The emperor's old theory

[From Rick Marken (930622.2200)]

Martin Taylor (930622 18:00)--

Information
is about how much one signal tells us about another signal. Information
is ALWAYS about something, and it depends entirely on the presuppositions
and prior structure of the recipient.

(NB. Bill Powers. Looks like Martin et al have been talking about
information (small i) all along.)

So, I sent one signal (p) along with the "presuppositions" (r) and
prior structure (O()) of the recipient. How much does that signal tell
you about another signal, d, that was the one (along with o) that
determined the value of p?

Let me strongly echo the sentiments expressed by Tom Bourbon (930622.1157):

Rather than assert that Martin's claims that information theory can
contribute to PCT (no, that PCT derives necessarily from information
theory), I suggested that Martin and anyone who cares to join him take one
published example of prediction by a PCT model and show that procedures or
measures from information theory improve the predictions. When that
demonstration is achieved, there will be no need to debate whether
information theory can contribute to PCT; it will already have done so.

How about it, IT fans. How about one (count them one -- a mere one
half bit of information worth) example of a way that IT can help
us understand purposeful behavior. An improved prediction of control,
a la Tom's suggestion above, would sure be convincing. Or perhaps
an example of an illuminating experiment based on information theory;
perhaps one that hones in on the perceptual variables that are actually
being controlled in some situation -- IT had a big impact on perceptual
psycholog; perhaps it's in that area where we can find the IT "beef". As
it sits, even after having caved in and accepted the fact that there
is all this information in perception, I still don't know how to find
it, measure it, test for it, or put it into models. I feel a bit like
the emperor who has just been handed a nice new set of clothes that
everyone seems to think are fantastic, but look rather tranparent.
Other than the fact that everyone says "information theory is
great", why shouldn't I go with my perception that there's nothing
there? Or is that what makes it so great -- the fact that there really
is nothing there?

Best

Rick