The Illusion of Control of Behavior

[From Rick Marken (2014.12.02.0945)]

I always learn things from these CSGNet discussions, even though they often seem incoherent and contentious. I believe I have finally “solved” the problem of control of behavior. I am busy right now and won’t have time to give a detailed explanation until later but I just wanted to give you what I think should be a tantalizing preview of my solution.

It turns out that those of you who were arguing that there is no such thing as control of behavior were right, but for the wrong reasons. And those of us (mainly me, I guess) who were arguing that that control of behavior is possible were wrong, but for the right reasons.

I’ll have more on this later today or, more likely tomorrow. But I just thought it might be nice for those of you who were arguing that there is no such thing as control of behavior (of a control system) to know that I now see that you were right and I was wrong. See, I can admit when I was wrong. Stay tuned to find out why.

Best

Rick

···

Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

In nature there’s no blemish but the mind

None can be called deformed but the unkind.

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

[From Fred Nickols (2014.12.02.1330 EST)]

Great! Can’t wait!

Fred Nickols

···

From: Richard Marken (rsmarken@gmail.com via csgnet Mailing List) [mailto:csgnet@lists.illinois.edu]
Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2014 12:47 PM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu; Richard Marken
Subject: The Illusion of Control of Behavior

[From Rick Marken (2014.12.02.0945)]

I always learn things from these CSGNet discussions, even though they often seem incoherent and contentious. I believe I have finally “solved” the problem of control of behavior. I am busy right now and won’t have time to give a detailed explanation until later but I just wanted to give you what I think should be a tantalizing preview of my solution.

It turns out that those of you who were arguing that there is no such thing as control of behavior were right, but for the wrong reasons. And those of us (mainly me, I guess) who were arguing that that control of behavior is possible were wrong, but for the right reasons.

I’ll have more on this later today or, more likely tomorrow. But I just thought it might be nice for those of you who were arguing that there is no such thing as control of behavior (of a control system) to know that I now see that you were right and I was wrong. See, I can admit when I was wrong. Stay tuned to find out why.

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.

Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

In nature there’s no blemish but the mind

None can be called deformed but the unkind.

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

[From Rick Marken (2014.12.03.1845)]

Fred Nickols (2014.12.02.1330 EST)–

RM: I believe I have finally “solved” the problem of control of behavior. I am busy right now and won’t have time to give a detailed explanation until later but I just wanted to give you what I think should be a tantalizing preview of my solution.

FN: Great! Can’t wait!

RM: OK, here we go.

RM: Control of behavior is an illusion in the same sense that stimulus-response behavior is an illusion. The latter is the so-called “behavioral illusion” and it refers to the fact that abrupt disturbances to a controlled variable appear to be a stimulus that causes the resulting compensating response via the organism (see the “A Bucket of Beans” paper in LCS II). A linear analysis of of a control system shows that the causal path between stimulus (disturbance, d) and response (output, q.o) runs through the environment, being the inverse of the environmental feedback connection, k.e, between system output, q.o, and controlled variable.

RM: So the stimulus-response law for a control system is q.o = r - (1/k.e)*d, where r is the system’s reference. The apparent causal relationship between stimulus (d) and response (q.o) is determined by 1/k.e, a property of the environment, not of the system itself. (While r is a property of the system, it is independent of the relationship between q.o and d and therefore doesn’t affect the apparent causal relationship between . these variables).

RM: The behavioral illusion turns out to be the the basis of the illusion of control of behavior. My analysis is illustrated in the figure below. But before I get to explaining that let me briefly discuss the meaning of the term “illusion”. In perceptual psychology an illusion is a perception that we know, for various reasons, does not correspond to reality. For example, in the Ames room illusion (www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCV2Ba5wrcs) we see people change size as they walk across the room. We consider this an illusion because we know that people don’t change size as they walk from one place to another.

RM: This means that some things that are called “illusions”, such as Ellen Langer’s “illusion of control”, are not illusions at all but, rather, misconceptions. For example, Langer would call a gambler’s belief in his ability to control the spots that come up when the dice are thrown an example of the illusion of control. But the gambler doesn’t really see himself controlling the dice; he is just mistaking coincidence for control.

RM: The control we see in control of behavior is, however, a true illusion, as is the behavioral illusion. In both cases we see something happening (just as we see a person shrink and grow in the Ames room) but we know, for other reasons, that what we see is not what is actually going on. In the case of the Ames room we know what we are seeing can’t really be happening based on our understanding of the physical model of reality. And in the case of the behavioral illusion and the illusion of control of behavior we know (or should know) that what we are seeing can’t really be happening ased on our understanding of control theory.

RM: So my mistake in arguing that “control of behavior” actually happens was to take appearance (of control of behavior) for reality. I was wrong for the right reason. I was right that control of behavior is an observable (and measurable) fact, just as the change in the size of a person walking across the Ames room is an observable (and measurable) fact. But control of behavior is not actually happening any more than the response that results from a sudden disturbance to a controlled variable is actually a caused response (or that the person walking back and forth across the Ames room is actually shrinking and growing).

RM: The diagrams below explains the difference between “real” and illusory control of behavior. The diagram at the top shows the “real” control of the behavior of a cursor on a computer screen and the one at the bottom shows the illusory control of the behavior of a control system. In both diagrams the controller (system c) is on the right and the system whose behavior is being controlled (system s) is on the left.

RM: In the top diagram system s – the system whose behavior is being controlled – is a causal system because inputs from mouse movements, which are the outputs of system c, q.oc, are the cause of the system s output, the behavior that is controlled; the output of system s that is controlled is the pointing finger cursor displayed on the computer screen, q.os.

RM: I’ve drawn the causal system to look a bit like a control system but it’s not. The variable d.s looks like a reference signal but it’s actually the computer generated disturbance that is added to the controller’s input to produce the displayed output.

RM: The fact that system s is a causal system is shown by the equation at the top right of the top diagram. It’s the equation that describes the causal connection between the inputs to system s from the system c, q.oc, and the outputs o system s, q.os, which are the input, q.ic controlled by system c. The equation is the feedback function that relates system c’s outputs, q.oc, to its inputs, q.ic.

RM: The bold arrows leading from system c’s output, q.oc, its controlled input, q.ic, is the causal feedback path from the controller’s output to the controller’s input. What is most important about this feedback path is that it goes through system s, the system whose behavior (cursor position, q.os) is being controlled. This means is the controller’s (system c’s) outputs are one cause of the controlled system’s (system s’s) outputs (the other cause of system s’s output is the disturbance, d.s, generated by the computer).

image21.png

RM: In the bottom diagram, system c – the system whose behavior is being controlled – is now a control system, controlling q.is, which corresponds to the position of the knot in the rubber bands. The outputs of the system c, controller, q.oc, no longer have a direct effect on the inputs system s; rather they are a disturbance to the variable controlled by system s, q.is. This means that, unlike in the top diagram, the feedback path from the controller’s outputs, q.oc, to the controller’s input, q.ic, does not go though the system being controlled. In this case the feedback path for the controller goes through the environment only. This is shown by the equation in the upper right corner of the lower diagram and by the solid arrows in the diagram.

RM: The equation is the feedback function for the controller (system c) and it shows that none of the coefficients that relate the controller’s output to the controller’s input are part of system s, the system whose behavior is being controlled. The coefficients k.ec and k.es are properties of the environment that determine the effect on the knot (the controlled variable, q.is) of the output of the controller (system c) and the system under control(system s), respectively. The solid arrows shows the feedback path graphically; the path never goes through system s, the system whose behavior is being controlled.

RM: The difference between the top and bottom diagrams in the figure above describes the illusion of control of behavior. Both diagrams show a controller, system c, controlling a behavioral variable, q.os, which is the position of the pointing finger. In both cases an observer would see q.os being kept under control. But the control seen when the behavior under control is that of a causal system is not the same as the control seen when the behavior under control is that of a control system.

RM: If one sees the control of the behavior of the control system as being like that seen in the upper figure, then that is the illusion of control. It is an illusion because the control you are seeing is not like the control of the behavior of a causal system. The difference turns on the nature of the feedback function for the controller (system c) in the two cases.

RM: When the control you see is that of the behavior of a causal system the feedback function for the controller runs through that system so that the controller’s output has a direct, causal effect on the variable under control. This is what I would call “real” control. When the control you see is that of the behavior of a control system the feedback function for the controller runs through the environment only so that the controller’s has no direct, causal effect on the variable under control. Indeed, the only influence the controller has on the controlled variable is via the feedback effect, k.es, that the system under control has on the variable it is controlling (q.is). That is, the effect of the controller on the behavior under control (q.os) depends on the fact that the system under control is controlling a variable to which the controller’s outputs (q.oc) are a disturbance. Another way of saying this is that the controller’s ability to control the behavior of a control system depends on the behavioral illusion; the fact that disturbances to a controlled variable will appear to cause outputs.

RM: The apparent causal connection between the controller’s output (q.oc) and input (q.ic) is mediated by 1/k.es, which does not reflect an actual causal link from q.oc to q.ic. That link, from q.oc to q.ic, is the feedback function for the controller (system c) controlling a control system (system s). And since it is not a causal link, the controlling that is going on is illusory in the sense that real controlling (of the kind seen in upper diagram) occurs when the feedback path from system output to input is causal.

RM: Well, that’s a lot of talk but I think teh essence of the thing is contained in that last paragraph. The observed control of behavior of a control system is illusory in teh sense that the controller does not have an actual “hard” causal connection to the variable under control.

RM: Sorry to write so much but I’m thinking of turning this into a little paper for publication and I’m just kind of thinking my way through it. So any “feedback” would be most welcome. But I think I’ve got the basic idea. Control of behavior is really an illusion (in the sense I describe above) and it results from the fact that the feedback connection to the controlled variable is not causal when the controlled variable is a behavior of a control system.

Best regards

Rick

···


Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

In nature there’s no blemish but the mind

None can be called deformed but the unkind.

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Hi Rick, phew! Glad we got that sorted! Much prefer this to hot verbal debate! But maybe you needed that to stoke the creative fire?

I think this is well worthy of a publication!

It may take a while but how about I get a student to recruit 30 or so participants to do this as test? It would need a PC wired to two displays and two joysticks which we could supply. One group of participants carry out the track task under each of the two conditions you describe, balanced by order. For the human controllee version we need an extra participant to be the system.

We get data on both objective and subjective measures of control. We would predict that in both conditions the measures of control from the perspective of the controller are high and not discriminable. This would be the case despite the objective and subjective measures of the controllee’s control also being high.

I wonder whether we could then break the illusion by switching the reference perception for the controllee?

What do you think Rick?

Warren

On 4 Dec 2014ond, at 02:l43, Richard Marken (rsmarken@ve.com via csgnet Mailing List) csgnet@lists.illinois.edu wrote:Venus

···


Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

In nature there’s no blemish but the mind

None can be called deformed but the unkind.

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Rick,

I must say that I’m really glad you are back J. I’m glad that you joined us  all. But talking about right and wrong reasons is sonehow subjective if we accept that perception is in the core of all human activities (thinking included). So I think that right reasons are your »perceptual illusion«.

Do you think that my reasons for saying that you were wrong about »control of behavior are also right :

  1.   Have you ever seen anybody employed in Apple to promote Samsung ?
    
  2.   The »final arbiter« of right and wrong reasons for »control of behavior« in organisms is »homeostasis« or »intrinsic variables« in PCT or »essential variables« in Ashby's book. Organisms with »control of behavior« can not survive, and organisms with »control of perception« did survive, because they can keep »»intrinsic variables«, »essential variables« near genetically set reference values.
    

Everything good what ends good.

But I think you owe an appology to Kent. I think that you shouldn’t do what you did. And *barb could also say something. And maybe some thanks to all of us who have patience with your »labyrinth running«…J. And I still propose that for analysis of relationship between LCS we use Kent’s »collective control process«.

Best,

Boris

P.S. And maybe you could also change »feedback connection to the controlled variable«with Bill’s definition of feedback. I’m sorry not to read it all through as I’m sure Martin will do »precise checking«.

image0022.png

···

From: csgnet-request@lists.illinois.edu [mailto:csgnet-request@lists.illinois.edu] On Behalf Of Richard Marken (rsmarken@gmail.com via csgnet Mailing List)
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2014 3:43 AM
To: csgnet@lists.illinois.edu
Subject: The Illusion of Control of Behavior

[From Rick Marken (2014.12.03.1845)]

Fred Nickols (2014.12.02.1330 EST)–

RM: I believe I have finally “solved” the problem of control of behavior. I am busy right now and won’t have time to give a detailed explanation until later but I just wanted to give you what I think should be a tantalizing preview of my solution.

FN: Great! Can’t wait!

RM: OK, here we go.

RM: Control of behavior is an illusion in the same sense that stimulus-response behavior is an illusion. The latter is the so-called “behavioral illusion” and it refers to the fact that abrupt disturbances to a controlled variable appear to be a stimulus that causes the resulting compensating response via the organism (see the “A Bucket of Beans” paper in LCS II). A linear analysis of of a control system shows that the causal path between stimulus (disturbance, d) and response (output, q.o) runs through the environment, being the inverse of the environmental feedback connection, k.e, between system output, q.o, and controlled variable.

RM: So the stimulus-response law for a control system is q.o = r - (1/k.e)*d, where r is the system’s reference. The apparent causal relationship between stimulus (d) and response (q.o) is determined by 1/k.e, a property of the environment, not of the system itself. (While r is a property of the system, it is independent of the relationship between q.o and d and therefore doesn’t affect the apparent causal relationship between . these variables).

RM: The behavioral illusion turns out to be the the basis of the illusion of control of behavior. My analysis is illustrated in the figure below. But before I get to explaining that let me briefly discuss the meaning of the term “illusion”. In perceptual psychology an illusion is a perception that we know, for various reasons, does not correspond to reality. For example, in the Ames room illusion (www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCV2Ba5wrcs) we see people change size as they walk across the room. We consider this an illusion because we know that people don’t change size as they walk from one place to another.

RM: This means that some things that are called “illusions”, such as Ellen Langer’s “illusion of control”, are not illusions at all but, rather, misconceptions. For example, Langer would call a gambler’s belief in his ability to control the spots that come up when the dice are thrown an example of the illusion of control. But the gambler doesn’t really see himself controlling the dice; he is just mistaking coincidence for control.

RM: The control we see in control of behavior is, however, a true illusion, as is the behavioral illusion. In both cases we see something happening (just as we see a person shrink and grow in the Ames room) but we know, for other reasons, that what we see is not what is actually going on. In the case of the Ames room we know what we are seeing can’t really be happening based on our understanding of the physical model of reality. And in the case of the behavioral illusion and the illusion of control of behavior we know (or should know) that what we are seeing can’t really be happening ased on our understanding of control theory.

RM: So my mistake in arguing that “control of behavior” actually happens was to take appearance (of control of behavior) for reality. I was wrong for the right reason. I was right that control of behavior is an observable (and measurable) fact, just as the change in the size of a person walking across the Ames room is an observable (and measurable) fact. But control of behavior is not actually happening any more than the response that results from a sudden disturbance to a controlled variable is actually a caused response (or that the person walking back and forth across the Ames room is actually shrinking and growing).

RM: The diagrams below explains the difference between “real” and illusory control of behavior. The diagram at the top shows the “real” control of the behavior of a cursor on a computer screen and the one at the bottom shows the illusory control of the behavior of a control system. In both diagrams the controller (system c) is on the right and the system whose behavior is being controlled (system s) is on the left.

RM: In the top diagram system s – the system whose behavior is being controlled – is a causal system because inputs from mouse movements, which are the outputs of system c, q.oc, are the cause of the system s output, the behavior that is controlled; the output of system s that is controlled is the pointing finger cursor displayed on the computer screen, q.os.

RM: I’ve drawn the causal system to look a bit like a control system but it’s not. The variable d.s looks like a reference signal but it’s actually the computer generated disturbance that is added to the controller’s input to produce the displayed output.

RM: The fact that system s is a causal system is shown by the equation at the top right of the top diagram. It’s the equation that describes the causal connection between the inputs to system s from the system c, q.oc, and the outputs o system s, q.os, which are the input, q.ic controlled by system c. The equation is the feedback function that relates system c’s outputs, q.oc, to its inputs, q.ic.

RM: The bold arrows leading from system c’s output, q.oc, its controlled input, q.ic, is the causal feedback path from the controller’s output to the controller’s input. What is most important about this feedback path is that it goes through system s, the system whose behavior (cursor position, q.os) is being controlled. This means is the controller’s (system c’s) outputs are one cause of the controlled system’s (system s’s) outputs (the other cause of system s’s output is the disturbance, d.s, generated by the computer).

Inline image 1

RM: In the bottom diagram, system c – the system whose behavior is being controlled – is now a control system, controlling q.is, which corresponds to the position of the knot in the rubber bands. The outputs of the system c, controller, q.oc, no longer have a direct effect on the inputs system s; rather they are a disturbance to the variable controlled by system s, q.is. This means that, unlike in the top diagram, the feedback path from the controller’s outputs, q.oc, to the controller’s input, q.ic, does not go though the system being controlled. In this case the feedback path for the controller goes through the environment only. This is shown by the equation in the upper right corner of the lower diagram and by the solid arrows in the diagram.

RM: The equation is the feedback function for the controller (system c) and it shows that none of the coefficients that relate the controller’s output to the controller’s input are part of system s, the system whose behavior is being controlled. The coefficients k.ec and k.es are properties of the environment that determine the effect on the knot (the controlled variable, q.is) of the output of the controller (system c) and the system under control(system s), respectively. The solid arrows shows the feedback path graphically; the path never goes through system s, the system whose behavior is being controlled.

RM: The difference between the top and bottom diagrams in the figure above describes the illusion of control of behavior. Both diagrams show a controller, system c, controlling a behavioral variable, q.os, which is the position of the pointing finger. In both cases an observer would see q.os being kept under control. But the control seen when the behavior under control is that of a causal system is not the same as the control seen when the behavior under control is that of a control system.

RM: If one sees the control of the behavior of the control system as being like that seen in the upper figure, then that is the illusion of control. It is an illusion because the control you are seeing is not like the control of the behavior of a causal system. The difference turns on the nature of the feedback function for the controller (system c) in the two cases.

RM: When the control you see is that of the behavior of a causal system the feedback function for the controller runs through that system so that the controller’s output has a direct, causal effect on the variable under control. This is what I would call “real” control. When the control you see is that of the behavior of a control system the feedback function for the controller runs through the environment only so that the controller’s has no direct, causal effect on the variable under control. Indeed, the only influence the controller has on the controlled variable is via the feedback effect, k.es, that the system under control has on the variable it is controlling (q.is). That is, the effect of the controller on the behavior under control (q.os) depends on the fact that the system under control is controlling a variable to which the controller’s outputs (q.oc) are a disturbance. Another way of saying this is that the controller’s ability to control the behavior of a control system depends on the behavioral illusion; the fact that disturbances to a controlled variable will appear to cause outputs.

RM: The apparent causal connection between the controller’s output (q.oc) and input (q.ic) is mediated by 1/k.es, which does not reflect an actual causal link from q.oc to q.ic. That link, from q.oc to q.ic, is the feedback function for the controller (system c) controlling a control system (system s). And since it is not a causal link, the controlling that is going on is illusory in the sense that real controlling (of the kind seen in upper diagram) occurs when the feedback path from system output to input is causal.

RM: Well, that’s a lot of talk but I think teh essence of the thing is contained in that last paragraph. The observed control of behavior of a control system is illusory in teh sense that the controller does not have an actual “hard” causal connection to the variable under control.

RM: Sorry to write so much but I’m thinking of turning this into a little paper for publication and I’m just kind of thinking my way through it. So any “feedback” would be most welcome. But I think I’ve got the basic idea. Control of behavior is really an illusion (in the sense I describe above) and it results from the fact that the feedback connection to the controlled variable is not causal when the controlled variable is a behavior of a control system.

Best regards

Rick

Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.

Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

In nature there’s no blemish but the mind

None can be called deformed but the unkind.

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

[Martin Taylor 2014.12.04.11.14]

Do I understand you correctly? You are saying that because the

behaviour of S depends on S’s environmental feedback function when S
controls well, therefore E cannot control E’s perception of S’s
behaviour? I could understand better if I thought you were saying that because
S’s behaviour does not depend on S’s internal structure, therefore E
cannot perceive S’s internal structure by perceiving S’s behaviour.
This is indeed a consequence of the behavioural illusion. But that
does not seem to be what you are claiming, even though it is what
your diagrams and equations seem to show.
It also happens to be true that E cannot perceive the details of the
environmental feedback path by perceiving the controlled
environmental variable when it is a moving target on a screen. How
much of that electronic and software wizardry between your
mouse/joystick movements and the movement of the screen cursor do
you see when you do a tracking run?
Martin

···

[From Rick Marken (2014.12.03.1845)]

              Fred

Nickols (2014.12.02.1330 EST)–

RM: I
believe I have finally “solved” the problem of control
of behavior. I am busy right now and won’t have time
to give a detailed explanation until later but I just
wanted to give you what I think should be a
tantalizing preview of my solution.

          FN:

Great! Can’t wait!

        RM: The behavioral illusion turns out to be the the basis

of the illusion of control of behavior. …[long analysis]

[Martin Taylor 2014.12.03.23.19]

[From Rick Marken (2014.12.03.1845)]

Fred Nickols (2014.12.02.1330 EST)--

RM: I believe I have finally "solved" the problem of control of behavior. I am busy right now and won't have time to give a detailed explanation until later but I just wanted to give you what I think should be a tantalizing preview of my solution.

FN: Great! Can’t wait!

RM: OK, here we go.
RM: Control of behavior is an illusion in the same sense that stimulus-response behavior is an illusion.

I disagree, and I don't need to analyze your equations to say why.

Effective "Perceptual Control" means that a perceptual variable stays on average nearer the value of a possibly variable reference value than it would in the absence of control.

What the perceptual variable might correspond to in the environment doesn't matter in the slightest. If the actions caused by the output of the control unit influence the perception to be nearer the reference than it would be without those actions, control is effective.

Whether the perception being controlled corresponds to some facet of the behaviour of another control system is irrelevant to whether the perception is being controlled. Control is no illusion if it is happening.

The only time there is a potential problem of wording is if the output of the control unit causes actions that do not actually influence the perceptual variable to stay closer to the reference variable than it would if the unit produced no output. I would call that "ineffective control". Some would call it the "absence of control", but I would say that the "absence of control" indicates zero output from the control unit for that perception, if indeed a control unit exists with that perceptual variable being compared to a reference variable.

So, there is no "illusion of control of behaviour" if a perception of a behaviour is kept closer to its reference value by the actions caused by the output of a control unit controlling that perception. There is only "control of perception of behaviour".

An "illusion of control of behaviour" is possible, though; you may think you control someone's behaviour if you want them to, say, raise their right foot, and they do it while you silently say to yourself "Jim, raise your right foot". That would be an illusion of control of Jim's behaviour.

On the other hand, "control" of any environmental variable whatever may well be an illusion.

Martin

[From Chad Green (2014.12.04.1147)]

“One day, [Alfred] Korzybski was giving a lecture to a group of students, and he interrupted the lesson suddenly in order to retrieve a packet of biscuits, wrapped in white paper, from his briefcase. He muttered that he just had to eat
something, and he asked the students on the seats in the front row if they would also like a biscuit. A few students took a biscuit. ‘Nice biscuit, don’t you think,’ said Korzybski, while he took a second one. The students were chewing vigorously. Then he
tore the white paper from the biscuits, in order to reveal the original packaging. On it was a big picture of a dog’s head and the words ‘Dog Cookies.’ The students looked at the package, and were shocked. Two of them wanted to vomit, put their hands in front
of their mouths, and ran out of the lecture hall to the toilet. ‘You see,’ Korzybski remarked, ‘I have just demonstrated that people don’t just eat food, but also words, and that the taste of the former is often outdone by the taste of the latter.’â€?

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Korzybski

Best,

Chad

On Behalf Of Richard Marken

···

[From Rick Marken (2014.12.02.0945)]

I always learn things from these CSGNet discussions, even though they often seem incoherent and contentious. I believe I have finally “solved” the problem of control of behavior. I am busy right now and won’t have time to give a detailed
explanation until later but I just wanted to give you what I think should be a tantalizing preview of my solution.

It turns out that those of you who were arguing that there is no such thing as control of behavior were
right, but for the wrong reasons. And those of us (mainly me, I guess) who were arguing that that control of behavior is possible were
wrong, but for the right reasons.

I’ll have more on this later today or, more likely tomorrow. But I just thought it might be nice for those of you who were arguing that there is no such thing as control of behavior (of a control system) to know that I now see that you
were right and I was wrong. See, I can admit when I was wrong. Stay tuned to find out why.

Best

Rick

Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.

Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

In nature there’s no blemish but the mind

None can be called deformed but the unkind.

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

I love this example Chad!

Do people think it initially takes the form of one of Martin's protocol relationships, and then when the lie is revealed it suddenly looks just like the lecturer has controlled the students' behaviour. Doesn't this tell us that in a controllee with multiple goals, being in control with respect to one goal (to eat a nice biscuit) can be seen as being controlled when seen in the light of another goal (not to eat dog biscuits)?

Where does this lead us with Martin's and Rick's, and maybe Kent's diagrams?

Warren

[From Chad Green (2014.12.04.1147)]

“One day, [Alfred] Korzybski was giving a lecture to a group of students, and he interrupted the lesson suddenly in order to retrieve a packet of biscuits, wrapped in white paper, from his briefcase. He muttered that he just had to eat something, and he asked the students on the seats in the front row if they would also like a biscuit. A few students took a biscuit. ‘Nice biscuit, don't you think,’ said Korzybski, while he took a second one. The students were chewing vigorously. Then he tore the white paper from the biscuits, in order to reveal the original packaging. On it was a big picture of a dog's head and the words ‘Dog Cookies.’ The students looked at the package, and were shocked. Two of them wanted to vomit, put their hands in front of their mouths, and ran out of the lecture hall to the toilet. ‘You see,’ Korzybski remarked, ‘I have just demonstrated that people don't just eat food, but also words, and that the taste of the former is often outdone by the taste of the latter.’�

Source: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Korzybski> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Korzybski

Best,

Chad

From: <mailto:csgnet-request@lists.illinois.edu>csgnet-request@lists.illinois.edu [<mailto:csgnet-request@lists.illinois.edu>mailto:csgnet-request@lists.illinois.edu] On Behalf Of Richard Marken
Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2014 12:47 PM
To: <mailto:csgnet@lists.illinois.edu>csgnet@lists.illinois.edu; Richard Marken
Subject: The Illusion of Control of Behavior

[From Rick Marken (2014.12.02.0945)]

I always learn things from these CSGNet discussions, even though they often seem incoherent and contentious. I believe I have finally "solved" the problem of control of behavior. I am busy right now and won't have time to give a detailed explanation until later but I just wanted to give you what I think should be a tantalizing preview of my solution.

It turns out that those of you who were arguing that there is no such thing as control of behavior were right, but for the wrong reasons. And those of us (mainly me, I guess) who were arguing that that control of behavior is possible were wrong, but for the right reasons.

I'll have more on this later today or, more likely tomorrow. But I just thought it might be nice for those of you who were arguing that there is no such thing as control of behavior (of a control system) to know that I now see that you were right and I was wrong. See, I can admit when I was wrong. Stay tuned to find out why.

Best

Rick

--

Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Author of <http://www.amazon.com/Doing-Research-Purpose-Experimental-Psychology/dp/0944337554/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407342866&sr=8-1&keywords=doing+research+on+purpose>Doing Research on Purpose.

Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

In nature there's no blemish but the mind

None can be called deformed but the unkind.

                         Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
···

On 4 Dec 2014, at 16:47, Chad Green (<mailto:Chad.Green@lcps.org>Chad.Green@lcps.org via csgnet Mailing List) <<mailto:csgnet@lists.illinois.edu>csgnet@lists.illinois.edu> wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2014.12.04.1340)]

···

On Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 12:04 AM, Warren Mansell wmansell@gmail.com wrote:

WM: Hi Rick, phew! Glad we got that sorted!

RM: Based on the replies I’ve read so far I’m not so sure that it’s sorted at all.

WM: I think this is well worthy of a publication!

RM: I’m not so sure anymore. I do think I agree with two points I made in my original (long) post: 1. What has been called “the illusion of control” is not an illusion at all but a misconception and 2) the difference between control of the behavior of a causal and a control system is in the nature of the feedback function connecting output to input. I’m much less confident about my conclusion that we can therefore call control of the behavior of a control system an illusion on the basis of this difference in feedback functions.

RM: I think the “behavioral illusion” is a true illusion because we do see a person’s response to a disturbance to a controlled variable as a stimulus causing a response via the person when, in fact, the causal path from disturbance to response runs through the person’s environment. But I don’t think people necessarily see control of behavior in quite the same way. That is, my argument for control of behavior being an illusion is based on the assumption that people see this control as being exerted via the person being controlled (as in the upper part of my diagram showing control of a causal system). I don’t think people necessarily see control of behavior that way.

WM: It may take a while but how about I get a student to recruit 30 or so participants to do this as test?

RM: I think the main thing to be tested is whether, when a person sees another person being controlled, whether they take this control as being exerted via the person being controlled. It might be possible to test this. But even if you found it to be true that people see control this way I don’t think the notion that control of behavior is an illusion would get much traction anyway. The notion would surely be misinterpreted to mean that there is no such thing as control of behavior – that control of behavior is a fantasy, not an illusion. I think this is basically what has happened with the behavioral illusion. It’s been interpreted by some to mean that there is no such thing as stimulus-response relationships in the behavior of control systems when, in fact, all it means is that the observed stimulus-response relationships are not what they seem – they are not stimuli causing responses via the organism.

WM: It would need a PC wired to two displays and two joysticks which we could supply. One group of participants carry out the track task under each of the two conditions you describe, balanced by order. For the human controllee version we need an extra participant to be the system.

We get data on both objective and subjective measures of control. We would predict that in both conditions the measures of control from the perspective of the controller are high and not discriminable. This would be the case despite the objective and subjective measures of the controllee’s control also being high.

RM: Yes, this would be a good demonstration that control of the behavior of a control system (and a living one at that) is exactly the same in appearance as control of the behavior of a causal system. And it would show that this can happen with both controller and controllee being in control of the variables they are controlling. But while it would be worth doing this, it wouldn’t show that control is an illusion (in the sense that I describe the illusion) unless you find out from the observers of the controlling how this control is being exerted. And I have no idea how to do that.

WM: I wonder whether we could then break the illusion by switching the reference perception for the controllee?

RM: Actually, I’ve show that variations in the controllee’s reference for the controlled variable have no effect on the controller’s ability to control their behavior. I don’t think the illusion of control, as I define it, can be “broken” in any way other than by understanding the control theory explanation of what is going on with control of the behavior of a contorl system (per the lower diagram in the figure I sent). Understanding the control theory model of control of behavior “breaks the illusion” in the same way as seeing that the walls in the Ames room are trapezoidal. But knowing about the walls in he Ames room doesn’t “break the illusion” in terms of preventing you from seeing people shrink and grow as they walk back and forth in the room. Similarly, knowing that the controller’s effect on the controllee’s behavior goes through the environment rather than the controllee won’t break the illusion by preventing one from seeing the controller having an effect on the controllee’s behavior via the controllee.

WM: What do you think Rick?

RM: I think we should just accept that control of behavior is a fact and not get all blown out about it. If there is an illusion involved (like the one I describe in my post) then it’s an illusion that is of academic interest only since it is an illusion that pertains to HOW, not WHETHER, control of behavior occurs. The fact that the behavior of a control system can be controlled didn’t seem to be a problem for Bill Powers, who said, in his description of the rubber band demonstration of control of behavior on p. 245 of B:CP: “S cannot control both his fingers and the knot: they are connected. Therefore, if S wants to control the knot, E can control S’s finger…”[emphasis mine]. So I really don’t understand why this is such a big deal for people who are fans of PCT.

RM: The people who think behavior can’t be controlled seem pretty committed to this view and nothing is apparently going to change it. So I think is that it’s time to change the subject.

Best

Rick


Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

In nature there’s no blemish but the mind

None can be called deformed but the unkind.

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Hmm, so:

One control system can control the behavior of another control system (system E controls system S’s finger) if system E is controlling a variable connected to the controlled perception of system S (i.e. S controls position of knot while E controls position of finger) but ONLY if E doesn’t cause system S to reorganize over time. Ergo, reorganization is a truly uncontrollable process whereas ordinary behavior is controllable.

I don’t suppose I understand all those different subscripts you used, Rick, in the causal/control process diagrams. may I implore you to write out a savvy legend.

Also: Yes/no: is the goal of the PCT model to describe behavior entirely as a function of time?

Phil

From: Warren Mansell <<mailto:wmansell@gmail.com>wmansell@gmail.com>
Date: 4 December 2014 19:30:51 GMT
To: Chad Green <<mailto:Chad.Green@lcps.org>Chad.Green@lcps.org>
Cc: Control Systems Group Network <<mailto:CSGNET@LISTSERV.ILLINOIS.EDU>CSGNET@LISTSERV.ILLINOIS.EDU>
Subject: Re: The Illusion of Control of Behavior

I love this example Chad!

Do people think it initially takes the form of one of Martin's protocol relationships, and then when the lie is revealed it suddenly looks just like the lecturer has controlled the students' behaviour. Doesn't this tell us that in a controllee with multiple goals, being in control with respect to one goal (to eat a nice biscuit) can be seen as being controlled when seen in the light of another goal (not to eat dog biscuits)?

Where does this lead us with Martin's and Rick's, and maybe Kent's diagrams?

Warren

[From Chad Green (2014.12.04.1147)]

“One day, [Alfred] Korzybski was giving a lecture to a group of students, and he interrupted the lesson suddenly in order to retrieve a packet of biscuits, wrapped in white paper, from his briefcase. He muttered that he just had to eat something, and he asked the students on the seats in the front row if they would also like a biscuit. A few students took a biscuit. ‘Nice biscuit, don't you think,’ said Korzybski, while he took a second one. The students were chewing vigorously. Then he tore the white paper from the biscuits, in order to reveal the original packaging. On it was a big picture of a dog's head and the words ‘Dog Cookies.’ The students looked at the package, and were shocked. Two of them wanted to vomit, put their hands in front of their mouths, and ran out of the lecture hall to the toilet. ‘You see,’ Korzybski remarked, ‘I have just demonstrated that people don't just eat food, but also words, and that the taste of the former is often outdone by the taste of the latter.’�

Source: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Korzybski> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Korzybski

Best,

Chad

From: <mailto:csgnet-request@lists.illinois.edu>csgnet-request@lists.illinois.edu [<mailto:csgnet-request@lists.illinois.edu>mailto:csgnet-request@lists.illinois.edu] On Behalf Of Richard Marken
Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2014 12:47 PM
To: <mailto:csgnet@lists.illinois.edu>csgnet@lists.illinois.edu; Richard Marken
Subject: The Illusion of Control of Behavior

[From Rick Marken (2014.12.02.0945)]

I always learn things from these CSGNet discussions, even though they often seem incoherent and contentious. I believe I have finally "solved" the problem of control of behavior. I am busy right now and won't have time to give a detailed explanation until later but I just wanted to give you what I think should be a tantalizing preview of my solution.

It turns out that those of you who were arguing that there is no such thing as control of behavior were right, but for the wrong reasons. And those of us (mainly me, I guess) who were arguing that that control of behavior is possible were wrong, but for the right reasons.

I'll have more on this later today or, more likely tomorrow. But I just thought it might be nice for those of you who were arguing that there is no such thing as control of behavior (of a control system) to know that I now see that you were right and I was wrong. See, I can admit when I was wrong. Stay tuned to find out why.

Best

Rick

--

Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Author of <http://www.amazon.com/Doing-Research-Purpose-Experimental-Psychology/dp/0944337554/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407342866&sr=8-1&keywords=doing+research+on+purpose>Doing Research on Purpose.

Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

In nature there's no blemish but the mind

None can be called deformed but the unkind.

                         Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
···

Begin forwarded message:

On 4 Dec 2014, at 16:47, Chad Green (<mailto:Chad.Green@lcps.org>Chad.Green@lcps.org via csgnet Mailing List) <<mailto:csgnet@lists.illinois.edu>csgnet@lists.illinois.edu> wrote:

[From Rick Marken (2014.12.05.1000)]

···

On Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 2:14 PM, PHILIP JERAIR YERANOSIAN pyeranos@ucla.edu wrote:

PY: Hmm, so:

One control system can control the behavior of another control system (system E controls system S’s finger) if system E is controlling a variable connected to the controlled perception of system S (i.e. S controls position of knot while E controls position of finger) but ONLY if E doesn’t cause system S to reorganize over time. Ergo, reorganization is a truly uncontrollable process whereas ordinary behavior is controllable.

RM: Yes, that’s one way to control behavior. E controls S’s finger position by disturbing a variable that S is controlling. Another way to control behavior is by manipulating the feedback connection between S and a variable S is controlling. This is how Skinner used schedules of reinforcement (which determine the feedback connection between S’s output and the rate at which it receives “reinforcement”) to control S’s rate of responding. Another way to control behavior is by creating a disturbance to a controlled variable in the controllee’s imagination, by lying. An example of this was when my 3 year old daughter got the swing from her 6 year old brother by saying “Mommy wants you” when that was not true. Finally, you can control behavior by physical force – coercion. This is the kind of control the electric eel that Warren Mansell just posted about exerts over it’s prey using electrical impulses.

RM: So there are at least four ways to control behavior and PCT explains why each one works (when it works) and why it doesn’t work (when it doesn’t).

PY: I don’t suppose I understand all those different subscripts you used, Rick, in the causal/control process diagrams. may I implore you to write out a savvy legend.

RM: Yes, I’m sorry. I did it in some hast, thinking I would provide the legend when I submitted it for publication. But I am no longer interested in publishing it. But the notation I used was the same as what Powers used in his linear analysis of control; see the diagram on p. 286 of B:CP 2nd edition. I just added s or c at the end of each coefficient to identify it as pertaining to the controllee (s) or controller © system.

PY: Also: Yes/no: is the goal of the PCT model to describe behavior entirely as a function of time?

RM: No, I would say the goal of PCT is to explain the controlling done by living systems. Since the variables involved in control vary over time , the variables in the PCT model that accounts for the behavior of these variables also vary over time.

Best

Rick

Phil


Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
Author of Doing Research on Purpose.
Now available from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

In nature there’s no blemish but the mind

None can be called deformed but the unkind.

Shakespeare, Twelfth Night