4. Measure the effect of the disturbances.

5. If the effect is what you predicted, stop, the variable is not under control.

6. If the effect is markedly smaller than predicted , look for what is being done to oppose the disturbances.

7. Look for the way the person can sense the variable.

8. If you find a means of sensing, block it to see if that prevents control; if not, look for another possible means of sensing the variable.

9. If all preceding steps are passed you have found the controlled variable.

Best

Rick

···

From: Fred Nickols [mailto:fred@nickols.us]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 12:46 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: RE: The Concept of Controlled Variable

[From Fred Nickols (2016.10.01.0633 ET)]

Thanks, Rick. I think thatâ€™s a fine way of testing to see if a particular variable is being controlled in a given situation.

HB : Hi Fred. Donâ€™t thank Rick. He is misleading you all the time. There is no â€œcontrolled variableâ€? in outer environment. On your place Iâ€™d rather ask Bob Hintz. He understand PCT. Rick understand only RCT.

Best regards and cheers,

Boris

Fred Nickols

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 12:57 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: The Concept of Controlled Variable

Regards,

Fred Nickols, Knowledge Worker

DISTANCE CONSULTING LLC

â€œAssistance at a Distanceâ€?SM

Richard S. Marken

“The childhood of the human race is far from over. We have a long way to go before most people will understand that what they do for others is just as important to their well-being as what they do for themselves.” – William T. Powers

In the text bellow….

···

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 6:57 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: The Concept of Controlled Variable

[From Rick Marken (2016.09.30.2155)]

Fred Nickols (2016.09.28.1211 ET)–

FN: In B:CP (both editions), Bill didnâ€™t define â€œcontrolled variableâ€?; instead, he defined â€œcontrolled quantityâ€? (which I assume is the same thing).

His definition was as follows:

â€œAn environmental variable corresponding to the perceptual signal in a control system; a physical quantity (or a function of several physical quantities) that is affected and controlled by the outputs from a control systemâ€™s output function.â€?

RM: For all intents and purposes the controlled quantity is indeed the same as the controlled variable. The difference is that the controlled quantity is the controlled variable seen from the perspective of an observer of the control system.

HB : No. Controlled quantitty is not the same as Â»controlled variableÂ«, because Rick wants to show that these is something objective in the environment and there is no Â»objective controlled variableÂ«.Â But it’s true that Â»Controlled quantittyÂ« is always imagination of the observer. Generaly speaking of course.Â In real life there are behaviors which don’t Â»controlÂ« anything. And there are moments when there are no Â»behaviorsÂ« that are consequences of control in organism.

Bill P (LCS III):

FEED-BACK FUNCTION : The box represents the set of physical laws, properties, arrangements, linkages, by which the acrtion of this system feeds-back to affect its own input, the controlled variable. That’s what feed-back means : it’s an effect of a system’s output on it’s own input.

HB : From the definition of control and output you can see that only organism controls (inside). What is outside is affected by output that also cancel the effects of disturbances (if there are any). So if there is any imagination of Â»controlled quantityÂ« in environment it’s connected to the occasional effects of Â»behaviorÂ«.Â Â»Controled variablesÂ« are always in organism. They are never in outer environment. The descripton that Bob HIntz gave is right. Rick’s is wrong. Bob Hintz also concluded right from my statements that organism controls 24/7. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Behavior is consequence of control and doesn’t occur 24/7.

But incredibly Rick concluded right, that in sleeping :

RM: Sleeping is a tough one but I think it is controlling done by the autonomic nervous system that has the aim of keeping some intrinsic physiological variables in genetically determined reference states.

HB : Right. So in sleeping it’s clear that there is no Â»controlled quantity in environment and even less Â»controlled variableÂ« and that Bills definition of control is generally right. So generaly speaking (as Bill’s model is general) there is no Â»controlled variableÂ« in environment.

Rick persitently continues with his misleading story, about Â»controlled variableÂ« which only he sees in environment. He wants to prove that Â»Behavior is controlÂ« and save all his articles and demos and tests. They are all wrong beacsue their basic assumption is that Â»Behavior is controlÂ« and that there is some Â»controled variableÂ« in environment. Of course both assumtpions are nonsense. But not in Ricks imagination. In his imaginatoion both assumptions are top of human race. And Rick beleive that he is hero in the eys of Powers ladies. I only don’t know whether he is wearing guns in hid dreams or computer with only one program inside : Â»tracking taskÂ«.

But according to PCT control is something that is happening fromÂ the Â»perspective of an observer of the control systemÂ«. Rick is speccial case because he has increadible imagination generally speaking J.

Best,

Boris

FN: Bear with me while I tease out the criteria that something must meet in order to qualify as a controlled variable, one that I might try to control.

1 Its value must be capable of varying; if it doesnâ€™t, itâ€™s not a variable at all

2 I must have some desired value in mind

3 I must be able to perceive its current value

4 I must be able to affect its value

5 I must want to control its value

FN: Do I have these right?

RM: I think the criteria for a controlled variable are best described by the steps in the test for the controlled variable. A nice description of these steps is given in Phil Runkel’s paper in the control theory issue of the 1990 American Behavioral Scientist (“Research Method for Control Theory”). There are 9 steps described on pp. 14-15. A quick summary:

1. Select a variable you think a person is maintaining at some level.

2. Predict what would happen to the variable if the person were not maintaining it.

3. Apply various amounts and directions of disturbance to the variable.

4. Measure the effect of the disturbances.

5. If the effect is what you predicted, stop, the variable is not under control.

6. If the effect is markedly smaller than predicted , look for what is being done to oppose the disturbances.

7. Look for the way the person can sense the variable.

8. If you find a means of sensing, block it to see if that prevents control; if not, look for another possible means of sensing the variable.

9. If all preceding steps are passed you have found the controlled variable.

Best

Rick

Regards,

Fred Nickols, Knowledge Worker

DISTANCE CONSULTING LLC

â€œAssistance at a Distanceâ€?SM

Richard S. Marken

“The childhood of the human race is far from over. We have a long way to go before most people will understand that what they do for others is just as important to their well-being as what they do for themselves.” – William T. Powers

[Martin Taylor 2016,10,01,11,22]

[From Rick Marken (2016.09.30.2155)]

to

``````Let's look at these criteria in a hypothetical case in which a
``````

person is actually controlling X+Y. The experimenter guess that the
person is controlling X. How does the set of criteria work in this
case?

``````1. "X" is selected.

2. If X is not controlled, has a value Xo and I add c to it, I will
``````

see X = Xo + c

``````3. I add various quantities q and I see

4. X = Xo + 0.5q on average, varying somewhat from trial to trial.

5. X is under control

6. I find subject is pushing and pulling on X

7. I block one way the subject might be perceiving X

8. I find no other way subject can perceive X, and now X = Xo+q on
``````

average

``````9. X is the controlled variable

Behind the scenes, the experimenter has not even thought about Y.
``````

When the subject’s view of X was blocked the subject could no longer
control X+Y. The subject was never controlling X.

``````Another hypothetical, in which the subject is still controlling X+Y,
``````

but this time the experimenter guesses that X2+Y2
is being controlled.

``````1. "X<sup>2</sup>+Y<sup>2</sup>" is selected

2. If I add c to X<sup>2</sup>+Y<sup>2</sup>, I will find X<sup>2</sup>+Y<sup>2</sup>
= Xo<sup>2</sup>+Yo<sup>2</sup>+c

3. I add various quantities q

4. I find X<sup>2</sup>+Y<sup>2</sup> = Xo<sup>2</sup>+Yo<sup>2</sup>
``````

with a few small variations plus or minus (control is never perfect)

``````5. X<sup>2</sup>+Y<sup>2</sup> is under control

6. I find subject sometimes manipulates X and sometimes Y and
``````

sometimes both

``````7. I block subject's view of X

8. Even with Y visible to the subject, now X<sup>2</sup>+Y<sup>2</sup>
= Xo<sup>2</sup>+Yo<sup>2</sup>+q

9. X<sup>2</sup>+Y<sup>2</sup> is the controlled variable

But it isn't. X+Y is. The only way this error could be discovered
``````

would be if the subject varied the reference value by an amount
known to the experimenter. I know X is involved in the controlled
variable, but the rôle of Y is still in question, so I perform steps
5 and 8 again, now with Y instead of X. I find the same result, so I
now have evidence that the controled variable is a function of both,
such that variation in one can compensate for variation in the
other. I don’t know yet whether other variables Z1, Z2, Z3… might
also be involved – sort of like Donald Rumsfeld’s “Unknown
unknowns”.

``````But Fred asked not what variable he was controlling, but "one that I
``````

might try to control". In the first example, the test showed that X
was indeed a variable he might try to control, and the second case
showed X2+Y2 also to be one he might try to
control. Neither of those answers is affected by the fact that he is
actually controlling something related but different.

``````Martin
``````
···

Fred Nickols (2016.09.28.1211 ET)–

``````          RM: I think the criteria for a controlled variable are
``````

best described by the steps in the test for the controlled
variable. A nice description of these steps is given in
Phil Runkel’s paper in the control theory issue of the
1990 American Behavioral Scientist (“Research
Method for Control Theory”). There are 9 steps described
on pp. 14-15. A quick summary:

``````          1. Select a variable you think a person is maintaining
``````

at some level.

``````          2. Predict what would happen to the variable if the
``````

person were not maintaining it.

``````          3. Apply various amounts and directions of disturbance
``````

to the variable.

1. Measure the effect of the disturbances.

``````       5. If the effect is what you predicted, stop, the
``````

variable is not under control.

``````          6. If the effect is markedly smaller than predicted ,
``````

look for what is being done to oppose the disturbances.

1. Look for the way the person can sense the variable.

``````       8. If you find a means of sensing, block it to see if
``````

that prevents control; if not, look for another possible
means of sensing the variable.

``````          9. If all preceding steps are passed you have found the
``````

controlled variable.

HJ Fred,

You have to follow only Bill’s lietrature. So follow the PCT diagram and Â»organismÂ« on p. 191 in B:CP and you’ hvae no problem with explaining to yourself where you are missing the point. Â And you’ll know whom to beleive.

Best regards and cheers,

Boris

···

From: Fred Nickols [mailto:fred@nickols.us]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 5:52 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: RE: The Concept of Controlled Variable

[From Fred Nickols (2016.10.01.1132 ET)]

Iâ€™m not sure I fully agree with you or Rick, Boris. Letâ€™s dig a little deeper.

This morning, a half-finished cup of coffee sat on my kitchen counter-top near the dishwasher. I emptied the cup in the sink and placed the cup in the dishwasher.

I think one controlled quantity (CQ1) was the perceived amount of coffee in the cup.

I think a second controlled quantity (CQ2) was the perceived location of the coffee cup.

I think I had one reference signal (RS1) that can be stated as â€œno coffee in the cup.â€?

I think I had another reference signal (RS2) that can be stated as â€œcoffee up in the dishwasher.â€?

My behavioral outputs, as described by me and probably by an observer were as follows:

Grasping the coffee cup

Lifting it off the counter

Moving it over the sink

Turning it upside down

Turning it right side up when empty

Setting it back on the counter-top

Opening the dishwasher door

Pulling out the top rack

Grasping the coffee cup

Moving the coffee cup to a position over the top rack of the dishwasher

Turning the coffee cup upside down

Placing the coffee cup in the top rack

Sliding the top rack back in

Closing the dishwasher door

Are there other controlled variables and controlled quantities along the way. I would say there were several, too many to mention here.

Is there a difference between the controlled quantity (CQ) – the location of the cup ââ€“ and my perception of the cupâ€™s location? I think so but so long as the correspondence between the two is close enough for practical purposes, I donâ€™t know that the distinction makes a whole lot of difference. The cup is empty and in the dishwasher – or so II think or believe. Did I control the location of the cup? I think so. Did I do that by controlling my perception of the location of the cup? I think so.

For me, the important issue lurking in all this is in Billâ€™s definition of controlled quantity: â€œAn environmental variable corresponding to the perceptual signal in a control system.â€? That issue is the degree of correspondence between the controlled quantity and the perceptual signal.

Fred Nickols

From: Boris Hartman [mailto:boris.hartman@masicom.net]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 10:52 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: RE: The Concept of Controlled Variable

In the text bellow….

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 6:57 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: The Concept of Controlled Variable

[From Rick Marken (2016.09.30.2155)]

Fred Nickols (2016.09.28.1211 ET)–

FN: In B:CP (both editions), Bill didnâ€™t define â€œcontrolled variableâ€?; instead, he defined â€œcontrolled quantityâ€? (which I assume is the same thing).

His definition was as follows:

â€œAn environmental variable corresponding to the perceptual signal in a control system; a physical quantity (or a function of several physical quantities) that is affected and controlled by the outputs from a control systemâ€™s output function.â€?

RM: For all intents and purposes the controlled quantity is indeed the same as the controlled variable. The difference is that the controlled quantity is the controlled variable seen from the perspective of an observer of the control system.

HB : No. Controlled quantitty is not the same as Â»controlled variableÂ«, because Rick wants to show that these is something objective in the environment and there is no Â»objective controlled variableÂ«. But it’s true that Â»Controlled quantittyÂ« is always imagination of the observer. Generaly speaking of course. In real life there are behaviors which don’t Â»controlÂ« anything. And there are moments when there are no Â»behaviorsÂ« that are consequences of control in organism.

Bill P (LCS III):

FEED-BACK FUNCTION : The box represents the set of physical laws, properties, arrangements, linkages, by which the acrtion of this system feeds-back to affect its own input, the controlled variable. That’s what feed-back means : it’s an effect of a system’s output on it’s own input.

HB : From the definition of control and output you can see that only organism controls (inside). What is outside is affected by output that also cancel the effects of disturbances (if there are any). So if there is any imagination of Â»controlled quantityÂ« in environment it’s connected to the occasional effects of Â»behaviorÂ«. Â»Controled variablesÂ« are always in organism. They are never in outer environment. The descripton that Bob HIntz gave is right. Rick’s is wrong. Bob Hintz also concluded right from my statements that organism controls 24/7. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Behavior is consequence of control and doesn’t occur 24/7.

But incredibly Rick concluded right, that in sleeping :

RM: Sleeping is a tough one but I think it is controlling done by the autonomic nervous system that has the aim of keeping some intrinsic physiological variables in genetically determined reference states.

HB : Right. So in sleeping it’s clear that there is no Â»controlled quantity in environment and even less Â»controlled variableÂ« and that Bills definition of control is generally right. So generaly speaking (as Bill’s model is general) there is no Â»controlled variableÂ« in environment.

Rick persitently continues with his misleading story, about Â»controlled variableÂ« which only he sees in environment. He wants to prove that Â»Behavior is controlÂ« and save all his articles and demos and tests. They are all wrong beacsue their basic assumption is that Â»Behavior is controlÂ« and that there is some Â»controled variableÂ« in environment. Of course both assumtpions are nonsense. But not in Ricks imagination. In his imaginatoion both assumptions are top of human race. And Rick beleive that he is hero in the eys of Powers ladies. I only don’t know whether he is wearing guns in hid dreams or computer with only one program inside : Â»tracking taskÂ«.

But according to PCT control is something that is happening from the Â»perspective of an observer of the control systemÂ«. Rick is speccial case because he has increadible imagination generally speaking J.

Best,

Boris

FN: Bear with me while I tease out the criteria that something must meet in order to qualify as a controlled variable, one that I might try to control.

1 Its value must be capable of varying; if it doesnâ€™t, itâ€™s not a variable at all

2 I must have some desired value in mind

3 I must be able to perceive its current value

4 I must be able to affect its value

5 I must want to control its value

FN: Do I have these right?

RM: I think the criteria for a controlled variable are best described by the steps in the test for the controlled variable. A nice description of these steps is given in Phil Runkel’s paper in the control theory issue of the 1990 American Behavioral Scientist (“Research Method for Control Theory”). There are 9 steps described on pp. 14-15. A quick summary:

1. Select a variable you think a person is maintaining at some level.

2. Predict what would happen to the variable if the person were not maintaining it.

3. Apply various amounts and directions of disturbance to the variable.

4. Measure the effect of the disturbances.

5. If the effect is what you predicted, stop, the variable is not under control.

6. If the effect is markedly smaller than predicted , look for what is being done to oppose the disturbances.

7. Look for the way the person can sense the variable.

8. If you find a means of sensing, block it to see if that prevents control; if not, look for another possible means of sensing the variable.

9. If all preceding steps are passed you have found the controlled variable.

Best

Rick

Regards,

Fred Nickols, Knowledge Worker

DISTANCE CONSULTING LLC

â€œAssistance at a Distanceâ€?SM

Richard S. Marken

“The childhood of the human race is far from over. We have a long way to go before most people will understand that what they do for others is just as important to their well-being as what they do for themselves.” – William T. Powers

[From Rick Marken (2016.10.01.1610)]

···

Martin Taylor (2016,10,01,11,22)–

RM: This is remarkable Martin. In this post you have proven (at least to your own satisfaction) that the Test for the Controlled Variable is impossible. In another, earlier post [Martin Taylor 2016.09.29.10.14] you proved (again apparently to your own satisfaction) that a collection of control systems in conflict act as a giant control system. So this means we can now ignore most of the contents of Chapters 16 and 18 in B:CP (2nd Edition), a book that was clearly way too long anyway.

RM: And yet… I have three demos on the net that show that the Test for the Controlled Variable is, indeed, possible:

RM: and one that shows that control systems in conflict don’t control but, rather, lose control; they can’t resist disturbances to the “virtual” controlled variable:

RM: While your verbal arguments are very convincing (to you and apparently most everyone on CSGNet) I still prefer the empirical demonstrations. So thanks for the PCT lessons…but no thanks.

Best

Rick

[From Rick Marken (2016.09.30.2155)]

to

``````Let's look at these criteria in a hypothetical case in which a
``````

person is actually controlling X+Y. The experimenter guess that the
person is controlling X. How does the set of criteria work in this
case?

``````1. "X" is selected.

2. If X is not controlled, has a value Xo and I add c to it, I will
``````

see X = Xo + c

``````3. I add various quantities q and I see

4. X = Xo + 0.5q on average, varying somewhat from trial to trial.

5. X is under control

6. I find subject is pushing and pulling on X

7. I block one way the subject might be perceiving X

8. I find no other way subject can perceive X, and now X = Xo+q on
``````

average

``````9. X is the controlled variable

Behind the scenes, the experimenter has not even thought about Y.
``````

When the subject’s view of X was blocked the subject could no longer
control X+Y. The subject was never controlling X.

``````Another hypothetical, in which the subject is still controlling X+Y,
``````

but this time the experimenter guesses that X2+Y2
is being controlled.

``````1. "X<sup>2</sup>+Y<sup>2</sup>" is selected

2. If I add c to X<sup>2</sup>+Y<sup>2</sup>, I will find X<sup>2</sup>+Y<sup>2</sup>
= Xo<sup>2</sup>+Yo<sup>2</sup>+c

3. I add various quantities q

4. I find X<sup>2</sup>+Y<sup>2</sup> = Xo<sup>2</sup>+Yo<sup>2</sup>
``````

with a few small variations plus or minus (control is never perfect)

``````5. X<sup>2</sup>+Y<sup>2</sup> is under control

6. I find subject sometimes manipulates X and sometimes Y and
``````

sometimes both

``````7. I block subject's view of X

8. Even with Y visible to the subject, now X<sup>2</sup>+Y<sup>2</sup>
= Xo<sup>2</sup>+Yo<sup>2</sup>+q

9. X<sup>2</sup>+Y<sup>2</sup> is the controlled variable

But it isn't. X+Y is. The only way this error could be discovered
``````

would be if the subject varied the reference value by an amount
known to the experimenter. I know X is involved in the controlled
variable, but the rôle of Y is still in question, so I perform steps
5 and 8 again, now with Y instead of X. I find the same result, so I
now have evidence that the controled variable is a function of both,
such that variation in one can compensate for variation in the
other. I don’t know yet whether other variables Z1, Z2, Z3… might
also be involved – sort of like Donald Rumsfeld’s “Unknown
unknowns”.

``````But Fred asked not what variable he was controlling, but "one that I
``````

might try to control". In the first example, the test showed that X
was indeed a variable he might try to control, and the second case
showed X2+Y2 also to be one he might try to
control. Neither of those answers is affected by the fact that he is
actually controlling something related but different.

``````Martin
``````

Richard S. Marken

“The childhood of the human race is far from over. We
have a long way to go before most people will understand that what they do for
others is just as important to their well-being as what they do for
themselves.” – William T. Powers

Fred Nickols (2016.09.28.1211 ET)–

``````          RM: I think the criteria for a controlled variable are
``````

best described by the steps in the test for the controlled
variable. A nice description of these steps is given in
Phil Runkel’s paper in the control theory issue of the
1990 American Behavioral Scientist (“Research
Method for Control Theory”). There are 9 steps described
on pp. 14-15. A quick summary:

``````          1. Select a variable you think a person is maintaining
``````

at some level.

``````          2. Predict what would happen to the variable if the
``````

person were not maintaining it.

``````          3. Apply various amounts and directions of disturbance
``````

to the variable.

1. Measure the effect of the disturbances.

``````       5. If the effect is what you predicted, stop, the
``````

variable is not under control.

``````          6. If the effect is markedly smaller than predicted ,
``````

look for what is being done to oppose the disturbances.

1. Look for the way the person can sense the variable.

``````       8. If you find a means of sensing, block it to see if
``````

that prevents control; if not, look for another possible
means of sensing the variable.

``````          9. If all preceding steps are passed you have found the
``````

controlled variable.

[Martin Taylor 2016.10.01.22.47]

[From Rick Marken (2016.10.01.1610)]

``````Nope. I showed that the Runkel criteria were not sufficient in the
``````

general case. The Test for the Controlled Variable is both possible
and useful under certain conditions. I argue that the TCV is what we
do much of the time in normal interaction with other people. We test
for what perceptions of us and the rest of their environment
(relevant to our perceptions) they are controlling.

``````A sufficient, but not necessary, set of extra conditions for the TCV
``````

described by your Runkel list to be valid and useful is (1) All the
contributing possibilities for perception and/or action are known
(thus eliminating my Z1, Z2, Z3, … as possibilities), and (2) The
possible hypotheses for controlled variables are discrete and
limited in number. When you are dealing with things on a screen
controlled by 2D movements of a mouse, (1) is usually true.

``````I had actually thought of including references to the demos you
``````

mention to make the point about discreteness, but I figured most of
CSGnet would have seen them, and the main point I wanted to make was
about situations where the hypotheses were continuous, and the
number of possible contributory variables were unknown. Actually, I
because it illustrates my point about the need to vary the reference
value if you want to use the Test to choose among selected functions
of the same set of variables.

``````If I had wanted to make the message about modifying the Runkel
``````

criteria, I would probably have gone on and added these two criteria
with a link to your demos. But I didn’t want to do that. I only
wanted to illustrate that there are quite normal situations in which
they are insufficient, particularly number 9, which says that after
testing just one hypothesis, if the criteria are met (criteria that
can be met by any variable correlated with the actual controlled
variable) the one you tested IS the controlled variable, even though
a whole raft of other variables might fit the criteria and be better
controlled than the one you first thought of.

``````Could you point to anything I said in either message that
``````

contradicts or even deviates from anything said in either of those
chapters? I would rather hope that I simply followed the direction
in which they point and extended them. I acknowledge that I
sometimes do disagree with things Bill said, but I don’t think this
is one of those times.

``````Yep, I could have extended my already long message to link to those
``````

demos if I had wanted to mention the two criteria above. As I have
said before, you are a very good maker of demos. Sorry about not
linking to them to make my unmentioned point.

``````That is exactly right. And totally irrelevant. That's what Kent
``````

neatly demonstrated at CSG '93, in the video to which I linked.

``````FYI, Kent's is an empirical demonstration, insofar as a computer
``````

simulation can be one. But you wouldn’t know that, even though you
were there when he gave his presentation. However, Bill P said of it
at the end, and I quote: “That’s great stuff. [You should] go on.”
(The words in square brackets are indistinct in the video).

``````As I have often suggested, it might help if you would read at least
``````

some of my messages before you post your contradictions to what they
don’t say. I deduce (using a form of the TCV) that it is your act of
posting that counteracts some disturbance to some perception you
control, and I also deduce that is the fact of my posting, not the
content, that is the disturbance. What the controlled perception
might be, I choose not to speculate.

``````I trust other readers to take such note of the content of my
``````

messages as they wish.

``````Martin
``````
···

Martin Taylor (2016,10,01,11,22)–

``````          RM: This is remarkable Martin. In this post you have
``````

proven (at least to your own satisfaction) that the Test
for the Controlled Variable is impossible.

In another, earlier post [Martin Taylor
2016.09.29.10.14] you proved (again apparently to
your own satisfaction) that a collection of control
systems in conflict act as a giant control system. So this
means we can now ignore most of the contents of Chapters
16 and 18 in B:CP (2nd Edition), a book that was clearly
way too long anyway.

``````          RM: And yet... I have three demos on the net that show
``````

that the Test for the Controlled Variable is, indeed,
possible:

``````          RM: and one that shows that control systems in conflict
``````

don’t control but, rather, lose control; they can’t resist
disturbances to the “virtual” controlled variable:

``````          RM: While your verbal arguments are very convincing (to
``````

you and apparently most everyone on CSGNet) I still prefer
the empirical demonstrations. So thanks for the PCT
lessons…but no thanks.

bob hintz 2016 - 10-1

I am starting this note in the evening in response to Fred’s Coffee example.Â If I was the observer, I would hope the cup of coffee you are throwing away is your cup and not someone else’s who might share your space and might want to finish or reheat that cup (wider social context).Â If it is yours, I would wonder whether you have had enough coffee for the morning or whether you just don’t like cold coffee (narrower internal context) and I can get more information by continuing to observe what you do next.Â I once knew a person who routinely filled her cup and dumped the last half because it was cold.Â She was the boss and I never pointed out that she could easily take half a cup and get the same enjoyment, while leaving more for the rest of us.Â If someone comes in and asks, “why did you dump my coffee”, I will wonder why you dumped someone else’s coffee (did you mistakenly think it was your’s, or is the other person mistaken?) (Are you angry with the other person and want them to know you are upset?)

All externally observable behavior has both an energy value and an information value.Â Your description seems to focus exclusively on the energy aspects of dumping the coffee and quits with no attention to the information value. The same energy description would apply to how the cup got coffee in it in the first place or why someone else might have done it for you.Â Asking for a cup of coffee is intended to have high information value, but requires very little energy on your part and has very little effect on the physical world outside your skin.Â If no one hears you, you will never get coffee that way.Â If no one you ask does speaks English, you will also be out of luck.Â If someone hears you, understands what you want and has a reason to care, you might get the coffee if they are able and willing to provide the necessary energy to make and pour a cup of coffee for you.Â

It seems to me that the information value of our outputs is the part that PCT has traditionally left out and is the most important part in understanding collective control of any external variables.

Â Â Â Â

···

On Sat, Oct 1, 2016 at 11:24 AM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

HJ Fred,

Â

You have to follow only Bill’s lietrature. So follow the PCT diagram and Â»organismÂ« on p. 191 in B:CP and you’ hvae no problem with explaining to yourself where you are missing the point.Â And you’ll know whom to beleive.

Â

Best regards and cheers,

Â

Boris

Â

From: Fred Nickols [mailto:fred@nickols.us]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 5:52 PM

To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: RE: The Concept of Controlled Variable

Â

[From Fred Nickols (2016.10.01.1132 ET)]

Â

Iâ€™m not sure I fully agree with you or Rick, Boris.Â Letâ€™s dig a little deeper.

Â

This morning, a half-finished cup of coffee sat onÂ my kitchen counter-top near the dishwasher.Â I emptied the cup in the sink and placed the cup in the dishwasher.

Â

I think one controlled quantity (CQ1) was the perceived amount of coffee in the cup.

Â

I think a second controlled quantity (CQ2) was the perceived location of the coffee cup.

Â

I think I had one reference signal (RS1) that can be stated as â€œno coffee in the cup.â€?

Â

I think I had another reference signal (RS2) that can be stated as â€œcoffee up in the dishwasher.â€?

Â

My behavioral outputs, as described by me and probably by an observer were as follows:

Â

Grasping the coffee cup

Lifting it off the counter

Moving it over the sink

Turning it upside down

Turning it right side up when empty

Setting it back on the counter-top

Opening the dishwasher door

Pulling out the top rack

Grasping the coffee cup

Moving the coffee cup to a position over the top rack of the dishwasher

Turning the coffee cup upside down

Placing the coffee cup in the top rack

Sliding the top rack back in

Closing the dishwasher door

Â

Are there other controlled variables and controlled quantities along the way. I would say there were several, too many to mention here.

Â

Is there a difference between the controlled quantity (CQ) â€“ the location of the cup – and my perception of the cupâ€™™s location?Â I think so but so long as the correspondence between the two is close enough for practical purposes, I donâ€™t know that the distinction makes a whole lot of difference.Â The cup is empty and in the dishwasher – or so I think or believe.Â Did I control the llocation of the cup?Â I think so.Â Did I do that by controlling my perception of the location of the cup?Â I think so.

Â

For me, the important issue lurking in all this is in Billâ€™s definition of controlled quantity: â€œAn environmental variable corresponding to the perceptual signal in a control system.â€?Â That issue is the degree of correspondence between the controlled quantity and the perceptual signal.

Â

Â

Fred Nickols

Â

From: Boris Hartman [mailto:boris.hartman@masicom.net]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 10:52 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: RE: The Concept of Controlled Variable

Â

In the text bellow….

Â

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 6:57 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: The Concept of Controlled Variable

Â

[From Rick Marken (2016.09.30.2155)]

Â

Fred Nickols (2016.09.28.1211 ET)–

Â

FN: In B:CP (both editions), Bill didnâ€™t define â€œcontrolled variableâ€?; instead, he defined â€œcontrolled quantityâ€? (which I assume is the same thing). Â

His definition was as follows:

â€œAn environmental variable corresponding to the perceptual signal in a control system; a physical quantity (or a function of several physical quantities) that is affected and controlled by the outputs from a control systemâ€™s output function.â€?

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

RM: For all intents and purposes the controlled quantity is indeed the same as the controlled variable. The difference is that the controlled quantity is the controlled variable seen from the perspective of an observer of the control system.Â

Â

HB : No. Controlled quantitty is not the same as Â»controlled variableÂ«, because Rick wants to show that these is something objective in the environment and there is no Â»objective controlled variableÂ«.Â But it’s true that Â»Controlled quantittyÂ« is always imagination of the observer. Generaly speaking of course.Â In real life there are behaviors which don’t Â»controlÂ« anything. And there are moments when there are no Â»behaviorsÂ« that are consequences of control in organism.

Â

Â

Â

Bill P (LCS III):

FEED-BACK FUNCTION : The box represents the set of physical laws, properties, arrangements, linkages, by which the acrtion of this system feeds-back to affect its own input, the controlled variable. That’s what feed-back means : it’s an effect of a system’s output on it’s own input.

Â

Â

HB : From the definition of control and output you can see that only organism controls (inside). What is outside is affected by output that also cancel the effects of disturbances (if there are any). So if there is any imagination of Â»controlled quantityÂ« in environment it’s connected to the occasional effects of Â»behaviorÂ«.Â Â»Controled variablesÂ« are always in organism. They are never in outer environment. The descripton that Bob HIntz gave is right. Rick’s is wrong. Bob Hintz also concluded right from my statements that organism controls 24/7. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Behavior is consequence of control and doesn’t occur 24/7.

Â

But incredibly Rick concluded right, that in sleeping :

RM: Sleeping is a tough one but I think it is controlling done by the autonomic nervous system that has the aim of keeping some intrinsic physiological variables in genetically determined reference states.

HB : Right. So in sleeping it’s clear that there is no Â»controlled quantity in environment and even less Â»controlled variableÂ« and that Bills definition of control is generally right. So generaly speaking (as Bill’s model is general) there is no Â»controlled variableÂ« in environment.

Â

Rick persitently continues with his misleading story, about Â»controlled variableÂ« which only he sees in environment. He wants to prove that Â»Behavior is controlÂ« and save all his articles and demos and tests. They are all wrong beacsue their basic assumption is that Â»Behavior is controlÂ« and that there is some Â»controled variableÂ« in environment. Of course both assumtpions are nonsense. But not in Ricks imagination. In his imaginatoion both assumptions are top of human race. And Rick beleive that he is hero in the eys of Powers ladies. I only don’t know whether he is wearing guns in hid dreams or computer with only one program inside : Â»tracking taskÂ«.

Â

But according to PCT control is something that is happening fromÂ the Â»perspective of an observer of the control systemÂ«. Rick is speccial case because he has increadible imagination generally speaking J.

Â

Best,

Â

Boris

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

FN: Bear with me while I tease out the criteria that something must meet in order to qualify as a controlled variable, one that I might try to control.

Â

1Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Its value must be capable of varying; if it doesnâ€™t, itâ€™s not a variable at all

2Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I must have some desired value in mind

3Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I must be able to perceive its current value

4Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I must be able to affect its value

5Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I must want to control its value

Â

FN: Do I have these right?

Â

RM: I think the criteria for a controlled variable are best described by the steps in the test for the controlled variable. A nice description of these steps is given in Phil Runkel’s paper in the control theory issue of the 1990Â American Behavioral Scientist (“Research Method for Control Theory”). There are 9 steps described on pp. 14-15. A quick summary:Â

Â

1. Select a variable you think a person is maintaining at some level.Â
1. Predict what would happen to the variable if the person were not maintaining it.Â
1. Apply various amounts and directions of disturbance to the variable.Â
1. Measure the effect of the disturbances.
1. If the effect is what you predicted, stop, the variable is not under control.
1. If the effect is markedly smaller than predicted , look for what is being done to oppose the disturbances.
1. Look for the way the person can sense the variable.Â
1. If you find a means of sensing, block it to see if that prevents control; if not, look for another possible means of sensing the variable.Â
1. If all preceding steps are passed you have found the controlled variable.Â

Â

BestÂ

Â

Rick

Â

Â

Regards,

Â

Fred Nickols, Knowledge Worker

DISTANCE CONSULTING LLC

â€œAssistance at a Distanceâ€?SM

Â

Â

Richard S. MarkenÂ

“The childhood of the human race is far from over. We have a long way to go before most people will understand that what they do for others is just as important to their well-being as what they do for themselves.” – William T. Powers

[From Fred Nickols (2016.10.02.0748 ET)]

In terms of the hierarchy, I view emptying the coffee cup and placing it in the dishwasher as a subroutine in a larger program I would call â€œcleaning up the kitchen.â€?Â FWIW, it was my coffee and my cup and I was finished with it.Â My authority to take those actions was bestowed upon me by my wife.Â She is also the one who bestowed the charge to do so upon me.

Fred (suffering from the illusion of control) Nickols

···

From: Bob Hintz [mailto:bob.hintz@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, October 02, 2016 12:21 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: The Concept of Controlled Variable

bob hintz 2016 - 10-1

I am starting this note in the evening in response to Fred’s Coffee example. If I was the observer, I would hope the cup of coffee you are throwing away is your cup and not someone else’s who might share your space and might want to finish or reheat that cup (wider social context). If it is yours, I would wonder whether you have had enough coffee for the morning or whether you just don’t like cold coffee (narrower internal context) and I can get more information by continuing to observe what you do next. I once knew a person who routinely filled her cup and dumped the last half because it was cold. She was the boss and I never pointed out that she could easily take half a cup and get the same enjoyment, while leaving more for the rest of us. If someone comes in and asks, “why did you dump my coffee”, I will wonder why you dumped someone else’s coffee (did you mistakenly think it was your’s, or is the other person mistaken?) (Are you angry with the other person and want them to know you are upset?)

All externally observable behavior has both an energy value and an information value. Your description seems to focus exclusively on the energy aspects of dumping the coffee and quits with no attention to the information value. The same energy description would apply to how the cup got coffee in it in the first place or why someone else might have done it for you. Asking for a cup of coffee is intended to have high information value, but requires very little energy on your part and has very little effect on the physical world outside your skin. If no one hears you, you will never get coffee that way. If no one you ask does speaks English, you will also be out of luck. If someone hears you, understands what you want and has a reason to care, you might get the coffee if they are able and willing to provide the necessary energy to make and pour a cup of coffee for you.

It seems to me that the information value of our outputs is the part that PCT has traditionally left out and is the most important part in understanding collective control of any external variables.

On Sat, Oct 1, 2016 at 11:24 AM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

HJ Fred,

You have to follow only Bill’s lietrature. So follow the PCT diagram and Â»organismÂ« on p. 191 in B:CP and you’ hvae no problem with explaining to yourself where you are missing the point. And you’ll know whom to beleive.

Best regards and cheers,

Boris

From: Fred Nickols [mailto:fred@nickols.us]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 5:52 PM

To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: RE: The Concept of Controlled Variable

[From Fred Nickols (2016.10.01.1132 ET)]

Iâ€™m not sure I fully agree with you or Rick, Boris. Letâ€™s dig a little deeper.

This morning, a half-finished cup of coffee sat on my kitchen counter-top near the dishwasher. I emptied the cup in the sink and placed the cup in the dishwasher.

I think one controlled quantity (CQ1) was the perceived amount of coffee in the cup.

I think a second controlled quantity (CQ2) was the perceived location of the coffee cup.

I think I had one reference signal (RS1) that can be stated as â€œno coffee in the cup.â€?

I think I had another reference signal (RS2) that can be stated as â€œcoffee up in the dishwasher.â€?

My behavioral outputs, as described by me and probably by an observer were as follows:

Grasping the coffee cup

Lifting it off the counter

Moving it over the sink

Turning it upside down

Turning it right side up when empty

Setting it back on the counter-top

Opening the dishwasher door

Pulling out the top rack

Grasping the coffee cup

Moving the coffee cup to a position over the top rack of the dishwasher

Turning the coffee cup upside down

Placing the coffee cup in the top rack

Sliding the top rack back in

Closing the dishwasher door

Are there other controlled variables and controlled quantities along the way. I would say there were several, too many to mention here.

Is there a difference between the controlled quantity (CQ) – the location of the cup – a“ and my perception of the cupâ€™s location? I think so but so long as the correspondence between the two is close enough for practical purposes, I donâ€™t know that the distinction makes a whole lot of difference. The cup is empty and in the dishwasher – or so I think oor believe. Did I control the location of the cup? I think so. Did I do that by controlling my perception of the location of the cup? I think so.

For me, the important issue lurking in all this is in Billâ€™s definition of controlled quantity: â€œAn environmental variable corresponding to the perceptual signal in a control system.â€? That issue is the degree of correspondence between the controlled quantity and the perceptual signal.

Fred Nickols

From: Boris Hartman [mailto:boris.hartman@masicom.net]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 10:52 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: RE: The Concept of Controlled Variable

In the text bellow….

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 6:57 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: The Concept of Controlled Variable

[From Rick Marken (2016.09.30.2155)]

Fred Nickols (2016.09.28.1211 ET)–

FN: In B:CP (both editions), Bill didnâ€™t define â€œcontrolled variableâ€?; instead, he defined â€œcontrolled quantityâ€? (which I assume is the same thing).

His definition was as follows:

â€œAn environmental variable corresponding to the perceptual signal in a control system; a physical quantity (or a function of several physical quantities) that is affected and controlled by the outputs from a control systemâ€™s output function.â€?

RM: For all intents and purposes the controlled quantity is indeed the same as the controlled variable. The difference is that the controlled quantity is the controlled variable seen from the perspective of an observer of the control system.

HB : No. Controlled quantitty is not the same as Â»controlled variableÂ«, because Rick wants to show that these is something objective in the environment and there is no Â»objective controlled variableÂ«. But it’s true that Â»Controlled quantittyÂ« is always imagination of the observer. Generaly speaking of course. In real life there are behaviors which don’t Â»controlÂ« anything. And there are moments when there are no Â»behaviorsÂ« that are consequences of control in organism.

Bill P (LCS III):

FEED-BACK FUNCTION : The box represents the set of physical laws, properties, arrangements, linkages, by which the acrtion of this system feeds-back to affect its own input, the controlled variable. That’s what feed-back means : it’s an effect of a system’s output on it’s own input.

HB : From the definition of control and output you can see that only organism controls (inside). What is outside is affected by output that also cancel the effects of disturbances (if there are any). So if there is any imagination of Â»controlled quantityÂ« in environment it’s connected to the occasional effects of Â»behaviorÂ«. Â»Controled variablesÂ« are always in organism. They are never in outer environment. The descripton that Bob HIntz gave is right. Rick’s is wrong. Bob Hintz also concluded right from my statements that organism controls 24/7. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Behavior is consequence of control and doesn’t occur 24/7.

But incredibly Rick concluded right, that in sleeping :

RM: Sleeping is a tough one but I think it is controlling done by the autonomic nervous system that has the aim of keeping some intrinsic physiological variables in genetically determined reference states.

HB : Right. So in sleeping it’s clear that there is no Â»controlled quantity in environment and even less Â»controlled variableÂ« and that Bills definition of control is generally right. So generaly speaking (as Bill’s model is general) there is no Â»controlled variableÂ« in environment.

Rick persitently continues with his misleading story, about Â»controlled variableÂ« which only he sees in environment. He wants to prove that Â»Behavior is controlÂ« and save all his articles and demos and tests. They are all wrong beacsue their basic assumption is that Â»Behavior is controlÂ« and that there is some Â»controled variableÂ« in environment. Of course both assumtpions are nonsense. But not in Ricks imagination. In his imaginatoion both assumptions are top of human race. And Rick beleive that he is hero in the eys of Powers ladies. I only don’t know whether he is wearing guns in hid dreams or computer with only one program inside : Â»tracking taskÂ«.

But according to PCT control is something that is happening from the Â»perspective of an observer of the control systemÂ«. Rick is speccial case because he has increadible imagination generally speaking J.

Best,

Boris

FN: Bear with me while I tease out the criteria that something must meet in order to qualify as a controlled variable, one that I might try to control.

1 Its value must be capable of varying; if it doesnâ€™t, itâ€™s not a variable at all

2 I must have some desired value in mind

3 I must be able to perceive its current value

4 I must be able to affect its value

5 I must want to control its value

FN: Do I have these right?

RM: I think the criteria for a controlled variable are best described by the steps in the test for the controlled variable. A nice description of these steps is given in Phil Runkel’s paper in the control theory issue of the 1990 American Behavioral Scientist (“Research Method for Control Theory”). There are 9 steps described on pp. 14-15. A quick summary:

1. Select a variable you think a person is maintaining at some level.

2. Predict what would happen to the variable if the person were not maintaining it.

3. Apply various amounts and directions of disturbance to the variable.

4. Measure the effect of the disturbances.

5. If the effect is what you predicted, stop, the variable is not under control.

6. If the effect is markedly smaller than predicted , look for what is being done to oppose the disturbances.

7. Look for the way the person can sense the variable.

8. If you find a means of sensing, block it to see if that prevents control; if not, look for another possible means of sensing the variable.

9. If all preceding steps are passed you have found the controlled variable.

Best

Rick

Regards,

Fred Nickols, Knowledge Worker

DISTANCE CONSULTING LLC

â€œAssistance at a Distanceâ€?SM

Richard S. Marken

“The childhood of the human race is far from over. We have a long way to go before most people will understand that what they do for others is just as important to their well-being as what they do for themselves.” – William T. Powers

bob hintz 10-2-16

So the reference signal for “cleaning up the kitchen” might be a subroutine for the reference signal “maintain good relationship with wife” who shares the space of the kitchen and might feel compelled to deal with that cup if you did not.Â Part of the information value of that half cup of coffee for her might be “Fred doesn’t care about me anymore” on a bad day which is not what you would have intended if you had not noticed the cup sitting there.Â On a good day, that same half cup of coffee might just be a disturbance to the reference for a “clean kitchen” for her.

When I first remarried, about 30 years ago, I would often leave my toothbrush beside the sink instead of putting it in the cabinet.Â I would come home from work to a very irritated person.Â I would promise to put it away, but a few weeks later, I would forget again.Â It would be worse this time because now I had broken a promise as well as leaving the toothbrush on the counter beside the sink in the bathroom that she also used.Â This went on for months.Â Finally, she decided to get even and hid my toothbrush.Â She was not angry this time and could hardly wait for me to notice that I did not have a toothbrush.Â It became a game.Â Some part of the toothbrush had to visible and it had to be in the bathroom.Â The toothbrush as a physical item was not very complicated, nor was the task of putting it away very difficult.Â What is important in the world outside our skin depends on what is important in the world inside our skin.Â If I am in a hurry or lost in thought I might not notice the toothbrush in the wrong place.Â You might not notice the half cup of coffee. Â

Communication involves being interested in the inside of another person and providing information on purpose to another person about your own inside.Â Language and talk allow us to this so that we can align our energy output.Â Talking does not change the physical world much, but it allows humans to join together to build sky scrappers, airplanes, etc.Â Almost everything in our world exists because of collective control, like the coffee in the cup and probably even the cup.

···

On Sun, Oct 2, 2016 at 6:52 AM, Fred Nickols fred@nickols.us wrote:

[From Fred Nickols (2016.10.02.0748 ET)]

Â

In terms of the hierarchy, I view emptying the coffee cup and placing it in the dishwasher as a subroutine in a larger program I would call â€œcleaning up the kitchen.â€?Â FWIW, it was my coffee and my cup and I was finished with it.Â My authority to take those actions was bestowed upon me by my wife.Â She is also the one who bestowed the charge to do so upon me.

Â

Fred (suffering from the illusion of control) Nickols

Â

From: Bob Hintz [mailto:bob.hintz@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, October 02, 2016 12:21 AM

To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: The Concept of Controlled Variable

Â

bob hintz 2016 - 10-1

Â

I am starting this note in the evening in response to Fred’s Coffee example.Â If I was the observer, I would hope the cup of coffee you are throwing away is your cup and not someone else’s who might share your space and might want to finish or reheat that cup (wider social context).Â If it is yours, I would wonder whether you have had enough coffee for the morning or whether you just don’t like cold coffee (narrower internal context) and I can get more information by continuing to observe what you do next.Â I once knew a person who routinely filled her cup and dumped the last half because it was cold.Â She was the boss and I never pointed out that she could easily take half a cup and get the same enjoyment, while leaving more for the rest of us.Â If someone comes in and asks, “why did you dump my coffee”, I will wonder why you dumped someone else’s coffee (did you mistakenly think it was your’s, or is the other person mistaken?) (Are you angry with the other person and want them to know you are upset?)

Â

All externally observable behavior has both an energy value and an information value.Â Your description seems to focus exclusively on the energy aspects of dumping the coffee and quits with no attention to the information value. The same energy description would apply to how the cup got coffee in it in the first place or why someone else might have done it for you.Â Asking for a cup of coffee is intended to have high information value, but requires very little energy on your part and has very little effect on the physical world outside your skin.Â If no one hears you, you will never get coffee that way.Â If no one you ask does speaks English, you will also be out of luck.Â If someone hears you, understands what you want and has a reason to care, you might get the coffee if they are able and willing to provide the necessary energy to make and pour a cup of coffee for you.Â

Â

It seems to me that the information value of our outputs is the part that PCT has traditionally left out and is the most important part in understanding collective control of any external variables.

Â

Â Â Â Â

Â

On Sat, Oct 1, 2016 at 11:24 AM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

HJ Fred,

Â

You have to follow only Bill’s lietrature. So follow the PCT diagram and Â»organismÂ« on p. 191 in B:CP and you’ hvae no problem with explaining to yourself where you are missing the point.Â And you’ll know whom to beleive.

Â

Best regards and cheers,

Â

Boris

Â

From: Fred Nickols [mailto:fred@nickols.us]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 5:52 PM

To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: RE: The Concept of Controlled Variable

Â

[From Fred Nickols (2016.10.01.1132 ET)]

Â

Iâ€™m not sure I fully agree with you or Rick, Boris.Â Letâ€™s dig a little deeper.

Â

This morning, a half-finished cup of coffee sat onÂ my kitchen counter-top near the dishwasher.Â I emptied the cup in the sink and placed the cup in the dishwasher.

Â

I think one controlled quantity (CQ1) was the perceived amount of coffee in the cup.

Â

I think a second controlled quantity (CQ2) was the perceived location of the coffee cup.

Â

I think I had one reference signal (RS1) that can be stated as â€œno coffee in the cup.â€?

Â

I think I had another reference signal (RS2) that can be stated as â€œcoffee up in the dishwasher.â€?

Â

My behavioral outputs, as described by me and probably by an observer were as follows:

Â

Grasping the coffee cup

Lifting it off the counter

Moving it over the sink

Turning it upside down

Turning it right side up when empty

Setting it back on the counter-top

Opening the dishwasher door

Pulling out the top rack

Grasping the coffee cup

Moving the coffee cup to a position over the top rack of the dishwasher

Turning the coffee cup upside down

Placing the coffee cup in the top rack

Sliding the top rack back in

Closing the dishwasher door

Â

Are there other controlled variables and controlled quantities along the way. I would say there were several, too many to mention here.

Â

Is there a difference between the controlled quantity (CQ) – the location of the cup – and my perception of the cupcupâ€™s location?Â I think so but so long as the correspondence between the two is close enough for practical purposes, I donâ€™t know that the distinction makes a whole lot of difference.Â The cup is empty and in the dishwasher – or so I think or believe.Â Did I conttrol the location of the cup?Â I think so.Â Did I do that by controlling my perception of the location of the cup?Â I think so.

Â

For me, the important issue lurking in all this is in Billâ€™s definition of controlled quantity: â€œAn environmental variable corresponding to the perceptual signal in a control system.â€?Â That issue is the degree of correspondence between the controlled quantity and the perceptual signal.

Â

Â

Fred Nickols

Â

From: Boris Hartman [mailto:boris.hartman@masicom.net]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 10:52 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: RE: The Concept of Controlled Variable

Â

In the text bellow….

Â

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 6:57 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: The Concept of Controlled Variable

Â

[From Rick Marken (2016.09.30.2155)]

Â

Fred Nickols (2016.09.28.1211 ET)–

Â

FN: In B:CP (both editions), Bill didnâ€™t define â€œcontrolled variableâ€?; instead, he defined â€œcontrolled quantityâ€? (which I assume is the same thing). Â

His definition was as follows:

â€œAn environmental variable corresponding to the perceptual signal in a control system; a physical quantity (or a function of several physical quantities) that is affected and controlled by the outputs from a control systemâ€™s output function.â€?

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

RM: For all intents and purposes the controlled quantity is indeed the same as the controlled variable. The difference is that the controlled quantity is the controlled variable seen from the perspective of an observer of the control system.Â

Â

HB : No. Controlled quantitty is not the same as Â»controlled variableÂ«, because Rick wants to show that these is something objective in the environment and there is no Â»objective controlled variableÂ«.Â But it’s true that Â»Controlled quantittyÂ« is always imagination of the observer. Generaly speaking of course.Â In real life there are behaviors which don’t Â»controlÂ« anything. And there are moments when there are no Â»behaviorsÂ« that are consequences of control in organism.

Â

Â

Â

Bill P (LCS III):

FEED-BACK FUNCTION : The box represents the set of physical laws, properties, arrangements, linkages, by which the acrtion of this system feeds-back to affect its own input, the controlled variable. That’s what feed-back means : it’s an effect of a system’s output on it’s own input.

Â

Â

HB : From the definition of control and output you can see that only organism controls (inside). What is outside is affected by output that also cancel the effects of disturbances (if there are any). So if there is any imagination of Â»controlled quantityÂ« in environment it’s connected to the occasional effects of Â»behaviorÂ«.Â Â»Controled variablesÂ« are always in organism. They are never in outer environment. The descripton that Bob HIntz gave is right. Rick’s is wrong. Bob Hintz also concluded right from my statements that organism controls 24/7. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Behavior is consequence of control and doesn’t occur 24/7.

Â

But incredibly Rick concluded right, that in sleeping :

RM: Sleeping is a tough one but I think it is controlling done by the autonomic nervous system that has the aim of keeping some intrinsic physiological variables in genetically determined reference states.

HB : Right. So in sleeping it’s clear that there is no Â»controlled quantity in environment and even less Â»controlled variableÂ« and that Bills definition of control is generally right. So generaly speaking (as Bill’s model is general) there is no Â»controlled variableÂ« in environment.

Â

Rick persitently continues with his misleading story, about Â»controlled variableÂ« which only he sees in environment. He wants to prove that Â»Behavior is controlÂ« and save all his articles and demos and tests. They are all wrong beacsue their basic assumption is that Â»Behavior is controlÂ« and that there is some Â»controled variableÂ« in environment. Of course both assumtpions are nonsense. But not in Ricks imagination. In his imaginatoion both assumptions are top of human race. And Rick beleive that he is hero in the eys of Powers ladies. I only don’t know whether he is wearing guns in hid dreams or computer with only one program inside : Â»tracking taskÂ«.

Â

But according to PCT control is something that is happening fromÂ the Â»perspective of an observer of the control systemÂ«. Rick is speccial case because he has increadible imagination generally speaking J.

Â

Best,

Â

Boris

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

Â

FN: Bear with me while I tease out the criteria that something must meet in order to qualify as a controlled variable, one that I might try to control.

Â

1Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Its value must be capable of varying; if it doesnâ€™t, itâ€™s not a variable at all

2Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I must have some desired value in mind

3Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I must be able to perceive its current value

4Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I must be able to affect its value

5Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I must want to control its value

Â

FN: Do I have these right?

Â

RM: I think the criteria for a controlled variable are best described by the steps in the test for the controlled variable. A nice description of these steps is given in Phil Runkel’s paper in the control theory issue of the 1990Â American Behavioral Scientist (“Research Method for Control Theory”). There are 9 steps described on pp. 14-15. A quick summary:Â

Â

1. Select a variable you think a person is maintaining at some level.Â
1. Predict what would happen to the variable if the person were not maintaining it.Â
1. Apply various amounts and directions of disturbance to the variable.Â
1. Measure the effect of the disturbances.
1. If the effect is what you predicted, stop, the variable is not under control.
1. If the effect is markedly smaller than predicted , look for what is being done to oppose the disturbances.
1. Look for the way the person can sense the variable.Â
1. If you find a means of sensing, block it to see if that prevents control; if not, look for another possible means of sensing the variable.Â
1. If all preceding steps are passed you have found the controlled variable.Â

Â

BestÂ

Â

Rick

Â

Â

Regards,

Â

Fred Nickols, Knowledge Worker

DISTANCE CONSULTING LLC

â€œAssistance at a Distanceâ€?SM

Â

Â

Richard S. MarkenÂ

“The childhood of the human race is far from over. We have a long way to go before most people will understand that what they do for others is just as important to their well-being as what they do for themselves.” – William T. Powers

Â

[From Fred Nickols (2016.10.02.0959 ET)]

As it happens, I am increasingly interested in the role of language (sounds and symbols) in perceptual processes.Â That, of course, ties to my interest in collective control.Â I have some papers by Kent I plan on reading soon and I just this morning came across a paper about the role of language in perceptual processes by Alfred Korzybski.Â It is attached in case anyone else is interested.

Fred Nickols

···

From: Bob Hintz [mailto:bob.hintz@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, October 02, 2016 9:53 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: The Concept of Controlled Variable

bob hintz 10-2-16

So the reference signal for “cleaning up the kitchen” might be a subroutine for the reference signal “maintain good relationship with wife” who shares the space of the kitchen and might feel compelled to deal with that cup if you did not. Part of the information value of that half cup of coffee for her might be “Fred doesn’t care about me anymore” on a bad day which is not what you would have intended if you had not noticed the cup sitting there. On a good day, that same half cup of coffee might just be a disturbance to the reference for a “clean kitchen” for her.

When I first remarried, about 30 years ago, I would often leave my toothbrush beside the sink instead of putting it in the cabinet. I would come home from work to a very irritated person. I would promise to put it away, but a few weeks later, I would forget again. It would be worse this time because now I had broken a promise as well as leaving the toothbrush on the counter beside the sink in the bathroom that she also used. This went on for months. Finally, she decided to get even and hid my toothbrush. She was not angry this time and could hardly wait for me to notice that I did not have a toothbrush. It became a game. Some part of the toothbrush had to visible and it had to be in the bathroom. The toothbrush as a physical item was not very complicated, nor was the task of putting it away very difficult. What is important in the world outside our skin depends on what is important in the world inside our skin. If I am in a hurry or lost in thought I might not notice the toothbrush in the wrong place. You might not notice the half cup of coffee.

Communication involves being interested in the inside of another person and providing information on purpose to another person about your own inside. Language and talk allow us to this so that we can align our energy output. Talking does not change the physical world much, but it allows humans to join together to build sky scrappers, airplanes, etc. Almost everything in our world exists because of collective control, like the coffee in the cup and probably even the cup.

On Sun, Oct 2, 2016 at 6:52 AM, Fred Nickols fred@nickols.us wrote:

[From Fred Nickols (2016.10.02.0748 ET)]

In terms of the hierarchy, I view emptying the coffee cup and placing it in the dishwasher as a subroutine in a larger program I would call â€œcleaning up the kitchen.â€? FWIW, it was my coffee and my cup and I was finished with it. My authority to take those actions was bestowed upon me by my wife. She is also the one who bestowed the charge to do so upon me.

Fred (suffering from the illusion of control) Nickols

From: Bob Hintz [mailto:bob.hintz@gmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, October 02, 2016 12:21 AM

To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: The Concept of Controlled Variable

bob hintz 2016 - 10-1

I am starting this note in the evening in response to Fred’s Coffee example. If I was the observer, I would hope the cup of coffee you are throwing away is your cup and not someone else’s who might share your space and might want to finish or reheat that cup (wider social context). If it is yours, I would wonder whether you have had enough coffee for the morning or whether you just don’t like cold coffee (narrower internal context) and I can get more information by continuing to observe what you do next. I once knew a person who routinely filled her cup and dumped the last half because it was cold. She was the boss and I never pointed out that she could easily take half a cup and get the same enjoyment, while leaving more for the rest of us. If someone comes in and asks, “why did you dump my coffee”, I will wonder why you dumped someone else’s coffee (did you mistakenly think it was your’s, or is the other person mistaken?) (Are you angry with the other person and want them to know you are upset?)

All externally observable behavior has both an energy value and an information value. Your description seems to focus exclusively on the energy aspects of dumping the coffee and quits with no attention to the information value. The same energy description would apply to how the cup got coffee in it in the first place or why someone else might have done it for you. Asking for a cup of coffee is intended to have high information value, but requires very little energy on your part and has very little effect on the physical world outside your skin. If no one hears you, you will never get coffee that way. If no one you ask does speaks English, you will also be out of luck. If someone hears you, understands what you want and has a reason to care, you might get the coffee if they are able and willing to provide the necessary energy to make and pour a cup of coffee for you.

It seems to me that the information value of our outputs is the part that PCT has traditionally left out and is the most important part in understanding collective control of any external variables.

On Sat, Oct 1, 2016 at 11:24 AM, Boris Hartman boris.hartman@masicom.net wrote:

HJ Fred,

You have to follow only Bill’s lietrature. So follow the PCT diagram and Â»organismÂ« on p. 191 in B:CP and you’ hvae no problem with explaining to yourself where you are missing the point. And you’ll know whom to beleive.

Best regards and cheers,

Boris

From: Fred Nickols [mailto:fred@nickols.us]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 5:52 PM

To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: RE: The Concept of Controlled Variable

[From Fred Nickols (2016.10.01.1132 ET)]

Iâ€™m not sure I fully agree with you or Rick, Boris. Letâ€™s dig a little deeper.

This morning, a half-finished cup of coffee sat on my kitchen counter-top near the dishwasher. I emptied the cup in the sink and placed the cup in the dishwasher.

I think one controlled quantity (CQ1) was the perceived amount of coffee in the cup.

I think a second controlled quantity (CQ2) was the perceived location of the coffee cup.

I think I had one reference signal (RS1) that can be stated as â€œno coffee in the cup.â€?

I think I had another reference signal (RS2) that can be stated as â€œcoffee up in the dishwasher.â€?

My behavioral outputs, as described by me and probably by an observer were as follows:

Grasping the coffee cup

Lifting it off the counter

Moving it over the sink

Turning it upside down

Turning it right side up when empty

Setting it back on the counter-top

Opening the dishwasher door

Pulling out the top rack

Grasping the coffee cup

Moving the coffee cup to a position over the top rack of the dishwasher

Turning the coffee cup upside down

Placing the coffee cup in the top rack

Sliding the top rack back in

Closing the dishwasher door

Are there other controlled variables and controlled quantities along the way. I would say there were several, too many to mention here.

Is there a difference between the controlled quantity (CQ) – the locationn of the cup – and my perception of the cupâ€™s location?&nbspp; I think so but so long as the correspondence between the two is close enough for practical purposes, I donâ€™t know that the distinction makes a whole lot of difference. The cup is empty and in the dishwasher – or so I think or believe. Did I control the location of thee cup? I think so. Did I do that by controlling my perception of the location of the cup? I think so.

For me, the important issue lurking in all this is in Billâ€™s definition of controlled quantity: â€œAn environmental variable corresponding to the perceptual signal in a control system.â€? That issue is the degree of correspondence between the controlled quantity and the perceptual signal.

Fred Nickols

From: Boris Hartman [mailto:boris.hartman@masicom.net]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 10:52 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: RE: The Concept of Controlled Variable

In the text bellow….

From: Richard Marken [mailto:rsmarken@gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 6:57 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: Re: The Concept of Controlled Variable

[From Rick Marken (2016.09.30.2155)]

Fred Nickols (2016.09.28.1211 ET)–

FN: In B:CP (both editions), Bill didnâ€™t define â€œcontrolled variableâ€?; instead, he defined â€œcontrolled quantityâ€? (which I assume is the same thing).

His definition was as follows:

â€œAn environmental variable corresponding to the perceptual signal in a control system; a physical quantity (or a function of several physical quantities) that is affected and controlled by the outputs from a control systemâ€™s output function.â€?

RM: For all intents and purposes the controlled quantity is indeed the same as the controlled variable. The difference is that the controlled quantity is the controlled variable seen from the perspective of an observer of the control system.

HB : No. Controlled quantitty is not the same as Â»controlled variableÂ«, because Rick wants to show that these is something objective in the environment and there is no Â»objective controlled variableÂ«. But it’s true that Â»Controlled quantittyÂ« is always imagination of the observer. Generaly speaking of course. In real life there are behaviors which don’t Â»controlÂ« anything. And there are moments when there are no Â»behaviorsÂ« that are consequences of control in organism.

Bill P (LCS III):

FEED-BACK FUNCTION : The box represents the set of physical laws, properties, arrangements, linkages, by which the acrtion of this system feeds-back to affect its own input, the controlled variable. That’s what feed-back means : it’s an effect of a system’s output on it’s own input.

HB : From the definition of control and output you can see that only organism controls (inside). What is outside is affected by output that also cancel the effects of disturbances (if there are any). So if there is any imagination of Â»controlled quantityÂ« in environment it’s connected to the occasional effects of Â»behaviorÂ«. Â»Controled variablesÂ« are always in organism. They are never in outer environment. The descripton that Bob HIntz gave is right. Rick’s is wrong. Bob Hintz also concluded right from my statements that organism controls 24/7. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Behavior is consequence of control and doesn’t occur 24/7.

But incredibly Rick concluded right, that in sleeping :

RM: Sleeping is a tough one but I think it is controlling done by the autonomic nervous system that has the aim of keeping some intrinsic physiological variables in genetically determined reference states.

HB : Right. So in sleeping it’s clear that there is no Â»controlled quantity in environment and even less Â»controlled variableÂ« and that Bills definition of control is generally right. So generaly speaking (as Bill’s model is general) there is no Â»controlled variableÂ« in environment.

Rick persitently continues with his misleading story, about Â»controlled variableÂ« which only he sees in environment. He wants to prove that Â»Behavior is controlÂ« and save all his articles and demos and tests. They are all wrong beacsue their basic assumption is that Â»Behavior is controlÂ« and that there is some Â»controled variableÂ« in environment. Of course both assumtpions are nonsense. But not in Ricks imagination. In his imaginatoion both assumptions are top of human race. And Rick beleive that he is hero in the eys of Powers ladies. I only don’t know whether he is wearing guns in hid dreams or computer with only one program inside : Â»tracking taskÂ«.

But according to PCT control is something that is happening from the Â»perspective of an observer of the control systemÂ«. Rick is speccial case because he has increadible imagination generally speaking J.

Best,

Boris

FN: Bear with me while I tease out the criteria that something must meet in order to qualify as a controlled variable, one that I might try to control.

1 Its value must be capable of varying; if it doesnâ€™t, itâ€™s not a variable at all

2 I must have some desired value in mind

3 I must be able to perceive its current value

4 I must be able to affect its value

5 I must want to control its value

FN: Do I have these right?

RM: I think the criteria for a controlled variable are best described by the steps in the test for the controlled variable. A nice description of these steps is given in Phil Runkel’s paper in the control theory issue of the 1990 American Behavioral Scientist (“Research Method for Control Theory”). There are 9 steps described on pp. 14-15. A quick summary:

1. Select a variable you think a person is maintaining at some level.

2. Predict what would happen to the variable if the person were not maintaining it.

3. Apply various amounts and directions of disturbance to the variable.

4. Measure the effect of the disturbances.

5. If the effect is what you predicted, stop, the variable is not under control.

6. If the effect is markedly smaller than predicted , look for what is being done to oppose the disturbances.

7. Look for the way the person can sense the variable.

8. If you find a means of sensing, block it to see if that prevents control; if not, look for another possible means of sensing the variable.

9. If all preceding steps are passed you have found the controlled variable.

Best

Rick

Regards,

Fred Nickols, Knowledge Worker